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Philosophy and Public Policies

Monday, April 3rd, 7:00 p.m., Federated Church, Morris
Christine Koggel, Bryn Mawr College 
“Empowering Women in a Globalized World” (on-line flyer)

Many development thinkers have come to agree that development projects ought to be empowering for people meant to benefit from them. However, while some theorists are aware that gender norms, values, and practices in particular contexts need to be taken into account when devising policies for empowering women, they are less aware of the impact of the global on the local. In this paper, I argue that both local and global factors and the intersections of them in specific contexts need to be taken into account in a proper assessment of policies designed to empower women. Having a job, for example, is generally thought to enhance agency, but whether women are empowered depends on factors such as whether entrenched gender norms at the local level are used by global corporations to recruit women into jobs with low pay, no say about conditions of work, double work shifts, and inferior or no childcare options.

Dr. Koggel will also present a paper, “Globalization and Inequality: a Feminist Perspective”, at 2:30 p.m. Monday, April 3rd in the Prairie Lounge of the Student Center (UMM). All are cordially invited.

These lectures are made possible by a grant from the Minnesota Humanities Commission in cooperation with the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Office of the Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs and Dean, UMM.

Tuesday, November 1st 2005, 7:00 p.m. Newman Center, Morris
Edward A. Langerak, St. Olaf College 
“Politics and the Free Exercise of Religion”

If my deeply held religious convictions are not merely private preferences but have definite implications for my political choices, then to discourage my appealing to them in my political advocacy and voting seems to rub against my first amendment right to free exercise of religion. But if I and my co-believers vote our religious convictions into coercive law, that seems to invite something like the establishment of religion, forbidden by the first amendment. Arguments supported by philosopher John Rawls are often claimed to grasp the first horn of this dilemma, while arguments by the religious right are often charged with grasping the second horn. Recent defenses and critiques of Rawls suggest a possible convergence in this debate.

Thursday, February 9th, 7:00 p.m., First Lutheran Church, Morris
Chris Eberle, U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis
“Religion, Pacifism and Political Restraint”

Many believe that citizens and legislators should not make political decisions solely on religious grounds. That 'doctrine of restraint' is normally construed as a general constraint on religious arguments: an exclusively religious rationale as such is an inappropriate basis for a political decision, particularly a coercive political decision. But none of the most common arguments for the doctrine of restraint are successful. This is particularly apparent when we apply those arguments to pacifists who rely solely on their religious beliefs as a basis for denying that the state may use lethal force. [Please, note that the title and topic of this lecture have been changed from previous announcements.