February 9, 2022
Four scholars helped provide the context for our understanding of civility today. They interrogated the idea of civility in politics and society – how the idea evolved over time, what are its uses and limits in promoting aspects of civic life that are valued, and who gets to define and decide the rules of civility, and with what outcome?
K. Anthony Appiah is Professor of Law and Philosophy at New York University
K. Anthony Appiah is Professor of Law and Philosophy at New York University. A scholar of ethics, political philosophy, and African and African American literary and cultural studies, since 2014 he has taught at NYU’s campuses in New York and Abu Dhabi. From 2002 to 2013, he was a member of the Princeton University faculty, and he has also taught at the University of Ghana, Yale, Cornell, Duke, and Harvard. Among his recent books are Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers (2006), Experiments in Ethics (2008), The Honor Code: How Moral Revolutions Happen (2010), Lines of Descent: W. E. B. Du Bois and the Emergence of Identity (2014), and The Lies That Bind: Rethinking Identity (2018). In addition to his scholarly work, he writes the weekly column “The Ethicist” for the New York Times Magazine.
Jonathan Haidt is the Thomas Cooley Professor of Ethical Leadership at the NYU Stern School of Business
Jonathan Haidt is the Thomas Cooley Professor of Ethical Leadership at the NYU Stern School of Business. His research examines the intuitive foundations of morality, and how morality varies across cultures––including the cultures of progressive, conservatives, and libertarians. His goal is to help people understand each other, live and work near each other, and even learn from each other despite their moral differences. He has co-founded a variety of organizations and collaborations that apply moral and social psychology toward that end, including HeterodoxAcademy.org, OpenMindPlatform.org, and EthicalSystems.org. He is the author of The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom, and of The New York Times bestsellers The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion and The Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas are Setting Up a Generation for Failure (co-authored with Greg Lukianoff). In 2019 he was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and was chosen by Prospect magazine as one of the world’s “Top 50 Thinkers.”
Lynn Itagaki is Associate Professor of English and Women's and Gender Studies at the University of Missouri
Lynn Itagaki is Associate Professor of English and Women's and Gender Studies at the University of Missouri. Her research interests include interracial ethics, comparative race studies, women of color feminism, and 20th and 21st century U.S. literature by writers of color. Her most recent book examines the post–civil rights era in terms of the 1992 Los Angeles crisis – Civil Racism: The 1992 Los Angeles Rebellion and the Crisis of Racial Burnout. She has written articles and reviews in African American Review, Amerasia Journal, Cultural Dynamics, Feminist Formations, MELUS, Modern Fiction Studies and Prose Studies. She was recently a 2018-2019 Visiting Fellow at Northumbria University, England, and a 2019 Visiting Professor at the Saarland University, Germany. Analyzing Supreme Court opinions and political theory, she has recently published on queer/transphobic civility in the Connecticut Law Review and on interracial trust in our contemporary moment for the Missouri Law Review. She has forthcoming essays on anti-Asian violence appearing in the Cambridge Companion to Intersectionality (Jennifer C. Nash and Samantha Pinto, editors.) and on what she calls "financial naturalism" in post-Great Recession literature in an anthology on race and economics edited by Vincent Lloyd and Amaryah Armstrong. She is also the series editor for Since 1970: Studies in Contemporary America at the University of Georgia Press.
Catharine R. Stimpson is Dean Emerita of the Graduate School of Arts & Science and University Professor at New York University
Catharine R. Stimpson is Dean Emerita of the Graduate School of Arts & Science and University Professor at New York University. The founding editor of Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, she writes about literature, culture, and education. She has also published a novel, Class Notes. She has been a University Professor at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, where she was Dean of the Graduate School and Vice Provost for Graduate Education. She has taught at Barnard College, where she was also the first Director of its Women’s Center. Her public service has included the chairs of the New York State Council for the Humanities, the National Council for Research on Women, the Ms. Magazine Board of Scholars, Creative Capital, and Scholars at Risk. She has served as Director of the Fellows Program at the MacArthur Foundation in Chicago. In 1990, she was President of the Modern Language Association. She has won Fulbright and Rockefeller Humanities Fellowships.
Ulrich Baer is Director of the Center for the Humanities and University Professor at New York University where he teaches literature and photography. A graduate of Harvard and Yale, he has been awarded Guggenheim, Getty, and Humboldt fellowships. Baer’s published oeuvre includes both single-authored and edited books on a range of topics, including poetry, photography, free speech, September 11, Holocaust testimonies, as well as a dystopian novel (We Are But a Moment, 2017), and a collection of stories (Beggar’s Chicken: Stories from Shanghai, 2012). He has translated and edited numerous volumes of Rainer Maria Rilke’s writings both in German and English, most recently Rilke on Love (2020) and The Dark Interval: Letters on Loss, Grief, and Transformation (2018). His analysis of free speech in the 21st century university, What Snowflakes Get Right: Free Speech, Truth, and Equality on Campus (Oxford University Press, 2019), deepens his widely debated defense of the university’s right and obligation to arbitrate discourse (rather than surrender to an absolutist, anything-goes approach to speech) he first made in 2017 in The New York Times.