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Ethics & Political Violence Series

The McCoy Family Center for Ethics in Society and the Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC) are jointly organizing a year-long initiative on “Ethics & Political Violence” during the 2021-22 academic year.  The series of seminars and public lectures will feature philosophers, lawyers, historians, social scientists, human rights activists, soldiers and political leaders grappling with vexing moral questions raised by uses of violence in international relations and domestic politics.

The whole of human history is marked by violence and coercion employed to achieve political ends. Law and ethics are designed to regulate the use of violence, but do we have the best laws and norms for this task? And are such legal rules and ethical principles effective? The January 6th insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, continued incidents of police brutality in American cities, and the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan all remind us that violence is linked to both political order and political change in complex ways. 

·      What is the relationship between war abroad and political violence at home?

·      When, if ever, is it ethical to use violence to achieve political ends?

·      Are the laws of war and domestic laws legitimate and effective in producing justice?

·      Who has responsibility for dealing with the aftermath of violence in politics at home and abroad?

·      What are the roots of political extremism?

It is impossible to think of using violence for political ends without also thinking about what is right and what is wrong. This year-long initiative will bring together Stanford scholars and leading thinkers from around the world to address these important ethical and political questions.  Some confirmed events that are part of this initiative include:

·     Pulitzer Prize finalist and journalist Carla Power speaking on her new book Home, Land, Security: Deradicalization and the Journey Back from Extremism, in conversation with Sharika Thiranagama (Stanford, Anthropology) - September 29, 12-1 PM PDT, virtual event.

·     CISAC scholars Amy Zegart, Asfandyar Mir and Joseph Felter speaking on 9/11 and Afghanistan, Twenty Years Later: Successes, Failures, Surprises and Lessons - October 5th, 1-2 PM PDT, virtual event.

·     Oxford University political philosopher Cécile Fabre speaking on "Snatching Something From Death – Value, Justice, and Humankind’s Common Heritage" with commentators Lynn Meskell (UPenn, Anthropology), Anna Stilz (Princeton, Politics), Kwame Anthony Appiah (NYU, Philosophy And Law), and Leif Wenar (Stanford, Philosophy) - May 10, 11, 12, 2022. 

·      AEI Senior Fellow Kori Schake, member of the Confederate-named base renaming commission, will speak on the committee’s findings and final report -  May 2022, date to be announced.

·     New Yorker writer Philip Gourevitch , writer for the New Yorker, will discuss his new book You Hide That You Hate Me And I Hide That I Know - Spring quarter 2022, date to be announced.

Other speakers and contributors to this symposium will be announced throughout the year.


Upcoming Events

Wednesday, September 29, 2021 - 12:00pm
Tuesday, October 5, 2021 - 1:00pm
Virtual to Public. Only those with an active Stanford ID with access to William J Perry Conference Room in Encina Hall may attend in person.