Prof. Martha Nussbaum to deliver Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities


World-renowned philosopher Martha C. Nussbaum, the Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics, will deliver the 2017 Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities on May 1 at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.

Her talk, “Powerlessness and the Politics of Blame,” will draw upon her years of work on the role of emotion in politics to explore the emotional dynamics at play in American and other societies, including the ways in which uncertainty leads to the blaming of outsider groups.

“I’m deeply honored to be invited to deliver the Jefferson Lecture, and happy to have this chance to speak for the humanities at a time when they are under threat—both in our nation and all over the world,” said Nussbaum, who last year was awarded the Kyoto Prize in Arts and Philosophy for contributions that include developing a measure of global welfare that focuses on human capabilities rather than only on economic growth.

Tickets will be available to the public beginning in April through The lecture is free and open to the public and will stream live online at
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