2017-18 Director’s Lectures

Charles Taylor: Democratic Degeneration: Three Easy Paths to Regression
March 26, 2018

Countering the popular notion that history is progressing inexorably toward global embrace of democracy, eminent philosopher Charles Taylor discussed the dyanmics internal to democracy that make it susceptible to decline. A professor emeritus at McGill University, Taylor is the author of many influential books of philosophy and the recipient of numerous awards. The following day he joined Roman Family Director Jonathan Lear for a discussion with graduate students about the nature and social significance of irony. 

Charles Taylor (Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at McGill University) is the author of many influential books, including Sources of the SelfA Secular Age, and, most recently, The Language Animal: The Full Shape of the Human Linguistic Capacity. Taylor has been honored with numerous awards, including the Templeton Prize (2007), the Kyoto Prize for Thought and Ethics (2008), the John W. Kluge Prize for Achievement in the Study of Humanity (2015), and the Berggruen Prize for Philosophy and Culture (2016).

More > 


Joan W. Scott: Gender, Politics, and Psychoanalysis
October 19, 2017

Joan W. Scott's Director's Lecture offered a penetrating look at the reciprocal nature of gender and society. It also provided Scott the oportunity to reflect on the impact of a canonical paper she wrote on gender as "a useful category of analysis." Scott's insistence that rigorous attention to gender could deepen historical investigations into power and politics was highly controversial at the time, but it has proved to be enormously influential– widely cited by historians and feminist scholars to this day and credited for its role in rshaping the field of cultural history. 

Joan W. Scott is a professor emerita in the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. 

More >