Whitworth Communications

For Immediate Release

October 25, 2002

Noted Ethicist and Political Philosopher Jean Bethke Elshtain
to Lecture at Whitworth on International Justice

Dr. Jean Bethke Elshtain, the Laura Spelman Rockefeller Professor of Social and Political Ethics at University of Chicago, will present Whitworth College's 2002-03 Simpson-Duvall Lecture on Thursday, Nov. 7, at 7:30 p.m. in Seeley Mudd Chapel on campus. One of the country's leading public intellectuals and political philosophers, Bethke Elshtain will lecture on the topic "Using Force on Behalf of Our Neighbors." The lecture is free and open to the public. For more information, please call (509) 777-4433.

Bethke Elshtain is the author of numerous books, including Just War Against Terror: The Burden of American Power in a Violent World (Basic Books, 2003), Real Politics: Political Theory and Everyday Life (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997), and Women and War (Basic Books, 1987). As a noted ethicist, she researches and presents lectures on the connections between Americans' political and ethical convictions.

"I have long argued in my work that moral imperatives are not so many nice-sounding nostrums that we can simply ignore when the chips are down in favor of hard-headed evocations of national interest but, instead, that ethical considerations are a constitutive feature of American national interest," Bethke Elshtain says. "It is in our long-term national interest to foster and to sustain an international society of equal regard."

Calling democracy a long-term goal, Bethke Elshtain notes "stopping brutality and arbitrary violence, including the growth of terrorism and what Michael Ignatieff (director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard) has dubbed 'apocalyptic nihilism,' is both a strategic necessity and a moral requirement of the highest priority for the short term."

Bethke Elshtain is the author of more than 400 essays published in scholarly and civic opinion journals and 175 book reviews. She is also a contributing editor to The New Republic and has been a guest lecturer at numerous universities in the United States and abroad. A former fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton; scholar-in-residence at the Rockefeller Bellagio Conference and Study Center in Como, Italy; and Guggenheim Fellow, Bethke Elshtain currently serves as chair of the Council on Families in America and is co-director of the recently established Pew Forum on Religion and American Public Life.

Bethke Elshtain earned her undergraduate degree from Colorado State University and her master's degree in history as a Woodrow Wilson Fellow; she holds a Ph.D. in politics from Brandeis University. She was a faculty member at the University of Massachusetts/Amherst from 1973-88, after which she joined the faculty of Vanderbilt University as the first woman to hold an endowed professorship in the history of that institution. She was appointed to her current position at the University of Chicago in 1995, and she has been a visiting professor at Oberlin College, Yale University, and Harvard University.The recipient of seven honorary degrees, Bethke Elshtain was elected a fellow of The American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1996.

The Simpson-Duvall Lectureship honors two of Whitworth's most distinguished professors: Dr. Clarence Simpson, professor of English from 1953 to 1980, and Dr. R. Fenton Duvall, professor of history from 1949 to 1981.

The annual lectureship is held in appreciation for Simpson's and Duvall's years of commitment and contribution to Whitworth College; it continues, in their spirit, to enrich the college community. The lecture is held once each calendar year, and topics alternate between the disciplines of history and English.


Dale Soden, professor of politics and history, Whitworth College, (509) 777-4433 or dsoden@whitworth.edu.

Julie Riddle, public information specialist, Whitworth College, (509) 777-3729 or jriddle@whitworth.edu.

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