Main content start

Danielle Allen | Education and Equality: Participatory Readiness (Lecture 2)

Thu October 9th 2014, 5:30 - 7:00pm
Event Sponsor
McCoy Family Center for Ethics in Society
Encina Hall, Bechtel Conference Center
Danielle Allen | Education and Equality: Participatory Readiness (Lecture 2)

The topic of education now has a form unimaginable in earlier eras of human history. The era of nation-building linked mass education with state power in unprecedented ways. The processes by which political authorities established universal or compulsory education began in Europe only in the 17th century, and in the US were completed only in 1918, when the last of the states then in the Union made education, up through age 16 at least, compulsory. In this country, we are, in other words, still in the first century of state-backed mass education. No wonder we struggle still to understand it.

These two Tanner lectures from Danielle Allen will elucidate the nature of our confusion over the purposes of education, propose a way of resolving some elements of our confusion, and build from this resolution toward a renewal of a humanistic account of education, for which one central goal is preparation for civic life, or participatory readiness.


Danielle Allen is UPS Foundation Professor of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. She is a political theorist who has published broadly in democratic theory, political sociology, and the history of political thought. Widely known for her work on justice and citizenship in both ancient Athens and modern America, Allen is the author of The World of Prometheus: the Politics of Punishing in Democratic Athens (2000), Talking to Strangers: Anxieties of Citizenship since Brown vs. the Board of Education (2004),Why Plato Wrote (2010), and Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality (Norton/Liveright Books, June 2014). She is the co‐editor of the award‐winning Education, Justice, and Democracy (2013, with Rob Reich) and From Voice to Influence: Understanding Citizenship in the Digital Age (forthcoming, with Jennifer Light).

In 2002 she was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship for her ability to combine the classicist’s careful attention to texts and language with the political theorist’s sophisticated and informed engagement.” She is currently working on books on citizenship in the digital age, and education and equality. Allen is a frequent public lecturer and regular guest on public radio affiliates to discuss issues of citizenship, as well as an occasional contributor on similar subjects to the Washington Post,Boston ReviewDemocracyCabinet, and The Nation.

Contact Phone Number