Mudd Distinguished Lecturers

The annual Mudd Distinguished Lecture in Ethics brings to campus a prominent public intellectual to speak on an important issue of public or professional ethics.

2020 - 2021: Reuben Brigety

Reuben E. Brigety II is Vice Chancellor and President of the University of the South (Sewanee). From 2015 until 2020, he was Dean of the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University. He served for two years as the U.S. Ambassador to the African Union in the Obama Administration. In that role, he managed the strategic partnership between the U.S and the African Union with an emphasis on democracy and governance, economic growth, and development. Before his ambassadorship, he held a number of other positions in the Department of State and was Permanent Representative of the U.S. to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. President Brigety is a 1995 distinguished midshipman graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, where he earned a B.S. in political science (with merit). He holds an M.Phil. and Ph.D. in international relations from the University of Cambridge, England. His public lecture keynoting Washington and Lee's 2020-21 series on "Global Ethics in the 21st Century" was entitled "Black Lives Matter: An International Moment."

2019 - 2020: Josephine Johnston

Josephine Johnston is a bioethicist and lawyer at the Hastings Center, an independent bioethics research institute in Garrison, New York. Her expertise involves the ethical, legal, and policy implications of biomedical technologies, particularly as used in human reproduction, psychiatry, genetics, and neuroscience. She has published in such journals as the New England Journal of Medicine, Science, Nature, and Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics. Her other commentaries have appeared in Stat News, The New Republic, Time, Washington Post, and The Scientist. She is co-editor (with Thomas Murray) of Trust and Integrity in Biomedical Research: The Case of Financial Conflicts of Interest, published in 2010 by Johns Hopkins University Press and (with Erik Parens) of Human Flourishing in an Age of Gene Editing, published in 2019 by Oxford University Press. Her keynote address, "The Good Parent in an Age of Gene Editing: How Novel Genetic Technologies Challenge Parental Responsibility," will take place on Thursday, September 26, 2019 at 5:00 p.m. in Stackhouse Theater. A book signing will follow. The event is free and open to the public.

2018 - 2019: Kwame Anthony Appiah

Kwame Anthony Appiah is a Professor of Philosophy and Law at NYU. One of the leading public intellectuals of our time, Professor Appiah has written over a dozen books on topics ranging from cosmopolitanism, to the political morality of race, to the role of thought experiments in ethics. Professor Appiah currently writes “The Ethicist” column in the New York Times Magazine, and he has received numerous awards and honors for his work, including the National Humanities Medal in 2012. In his keynote lecture, he will address the issue of class, as he has written about in his new book, The Lies That Bind: Rethinking Identity (Liveright, 2018). He will also return to some of the themes he discussed in his award-winning book The Ethics of Identity (Princeton, 2005) and in his most recent BBC Reith Lectures on “Mistaken Identities.” His keynote address, "The Injuries of Class," will take place on Thursday, September 27, 2018 at 5:00 p.m. in Stackhouse Theater. The event is free and open to the public.

2017 - 2018: Tariq Ramadan

Tariq Ramadan is the HH Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani Professor of Contemporary Islamic Studies at Oxford University. A leading Muslim public intellectual, he has published over thirty books addressing the position of Muslims in the West and the Islamic revival in the Muslim world, including Islam: The Essentials (2017); The Arab Awakening: Islam and the New Middle East (2012); The Quest for Meaning: Developing a Philosophy of Pluralism (2010); What I Believe (2009); Radical Reform: Islamic Ethics and Liberation (2009); and Western Muslims and the Future of Islam (2005). His keynote address, "Equality as a Social Requirement and a Human Ideal," will take place on September 28, 2017 at 5:30 p.m. in Lee Chapel.  The event is free and open to the public.

2016 - 2017: Peter Singer

Peter Singer is the Ira W. DeCamp Professor of Bioethics at Princeton University and a Laureate Professor at the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics at the University of Melbourne. He specializes in applied ethics, and approaches ethical issues from a utilitarian standpoint. He first became well-known internationally after the publication of his book Animal Liberation in 1975, which is one of the intellectual foundations of the modern animal rights movement.  Since then he has written, co-authored, edited or co-edited more than 40 other books. His keynote address, "Permitting the Sale of Meat but not Kidneys or Sex? Some Questions about Markets and Morals" will take place on Thursday, October 6, 2016. The event is free and open to the public.

2015 - 2016: Danielle S. Allen

Danielle Allen is Professor of Government and Director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University. Widely known for her work on justice and citizenship in both ancient Athens and modern America, Allen is the author of The World of Prometheus: the Politics of Punishing in Democratic Athens (2000), Talking to Strangers: Anxieties of Citizenship since Brown vs. the Board of Education (2004), Why Plato Wrote (2010), and Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality (2014). Her keynote address for the Mudd Center's theme of "The Ethics of Citizenship" will take place on Thursday, September 24, 2015. The event is free and open to the public.

2014 - 2015: Charles Ogletree

Charles Ogletree is the Jesse Climenko Professor of Law and Founding and Executive Director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice at Harvard University. Professor Ogletree is a prominent legal theorist who has made an international reputation by taking a hard look at complex issues of law and by working to secure the rights guaranteed by the Constitution for everyone equally under the law. His talk, "My Brother's Keeper: Incarceration and African American Men," will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 1, at 4:30 p.m. in Lee Chapel. The event is free and open to the public.

2013 - 2014: Michael Ignatieff

Michael Ignatieff is a Canadian writer, teacher, and former politician who served in the Parliament of Canada and was Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada. He holds a joint professorial appointment at the Munk School of Global Affairs, Univeristy of Toronto and at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. He also holds the Centennial Chair at the Carnegie Council on Ethics and International Affairs in New York. He spoke to the W&L community on the ethical issues regarding involvement in Syria at the Mudd Center Inaugural Lecture on October 31, 2013.