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Liberty, Equality, and Justice: Philosophical Problems in Domestic and Global Contexts

Summer Seminars and Institutes for College and University Teachers

Postmark Deadline: March 1, 2012

“Liberty, Equality, and Justice in National and International Contexts” is a four-week college and university faculty seminar for sixteen participants examining the meanings of liberty, equality, and justice, and the ways in which these concepts should be applied within and between nations. The seminar seeks to explore liberal democratic conceptions of justice, in terms of how states should treat their own citizens, but also in terms of how they should interact with other states and the citizens of other states. The seminar discusses the following questions in its four week period: Does justice demand liberal democracy? What are the arguments against liberal conceptions of liberty, equality, and justice? What role should the values of liberty, equality, and justice play in shaping the world order of the twenty-first century?  What responsibilities do citizens of wealthy countries have to assist the world’s poor? Seminar readings are drawn from the work of prominent philosophers, political scientists, legal theorists, and economists such as Charles Beitz, Jürgen Habermas, Thomas Nagel, and Michael Walzer.  In addition to taking on the common readings, seminar participants pursue individual research projects or teaching plans. Seminar director Christopher Wellman is a professor of philosophy at Washington University whose books include A Theory of Secession: The Case for Political Self-Determination.  Co-director Andrew Altman is a professor of philosophy at Georgia State University, whose books include Critical Legal Studies: A Liberal Critique as well as A Liberal Theory of International Justice, co-written with Wellman, and included among the assigned readings.  Each week includes a guest speaker, philosophers who teach at the University of Michigan (Elisabeth Anderson), the University of Washington (Michael Blake), Duke University (Allen Buchanan), and the University of Pennsylvania (Samuel Freeman).

Dates: June 4-29 (4 weeks)
Grantee Institutions: Washington University, St. Louis
Location: St. Louis, MO

About NEH Summer Seminars and Institutes for College and University Teachers

Each year the NEH’s Division of Education Programs offers teachers opportunities to study a variety of humanities topics in Summer Seminars and Institutes. Each NEH Summer Seminar includes sixteen participants working in collaboration with one or two leading scholars. Participants have access to a major research collection, with time reserved to pursue individual projects.

Amount of Award

NEH Summer Scholars are awarded fixed stipends to help cover travel costs, books and other research expenses, and living expenses. Stipend amounts are based on the length of the NEH Summer Seminar or Institute: $2,100 (2 weeks), $2,700 (3 weeks), $3,300 (4 weeks), $3,900 (5 weeks), or $4,500 (6 weeks).


NEH Summer Seminars and Institutes are designed primarily for teachers of American undergraduate students. Qualified independent scholars and those employed by museums, libraries, historical societies, and other organizations may be eligible to compete provided they can effectively advance the teaching and research goals of the project.

You may request information about as many projects as you like, but you may apply to no more than two NEH Summer Programs (seminars, institutes, or Landmarks workshops) and you may attend only one.

Please note:

Adjunct faculty, community college faculty and first-time participants are encouraged to apply.

Up to two seminar spaces and three institute spaces are reserved for current full-time graduate students in the humanities.

How to Apply

For more information and application instructions, please visit the program website listed above.