What They Said at Sarah Lawrence Last Semester
October 19, 2004
From the “Serious Questions: Conversations about Election 2004” series, co-sponsored by the Donald C. Samuel Fund for Economics and Politics and the Office of the Dean of the College
In the Civil Rights era, to be black was to be synonymous with being progressive; and if you were something else, it was a hard thing to carry. The incorporation process— black people benefiting from affirmative action—really contributed to the expansion of the black middle class. With this came a certain diversity and a maturation, to the point where it became more difficult to pigeonhole black people as all liberals.
Elijah Anderson, the Charles and William L. Day Distinguished Professor of the Social Sciences and Professor of Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania, is the author of works including Streetwise: Race, Class, and Change in an Urban Community.
Sir John Compton
October 19, 2004
Annual Adda B. Bozeman Lecture in International Affairs, “Haiti and the Caribbean: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow,” sponsored by the Adda B. Bozeman Lecture Fund
Hundreds of millions of dollars have been poured into Haiti without any discernable impact on the standard of living or quality of life. As important as money is, management is more important. There is a Chinese saying that if you plan for one year, plant rice—or, in the Haitian context, sugar cane. If you plan for five years, plant trees; and this advice is so relevant to the Haiti of today. But, if you plan for generations, educate your people. It is on this aspect, more than anything else, that the international community must put its resources.
Sir John Compton, who led St. Lucia to independence in 1979 and then served as prime minister, has devoted his life to Caribbean affairs, notably Haiti.
November 4, 2004
“21st Century Sisterhood—at Home and Abroad,” sponsored by the Women’s History Graduate Program
I think the central reason why the Democrats lost the presidential election is because they completely ignored the elephant in the room: the majority of the human species—women. All issues are women’s issues. Women are 90 percent of all refugee populations; war and displacement are women’s issues. We’re two-thirds of all nonliterates and the majority of the abysmally poor and malnourished. Health and aging are women’s issues: We’re the primary care givers and caretakers of children, the aged and the sick. The environment is a women’s issue: Pesticides, toxic waste and acid rain take their first toll as cancers of the female reproductive system, in stillborn births and deformities. How will any of these problems be solved when the folks who are the first and the worst to suffer from them are never consulted about the way around them?
Founder of the Sisterhood is Global Institute, Robin Morgan is the author of 18 books and is a prize-winning poet.
November 11, 2004
“The Socratic Art of Politics,” part of The Sara Yates Exley Lecture Series in Great Books
Moderation just isn’t sexy. And yet, what Socrates attempted to show by arguing for moderation is that human beings can never satisfy their desires simply by getting things or controlling people. You can’t control somebody—or cooperate with someone—unless you can control yourself. Socrates, somewhat fancifully, argues that the learning of moderation actually follows from the study of geometry. He tells Callicles, “You’re not moderate. Why? Because you didn’t study geometry. If you had studied geometry, then you would know how to deal proportionately with other human beings and then the gods.” He is arguing with Callicles for self-control—not for wisdom.
Catherine Zuckert is the Nancy Reeves Dreux Professor of Political Philosophy at Notre Dame University. Her books include Understanding the Political Spirit: Philosophical Investigations from Socrates to Nietzsche.