Podcast: Conference on the ‘Historical Rawls’

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    Sophie Smith and Teresa M. Bejan

2017 marks fifteen years since the death of John Bordley Rawls (1921-2002), author of a Theory of JusticePolitical Liberalism, and The Law of Peoples. As a professor of Philosophy at Harvard, Rawls fundamentally transformed the discipline of political theory, and yet the nature—and the effects—of that transformation remain hotly contested. In Oxford, where Rawls’s influence is particularly strong, the tension has been framed as a commitment to contemporary normative theory in an analytic vein, over and against the history of political thought.  Now that Rawls is, himself, an unquestionably historical figure, this conference revisits the question of his impact on the discipline and political theory at Oxford in particular—both in its defining preoccupations and approach.

This one-day conference on ‘The Historical Rawls’ brought together scholars across the disciplines of political theory, philosophy, history, African American studies, and theology to discuss Rawls, the man and his seminal contributions in context, while reflecting more broadly on the Rawlsian legacy for how political theory is understood and practiced today.

Speakers: Teresa M. Bejan, Sophie Smith

Dr Sophie Smith is Associate Professor of Political Theory and Tutorial Fellow, University CollegeDr Teresa M. Bejan is Associate Professor of Political Theory