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Cosmopolitan Roots: Keynote and Q&A with Dr. Kwame Anthony Appiah

When it comes to the most pressing social issues of the day, Kwame Anthony Appiah is a touchstone of reason and inclusivity. Asking—and answering—probing questions on morality, ethnicity, and religion as “The Ethicist” for NYT Magazine, Appiah is a fearless, lucid arbiter, as he demonstrated in his BBC Reith Lectures focused on the modern complexities of Creed, Culture, Color, and Country. Exciting and erudite, Kwame Anthony Appiah challenges us to look beyond the boundaries—real and imagined—that divide us, and to celebrate our common humanity. Named one of Foreign Policy’s "Top 100 public intellectuals," one of the Carnegie Corporation’s “Great Immigrants,” and awarded a National Humanities Medal by The White House, Appiah currently teaches at NYU, though he’s previously taught at Princeton, Harvard, Yale, Cornell, Duke, and the University of Ghana. From 2009 to 2012 he served as President of the PEN American Center, the world’s oldest human rights organization. In 2018 he’ll chair The Man Booker Prize.  

Anthony Appiah’s book Cosmopolitanism is a manifesto for a world where identity has become a weapon and where difference has become a cause of pain and suffering. How is it possible to consider the world a moral community when there is so much disagreement about the nature of morality? Anthony Appiah presents answers that are grounded in a new ethics which celebrates our common humanity, while at the same time offering a practical way to manage our differences. He offers a new approach to living a moral life in the modern age, where the competing claims of “a Clash of Civilizations” on one hand, and a groundless moral relativism on the other, can make such a project seem impossible. With wit, reason, and humanity, Appiah explores some of the central ethical questions of our time. Cosmopolitanism won the Arthur Ross Book Award, the most significant prize given to a book on international affairs.

Kwame Anthony Appiah was born in London to a Ghanaian father and a white mother. He was raised in Ghana, and educated in England, at Cambridge University, where he received a PhD in philosophy. As a scholar of African and African-American studies, he established himself as an intellectual with a broad reach. His book In My Father's House and his collaborations with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.—including The Dictionary of Global Culture and Africana—are major works of African struggles for self-determination. In 2009, he was featured in Astra Taylor’s documentary Examined Life, alongside Martha Nussbaum, Slavoj Zizek, and other leading contemporary philosophers.

Details

When:

Thursday, May 3, 2018. 06:30 PM

Where:

Levinthal Hall

Sponsor:

Stanford Humanities Center Mellon Postdoctoral Program, Structured Liberal Education, Humanities and Sciences Dean’s Office, Division of Literatures, Cultures and Languages, Philosophy Department, Center for Ethics in Society

Contact:

650-724-8155, nicolelh@stanford.edu

Admission:

Free and open to the public.