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News & Events for the Smith College Community
Events April 2, 2021

Michael Sandel: ‘What’s Become of the Common Good?’

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Political philosopher Michael Sandel—a Harvard professor whose popular course on “Justice” has reached tens of millions of people on television and online—will deliver a Presidential Colloquium on “The Tyranny of Merit: What’s Become of the Common Good?” at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 20.

The virtual event, presented in collaboration with Smith’s upcoming Year on Democracies, is open to the public at no charge, and no tickets are required. Members of the campus community are invited to participate via Zoom; members of the general public may join via a livestream on Smith’s Facebook page.

About Michael Sandel

Michael Sandel teaches political philosophy at Harvard University. His writings—on justice, ethics, democracy and markets--have been translated into 27 languages. His “Justice” course is the first Harvard course to be made freely available online and on television. It has been viewed by tens of millions of people around the world, including in China, where China Newsweek named Sandel the “most influential foreign figure of the year.” 

Sandel’s books relate enduring themes of political philosophy to the most vexing moral and civic questions of our time. They include “What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets,” “Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do?,” “The Case against Perfection: Ethics in the Age of Genetic Engineering,” “Public Philosophy: Essays on Morality in Politics,”  “Democracy’s Discontent: America in Search of a Public Philosophy” and “Liberalism and the Limits of Justice.” 

Sandel has been a visiting professor at the Sorbonne, and delivered the Tanner Lectures on Human Values at Oxford, the BBC’s Reith Lectures, and the Kellogg Lecture on Jurisprudence at the U.S. Library of Congress. In 2016, East China Normal University (Shanghai) convened an international conference to explore points of contact between Sandel’s work and the Confucian tradition.

Sandel has sought to extend the reach of philosophy beyond the academy. His BBC Radio 4 series “The Public Philosopher” explores the philosophical ideas lying behind the headlines with audiences around the world. In a new BBC series, “The Global Philosopher,” Sandel leads video-linked discussions with participants from more than 30 countries on the ethical aspects of issues such as immigration and climate change. 

In the U.S., Sandel has served on the President’s Council on Bioethics and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. A graduate of Brandeis University, he received his doctorate from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar.

About Smith’s Presidential Colloquium Series

The Presidential Colloquium regularly features influential thought leaders in a wide range of fields—from poets and writers to economists and policy experts—to share their expertise, offer insights and inspire discourse on key social, political and global topics that call for our attention. Lectures are free and open to the public.

Remaining events in this year’s Presidential Colloquia will feature former San Juan, Puerto Rico, Mayor C. Yulín Cruz and scholar/activist Jennifer Ho. All events are virtual in 2021 and are open to the public at no charge; details and registration information are available online.