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Convocation: Kwame Anthony Appiah

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One of America's leading public intellectuals examines what it takes to turn moral understanding into moral behavior.

Date: Friday, April 13th, 2012

Time: 10:50 am

Duration: 1 hour

Location: Skinner Chapel

Contact: Kerry Raadt, College Relations, x4308

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Kwame Anthony Appiah is one of America's leading public intellectuals. Called a post-modern Socrates, Appiah asks profound questions about identity and ethics in a world where the sands of race, ethnicity, religion and nationalism continue to realign and reform before our eyes. His seminal book Cosmopolitanism is a moral manifesto for a world where identity has become a weapon and where difference has become a cause of pain and suffering. In intellectually stimulating language, Appiah challenges to look beyond the boundaries – real and imagined – that divide us, and to see our common humanity. Appiah is the Laurance S. Rockefeller University Professor of Philosophy at Princeton University. He is also the President of the PEN American Center, the internationally acclaimed literary and human rights association. He was born in London, to a Ghanaian father and a white mother; raised in Ghana; and educated in England, at Cambridge University, where he received a Ph.D. in philosophy. As a scholar of African and African-American studies, he established himself as an intellectual with a broad reach. His classic book In My Father's House and his collaborations with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. – including The Dictionary of Global Culture and Africana – are major works of African struggles for self-determination. In 2007, Cosmopolitanism won the Arthur Ross Book Award, the most significant prize given to a book on international affairs. In 2009, he was featured in the documentary "Examined Life" and was named one of Foreign Policy's "Top 100 Global Thinkers." Apiah has spent the last decade thinking about what it takes to turn moral understanding into moral behavior, recognizing that one of the keys to real moral revolution is mobilizing the social power of honor and shame. The title of his presentation is "The Honor Code: Making Moral Revolutions."

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