This lecture was part of the Institute for Advanced Study’s celebration of its eightieth anniversary, and took place during the events related to the Schools and Mathematics and Natural Sciences.
Paul Atewell, Leon Levy Foundation Member, School of Social Science. In the United States, ever-increasing proportions of high school graduates continue into college, and more and more undergraduates continue into master’s programs. One concern with educational expansion is that many students do not complete their degrees; they “drop out.” Some read this as proof that too many students are going to college, but other scholars argue that not enough Americans are receiving degrees. In this talk, Paul Attewell, Professor of Sociology at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, will consider the reasons behind the dropout phenomenon, examining individual factors but also highlighting government policies and institutional practices that undercut students’ progress toward graduation.
Humanitarianism, which can be defined as the introduction of moral sentiments into human affairs, is a major component of contemporary politics—locally and globally—for the relief of poverty or the management of disasters, in times of peace as well as in times of war. But how different is the world and our understanding of it when we mobilize compassion rather than justice, call for emotions instead of rights, consider inequality in terms of suffering, and violence in terms of trauma? What is gained—and lost—in this translation? In this lecture, Didier Fassin, James D. Wolfensohn Professor in the School of Social Science, attempts to comprehend humanitarian government, to make sense of its expansion, and to assess its ethical and political consequences.
Is the Qur’an an exclusively Islamic text? In this talk, Angelika Neuwirth, a Professor at the Freie Universität Berlin and a Member in the School of Historical Studies, contends that it is both Islamic and late antique. Before the Qur’an was recognized as Muslim scripture it was communicated to an audience whose education was based on late-antique traditions—Judeo-Christian, Hellenic, and Arabian.
Barry O'Neill, Leon Levy Foundation Member, School of Social Science. Many of the world’s societies function by codes of honor. Violence between ethnic groups or countries often follows the rules of honor among individuals, in particular among males. In general this means willingness to face risk to defend the group, to take vengeance, and to make clear to others that one values honor. Points of honor vary across cultures, however. In this lecture, Barry O’Neill, Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Los Angeles, will argue that in a dispute, a state must understand its rival’s honor code even if it rejects it. O’Neill uses game theory to study international decision-making with a view to preventing war.
Solving societal problems involves changing people’s behavior – inducing them to drink less, exercise more, turn down the heat, stay in school, and so on. Interventions designed to change these behaviors have met with limited success. School of Social Science Visiting Professor Deborah Prentice discusses how a closer look at interventions and their affect on people’s thoughts, feelings, and motivations reveals why some succeed and others fail, and she also suggests strategies for improving these outcomes.
Session 8, Round Table: The Jewish Political Tradition
Noam Zohar, Bar Ilan University, Chair
Pierre Birnbaum, Columbia University Institute for Israel and Jewish Studies
David Novak, University of Toronto
Leon Wieseltier, The New Republic
Alan B. Krueger, Leon Levy Foundation Member (2007-08) in the School of Social Science. Some economists view unemployment as a minor concern, while others argue that it is a serious malady.
The work of Michael Walzer, one of America's foremost political thinkers, was recognized at a three-day conference on the Institute campus. Professor Emeritus in the School of Social Science, Walzer was celebrated for his contributions to the ethical and political philosophy of the twentieth century at the "Justice, Culture, and Tradition" conference.
Session 7: The Moral Standing of States
Jacob T. Levy, McGill University, Chair
Ruth Gavison, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Charles R. Beitz, Princeton University
Nancy L. Rosenblum, Harvard University, Commentator