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Anton Ford, Gabriel Lear, and Gina E. Miranda Samuels

On University Values

Tuesday, April 30, 2024, 5:00–6:30pm

Social Science Research Building 122

At our recent event on the Kalven Report, Cathy Cohen called for the creation of “a document that delineates our values.” That report and subsequent “Chicago Principles” statement (2014) valorize freedom of inquiry and expression but crucially fail to recognize that some have more power—and thus freedom to speak—than others and that free speech can come at the cost of inclusion. Institutional neutrality and a commitment to openness alone are not sufficient to maintain a space in which all students and faculty enjoy “a lively and fearless freedom of debate and deliberation.”

In the face of unprecedented challenges to higher education, what kind of practices and atmospheres should we as a community be cultivating to both protect free inquiry and minimize harm?  Can the classroom or the university environment be both safe and uncomfortable as part of the process of learning? Are diversity and equity as essential as free speech in the production of knowledge? How might these goals be compatible, and how might they be in tension? What kinds of commitments should we be affirming and struggling to enact? And what forms of governance, infrastructure, or other initiatives would serve such efforts?

Please join us for a conversation with Anton Ford, Gabriel Lear, and Gina E. Miranda Samuels as they discuss how we might define the values that shape our work and identify those that we need to incorporate into campus culture more fully.

Anton Ford is an Associate Professor in Philosophy. His primary research and teaching interests are in Practical Philosophy, understood broadly to include Action Theory, Ethics, and Political Philosophy. Figures of special interest include Anscombe, Aristotle and Marx.

Gabriel Lear is Professor of Philosophy and Chair of the Committee on Social Thought. She specializes in ancient Greek and Roman ethics and aesthetics. In several articles her work has explored the Greek idea that virtue is beautiful and the various roles this idea plays in theories of moral education, practical reasoning, friendship, and happiness. She has also written about Plato’s poetic theory and about Aristotle’s theory of happiness.

Gina E. Miranda Samuels is Professor at the University of Chicago Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice and faculty director of the Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture. Her scholarly interests include transracial adoption, mixed race and multiethnic identity formation, critical and interpretive research methods, and the development of relational, kinship, and cultural ties among young adults whose childhoods are shaped by displacements caused by foster care, adoption, and home loss. Professor Miranda Samuels’ scholarship situates these lived experiences in a broader historical, cultural, theoretical and policy context to critically explore how personal identity and well-being are constrained and promoted by policy, practice, and by societal and personal constructions of kinship, family, race and belonging.