Upcoming public lectures to provide context around civility; civic engagement

October 15, 2020

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly listed the date of the Michael Sandel lecture. Please note this lecture will be presented at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 28.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The Center for Character, Conscience, and Public Purpose, a unit of Penn State Student Affairs, will host two virtual public lectures in the coming weeks aimed to promote dialogue around civility, political polarization and the importance of civic engagement in response to the upcoming general election. 

Noah Feldman  - 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 20: Harvard law professor and Bloomberg opinion columnist, Noah Feldman, will present “The General Election and Civic Engagement.” The talk will focus on the deep polarization of our country in response to recent political events including the recent Supreme Court confirmation hearings and the upcoming election. Feldman will use these events to illustrate that civic engagement and integrity are values and ethical duties that allow our democracy to function. More information about the lecture, including a link to register can be found here.

Feldman is the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and a Senior Fellow of the Society of Fellows at Harvard. He serves as the director of the Julis-Rabinowitz Program on Jewish and Israeli Law at Harvard Law. Feldman is known for his ability to explain complex legal issues and their implications for everyday life and speaks widely on topics including international affairs, ethics and civility, the founding fathers, social media, content governance and free speech. 

Michael Sandel  - 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 28: Harvard political philosopher and bestselling author, Michael Sandel, will present “What’s Become of Civility and the Common Good?” The lecture will explore why politics today has become so bitter and partisan and what we can do to restore civility within our politics and democracy. In this time, marked by the intersection of the COVID crisis and the general election, how can we bring forth a politics of the common good? More information about the lecture, including a link to register can be found here.

Sandel is the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Professor of Government at Harvard University. His legendary course “Justice” was the first Harvard course to be made freely available online and on television.  It has been viewed by tens of millions of people, both in the United State and abroad. Additionally, Sandel has authored New York Times bestsellers "Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do?" and "What Money Can’t Buy." Sandel specializes in challenging audiences to examine the ethical dilemmas we confront in politics, business, and our everyday lives.

Event and registration information 

Both the Noah Feldman and Michael Sandel lectures are free and open to all Penn State students, staff, and faculty members, as well members of the general public. Participation is capped, and therefore, advanced registration is required. Priority registration will be given to members of the Penn State community. A registration confirmation will be emailed prior to the event to confirm participation.

About The Center for Character, Conscience and Public Purpose

The Center for Character, Conscience and Public Purpose, promotes the development of ethical leadership and civic learning among Penn State’s students through reflection, dialogue and action. Through a variety of programs and services, the center prepares students for lives of thoughtful and committed ethical leadership in the advancement of the public good and a sustainable and successful democracy.

Last Updated October 26, 2020