Celebrated philosopher Dr. Martha C. Nussbaum warns that anger can disfigure modern democracies. Nussbaum will present “Anger, Powerlessness, and the Politics of Blame” Friday, Sept. 21 at 7 p.m. in Meier Hall on the Black Hills State University campus in Spearfish. The event is free and open to the public as part of the Madeline Young Speaker Series at BHSU.
Nussbaum, a prolific author and current Ernest Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics at the University of Chicago, says that anger expresses itself in the blaming and targeting of unpopular groups in society.
In her lecture at BHSU, Nussbaum will use examples from Greek tragedy through the U.S. Civil Rights movement and Martin Luther King, Jr., to examine how anger can be refashioned into constructive work and hope.
“I argue that the desire for payback is counter-productive, since replicating the offense does not correct it. There is just one species of anger, which I call ‘Transition Anger,’ that can help us as we move forward,” says Nussbaum.
“Transition-Anger” projects toward the future, says Nussbaum, as if saying “How outrageous that is! It must not happen again.” Rather than fostering revengeful desires, “Transition-Anger” inspires productive action and hope for change.
Nussbaum received her bachelor’s degree from New York University and her master’s and doctoral degrees from Harvard. She has taught at Harvard University, Brown University, and Oxford University. From 1986 to 1993, while teaching at Brown, Nussbaum was a research advisor at the World Institute for Development Economics Research, Helsinki, a part of the United Nations University. She has chaired the American Philosophical Association’s Committee on International Cooperation, the Committee on the Status of Women, and the Committee for Public Philosophy. She has received honorary doctorates from 56 colleges and universities worldwide. Nussbaum is an Academician in the Academy of Finland, a Fellow of the British Academy, and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Association.
The Madeline A. Young Distinguished Speaker Series began in 1986 through an endowment from Madeline A. Young, a 1924 BHSU alumna. The series hosts stimulating, controversial and motivational speakers at the University. Previous Madeline A. Young Speakers have included Nobel Peace Prize Winner and former Polish president Lech Walesa, actors Danny Glover and Felix Justice, former United Nations ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick, and Pulitzer-Prize winning novelist Michael Chabon.
For more information on the Madeline A. Young Distinguished Speaker Series, contact Steve Meeker, vice president for University Advancement, at (605) 642-6385 or email Steve.Meeker@BHSU.edu