Tag: Martha Nussbaum

Martha Nussbaum: Liberal Education Crucial to Producing Democratic Societies

In her charge to the class of 2013 at Lawrence University’s 164th commencement June 9, honorary degree recipient Martha Nussbaum told the 289 graduating seniors liberal education is critically important in producing democratic citizens and urged them to become advocates for it.

Martha Nussbaum, Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics at the University of Chicago.

“What you can all do is to keep institutions like Lawrence strong,” said Nussbaum, the Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics at the University of Chicago. “You can also lobby with your local school board, your state and national representatives, for more attention to the liberal arts in public education at all levels. And, above all, just talk a lot about what matters to you about the education you’ve had here. Spread the word that what happens on this campus is not useless, but crucially relevant to the future of democracy in this nation and in the wider world.

In an interview prior to her commencement address, Nussbaum said liberal education is more relevant today than ever “because it stimulates a kind of respectful and deliberative political debate, and there’s no time in American history when we need that more.”

“It also stimulates curiosity and involvement in the different groups that make up our world,” added Nussbaum, “This is more crucial than ever if big problems, like environmental problems, racial animosity, religious animosity, are going to be solved. When people think narrowly about jobs, they’re selling short democracy, and we need to think, “What is it that keeps democracy healthy?’”

Nussbaum discussed several other higher education topics, including the emergence of MOOCs — Massive Open Online Courses, which she says may have a role for those with limited access to higher education, but are “just no substitute” for a traditional education

“It’s a poor second place, if second at all, because the interaction is the key to the education — interaction with other students in the classroom and the interaction with faculty,” said Nussbaum, a self-described “Luddite” who has no interest in teaching an online course. “I’m sure people try to make it more interactive, but it just isn’t the same thing.”

Martha Nussbaum received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree at Lawrence’s 164th commencement.

During a few visits to campus to visit a family friend’s son, who was a freshman at Lawrence this past academic year, Nussbaum sat in on several classes and came away impressed.

“One was a political science class about American politics and another was an introductory econ class,” said Nussbaum, “and I just thought, ‘I want to stay here the whole semester to have this class!’ I’m just amazed at the way these teachers can combine sophistication with absolute clarity. These introductory courses that a freshman was taking were of course accessible to freshmen, they were very clear. But I was also stimulated. I was getting something out of the way the issues were presented. I just think they’re just so lucky to have that.

“Of course, in Freshman Studies, they do music!,” Nussbaum added. “This is the only place I’ve ever seen of which that’s true. Most places, they expect that every faculty member could teach Shakespeare, but they don’t ever expect that faculty could teach Stravinsky, but here they are in Freshman Studies. They’re all doing Stravinsky and I think that’s fantastic.”

Download the entire conversation with Prof. Nussbaum or listen online

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2013 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries. Follow Lawrence on Facebook.

Author, Scholar Martha Nussbaum Receiving Honorary Degree at Lawrence’s 164th Commencement

Martha Nussbaum, one of the world’s pre-eminent scholars, public intellectuals and an award-winning author, will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree Sunday, June 9 at Lawrence University’s 164th commencement.

Martha Nussbaum will receive an honorary degree from Lawrence June 9 at its 164th commencement.

Nussbaum, the Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics at the University of Chicago, Nussbaum also will serve as the principal commencement speaker. This will be Nussbaum’s second appearance at Lawrence. She was a speaker on Lawrence’s 2000-01 convocation series.

Lawrence is expected to award 308 bachelor degrees to 290 students from 32 states and nine countries during commencement exercises that begin at 10:30 a.m. on Main Hall green. The ceremony is free and open to the public.

For the second straight year, Lawrence will provide a live webcast of its commencement ceremony.

Lawrence will hold a baccalaureate service Saturday, June 8 at 11 a.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel. Joy Jordan, associate professor of statistics, presents “Your One Wild and Precious Life.”  The baccalaureate service and commencement exercise are both free and open to the public.

Retiring President Jill Beck, who is presiding over her ninth and final commencement, along with Lawrence Board of Trustees Chair Terry Franke ’68 and senior Yagmur Esemen from Nicosia, Cyprus, also will address the graduates.

Before joining the University of Chicago in 1995, Nussbaum taught at Harvard and Brown universities. At the same time, she served seven years as a research advisor at the World Institute for Development Economics Research in Helsinki, which is part of the United Nations University.

As the holder of the Freund chair, Nussbaum has full appointments in the University of Chicago’s philosophy department and the law school, as well as associate appointments in the political science and classics departments and the divinity school. She is also a member of the Committee on Southern Asian Studies and a board member of the Human Rights Program.

A Champion of Liberal Education

Beck called Nussbaum “a great defender of the liberal arts and exemplary role model for our students.”

“She demonstrates how to bridge effectively scholarly interests with issues of the day and with the need for taking informed positions in our lives and societies. In Dr. Nussbaum’s case, she uses her knowledge of classics to generate contemporary political critique. I’m sure the graduating students will enjoy meeting her and hearing her perspectives.”

Nussbaum is widely regarded as one of the country’s most celebrated philosophers and celebrated thinkers. She believes philosophers should act as “lawyers for humanity” to address questions of justice, basing her work on a political philosophy of human capability and functioning that has both Aristotelian and Kantian roots. Her scholarship also has focused on the transformative aspects of the connections between literature and philosophy.

“As we tell stories about the lives of others,” Nussbaum has said, “we learn how to imagine what another creature might feel in response to various events.  At the same time, we identify with the other creature and learn something about ourselves.”

Award-winning author

A prolific writer with more than 350 published scholarly articles, Nussbaum is the author of nearly three dozen books, including 2010’s “Not for Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanities,” in which she argues that the humanities are an essential element for the quality of democracy. Her book “Cultivating Humanity: A Classical Defense of Reform in Liberal Education,” was recognized with the Ness Book Award of the Association of American Colleges and Universities and the University of Louisville’s Grawemeyer Award in Education.

Nussbaum has been the recipient of numerous national and international awards, including the 2012 Phi Beta Kappa’s Sidney Hook Memorial Award, which honors national distinction by a scholar in the areas of scholarship, undergraduate teaching and leadership in the cause of liberal arts education. In 2012 she also received Spain’s Prince of Asturias Award for Social Science. The award honors a person whose work “constitutes a significant contribution to the benefit of mankind.”

A native of New York City, Nussbaum earned a bachelor’s degree in 1969 from New York University, where she studied theatre and classics. She went on to earn master’s and doctoral degrees in classical philology from Harvard University.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2013 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries. Follow Lawrence on Facebook.

Lawrence University Awarding Honorary Degree to Renowned Scholar, Author Martha Nussbaum

Lawrence University will recognize Martha Nussbaum, one of the world’s pre-eminent scholars, public intellectuals and an award-winning author, with an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree Sunday, June 9 at the college’s 164th commencement.

Nussbaum, the Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics at the University of Chicago, also will serve as the principal commencement speaker. This will be Nussbaum’s second speaking engagement at Lawrence. She delivered the university convocation “Global Duties: Cicero’s Problematic Legacy” in May, 2001.

Before joining the University of Chicago in 1995, Nussbaum taught at Harvard and Brown universities. At the same time, she served seven years as a research advisor at the World Institute for Development Economics Research in Helsinki, which is part of the United Nations University. .

As the holder of the Freund chair at Chicago, Nussbaum has full appointments in the philosophy department and the law school, as well as associate appointments in the political science and classics departments and the divinity school. She is also a member of the Committee on Southern Asian Studies and a board member of the Human Rights Program.

“Martha Nussbaum is a great defender of the liberal arts and exemplary role model for our students,” said Lawrence President Jill Beck. “She demonstrates how to bridge effectively scholarly interests with issues of the day and with the need for taking informed positions in our lives and societies. In Dr. Nussbaum’s case, she uses her knowledge of classics to generate contemporary political critique. I’m sure the graduating students will enjoy meeting her and hearing her perspectives.”

Among the country’s most celebrated philosophers and celebrated thinkers, Nussbaum believes philosophers should act as “lawyers for humanity” to address questions of justice, basing her work on a political philosophy of human capability and functioning that has both Aristotelian and Kantian roots. Her scholarship also has focused on the transformative aspects of the connections between literature and philosophy.

“As we tell stories about the lives of others,” Nussbaum has said, “we learn how to imagine what another creature might feel in response to various events.  At the same time, we identify with the other creature and learn something about ourselves.”

Award-winning scholar, author

A prolific writer with more than 350 published scholarly articles, Nussbaum is the author of nearly three dozen books, including 2010’s “Not for Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanities,” in which she argues that the humanities are an essential element for the quality of democracy. Her book “Cultivating Humanity: A Classical Defense of Reform in Liberal Education,” was recognized with the Ness Book Award of the Association of American Colleges and Universities and the Grawemeyer Award in Education.

She has been recognized nationally and internationally with numerous awards, including 50 honorary degrees.  She was the recipient of the 2012 Phi Beta Kappa’s Sidney Hook Memorial Award, which honors national distinction by a scholar in the areas of scholarship, undergraduate teaching and leadership in the cause of liberal arts education. Last year she became just the second woman to receive Spain’s Prince of Asturias Award for Social Science. The award recognizes a person whose work “constitutes a significant contribution to the benefit of mankind.”

A native of New York City, Nussbaum earned a bachelor’s degree in 1969 from New York University, where she studied theatre and classics. She went on to earn master’s and doctorate degrees in classical philology from Harvard University.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the Fiske Guide to Colleges 2013 and the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.” Individualized learning, the development of multiple interests and community engagement are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries. Follow Lawrence on Facebook.