“Democracy and Human Dignity”
Dr. Jean Bethke Elshtain
Laura Spelman Rockefeller Professor of Social and Political Ethics
University of Chicago Divinity School
Jean Bethke Elshtain is widely recognized as one of America’s most influential public intellectuals. A political philosopher interested in the connections between our political and ethical convictions, Professor Elshtain is the author of many books, including Public Man, Private Woman: Women in Social Thought (1981); Women and War (1987); Democracy on Trial (1995); Augustine and the Limits of Politics (1996); Jane Addams and the Dream of American Democracy (2001); and, most recently, Just War Against Terror: The Burden of American Power in a Violent World (2003). In addition to her book-length studies, Professor Elshtain is also the author of more than five-hundred essays in scholarly journals and journals of civic opinion, and she currently serves as a contributing editor for The New Republic.
A native of northern Colorado, Professor Elshtain received her Ph.D. from Brandeis University and held teaching positions at the University of Massachusetts–Amherst and Vanderbilt University before taking her current position at the University of Chicago Divinity School in 1995. She has been a Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton; a Scholar in Residence at the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Conference and Study Center, Como, Italy; and a Guggenheim Fellow. She currently serves on boards of the National Humanities Center, the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke, and the National Endowment for Democracy, and in 2003–04 she held the prestigious Maguire Chair in American History and Ethics at the Library of Congress.
About The J. Roderick Davis Lectures
J. Roderick Davis is a 1958 graduate of Samford University (then Howard College). After graduation, he received advanced degrees in English and theology from Boston, Yale, and Columbia universities, followed by more than two decades of teaching in universities in New Jersey and New York. In 1990, he was chosen by his alma mater to come back as the Dean of Samford’s Howard College of Arts and Sciences. In his eleven years in that office, he helped enlarge the College faculty by thirty percent, created individual departments in Geography, Political Science, Philosophy, and Classics, and directed the streamlining and re-focusing of the university’s nationally-recognized core curriculum.
When Dean Davis retired from his office in 2001, his colleagues decided to honor him by establishing a lecture series in his name that would bring to campus recognized scholars and activists in areas of interest to students in the Arts and Sciences.
Previous Davis Lecturers and topics include:
2007 - Walter Isaacson, President and CEO, the Aspen Institute, Author, Einstein: His Life and Universe: "Einstein's Creativity"
2006 – Dr. Juan Hernandez, President, Organization for Hispanic Advancement: “The New American Pioneers: Why Are We Afraid of Mexican Immigrants?”
2005 – Dr. Fawaz A. Gerges, Professor of International Affairs and Middle Eastern Studies at Sarah Lawrence College: “The Far Enemy: How and Why Jihad Went Global”
2004 – Dr. Jean Bethke Elshtain, Professor of Social and Political Ethics at the University of Chicago Divinity School: “Democracy and Human Dignity”
2003 – Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach, Director of the National Cancer Institute: “The Future of Cancer: Progress with a Purpose”
2002 – Susan Eisenhower, President of the Eisenhower Institute: “Leadership in Conflict”