Renowned legal philosopher to visit Victoria University of Wellington

The Faculty of Law is delighted to host the distinguished American legal philosopher Professor Martha C. Nussbaum for its annual Borrin Lecture in June.

philosopher Professor Martha C. Nussbaum

Professor Nussbaum is currently the Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics at the University of Chicago, appointed in the Law School and Philosophy Department. She has previously taught at Harvard University, Brown University and Oxford University.

Professor Nussbaum has written extensively on topics including animal rights, sexuality, disability and social justice. Her books include Sex and Social Justice (1998), Women and Human Development (2000), Frontiers of Justice: Disability, Nationality, Species Membership (2006), Not for Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanities (2010), The New Religious Intolerance: Overcoming the Politics of Fear in an Anxious Age (2012), and Anger and Forgiveness: Resentment, Generosity, Justice (2016).

Her lecture in Wellington is entitled ‘Anger, Powerlessness, and the Politics of Blame’. She will discuss “the climate of simmering anger that disfigures most modern democracies, expressing itself in blaming and targeting of unpopular groups”.

Among her many international awards are the Grawemeyer Award in Education (2002), the Centennial Medal of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University (2010), the Prince of Asturias Prize in the Social Sciences (2012), the American Philosophical Association's Philip Quinn Prize (2015), the Kyoto Prize in Arts and Philosophy (2016), and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ Don M. Randel Award for Achievement in the Humanities (2018).

Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Dean of Law Professor Mark Hickford says Professor Nussbaum’s visit is a coup for Victoria University.

“Professor Nussbaum is an intellectual luminary whose work spans legal philosophy, politics, ethics, psychology, and the very mechanisms that hold societies together—or cause their collapse.

“I very much look forward to hearing her insights on law, anger and powerlessness, which I’m sure will shed light on the complex and sometimes volatile world we currently live in.”

The Borrin Lecture is delivered in honour of the late Judge Ian Borrin, a Victoria University alumnus and major supporter of the University’s Law Review. Before his death in 2016, he established the Michael and Suzanne Borrin Foundation to support legal research, scholarship, writing and education in New Zealand.

Professor Nussbaum will deliver the 2018 Borrin Lecture on 21 June at Victoria University’s Law School.