Social Scientist Craig Calhoun to Speak at the University of Virginia

February 08, 2010

UPDATE: Due to travel difficulties, this event has been rescheduled for Friday, Feb. 12 at 2 p.m. in the Dome Room of the Rotunda.

February 8, 2010 — The University of Virginia's Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture will host distinguished scholar and author Craig Calhoun on Friday at 2 p.m. in the Rotunda Dome Room. Calhoun's talk, "From Common Humanity to Humanitarian Obligation: Suffering Strangers, Progress and Emergencies," is free and open to the public.

Calhoun has been president of the Social Science Research Council since 1999. He is also University Professor of the Social Sciences at New York University and founding director of its Institute for Public Knowledge.

Under Calhoun's leadership, the Social Science Research Council has initiated major projects on, among others, the public communication of social science knowledge, the privatization of risk, religion and the public sphere, media reform and new communications technologies, and questions of how to assess and evaluate efforts to shape social change.

His most recent books include "Nations Matter: Culture, History, and the Cosmopolitan Dream" and the forthcoming "Cosmopolitanism and Belonging." The University of Chicago Press is publishing a collection of his historical essays, "The Roots of Radicalism." Calhoun recently edited two collections: "Sociology in America" and "Lessons of Empire: Imperial Histories and American Power," with F. Cooper and K. Moore.

Calhoun provided a detailed eyewitness account – and award-winning sociological analysis – of the student revolt in Tiananmen Square, in his most popular work to date, "Neither Gods Nor Emperors: Students and the Struggle for Democracy in China."

Throughout his career, he has been involved in projects bringing social science to bear on issues of public concern. These have ranged from consulting on rural education and development in North Carolina, to advising the Constitutional Commission of Eritrea, to helping develop a communication infrastructure in Sudan.

Calhoun received his doctorate from Oxford University. He taught at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for 19 years, where he also served as dean of the graduate school and director of the University Center for International Studies. He has been a visiting professor in China, Eritrea, France, Norway and Sudan.

Calhoun's talk, which is co-sponsored by the departments of Religious Studies and Sociology, is the second lecture in the institute's Love and Justice Lecture Series.

Considering the topic of love and justice broadly, the series includes lectures focusing on the role of hatred in post-atrocity contexts, forgiveness and the unforgiveable, political virtue, and the various ways the relationship between love and justice is construed.

The remaining lectures this semester are: Jeffrie Murphy, Regents' Professor of Law, Philosophy and Religious Studies at Arizona State University, speaking on "The Case of Dostoevsky's General: Reflections on Forgiving the Unforgivable" on March 18 at 3:30 p.m. at Watson Manor; and Thomas Brudholm, consulting researcher at the Danish Institute for International Studies, whose talk, "Love, Justice and Hatred" will be held on April 5 at 3:30 p.m. in the Dome Room.

Located at Watson Manor on 3 University Circle, the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture is an interdisciplinary research center and intellectual community committed to understanding contemporary cultural change. Over the past 13 years, the institute has organized numerous lectures at which senior scholars, public intellectuals and dignitaries have made major statements on some of the most pressing issues of our time.

For information, contact Jenny Gladding (e-mail) or 434-924-0998.

— By Anne Bromley