Sunday, December 27, 2009

Comments off

I've been under comment spam attack for a week, so I'm going to turn comments off for now. Feel free to e-mail me if you've got things to add to any post here.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Unsettling news on higher education in Quebec

Via Inside Higher Ed, a Globe and Mail poll revealed significant gaps between francophone and anglophone Canadians on the value of higher education:
Canada's two solitudes endure in the value placed on higher education, with English-speaking young adults twice as likely as their francophone peers to see a university degree as the key to success, according to a new national poll.

The poll, conducted last month for the group by Leger Marketing and released exclusively to The Globe and Mail, asked 1,500 Canadians in all parts of the country if they thought a university degree was now a minimum requirement for success. What it found was a wide gap in views when the respondents' first language was taken into account - a gap that only increased when results of the youngest of those surveyed were broken out.

Fewer than 20 per cent of 18- to 24-year-old French speakers said a university degree was required, compared with 40 per cent of the English group. That difference increased even more when compared with those whose first language is neither English or French - generally first- or second-generation Canadians. More than two-thirds of young people in this group agreed a degree is needed to be successful, a result that is in keeping with the high percentage of new Canadians who go on to higher education.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

CFP: Princeton Graduate Conference in Political Theory

Graduate Conference in Political Theory
Princeton University
9-10 April 2010

The Committee for the Graduate Conference in Political Theory at Princeton University welcomes papers concerning any period, methodological approach or topic in political theory, political philosophy, or the history of political thought. Approximately eight papers will be accepted.

Each session, led by a discussant from Princeton, will be focused exclusively on one paper and will feature an extensive question and answer period with Princeton faculty and students. Papers will be pre-circulated amongst conference participants.
The keynote address will be given by Professor Sharon Krause, Professor of Political Science at Brown University.

Submissions are due via email to by Monday January 4th 2010. Please limit your paper submission to 7500 words and format it for blind review (the text should include your paper's title but be free from other personal and institutional information). Papers will be refereed by current graduate students in the Department of Politics at Princeton. Acceptance notices will be sent in February.

Assistance for invited participants' transportation, lodging, and meal expenses is available from the committee, which acknowledges the generous support of the Department of Politics, the University Center for Human Values, and the Graduate School of Princeton University.

All papers should be submitted by email. Submissions by snail mail will not be accepted.

Questions and comments can be directed to:
For more information, please visit the conference website at
Big news

Brian Leiter reports that Jeremy Waldron has accepted the Chichele Chair in Social and Political Theory at Oxford University on a half-time basis.

Waldron (the first non-Montrealer to hold the chair in more than thirty years!) was widely thought to be the correct and even obvious choice for the preeminent position in the field. Several years worth of puzzlement about how to proceed with a Plan B followed when (or so it is said; all my knowledge here is of the "everyone knows" variety) it seemed that he was not movable from New York. This compromise is an outcome to be welcomed all around-- good for political theory at Oxford, good for the field, and (I hope and trust) good for Waldron.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Peter Boettke and Tyler Cowen on primary texts in the history of ideas, and secondary literatures about them. Recommended, and of interest in political theory & philosophy as well as in the history of economic thought that Pete and Tyler mostly have in mind.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Reading recommendation: Ethics and International Affairs symposium on Walzer

The fall 2009issue features

The Moral Standing of States Revisited (p 325-347)
Charles R. Beitz

A Few Words on Mill, Walzer, and Nonintervention (p 349-369)
Michael W. Doyle

Categorizing Groups, Categorizing States: Theorizing Minority Rights in a World of Deep Diversity (p 371-388)
Will Kymlicka

Friday, December 11, 2009

Cohen symposium podcast

The G.A. Cohen symposium at GRIPP a couple of weeks ago can now be listened to online at

My own presentation, I realized almost immediately afterward, should have ended with this thought:

If we re-understand the political theory/ political philosophy distinction in the way I describe, rather than the way Cohen suggests in the conservatism essay, then the conservatism essay itself is a terrific first move on Cohen's part into political theory. All the concerns I expressed about Cohen's political philosophy earlier in the talk are inapplicable to that foray into political theory. On the available evidence, I quite like Cohen-as-theorist, and it's a shame that we won't get to see more work from him in that voice.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

An actual news story from a real newspaper

Pedagogy a poor second in promotions
10 December 2009
By Rebecca Attwood

Study finds 'hypocritical' sector fails to practise what it preaches. Rebecca Attwood reports

Universities stand accused of hypocrisy this week over their claims to value teaching, after a major study of promotions policy and practice found that many are still failing to reward academics for leadership in pedagogy.

Research by the Higher Education Academy and the University of Leicester's "Genie" Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning examines the promotion policies of 104 UK universities.

It states that the use of teaching criteria is inconsistent, often absent and not always applied even if included.[...]

George MacDonald Ross, senior adviser to the HEA's Philosophical and Religious Studies Subject Centre, said: "Considering how long official inquiries and policy documents have been saying that teaching and research ought to have equal status, it is quite shocking that so many older universities still fail to recognise leadership in teaching for promotion purposes, particularly at the professorial level.

"It is hypocritical for certain universities to say in their mission statements and strategies that they give equal weight to teaching and research, and not to practise this in their promotion procedures."[...]

One academic, speaking anonymously, said that while teaching and learning criteria were included in their university's promotion policies, they were not aware of anyone promoted on that basis.

As I've said once before about a riveting study of higher education: That, surprisingly enough, is not from the Onion's indispensible series of "study finds" articles, such as New Study Finds College Binge Drinking To Be A Blast, Study Finds Link Between Red Wine, Letting Mother Know What You Really Think, and Teen Sex Linked To Drugs And Alcohol, Reports Center For Figuring Out Really Obvious Things.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

More on Cobell

First of all, good for the Obama administration for conducting serious settlement talks and not stonewalling in the way the Clinton and Bush administrations did so relentlessly.

Second: the $3.4 billion headline figure for the settlement is misleading.

$1.4 billion will go to the plaintiffs. I think this is on the low end of conscionability: better than nothing, but nothing to be especially proud of on the government's part. I do think that the Clinton and Bush administrations bequeathed the Obama administration an exhausted plaintiff and plaintiff class, willing to settle for much less than they should have received.

$2 billion will go to a related cause: cleaning up the inalienable fractionated property holdings that plague Indian Country. Those fractionated interests contributed to the Individual Indian Monies accounts problem-- the accounting becomes more of an administrative nightmare with every generation. And buying up the fractionated interests will put some cash into the pockets of many of the people whose IIM accounts were mishandled. But it's not compensation or restitution; it doesn't make whole the past losses.

Third: that repurchase fund is nonetheless a very good thing, and may carry economic benefits for Indian Country far beyond its cost. The insane regime of property law imposed on Indian Country during allotment and its aftermath is extremely inefficient, and makes it very hard to put a lot of land to economically productive use. The costs of the status quo aren't just the administrative costs mentioned by the Times:

For example, one 40-acre parcel today has 439 owners, most of whom receive less than $1 a year in income from it, Mr. Haynes said. The parcel is valued at about $20,000, but it costs the government more than $40,000 a year to administer those trusts.

That system also results in astronomical transaction costs that interfere with anything that anyone might want to do with that land. It can't be developed beyond the resource-extraction that generates a couple of hundred dollars per year in revenue. It can't be built on without the consent of 400+ owners; can't be consolidated into large parcels that are more efficient for farming or ranching; can't be subdivided into smaller parcels that are more efficient for housing. (And, just to emphasize the point: the interests are inalienable. No one owner can buy out the other 438.) It's economically dead land, and the foregone development possibilities are huge.

There's no reason the repurchase of fractionated interests had to be tied to the Cobell settlement, and it shouldn't really count as part of the settlement. But it's well worth doing, and in the long term could pay significant dividends.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Cobell: A look back

I wrote about the Cobell litigation, a tentative settlement for which was announced today, back in my very first piece for The New Republic online, about seven years ago. It's been lost down the archive black hole at TNR, but thanks to this copy at the Wayback Machine I can reproduce it here.

Broken Trust
by Jacob T. Levy

Only at TNR Online | Post date 01.29.03

In its dollar magnitude, it's almost certainly the biggest case of financial mismanagement in U.S. history. While a final tally is years away, in part because of suspiciously lost or missing documents, there's good reason to think that the dollar figures will dwarf WorldCom's $9 billion. It's a scandal that crosses partisan lines and reaches into high levels of both the Clinton and the Bush administrations. And it's got nothing to do with Wall Street.

The shameful mishandling by the federal government of the Individual Indian Money (IIM) trust fund--created to manage the proceeds from leases of Indian land--encompasses 300,000 accounts and 56 million acres, spans more than 100 years, and involves amounts of money estimated at between 10 and 100 billion dollars. The class-action lawsuit Indian landowners have filed against the Department of Interior--currently named Cobell v. Norton--has been going on for nearly seven years, though knowledge of trust-fund mismanagement dates back much further than that. Robert Rubin, Bruce Babbitt, and Gale Norton, along with assorted deputies, have all been held in contempt of court by Judge Royce C. Lamberth of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. And yet, thanks to a combination of convoluted detail, media bias, and ideological blindness, most Americans have never even heard about it.

In 1887, thanks to the Dawes Act, tribal lands were broken up into individual lots (the policy was known as "allotment") and assigned to individual Indians as property. This was done in a combination of good and bad faith. Since the Founding there had been many in the American government--prominently including Thomas Jefferson--who wanted to encourage Indians to take up individual landownership as a way of increasing Indian agriculture and wealth. But, on the frontier, allotment was chiefly understood as a way to make it easier for outsiders to buy Indian lands at bargain prices.

Having carved up the land, the federal government took the authority to grant resource leases on those new lots--leasing out mining, drilling, and lumbering rights without the consent of the new landowners, who were presumed to be incapable of managing such affairs themselves. (That, and they might have had an inconvenient lack of interest in granting the leases at all.) The royalties from those leases were--and are--collected by the government. They are supposed to be paid into the relevant IIM accounts, and then paid out to individual Indians on a regular basis. The money at stake, in short, isn't government revenue. The government claims to be operating as a trustee, and to be administering a trust fund on behalf of Indian landowners.

The federal government--specifically, the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) of the Department of Interior--has botched that task hopelessly for decades and admits it can't begin to provide an accurate historical accounting of who has or hasn't been paid what they're owed. It appears that for most of the trust fund's history, there was scarcely even a pretense of running it according to principles of fiduciary responsibility: Some checks came in, some checks went out. Where there should be records, there are none.

So in 1994 Congress passed legislation ordering an overhaul. And two years later, when that effort appeared to be going nowhere, Eloise Cobell of the Blackfeet tribe filed suit. Since then, BIA, Interior, and occasionally Treasury have stalled, dragged their feat, obfuscated, and self-investigated. Judge Lamberth, whose judgments are filled with strikingly sharp criticisms of government conduct and accusations of bad faith, may be drawing close to ordering a remedy. But even if, as the plaintiffs want, the IIM accounts are taken out of BIA's hands and placed into receivership, the Bureau and Interior will have to be involved in the reconstruction of the trust fund's history. That means the judiciary can't solve this problem on its own; either congressional oversight or a deliberate decision by Interior to do the right thing will be necessary.

But mustering the political pressure to make that happen will be nearly impossible. One reason is that Indian landowners and tribal governments--many of which also have lands held in trust, and which control the bulk of Indians' lobbying power--don't have quite the same interests. Individual Indians have no real reason to want any agent of the U.S. government to continue to act as their trustee, or even to continue the mandatory trusteeship at all. Given its shameful record, they certainly have no reason to want the funds managed by any part of Interior.

Tribal governments, by contrast, have an ambivalent but intimate relationship with BIA and Interior, one based on the idea that the government acts as trustee for the tribes, and one that is sure to survive the current litigation. BIA is the conduit for federal funds that go to the tribes for law enforcement, elections, and government operations; and the Bureau is in charge of the process of granting (or withholding) federal recognition of each tribe's existence and self-government rights. More importantly, though, the tribes (unlike IIM account-holders) have the legal authority to take their lands out of the trust system and handle the leases and royalties themselves; several have done so. This combination of circumstances means that the urgency of reforming the system is far lower, and the importance of the relationship with BIA much higher, for tribes than for the individual landowners. Norton tried to take advantage of this divergence of interests last year, by proposing a reform that would combine tribal and individual trust lands in a new bureau outside BIA--a move aimed at weakening tribal support for the lawsuit.

And none of this is helped by the issue's near-invisibility. While The Washington Post and some western dailies have provided pretty extensive coverage, The New York Times has run only a handful of stories since the lawsuit was filed, and broadcast coverage has been almost nonexistent. Beyond one extended piece by Sam Donaldson and one "60 Minutes" segment, there has been only the occasional two-sentence notice that cabinet secretaries were being held in contempt. In a sense the story is too big to cover; a scandal that lasts for a century isn't news. Moreover, Interior has been so slow to release documents, and the suit has dragged on for so long it's rare that there's anything fresh to say about it. And, of course, Interior--especially under Norton--has tried its hardest, with some success, to change the subject from the substance of the landowners' claims to the eye-glazing process of its own self-investigation and bureaucratic reshuffling.

But if nothing else you'd expect the right to be turning out in force on behalf of Indians in this case. Critics of government handouts, reservation governments, and intra-tribal collective ownership of property might have noticed that, this time, it was individual Indian property-owners facing a bureaucracy that was unjustly taking their royalties. Norton once counted herself among the libertarian property-rights crowd; she could have distinguished herself from Babbitt and fit property rights into compassionate conservatism by cooperating, settling the case, and getting Interior out of the money management business it does so badly. She didn't.

Nor do you hear much from the conservative and libertarian advocates of landowners' rights. The standard conservative story about Indian poverty--most recently rehearsed in a John Miller cover story for National Review--is an indictment of reservation governments, of their collective ownership of land, the barriers they put up to business formation, and their sometimes-serious difficulties sustaining an independent judiciary and other components of the rule of law. There's a great deal of truth in this story. But it's also true that, historically, the major alternative strategy to reservation governments and tribal sovereignty was ... allotment and the Dawes Act. With the mess from 1887 still unresolved, Indians have good reason not to want to go down that road again.

Monday, December 07, 2009

ASPLP: "Getting to the rule of law"

Annual Meeting of the American Society for Political and Legal Philosophy
New Orleans, January 6, 2010
Hilton New Orleans Riverside, 2 Poydras Street, Belle Chasse room, Third Floor.

I. Getting to the Concept of the Rule of Law: 10:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m.

Principal paper (philosophy): Jeremy Waldron, New York University
Commentator (law): Robin West, Georgetown University
Commentator (political science): Corey Brettschneider, Brown University

II. Maintaining or Restoring the Rule of Law after September 11, 2001: 1:30 p.m.-3:15 p.m.
Principal paper (political science): Benjamin Kleinerman, Michigan State University
Commentator (law): Curtis Bradley, Duke University
Commentator (philosophy): Lionel McPherson, Tufts University

III. Building the Rule of Law after Military Interventions: 3:30 p.m. - 5:15 p.m.
Principal paper (law): Jane Stromseth, Georgetown University
Commentator (political science): Tom Ginsburg, University of Chicago
Commentator (philosophy): Larry May, Vanderbilt University

Reception: 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m.


In order to join the ASPLP and receive the eventual volume of Nomos on "Getting to the Rule of Law," please e-mail me.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Canada one of the best places to be an expat

according to a study by HSBC Bank.
McGill Prof Wins Grawemeyer in Psychology
Inside Higher Ed reports:

"Ronald Melzack, psychology professor emeritus at McGill University, in Montreal, has been named winner of the 2010 University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award for Psychology. Melzack was honored for his work on how people experience pain. Grawemeyer awards, worth $200,000 each, are awarded each year in in the fields of music, political science, psychology, education and religion."

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Reading recommendation

I recommend very highly this Robert Goodin essay on the state and history of political science as a discipline via), from a new supplemetary volume to the Oxford Handbooks in Political Science.

While political theory is the least integrated field with the rest of the discipline (read the chapter for explanation of the measure), I'm struck by Table A1.4, the integrators of the discipline. John Rawls appears in the top category (the only person in that group who was never a member of a political science department). The next rank includes Barry, Elster, Hardin, Shapiro, and Przeworski; the next, Goodin, Habermas, and Sen. Walzer, Taylor, Mansbridge, Berlin, Lukes, Holmes, Adorno, Ackerman, Bordieu, Held, Sunstein... The theorists on the list are, I think, generationally set apart from the others on the list, overall. There are reasons for this, though I'd still wish it were otherwise. But theorists (and part-theorists, which is part of the point) are hardly so absent from the list as the most persecuted-feeling among my colleagues might have predicted.

Anyway: go read the whole thing! (Those charts at the back seem to me like a plausible resource for comps prep, for those who are into that kind of thing....)
Onto the reading list

A new article by my colleague Hasana Sharp:

"The Impersonal Is Political: Spinoza and a Feminist Politics of Imperceptibility", 24(4) Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy 84-103 (2009).


This essay examines Elizabeth Grosz's provocative claim that feminist and anti-racist theorists should reject a politics of recognition in favor of "a politics of imperceptibility." She criticizes any humanist politics centered upon a dialectic between self and other. I turn to Spinoza to develop and explore her alternative proposal. I claim that Spinoza offers resources for her promising politics of corporeality, proximity, power, and connection that includes all of nature, which feminists should explore.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tomorrow: Christopher Hamel, "L'esprit républicain: droits naturels et vertu civique dans la pensée d'Algernon Sidney"

Wednesday November 25 2-4 pm
UQAM Room W-5303

Christopher Hamel (Université de Rouen)
"L'esprit républicain: droits naturels et vertu civique dans la pensée d'Algernon Sidney"


L'objectif de cette conférence sera de donner, à partir de l'exemple d'Alergnon Sidney (1622-1683) un aperçu des raisons pour lesquelles on peut soutenir, contre une interprétation largement répandue dans l'histoire des idées, que le langage du droit naturel et celui de la vertu civique ne sont aucunement incompatibles, mais s'articulent au contraire de manière parfaitement cohérente chez cet auteur incontestablement républicain.
L'esprit républicain est l'expression qu'utilise Sidney lui-même pour décrire ce que son adversaire, Robert Filmer, veut détruire dans son ouvrage Patriarcha. Si les principes de Filmer détruisent l'esprit républicain, prétend Sidney, c'est à la fois parce qu'ils violent le principe de liberté dans lequel tout individu est né, et parce qu'ils rendent impossible la vertu des citoyens, nécessaire au maintien de la liberté.
Plus précisément, il est possible de montrer que Sidney conceptualise les notions de droits et de vertu d'une manière telle que loin d'être en tension, elles apparaissent au contraire comme complémentaires : chez Sidney, le droit individuel n'est pas un simple désir de sûreté juridicisé, mais un droit moral à vivre émancipé de toute domination; et la vertu n'est pas la finalité première de la cité, mais le soutien nécessaire des lois qui protègent la liberté.

La conséquence principale de cette hypothèse est double: d'une part, elle permet de montrer, par le biais de la reconstruction rationnelle de la pensée politique et morale de Sidney, que le concept de droits individuels n'est pas un concept exclusivement libéral, puisqu'au moment même où Locke, le père fondateur du libéralisme des droits, écrit ses Traités sur le gouvernement civil, un républicain tel que Sidney inscrit au coeur de sa pensée républicaine l'idée que l'individu est naturelle doté d'un droit naturel inaliénable à la liberté. D'autre part, elle ouvre la voie à une relecture d'un certain nombre d'auteurs du XVIIIe siècle, tant Italiens (Genovesi, Alfieri, Filangieri) que Français (Mably, Diderot) ou Anglais (Price, Priestley, Burgh) qui utilisent conjointement les deux langages de la vertu et des droits. En ce sens, ce travail sur les républicains anglais du XVIIe siècle débouche sur l'hypothèse plus large de l'existence d'une tradition républicaine moderne que l'on pourrait appeler le républicanisme des droits.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The un-abolition of feudalism

Via Tyler Cowen, jobs in an Italian bank being made (conditionally) hereditary.
G.A. Cohen in Memoriam: A Critical Celebration of His Life and Work

This Friday, 27 November 2009, 10am - 4pm
McGill University, Old McGill Room, Faculty Club

[Schedule updated as per Will Roberts' comment below]

10 h - 11 h 30

* Joseph Carens, Toronto
Motivation and Equality in Cohen

* Jurgen De Wispelaere, CRÉUM
Cohen in the Real World ? Equality, Justice and Social Institutions

- 11 h 45 - 13 h 15

* Pablo Gilabert, Concordia
Cohen on Socialism, Equality, and Community

* Jacob T. Levy, McGill
Cohen on the Tasks of Political Philosophy

- 14 h 30 - 16 h

* William Clare Roberts, McGill
Analysis Terminated ? Towards a Post-Analytical Marxism

* Daniel Weinstock, CRÉUM
Cohen and Cohen on Jokes

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

New on the blogroll

The dean of the Montreal school of political theory, Daniel Weinstock, is now blogging about music.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Hither and yon:

Tomorrow: "Contra politanism: Against the moral teleology of political forms," Nathanson Centre Legal Philosophy Series, Osgoode Hall Law School, Toronto.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month

There's commemorative cannon-fire outside my office right now, and I'm more disgusted than moved. Yet more artillery fire seems to me to miss what should be the point.

A Veteran's/ Armistice/ Remembrance Day observed on November 11 in particular shouldn't just mean a gauzy and somber honoring of live veterans and fallen soldiers. It should be in part a day of anger and horror about the particular war that ended on this day, the stupid brutality of it, and the evil that followed in its wake. Of course, no continuously-existing government (US, UK, Canada) is likely to create a day officially dedicated to pointing out that its predecessor contributed to the deaths of millions for no good cause. But we have the capacity to remember lessons other than the official ones.

John Quiggin strikes the right note here.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Remember, remember...

one of the most-read posts ever on this blog: Guy Fawkes Day, V for Vendetta, and American politics.

Monday, November 02, 2009

This week

Tuesday, November 3: Deadline for proposals for the Canadian Political Science Association, June 1-3 in Montreal. Proposals in all areas of political theory welcome; and there's a thematic workshop on "non-ideal and institutional theory."

Wednesday, October 4, 6 pm: Thomas Pogge (Philosophy, Yale) will deliver the Osler Lecture at McGill: "The Health Impact Fund: Pharmaceutical Innovation Also For the Poor?", Palmer Howard Amphitheater, McIntyre Medical Sciences Building

Thursday, October 5 12 pm: Dwight Newman, "Untangling Equality-Based Arguments for Indigenous Rights," CREUM room 309.

Friday, October 6, 2 pm: Andrew March (Political Science, Yale), GRIPP/ Montreal Political Theory Workshop, "Islamic Legal Theory, Secularism and Religious Freedom : Is Modern Religious Freedom Sufficient for the Shari’a ’Purpose’ [Maqsid] of ’Preserving Religion’ ?" UQAM room W 5215

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

GRIPP Manuscript Workshop Award


Call for applications: The Groupe de recherche interuniversitaire en philosophie politique de Montréal (GRIPP), spanning the departments of political science and philosophy at McGill University, l'Université de Montréal, Concordia University, and l'Université du Québec à Montréal, invites applications for its 2010 manuscript workshop award. The recipient of the award will be invited to Montreal for a day-long workshop in March/April 2010 dedicated to his or her book manuscript. This "author meets critics" workshop will comprise four to five sessions dedicated to critical discussion of the manuscript; each session will begin with a critical commentary on a section of the manuscript by a political theorist or philosopher who is part of Montreal's GRIPP community. The format is designed to maximize feedback for a book-in-progress. The award covers the costs of travel, accommodation, and meals.


A. Topic: The manuscript topic is open within political theory and political philosophy, but we are especially interested in manuscripts related to at least one of these GRIPP research themes: 1) the history of liberal and democratic thought, especially early modern thought; 2) moral psychology and political agency, or politics and affect or emotions or rhetoric; 3) democracy, diversity, and pluralism. 4) democracy, justice, and transnational institutions.

B. Manuscript: Unpublished book manuscripts in English or French, by applicants with PhD in hand by 1 September 2009, are eligible. Applicants must have a complete or nearly complete draft (at least 4/5 of final draft) ready to present at the workshop. In the case of co-authored manuscripts, only one of the co-authors is eligible to apply.

C. Application: Please submit the following materials: 1) a curriculum vitae; 2) a table of contents; 3) a short abstract of the book project, up to 200 words; 4) a longer book abstract up to 2500 words; and, in the case of applicants with previous book publication(s), (5) three reviews, from established journals in the field, of the applicant's most recently published monograph. Candidates are not required to, but may if they wish, submit two letters of recommendation speaking to the merits of the book project. Please do not send writing samples. Send materials to GRIPP Manuscript Workshop Award, Department of Political Science, McGill University, 855 Sherbrooke St W, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, H3A 2T7. Review of applications begins 10 January 2010. Contact Arash Abizadeh with questions.

Previous GRIPP Manuscript Workshops:
Kinch Hoekstra (UC Berkeley), Thomas Hobbes and the Creation of Order, March 2009
Alan Patten (Princeton), Equal Recognition: The Moral Foundations of Minority Cultural Rights, April 2009



Appel à candidature: Le groupe de recherche interuniversitaire en philosophie politique de Montréal (GRIPP), qui réunit des chercheurs des départements de science politique et de philosophie de l’Université McGill, de l’Université de Montréal, de l’Université Concordia et de l’Université du Québec à Montréal, fait un appel à candidature pour son prix 2010 de l’atelier de manuscrit. Le lauréat sera invité à Montréal en mars/avril 2010 pour un atelier d’une journée complète consacré au manuscrit de son livre. Cet atelier du type « l’auteur rencontre ses critiques » comprendra quatre ou cinq séances de discussions critiques sur le manuscrit ; pour chacune d’entre elles, un spécialiste de théorie politique ou un philosophe membre de la communauté montréalaise du GRIPP lancera la discussion par un commentaire critique d’une des sections du manuscrit. Ceci a pour but de faciliter les échanges sur un livre en chantier. Le prix couvre les dépenses de voyage, d’hébergement et de repas.

Éligibilité :

A- Sujet : De façon générale, le manuscrit doit traiter de théorie politique ou de philosophie politique, mais nous sommes tout particulièrement intéressés aux manuscrits qui correspondent à l’une des thématiques de recherche du GRIPP : 1) l’histoire de la pensée libérale et démocratique, et notamment du début de la pensée moderne; 2) la psychologie morale du sujet (ou encore de l’agent) politique, ainsi que la politique et les affects, les émotions ou la rhétorique; 3) la démocratie, la diversité et le pluralisme; 4) la démocratie, la justice et les institutions transnationales.

B- Manuscrit : Sont éligibles tous les manuscrits de livres en français ou en anglais, non encore publiés, et dont l’auteur a reçu un doctorat avant le 1er septembre 2009. Les candidats devront avoir une version complète, ou presque (au moins 4/5e de la version finale), à présenter à l’atelier. Pour ce qui concerne les manuscrits coécrits, seul l’un des coauteurs est éligible.

C- Soumission : Vous voudrez bien fournir les documents suivants : 1) un curriculum vitae; 2) une table des matières; 3) un court résumé du projet du livre de moins de 200 mots; 4) un résumé plus long, de moins de 2 500 mots; et, dans le cas de candidats ayant déjà publié, 5) trois recensions parues dans des revues spécialisées et reconnues dans le domaine de la plus récente monographie publiée. Les candidats peuvent, s’ils le souhaitent, joindre deux lettres de recommandation présentant l’intérêt de leur projet de livre. Nous vous prions de ne pas envoyer d’extraits de manuscrit. Envoyez ces documents à : GRIPP Manuscript Workshop Award, Département de science politique, Université de McGill, 855, rue Sherbrooke ouest, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3A 2T7. L’examen des candidatures commencera le 10 janvier 2010. Pour toute information supplémentaire, veuillez contacter Dominique Leydet

Les précédents lauréats des ateliers de manuscrit du GRIPP furent :

Kinch Hoekstra (UC Berkeley), Thomas Hobbes and the Creation of Order, mars 2009

Alan Patten (Princeton), Equal Recognition: The Moral Foundations of Minority Cultural Rights, avril 2009
Hither and Yon

Thursday, October 29: "Rationalism, Pluralism, and Freedom," at the Program in Ethics and Public Affairs, Princeton.

Friday, November 13: "Contra Politanism," at Osgoode Hall Law School's seminar series "Legal Philosophy between State and Transnationalism."

Monday, October 19, 2009

Taylor on Habermas

At "The Immanent Frame," an essay written on the occasion of Habermas' eightieth birthday.
Perking lots

"The chancellor's job had come to be defined as providing parking for the faculty, sex for the students, and athletics for the alumni." --Then-President of the University of California Clark Kerr.

The University of California at Berkeley rewards Nobel prize-winners with free parking spots in desirable on-campus locations.
1999 movies

NYT movie critic A.O. Scott, in an article about the movies of 1962, writes
Searching beyond the dozen at the Brooklyn Academy you find enough riches to support the contention of Armond White, the current chairman of the Critics Circle, that 1962 was as bountiful a cinematic year as 1939. Or maybe 1999, or for all we know 2010.

I'm not on the film geek memo distribution list, so I wouldn't have heard if this were the case, but: is there some consensus that 1999 was an especially great year in movie history? I can't say that it felt that way to me at the time; it seemed like the indie/ Miramax wave of creativity had crested and become a new kind of routine. See: Holy Smoke, starring Kate "naked again!" Winslett and Harvey Keitel; combine ingredients, press play.

The Matrix, of course, was epoch-making in its way. Toy Story 2 seems to be many people's choice for the best Pixar movie ever, or until the last three years. And The Sixth Sense, The Blair Witch Project, and Being John Malkovich do make for a pretty impressive trio of creativity.

But that was the year of the greatest anticlimax in anticipated-blockbuster history (Star Wars Episode 1); a bunch of award-bait that I think are in retrospect agreed to have been overrated at best and really quite bad at worst (American Beauty, Cider House Rules, The End of the Affair, Eyes Wide Shut); some truly awful mass-market stuff (Wild Wild West); and I guess a couple of things that still inspire love-it-or-hate-it arguments (Magnolia, Three Kings, Talented Mr. Ripley).

And then it's the year of Runaway Bride, Never Been Kissed, The Mummy, Notting Hill, and Analyze This. Doesn't come any more ordinary than that, no matter how many "new classics" Turner anoints. I've never seen Notting Hill or Analyze This, and I do think The Mummy was a terrific ordinary movie, but I still think the overall judgment is sound.

Looking at the list, it turns out I can assemble a list to get enthusiastic about:
Being John Malkovich, Sixth Sense, Election, ExistenZ, Run Lola Run, South Park, Pushing Tin, The Matrix, Iron Giant, Dogma, Girl Interrupted, 200 Cigarettes, Better Than Chocolate. That seems like an impressive list, and maybe I'm letting my distaste for American Beauty carry too much weight.

But that's just my list, my tastes. Does that list make film geeks' hearts go a-twitter? Does it really tower over any other year of the 90s-- say, 1994, the year of Pulp Fiction, Clerks, Ed Wood, Muriel's Wedding, Reality Bites, two of the Three Colors movies, and Barcelona?

Or are American Beauty and Eyes Wide Shut really remembered as movies for the ages?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Jeff Isaac in the Chronicle on political science

Jeffrey Isaac takes to the pages of the Chronicle to discuss political science, the NSF, and the Coburn amendment. Jeff has recently assumed the editorship of Perspectives on Politics, a journal in part meant to bridge the gap between peer-reviewed social science and public accessibility and relevance, and he urges the discipline to take the occasion of the NSF fight to reflect on that gap-- not to so emphasize our science-ness as to lose sight of our public-ness.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Elinor Ostrom

In 2008, political scientist Elinor Ostrom was awarded an honorary degree from McGill University. In 2009, she was awarded the Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel. Coincidence? Well, yeah.

I've only met Professor Ostrom once, when her husband Vincent Ostrom guest-lectured in my class in... 2002, I guess. But I certainly know, admire, and draw on her work, and am delighted with this outcome!

See discussions from Henry Farrell, Sean Safford, Alex Tabarrok, Arnold Kling, and Mike Munger (and for giggles, click through Munger's link to the anonymous econ grad students blowing gaskets), among people who (unlike Paul Krugman and Steven Levitt) had heard of Ostrom before today.

Update: On Henry's post, be sure to read down the comments thread far enough to see the illuminating exchange between him and Pete Boettke.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Hither and yon: UC Berkeley edition

Tomorrow I'll be giving "Federalism and constitutional entrenchment" at the Berkeley political theory workshop, Harris Room (Rm 119), Moses Hall, 3 pm.

Saturday I'll be giving "From Liberal constitutionalism to pluralism" at a Center for British Studies conference on "Modern Pluralism: Anglo-American Debates since 1880", Moses Hall 223, 9:30 am.
A good week for bragging

Two McGill alumni were awarded Nobel prizes this week: Jack Szostak, (BSc'72) (cell biology) was a co-winner of the Prize for Medicine and Willard Boyle (BSc'47, MSc'48, PhD'50) was a co-winner of the Prize in Physics.

And in the new Times Higher Education Supplement rankings, McGill was ranked 18th in the world, top in Canada, and top public university in North America. McGill was ranked 10th in life sciences, 17th in social sciences,and 14th in arts and humanities. Rankings need to be taken with many, many grains of salt, of course. But still: yay us.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

And speaking of the Chronicle...

I happily endorse this plea from an editor at the University of Virginia Press: "If you don't buy 'em, we can't afford to publish 'em."
Great Books

From the Chronicle, an essay by W.A. Pannapacker called "Confessions of a Middlebrow Professor," parts of which strike home for me.
In my early 20s, when I was starting out as a graduate student in the humanities, I hosted a small gathering at my apartment. It didn't take long for my guests to begin scrutinizing my bookshelves. (I do the same thing now, of course, whenever I am at a party.) I remember that there were numerous battered anthologies, at least a hundred paperback classics, the Compact Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary (acquired as a Book-of-the-Month Club premium), probably six copies of PMLA, and several shelves of books that I had retained from childhood, including the Time-Life Library of Art and the Old West Time-Life Series in "hand-tooled Naugahyde leather."

Perhaps the most revered set of volumes from my childhood—proudly displayed—was Great Books of the Western World, in 54 leatherette volumes. I remember I bought them all at once for $10 at a church sale when I was about 13; it took me two trips to carry them home in plastic grocery bags.

"Your clay feet are showing," said one of my guests, another graduate student, as she removed Volume 1 of the Great Books from my shelves. I caught the biblical allusion, but it took me a couple of years to realize the implication of the remark: My background was lacking. If graduate school was a quiz show, then I was Herbert Stempel trying to make it in the world of Charles Van Doren.[...]

The Great Books were expressions of hope for many people who had historically not had access to higher education.

There was something awe-inspiring about that series for me, even if I acquired it a generation late. The Great Books seemed so serious. They had small type printed in two columns; there were no annotations, no concessions to the beginner.[...]
there was a reason that you could buy the Great Books for $10 by that time. The whole notion of a stable canon of books had gone out of fashion, and not even recently: Writers such as Dwight MacDonald had been mocking the Great Books since they first appeared. As Beam observes, "The Great Books were synonymous with boosterism, Babbittry, and H.L. Mencken's benighted boobocracy." Display them in your living room, and you might as well put plastic covers on the colonial couch beneath your reproduction Grandma Moses with the copy of The Power of Positive Thinking on your coffee table. Great Books, Beam writes, "were everything that was wrong, unchic and middlebrow about middle America."

As Paul Fussell wrote in Class: A Guide Through the American Status System, "It is in the middle-class dwelling that you're likely to spot the 54-volume set of the Great Books, together with the half-witted two-volume Syntopicon, because the middles, the great audience for how-to books, believe in authorities."

I'm about the same age as Pannapacker, and like him, was not to the academic or highbrow manner born. I read my first Marx, Smith, Mill, Shakespeare, Plutarch, and Plato in that Great Books set. In sixth grade I carried the Marx and Smith volumes by turn into school with me and read them during reading time-- and if I didn't understand much, I also didn't understand nothing, when I worked at it.

And, like Pannapacker, I've received the occasional smirk or snarky comment about them, in my life as it is now.

Of course, lots of the substantive criticisms are right-- the two-volume Synopticon is bizarre. And the books themselves as physical objects, which once impressed me, now don't. I don't read from them anymore. The paper on which they're printed is unbelievably thin and fragile, the print ridiculously small. Even before all those public-domain works went online, it was easier to get a cheap Penguin or Dover paperback of whatever I wanted to read than to try to do serious scholarly reading out of those volumes. But they're still on the top shelf of the bookcases in my living room, and I'm still grateful to them-- and to Mortimer Adler's democratizing middlebrowness.
Come to Montreal: Canadian Political Science Association Annual Meeting, June 1-3 2010

Call for papers: open call in political theory as well as call for papers on "non-ideal and institutional theory

The CFP for the 2010 CPSA in Montreal is now open: Call for papers, Instructions for submitting, Proposal submission form.

Proposals are due by November 3, 2009.

For political theorists:

We welcome paper, panel, and roundtable proposals in all areas of political theory. In addition, we will be holding a conference within the conference on "Non-ideal and institutional theory." That CFP is below.

Workshop 8 – Political Theory: Non-ideal and Institutional Theory
Organizers: Jacob T. Levy (McGill) and Jennifer Rubenstein (Viriginia)

From the ethics of conduct during wartime to justice in transitional societies to restitution for collective harms, political theorists have long been concerned with understanding political morality in morally compromised or materially constrained settings—in what Arendt termed “dark times.” Since Rawls, we have come to call this “non-ideal” theory: theory about moral choices and political circumstances that wouldn’t arise at all under ideal conditions. In recent years, political philosophers have done a great deal of methodological and metatheoretical work on the ideal/non-ideal distinction, while political theorists have undertaken non-ideal normative analysis of a wide range of problems. We seek both papers that are explicitly about non-ideal political theory and papers that do non-ideal theory, in order to encourage engagement between methodological reflections and normative arguments.

We especially welcome papers that do these things with attention to political institutions, by—for example— proposing institutional designs for non-ideal settings, analyzing ideal versus non-ideal ways of thinking about the justice of institutional structures, or showing how particular institutions are themselves the sources of the morally compromised settings in which decision-making must take place. In other words, we invite papers that construe institutions as either sources of injustice or as mechanisms for mitigating injustice, as obstacles to reform or as frameworks for pursuing it.

While the workshop focuses on issues that have thus far been taken up primarily in the context of analytic normative theory, we actively encourage papers with historical or critical perspectives on these issues. Finally, while the workshop itself addresses substantive problems in non-ideal and institutional theory, papers need not be explicitly framed in those terms.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

More American students enrolling at Canadian universities

See this story.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Michael Sandel to take to the airwaves

Sandel's Harvard course on "Justice" will be broadcast by PBS, as you may have heard. This article in the Chronicle by Christopher Shea (of the Boston Globe's Ideas section) treats that news in the context of Sandel's intellectual career and distinctive positions. Frequent blogtopic Charles Taylor , occasional blog commentator Josh Cohen, and Stephen Holmes all offer comments.

Friday, September 25, 2009

New SSPP website

The Society for Social and Political Philosophy ["historical, continental, and feminist perspectives," says the tagline] has a new website and blog.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Looks like I can just repost this verbatim, with this year's link on top, and substituting in "one economist."

posted September 23 2008: Continuing a recent trend...

noted here and here, academic humanists and social scientists are in notably short supply among this year's MacArthur Fellows. One archaeologist-anthropologist and one retired historian, out of a group of 25. The awardees are mainly practicing artists (novelist, violinist, sculptor, etc) or academic scientists, biomedical researchers, and engineers.

North America's leading Proust scholar and all his spiritual kin are safe for another year.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Shocking headline of the day

"Students Tend to Ignore Hygiene Tips, Study Finds"

That, surprisingly enough, is not from the Onion's indispensible series of "study finds" articles, such as New Study Finds College Binge Drinking To Be A Blast, Study Finds Link Between Red Wine, Letting Mother Know What You Really Think, and Teen Sex Linked To Drugs And Alcohol, Reports Center For Figuring Out Really Obvious Things.

Best passage:

College health officials who want students to change their habits must be creative, communicate through social-networking sites, and lose the scientific jargon and polite euphemisms, says Benjamin J. Chapman, an assistant professor of family and consumer sciences and a food-safety specialist at North Carolina State.

"For example," he says, "don't refer to something as a 'gastrointestinal illness.' Instead tell them, 'This could make you puke,' or 'Dude, wash your hands.'"

I hereby formally ask my students to wash their hands from time to time in the event of an H1N1 outbreak, and in exchange promise not to address them as "dude."
Berlin Centenary Conference at Harvard

Isaiah Berlin: Centennial Reflections

Harvard University, September 25th-26th 2009

Tsai Auditorium, Center for Government and International Studies,

1730 Cambridge St, Cambridge MA

Friday September 25
10:00am Welcoming Remarks

10:15-12:30pm Politics Between Utopia and Reality
Michael Walzer – Should We Reclaim Political Utopianism

Malachi Hacohen – Cosmopolitanism, the European Nation State and Jewish Life: Berlin and Popper

2:15-4:30pm Literature and the History of Ideas
Svetlana Boym – Dialogues on Liberty Beyond the Cold War: Isaiah Berlin and Anna Akhmatova

Alan Ryan – The History of Ideas as Psychodrama

9:00pm “Multi-Media Session” Featuring clips of filmed conversations with Isaiah Berlin

Saturday September 26

10:15-12:30pm Liberty and Liberalism
Janos Kis – Berlin's Two Concepts of Positive Liberty

Martha Nussbaum – Political Liberalism and Comprehensive Liberalism

2:15-4:30pm Pluralism: Historical Origins and Philosophical Foundations
Pratap Mehta – What is Pluralism and How Does it Matter?

Bernard Yack – The Significance of Berlin's Counter-Enlightenment

5:00-6:00pm Special Session
Amartya Sen – What Difference Does Pluralism Make?

Discussants and Chairs: Ioannis Evrigenis, Peter Eli Gordon, Stanley Hoffmann, Erin Kelly, Louis Menand, Michael Rosen, Nancy Rosenblum, Emma Rothschild, T. M. Scanlon.
Sponsored by the Department of Government, the Department of Philosophy, the Center for Jewish Studies, and the Edmond J. Safra Foundation Center for Ethics.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Le fédéralisme multinational en perspective : un modèle viable ?

Colloque organisé par Michel Seymour à l’Université du Québec à Montréal

25-26-27 septembre 2009, salle D-R200 de l’UQAM (Pavillon Athanase-David, 1430 Saint-Denis)

Qu’est-ce que le fédéralisme multinational ? Quels sont les enjeux soulevés par la présence de plusieurs peuples au sein d’un État fédéral ? Est-ce que le fédéralisme apparaît tout indiqué pour gérer la diversité nationale ? Ces questions se posent au Canada depuis toujours, mais elles se posent aussi dans plusieurs autres sociétés. Des États fédéraux multinationaux tels que l’URSS, la Yougoslavie et la Tchécoslovaquie n’existent plus. La Belgique vacille face au défi d’accommoder la diversité nationale en son sein. Aussi, même si d’autres États multinationaux fédéraux ou quasi-fédéraux tels que l’Inde, l’Espagne et le Canada existent encore, la question de la viabilité de l’État fédéral multinational doit être soulevée.

Des questions plus spécifiques peuvent aussi être posées qui mettent en relation les expériences de sociétés particulières avec la problématique générale du fédéralisme multinational. Quelles sont les promesses du fédéralisme multinational canadien ? Que penser de la reconnaissance du Québec comme nation, de la résolution possible du déséquilibre fiscal, de la limitation du « pouvoir fédéral de dépenser », du rôle international que joue ou que pourrait jouer le Québec et du fédéralisme asymétrique ? S’agit-il d’éléments qui composent le fédéralisme multinational ?

More information is here.

Monday, September 14, 2009

GRIPP: Cécile Laborde – Political Liberalism and the Separation-Establishment Debate: A Republican Interpretation

Wednesday, September 16, 4-6 pm, University of Montreal room Z-330 (Pavillon McNicoll): Cécile Laborde, Professor of Political Theory at University College London, and the author most recetnly of Critical Republicanism. The Hijab Controversy and Political Philosophy (Oxford Political Theory series, Oxford University Press, 2008) will present her paper "Political Liberalism and the Separation-Establishment Debate: A Republican Interpretation" to a session of the Groupe de Recherche Interuniversitaire en Philosophie Politique.

Friday, September 11, 2009

On nationalism and federalism

Via Matt Yglesias, I see that Lawrence Martin is in the Globe and Mail making the following interesting point.

Since its debut election campaign in 1993, the Bloc has never been beaten by a federalist party. Not in six elections. The demise of the Bloquistes is often predicted. It never happens. They are entrenched. In the next campaign, they are on course to rout the Liberals and Conservatives in Quebec again. [...]

The coddling of the BQ sees Canadian taxpayers subsidize the separatist party to the tune of millions of dollars to run its election campaigns. In that they have to campaign in only one province, the system absurdly favours it over federalist parties. The Bloc is allowed to participate in the English-language debates while running no candidates outside Quebec. Again, nothing is done. We wouldn't want to risk offending their delicate sensibilities.

But, for all its inroads, the Bloc has no reason to celebrate.

There's a great paradox at work here, a rollout of unintended consequences. The Bloc successes have bred failure. The better the BQ does, the further it gets from its goal of sovereignty. The separatists were closest to realizing that ambition in the early-to-mid-nineties, shortly after the Bloc arrived on the scene. Since that time, support for the sovereignty option, despite all the Bloc victories, has consistently been in decline.

The Bloc, it can be mischievously argued, has served the cause of a united Canada. Rarely over the past half-century has Canadian unity been as solid as it is today. It may well be that the Bloc, with its imposing fed-baiting presence in Ottawa, suffices for many Quebeckers as their instrument of sovereignty. It gives vent to pride, to autonomist passions. It wins concessions for the franchise.

If we were to take away the Bloc, if only Canada-minded federalist parties represented Quebeckers in Ottawa, a different scenario is easily imaginable. Conditions could well exist for a more spirited and fractious separatist movement.

Benefiting from the shrewd leadership of Gilles Duceppe and a smart, disciplined caucus, the Bloc has been able to address many of Quebec's grievances. But its steady progress now sees it scraping the barrel in search of meaningful injustices to fortify its underlying pathology (witness its current election advertising planning).

The idea that secessionist politics could be a stabilizing force in a multinational federation figures prominently in Wayne Norman's Negotiating Nationalism (see especially ch. 6) as well as in my own "Federalism, Liberalism, and the Separation of Loyalties," which adds to Norman's arguments an account of how the federal structure of the rest of constitution affects the outcomes of secessionist politics in one culturally distinct province. Three years after his book and two years after my article, I still think we're right, but it's a claim that makes Canadian audiences look at me funny. Interesting to see it start to go mainstream.
Sunstein confirmed

I haven't yet seen this mentioned on the scholar-blogs that had covered the nomination up until now: my former colleague Cass Sunstein was confirmed by the Senate yesterday in a 57-40 vote, to serve as White House's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. According to Politico, the vote was mostly party-line, with just five Republicans voting yes and four Democrats voting no.

The Chronicle notes the following:
Among them, Ilya Somin, an assistant professor of law at George Mason University and a prominent libertarian, wrote on the blog the Volokh Conspiracy that Mr. Sunstein was "well-qualified for the job and is better from a libertarian perspective than most others whom the administration could have appointed." Glenn H. Reynolds, a professor of law at the University of Tennessee who often takes libertarian positions on his blog,, praised Mr. Sunstein as an "open-minded" liberal whose views have at times been misrepresented by his opponents.

In an interview just before Thursday's Senate vote, Mr. Reynolds said the debate over Mr. Sunstein illustrates why it is difficult for many scholars to make the transition from academe to government.

"When you are an academic, you are rewarded for saying interesting things and thought-provoking things, and that is what we do," Mr. Reynolds said. "The reason politicians seldom say interesting or thought-provoking things is because in their business they are punished for it."
It tells you something of significance about the current makeup of the Senate Republican caucus that, when faced with a highly qualified appointee to a very technical post who is supported by many of the intellectual lights of the academic right and opposed by Glenn Beck, they vote no en masse.

Monday, September 07, 2009

McGill's Brenda Milner awarded Balzan Prize

From the Gazette:
A Montreal neuropsychologist is among four winners of the 2009 Balzan Prize that were announced Monday.

Brenda Milner, professor of psychology at the Montreal Neurological Institute and professor in the department of neurology and neurosurgery at McGill University, received the prize for cognitive neurosciences.

"Her pioneering work has greatly influenced the field of cognitive neurosciences for more than half a century," said a statement from Balzan judges. It added that the 2009 award was “for her pioneering studies of the role of the hippocampus in the formation of memory and her identification of different kinds of memory systems.”

The studies will further scientific understanding of Alzheimer’s disease.

This is just the latest award for Milner, who has been inducted into the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Royal Society of London and the Royal Society of Canada.

In 2005, she received the Gairdner Award for medical science, and the previous year was promoted to Companion of the Order of Canada.

Other Balzan winners this year are Briton Terence Cave in the field of literature, Italian Paolo Rossi for history of science, and Swiss-German Michael Gretzel for the science of new materials.

Balzan prizes are awarded annually in a rotating fields of research, with two in the humanities and two in the sciences.

Winners are awarded one million Swiss francs ($1,016,000), half of which must be dedicated to research.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

CFA: GRIPP Postdoc at McGill, 2010-2011

The departments of political science and philosophy at McGill University, the Groupe de recherche interuniversitaire en philosophie politique de Montréal (GRIPP), and the Research Group on Constitutional Studies (RGCS) will offer one or more postdoctoral fellowships at McGill in 2010-11. Area of specialization is open within political theory and political philosophy, but we are especially interested in applicants whose research is relevant to at least of these GRIPP research themes:

1) The history of liberal and democratic thought, especially early modern thought;
2) Moral psychology and political agency, or politics and affect or emotions or rhetoric;
3) Democracy, diversity and pluralism.
4) Democracy, justice, and transnational institutions

Ph.D. must be in hand by 1 September 2010; preference may be given to candidates whose Ph.D.s will be in hand by 15 April 2010. Preference may also be extended to those with a knowledge of French, and to Canadian citizens or permanent residents.

The fellow will be expected to be in residence at McGill for the academic year, and will be expected to take part in the intellectual life of GRIPP and RGCS, including regular workshops and conferences. There is no teaching requirement, but there may be an option to teach one class for additional pay.

Please submit CV, writing sample, research statement, graduate transcript, and three letters of recommendation to: GRIPP postdoctoral fellowship, Political Science, McGill University, 855 Sherbrooke St W, Montreal QC H3A 2T7. Review of applications will begin September 20. Contact Jacob Levy, , with questions.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009


I've complained before about the APSA online service for annual meeting papers, PROceedings, which until this year used the terrible, terrible interface.

Now PROceedings is gone, so that's good. APSA's now using SSRN, which has numerous advantages-- conference papers will automatically show up on an author's page of other SSRN working papers, for example. And SSRN generates a stable URL for each paper, which PROceedings didn't do.

But... look at this mess. SSRN is ideal for searches by paper title or author. And its specialized subject-matter journals allow for browsing. But dumping hundreds of APSA papers into an unsorted pile means that browsing in this context is impossible. The APSA annual meeting is very usefully sorted into lots of divisions and organized sections, and for that matter into individual panels, to help people find the papers they want to attend. None of that categorization is carried over to SSRN.

Compare the interface with the online meeting program, which is better than ever this year. You can browse by division, or browse by tme, or search by keyword, or...

Wouldn't it be nice to be able to browse through the program and, when you reach a paper or panel listing, click right on a hotlink to go to the paper?

Instead it seems that the idea is: browse the APSA program, find a paper you're interested in, click over to SSRN, search for just that paper by author name. You can neither get to the papers from the program, nor see the program categories when you're looking through the papers.

(The other problem with SSRN, of course, is that it lacks full-text searches, for no reason I understand. But that's a chronic problem with them, not distinctive to the conference site.)

Monday, August 31, 2009

Conference conflicts

Whose idea was it to schedule the Midwest and the New England Political Science Associations at the same time next year? Not that I have any interest in ever going to Midwest again, but surely it's not in New England's interest to compete directly with the dominant regional association.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Ah, the beginning of the school year...

when the google searches that lead to this blog start turning up "jacob t. levy professor ratings" and the like.

Faced with an intro class of 330 students that starts next week, I take this opportunity to mention to people conducting such web searches that Professor Levy is mean and scary and to be avoided at all costs. He is rated PG-13 in the US, G in Quebec, and 14A in the Rest of Canada; and two thumbs sideways by Siskel and Ebert.
Matthew L. M. Fletcher, "The Tenth Justice Lost in Indian Country"

Turtletalk's Matthew Fletcher has written a paper with a very smart insight.
This short paper prepared for the 2009 Federal Bar Association’s Annual Meeting offers preliminary results of a study of the OSG in the Supreme Court from the 1998 through the 2008 Terms. I study the OSG’s success rates before the Court in every stage of litigation, from the certiorari process, the Court’s calls for the views of the Solicitor General, and on the merits of the cases that reach final decision after oral argument.

The paper begins with the preliminary data on the OSG’s success rate in Indian law cases. The data demonstrates that the OSG retains its success rate in both the certiorari process and on the merits when the United States is in opposition to tribal interests. But when the OSG sits as a party alongside tribal interests, and especially when the OSG acts as an amicus siding with tribal interests, the OSG’s success rate drops dramatically.

I've commented before on strong the OSG's brief was in Plains Commerce, and how surprising it is that the court ruled the other way without even seeming to take the OSG's office seriously. The finding here-- which amounts to the finding that "impairs tribal sovereignty" is a better predictor of which way the court rules than "outcome argued for by the Solicitor General," and that the SG office's general success record before the court doesn't carry over to the pro-tribal side of Indian law cases-- is the general form of that surprise. Recommended.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

CFP: Hegel After Spinoza

Hegel After Spinoza: A Volume of Critical Essays
Edited by Hasana Sharp and Jason Smith

Call for Papers

The names Hegel and Spinoza have come to represent two irreconcilable paths in contemporary philosophy. This opposition has taken different forms, but has its roots in mid- to late-20th century French philosophy. Althusser announced that he required a “detour” away from Hegel and through Spinoza in order to arrive at a genuinely materialist Marxism. Pierre Macherey staged a careful deconstruction of Hegel’s claim to have superseded Spinoza’s system in Hegel ou Spinoza, which concomitantly served as a defence of Spinozism against the Hegelianism dominant in France in the 1960s and ‘70s. Among the most influential articulations of this antagonism are the polemics of Deleuze celebrating the immanent and vitalist thinking of a materialist tradition beginning with Lucretius and passing through Spinoza to the present, to which he opposes the logic of totality, negativity, and contradiction found in Hegel. Spinoza, for Deleuze and others, stands for a rejection of negativity and lack as the foundation of philosophical and political thought, and as a salutary alternative to the negativity (in both the logical and existential senses) associated not only with Hegel, but with Hobbes, Freud, Sartre, Heidegger, and Lévinas as well. Feminists have likewise celebrated Spinoza as providing a joyful alternative to a tradition that emphasizes anxiety, mortality, and combat. This opposition, in its various expressions, underscores that reading Hegel has always been and remains a political act.

We are seeking essays to contribute to an anthology on the relationship between Spinoza and Hegel that move beyond the stalemate of current debates in continental philosophy. The title we have proposed for this collection points toward a horizon that no longer opposes a “bad” Hegel to a “good” Spinoza; we seek essays that indicate how contemporary readings of Spinoza—no longer the thinker of absolute substance, but of immanent causality, singular connections, transindividuality, and the multitude—might illuminate otherwise less visible threads in Hegel’s thought, and open the way to a re-reading of Hegel, beyond the institutionalized figure we take for granted. How might a productive and mutually enlightening encounter be produced between these two great systematic thinkers? What political possibilities are opened up by reading Hegel and Spinoza as useful contrasts rather than moral alternatives? The anthology will be published in a series that treats historical topics in light of contemporary continental thought. We are open to a broad range of topics within this rubric, but are especially interested in new readings that avoid simply recapitulating either the pantheism controversy in 19th century Germany or the French polemics of the 20th century.

Please send papers of 7,500-10,000 words to
Hasana Sharp ( or Jason Smith ( by 15 June, 2010.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Deadline extended: CFA: McGill Visiting Fulbright Chair in the Theory and Practice of Federalism, 2010-2011

See the award announcement here (cumbersome pdf) and information on applying here and here. Applications go through Fulbright/ CIES, not directly to McGill.

The deadline for all Canada-US visiting Fulbright Chairs has apparently been extended to September 30. The McGill Visiting Fulbright Chair in the Theory and Practice of Federalism is open to junior or senior scholars, doing empirical, normative, or theoretical work, who wish to spend a semester of or the whole of AY 2010-11 at McGill in the Department of Political Science and the Research Group on Constitutional Studies. Applicants must be US citizens or permanent residents, and must not also be Canadian citizens or permanent residents. Stipend of $CAN 25000, plus up to $CAN 1000 for in-country travel and enrichment.

Feel free to contact me directly for more information-- the Fulbright website is kind of cumbersome.
CFA: GRIPP graduate fellowships, 2009-10

[le francais suit]

Groupe de recherche interuniversitaire en philosophie politique de Montréal (GRIPP) Fellowship program

The Groupe de recherche interuniversitaire en philosophie politique de Montréal (GRIPP) invites applications to its graduate student fellowship program for the academic year 2009-10. Interested graduate students should submit a letter of application of one page (300 words) explaining their research agenda, the work they propose to do in 2009-10, and the link between their individual projects and GRIPP's research axes, described below. Applicants should also describe their existing fellowship and stipend awards, if any. Applications should also be accompanied by the email address of a Professor capable of commenting on the academic qualifications of the applicant.

All fellows will be expected to take part in a faculty and graduate student seminar that will meet roughly biweekly throughout the academic year, and will be given the opportunity to present work to that seminar. Meetings of the Montreal Political Theory Workshop will ordinarily be scheduled during the regular seminar time, and attendance at the MPTW will be expected in the same fashion as attendance at other meetings of the seminar.

Admission to the fellowship will be awarded based on the merit of the individual research project and its fit with GRIPP's research agenda. The size of the awards will vary by level of study and by the availability of other fellowship support, but may be up to $5000 for Ph.D. students and $2000 for M.A. students.

Please submit applications to . Deadline is September 11.

Research axes:

GRIPP is made up of over twenty professors of political philosophy and political theory from Concordia University, McGill University, the University of Montréal, and the University of Québec at Montréal, as well as associated postdoctoral fellows and graduate students. Under the conceptual umbrella of "New developments in democratic theory: toward an integrated approach," its research projects cluster along four axes, though each is meant to enrich and inform all of the others.

1) History and principles: The evaluation of democratic institutions and of their ability to respond to contemporary political challenges must be based on a solid grasp of the founding and organizing principles of democratic theory. We thus begin with a critical confrontation with the most important texts in the liberal and democratic traditions. We seek in particular to uncover arguments and conceptual resources from the tradition of political theory that have been relatively neglected in the contemporary renaissance of liberal and democratic thought, including attention to passions, affects, and emotions; to dissensus and disagreement; to aesthetics; and to institutional constraints.

2) The moral psychology of the democratic agent: Political theories have often depicted moral agents in very reductive fashions as beings moved by purely self-regarding interests and preferences which rules and institutions must constrain. A recentering of the theory of liberal democracy which gives a greater importance to democratic practices should at the same time endow us with a richer conception of the democratic agent, of that agent's disposition and character, and of the virtues to which that agent might aspire.

3) Democracy and diversity: GRIPP seeks to build on the turns to multiculturalism and pluralism in liberal and democratic theory, with a particular emphasis on theoretical approaches to the democratic management of diversity that steer between the aspiration to consensus and the acceptance of radical fragmentation; and on associational and jurisdictional pluralist approaches to understanding the diverse sources of norms in modern societies.

4) Democracy, justice, and transnational institutions: GRIPP seeks to bring political philosophy into fuller engagement with the various social, technological, cultural, and economic phenomena of globalization, and to understand how political principles and political actors can be understood in transnational contexts.


Groupe de recherche interuniversitaire en philosophie politique de Montréal (GRIPP)

Programme de Bourse

Le GRIPP a le plaisir d'offrir plusieurs bourses d'étude de deuxième et troisième cycle pour l'année académique 2009-10. Les étudiants intéressés sont invités à soumettre une lettre de candidature d'une page (300 mots) détaillant leurs projets de recherche, le travail proposé pour l'année académique 2009-10 et les liens entre leurs programmes de recherche et les travaux des membres du groupe. Les candidats devraient aussi indiquer les bourses reçues jusqu'à présent. Enfin, chaque demande devrait être accompagnée de l’adresse électronique d’un répondant pouvant témoigner de la qualité de la candidature.

- Hide quoted text -

Chaque boursier s'engage à participer à un séminaire de deuxième et troisième cycle qui se tiendra toutes les deux semaines pendant l'année académique pendant lequel les étudiants auront l'opportunité de présenter leurs recherches aux membres du groupe., ainsi qu'aux ateliers en philosophie politique pendant l'année académique.

Les bourses individuelles seront attribuées au mérite selon la qualité du projet de recherche et ses liens avec le programme de recherche du GRIPP. Les bourses individuelles prendront en compte le niveau d'étude de chaque candidat/e et la disponibilité d'autres sources de soutien, jusqu'à un maximum de $5000 pour les étudiants au troisième cycle, et de $2000 pour les étudiants au deuxième cycle.

Veuillez soumettre vos projets par courriel au Professeur Daniel Weinstock à .

La date d'échéance est le 11 septembre

Axes de recherche :

Le GRIPP est composé de plus de vingt professeurs de philosophie et de théorie politiques oeuvrant dans les quatre universités montréalaises : l¹Université de Montréal, l¹Université de Québec à Montréal (UQÀM), les universités Concordia et McGill. Sous l¹intitulé général : « Nouveaux développements en théorie démocratique : vers une approche intégrée », les projets de recherche qui lui sont associés se rassemblent autour de quatre axes distincts:

1) Histoire et principes : L¹évaluation des institutions démocratiques et de leur capacité à relever les défis politiques contemporains suppose une solide compréhension des principes et fondements de la théorie démocratique. Celle-ci requiert une confrontation critique des textes les plus importants des traditions démocratiques et libérales. Une telle confrontation suppose, plus particulièrement, la mise en évidence d¹arguments et de ressources conceptuelles de ces traditions, jusqu¹à présent relativement négligés; citons, pour exemple, les passions, affects et émotions; le dissensus et le différend; l¹esthétique; ainsi que les contraintes institutionnelles.

2) Psychologie morale de l¹agent démocratique : les théories politiques ont souvent décrit les agents moraux en des termes très réducteurs, comme des êtres mus par des intérêts et des préférences purement égoïstes que les règles et les institutions cherchent à limiter. Un recentrement de la théorie de la démocratie libérale, qui a pour effet de reconnaître l¹importance des pratiques démocratiques, devrait avoir pour autre conséquence le développement d¹une conception plus riche de l¹agent démocratique, de ses dispositions et de son caractère, ainsi que des vertus auxquelles il peut aspirer.

3) Démocratie et diversité : Le GRIPP entend contribuer aux récents tournants de la théorie démocratique libérale vers le multiculturalisme et le pluralisme, en s'intéressant plus particulièrement aux approches théoriques de la diversité qui tentent de maintenir le cap entre l'aspiration au consensus et la célébration d¹une fragmentation radicale. Le GRIPP s¹intéresse également aux courants pluralistes en théorie sociale et du droit qui tentent de mettre en évidence la diversité des sources des normes dans les sociétés modernes.

4) Démocratie, justice, et institutions transnationales : Le GRIPP cherche à encourager un dialogue fructueux entre les réflexions en philosophie politique et les différents phénomènes sociaux, politiques, technologiques, culturels et économiques liés à la globalisation. Un des objectifs poursuivis est de clarifier la façon dont notre compréhension des principes et des acteurs politiques est affectée lorsqu¹on les considère dans des contextes transnationaux.
Chinese Politics, McGill University

The Department of Political Science invites applications for a tenure-track position at the Assistant Professor level in the area of Chinese Politics. The Department is particularly interested in candidates whose research is on Chinese domestic politics but who can also teach on some aspect of China’s international relations. The successful candidate will have the linguistic abilities required for field work in China. The Department seeks applicants whose research is theoretically and empirically informed, who possess strong training in qualitative and/or quantitative and/or formal methods, and who can teach effectively at the undergraduate and graduate levels. An applicant’s record of performance must provide evidence of outstanding research potential. Candidates should have already completed the PhD or be very near completion. Applications should include a curriculum vitae, graduate transcript, three letters of reference, a sample of written work and materials pertinent to teaching skills. The position start date is August 1, 2010. Review of applications will begin on October 1, 2009 and will continue until the position is filled. For more information about the Department and University, visit our web site at


Professor Richard Schultz
James McGill Professor and Chair
Department of Political Science
McGill University
855 Sherbrooke Street West
Montreal, Quebec, Canada H3A 2T7

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Quote of the day

From the Gazette, in an article about the elimination of English translations from the hard copies of community newspapers distributed for free in some parts of greater Montreal, due to shrinking ad revenue, and the resulting complaints and petitions:
"If we don't start sticking up for our rights we've lost them" [LaSalle borough councillor Michael] Vadacchino said. [...] "I understand the economics of it, of course, it's a business, but as a citizen, that's not my problem, they've given this service for years, so now what?"

Friday, August 14, 2009

Rawls' religion, revisited

Paul Weithman, a Notre Dame philosopher who writes consistently engaging and important work on ethics, philosophy, and religion, ran across our discussion a while back about the publication of John Rawls' senior thesis on religion. (To be clear, I still haven't read that work.) He thought that blogreaders might be interested in his review of the volume. An excerpt:
As Adams notes, Rawls's reading of Augustine "is neither persuasive nor fair". (p. 43) This difficulty with the critical part of A Brief Inquiry raises a question that would be asked about this book anyway, the question of why Rawls's senior thesis is interesting enough to publish.

Though the ambition, systematicity and achievement of the thesis are extraordinary for someone in his early twenties, A Brief Inquiry would not have been worth publishing if Rawls had not later accomplished what he did. Nor would the thesis hold the interest that it does if the subject matter were not so surprising. Rawls's doctoral dissertation was on a philosophical rather than a religious subject. As far as I know, there are no plans to publish it; if the dissertation were published, it would be the object of far less fascination -- and would elicit far less comment -- than Rawls's undergraduate thesis.

Unlike Rawls's dissertation, A Brief Inquiry fascinates because it shows that someone whom many philosophers thought they knew well through his published work once had a very different intellectual and spiritual life. The thesis also extends a tantalizing invitation to engage in counterfactual history. Reading it in conjunction with "On My Religion" does not exactly convey the poignancy of a lost innocence that might have been kept, since there is very little innocence in A Brief Inquiry. Rawls was well aware of the war he was going off to fight after graduation and of the "demonic" character of the foe against whom it was being waged. (p. 197) But if innocence was not lost, deep religious conviction was. We cannot help but wonder how differently a great man's life would have gone had the events of mid-century affected him otherwise.

Not all readers are tantalized by counterfactual history. Even those who are not are bound to experience some pleasure in finding familiar Rawlsian ideas -- such as the natural lottery and the rejection of merit -- in unexpected places. (p. 240) Further, those who know Rawls's work well may be interested to learn that claims they find puzzling were present in Rawls's thought from the start, rather than accepted later on the basis of arguments that can eventually be recovered from his mature writings.


A Brief Inquiry may anticipate some of Rawls's later claims and arguments. But are we really going to read Rawls's later philosophical work differently in light of his undergraduate thesis?

The answer depends in part upon who "we" are. Among scholars of religious ethics, Rawls is often read as defending a thoroughly secular liberalism. That he defends secular liberalism, and does not systematically engage religion in his published works, is thought to show that he is dismissive of it or antagonistic toward it. Furthermore, his dismissal of or antagonism toward religion is assumed to be rooted in his ignorance of it. A Brief Inquiry definitively refutes the charges of ignorance and dismissal. "On My Religion" puts to rest the charge of antagonism. Acquittal of these charges clears the way for a much more sympathetic reception of Rawls's work by religious ethicists who were previously suspicious or hostile.[8]

What publication of the thesis offers all readers of Rawls -- and not just religious ethicists -- is a helpful corrective to some common interpretive errors. The Rawls of Theory of Justice is sometimes read as having ranged widely if not self-indulgently over problems in ethics that are only loosely connected to political philosophy, especially in Theory of Justice, Part III. Moreover, some readings of Rawls's move from Theory of Justice to Political Liberalism treat that move less as a transition than as a rupture caused by a fundamental shift of concern. Together, these two readings suggest that Rawls produced a body of work that, while hardly incoherent, lacks a unity of focus and underlying motivation. Those who read Rawls's work this way may find their reading reinforced by the addition of A Brief Inquiry to Rawls's corpus, since his political philosophy seems quite far removed from the self-described religious orthodoxy and evident piety of the senior thesis.

I believe, on the contrary, that Rawls maintained a disciplined focus on a few questions he took to be central. Continuities of concern and motivation tie his mature work together, and -- as Nagel and Cohen stress in their introduction and as Adams argues in his essay -- there are marked continuities between that work and A Brief Inquiry. Moreover, once we identify claims in Rawls's later work that are continuous with views he held very early on, we will be drawn to readings of justice as fairness that give those claims an importance or centrality they might not otherwise seem to have had. In this way, at least, A Brief Inquiry promises to change how Rawls is sometimes read and to blunt criticisms that are sometimes made.

Highly recommended.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

G.A. Cohen

I was on vacation and away from blogging access when I received the sad news of G.A. Cohen's sudden passing. I seem to be among the few practicing political theorists who had never met him-- he was twice away from Oxford when I happened to be coming through to give a paper, and his last visitorship at McGill was five years before my arrival, though we had been in intermittent touch about bringing him back for a semester in the next few years. Given the tremendous personal presence described by his friends, students, and colleagues, I'm sorry not to have had the chance. In any case, I have nothing of personal note to add to the touching remembrances many have already posted. (See Chris Bertram, his roundup of others' notes, this delightful one from Chris Brooke, Jo Wolff, etc.)

But the following paragraph seemed to me to warrant highlighting here:

Like his immediate predecessor as the Chichele Professor of Social and Political Theory at the University of Oxford, Gerald Allan Cohen was born and educated in Montreal [indeed, both received BAs from McGill-- JTL]. There, the similarities end. Charles Taylor embodied the two founding cultures of his home city, French and Scottish, while Cohen recalled that he was 10 years old before he realised that there were some people who were neither Jews nor communists.

Cohen wrote of his "Montreal Communist Jewish childhood" in If You're An Egalitarian, How Come You're So Rich?, a partly-autobiographical work from 2006 that explores the roots of his own egalitarian commitments. In it he noted the complex place of McGill in the social world of his childhood: an object of "widespread hope and expectation," but also one to which Jewish children were taught "we would gain admission[...] only if we scored rather better than the minimum required for non-Jews," even years after McGill's "delicate discrimination" against Jews had ceased.

That reminds me to link again to Judith Shklar's autobiographical essay, and her remarks about her own undergraduate days at McGill-- when the discrimination was still in full force.

I do not look back fondly to my college days at McGill University either. That may have something to do with the then-prevailing entrance rules: 750 points for Jews and 600 for everyone else. Nor was it an intellectually exciting institution, but at least when I arrived there, just before my 17th birthday, I was lucky to be in the same class as many ex-servicemen, whose presence made for an unusually mature and serious student body. And compared to school it was heaven. Moreover, it all worked out surprisingly well for me. I met my future husband and was married at the end of my junior year, by far the smartest thing I ever did. And I found my vocation.

Originally I had planned to major in a mixture of philosophy and economics, the rigor of which attracted me instantly. But when I was required to take a course in money and banking it became absolutely obvious to me that I was not going to be a professional economist. Philosophy was, moreover, mainly taught by a dim gentleman who took to it because he had lost his religious faith. I have known many confused people since I encountered this poor man, but nobody quite as utterly unfit to teach Plato or Descartes. Fortunately for me I was also obliged to take a course in the history of political theory taught by an American, Frederick Watkins. After two weeks of listening to this truly gifted teacher I knew what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. If there was any way of making sense of my experiences and that of my particular world, this was it.

Watkins was a remarkable man, as the many students whom he was to teach at Yale can testify. He was an exceptionally versatile and cultivated man and a more than talented teacher. He not only made the history of ideas fascinating in his lectures, but he also somehow conveyed the sense that nothing could be more important. I also found him very reassuring. For in many ways, direct and indirect, he let me know that the things I had been brought up to care for, classical music, pictures, literature, were indeed worthwhile, and not my personal eccentricities. His example, more than anything overtly said, gave me a great deal of self-confidence, and I would have remembered him gratefully, even if he had not encouraged me to go on to graduate school, to apply to Harvard, and then to continue to take a friendly interest in my education and career. It is a great stroke of luck to discover one’s calling in one’s late teens, and not everyone has the good fortune to meet the right teacher at the right time in her life, but I did, and I have continued to be thankful for the education that he offered me so many years ago.