Prof. Martha Nussbaum to deliver Jefferson Lecture on May 1

Prof. Martha C. Nussbaum will deliver the Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities on May 1 at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. Her talk, “Powerlessness and the Politics of Blame,” will begin at 6:30 p.m. CST and will be webcast by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

In her speech, Nussbaum, the Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics, will draw on her years of work on the role of emotion in politics to explore the emotional dynamics at play in American and other societies today—including the ways in which uncertainty leads to the blaming of outsider groups.

The lecture, established by the NEH in 1972, is the highest honor the federal government bestows for distinguished intellectual achievement in the humanities. Previous speakers include jurist and law professor Paul Freund, writer Saul Bellow, historian Henry Louis Gates Jr., literary critic Helen Vendler and filmmaker Martin Scorsese.