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Robb Lectures 2013 - Identity, Honour and Politics


Mon 19 Aug 2013, 7:30pm
Wed 21 Aug 2013, 7:30pm
Fri 23 Aug 2013, 7:30pm

Where: University of Auckland School of Business, 12 Grafton Rd, CBD, Auckland

Restrictions: All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Admission: Free

Listed by: tanya44

Robb Lectures 2013 - Identity, Honour and Politics.

This year’s University of Auckland Robb Lecturer has been listed by Forbes Magazine as one of the world’s seven most powerful thinkers. Professor Kwame Anthony Appiah has a PhD in Philosophy from Cambridge University. He currently teaches at Princeton University where he is Laurance S. Rockefeller University Professor of Philosophy.

Professor Appiah will deliver three lectures on 'Identity, honour and politics' on 19, 21 and 23 August at the Fisher & Paykel Appliances Auditorium (260-115), Owen G Glenn Building.

Lecture 1: I am what we are: Identity in ethics (Monday 19 August, 7.30pm)
This first lecture will explore a philosophical account of the nature of social identities, focusing on ways in which they are constituted through social interactions that involve both collaboration and conflict. Professor Appiah will talk about the ways in which our social identities shape both our private intimate lives, and our public lives, in state and society.

Lecture 2: How do I save my honour? (Wednesday 21 August, 7.30pm)
The second lecture will look at the ways in which honour, both individual and national, connects with democratic life. Professor Appiah will show that honour is profoundly connected with our social identities, and will focus specifically on how it connects with our identities as citizens. He will argue that there is reason to rely on a number of relatively well understood social psychological processes to create a culture of citizen honour that can help sustain the political life of a democratic society.

Lecture 3: A decent respect to the opinion of mankind (Friday 23 August, 7.30pm)
In his final lecture, Professor Appiah will discuss ways in which national honour, the honour in which we participate as citizens of our country, can be mobilised in cross-national dialogues about central questions of morality and human rights. Professor Appiah believes that the engagement of national honour across societies, in the project of helping one another achieve the global realisation of the basic human rights of every man and woman, is one of the most powerful mechanisms for giving meaning to a cosmopolitan ideal.

Some bio details:
Born in London, Kwame grew up in Ghana. His mother was Peggy Appiah – novelist and children’s writer, and daughter of a British Chancellor of the exchequer. His Ghanaian father, Joseph Emmanuel Appiah, was lawyer, politician, Member of Parliament, and Ambassador.

Professor Appiah has published widely in African and African-American literary and cultural studies.

Among his works are three mystery novels and a variety of works in philosophy and cultural studies, some relatively technical and some addressed to a wider reading public; among the latter are Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers, Experiments in Ethics and The Honour Code. He reviews regularly for the New York Review of Books, and has spoken often in public lectures in Europe, Africa and the Americas about topics in literature, philosophy and African and African American studies.

For a number of years he was Chairman of the Freedom to Write Committee of the PEN American Centre and, in 2009, he was elected President of the Centre, where he served for three years. Professor Appiah co-edited the Dictionary of Global Culture and Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African-American Experience with Henry Louis Gates Jr. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and has chaired the Boards of the American Council of Learned Societies and the American Philosophical Association. He is currently working on a book about the idea of the West.

Further biographical details available at

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