Michael Sandel '75 to speak at JustBooks event

Topic is morality in the world of money and markets

Photos/Mike Lovett

Michael Sandel on stage at Harvard's Sanders Theater, where he teaches his popular course 'Justice.'

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Political philosopher Michael Sandel ’75 will address the morality of money and power at the Mandel Center for Humanities, room G03 on Wednesday, October 31, at 5 pm. This lecture is open to the public.

He is speaking as a guest lecturer for the JustBooks First Year Seminar program, which provides an opportunity for students to work on critical thinking, close reading, analytical writing and oral argument.

Since questions of justice underlie every sphere of intellectual inquiry and daily life, the JustBooks program is designed to appeal to diverse student interests and goals. All sections share some reading from Sandel’s best-selling book “Justice: What’s the Right Thing To Do?”

Sandel, the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass professor of Government at Harvard University, has attained rock star status in the world of higher education. More than 15,000 students have taken his course “Justice,” making it one of the most popular classes in Harvard’s 376-year history. [Interested? Watch the lectures online.]

Sandel, who is a Brandeis trustee, did his graduate work at Oxford University and is the first Brandeis alumnus to be named a Rhodes scholar.

 “The idea for the JustBooks seminars came from the goal to unite our commitment to social justice with a rigorous intellectual experience in the humanities,” says Susan S. Lanser, professor of Comparative Literature, English, and Women’s and Gender Studies. The for-credit class program was created last year and implemented this fall.

Lanser, who is also chairing Women’s Studies and the Division of Humanities, says she was thinking about Sandel’s Justice course at Harvard, and how fantastic it would be to have something like it here that with smaller, individualized classes.

“Michael’s work in the classroom on social justice was an inspiration,” says Lanser. “We have a very strong commitment to social justice on campus but our curriculum doesn’t necessarily carry that commitment as fully as it could. This was one way to start thinking about how questions of justice could move front and center into our classrooms.”

Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do?” was an international best-seller. Sandel’s new volume, “What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets,” takes on one of the biggest ethical questions of all time: What should be the role of money and markets in society?

Each JustBooks Seminar has a particular focus, and each provides course credit toward one or more specific majors. Three courses that will be offered this spring include: “La justice sociale: Issues of Social Justice in the French and Francophone World,” “Visions of the American Environment, Images to Action,” and “The Art of Living: Imagination and the Just Life,” which examines the subjective preconditions for living justly by examining works from Plato to Zhuangzi to Nabokov's Lolita.

For a complete list of seminars visit JustBooks.

Categories: Alumni, Humanities and Social Sciences

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