Quinnipiac University

Stiernotte Lecture

Yale University Professor Seyla Benhabib will present the 33rd annual Alfred P. Stiernotte Lecture, “Reflections on Hannah Arendt's ‘The Right to have Rights:’ On Migrants and Refugees in Political Thought,” at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 14, in the Mount Carmel Auditorium at Quinnipiac University, 275 Mount Carmel Ave.


“We are lucky to have Seyla Benhabib as our speaker this year, when the intellectual climate of the country and the world is responding to current events and crises,” said Anat Biletzki, the Schweitzer Professor of Philosophy at Quinnipiac. “Professor Benhabib is an exemplary thinker who can make us think productively about both theory and practice in these troubled times.”


The lecture is free and open to the public.


In the early decades of the 21st century, exile, statelessness and migration have emerged as universal experiences of humanity. In 2016, 65.6 million people were displaced by conflict, violence, economic and ecological disasters. Migrants and refugees have not been the topic of much attention either in philosophy or political theory. An outstanding exception is Hannah Arendt who, in 1951, devoted a famous discussion to the conditions of refugees and stateless persons and formulated the phrase “the right to have rights” to capture the ethical and political dilemmas of their situation. This lecture will focus on her thought in the light of developments in international law since World War II.


Benhabib, born in Istanbul, Turkey, is the Eugene Meyer Professor of Political Science and Philosophy at Yale University and was director of its program in ethics, politics and economics from 2002 to 2008. Benhabib is the recipient of the Ernst Bloch prize for 2009 (one of Germany’s most prestigious philosophical prizes) and of the Leopold Lucas Prize from the Theological Faculty of the University of Tubingen for 2012.  She was the president of the Eastern Division of the American Philosophical Association in 2006-07 and has been a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences since 1995. She has previously taught at the New School for Social Research and Harvard University, where she was professor of government from 1993-2000 and chair of Harvard’s Program on Social Studies from 1996-2000. A Guggenheim Fellowship recipient (2011-12), she has been research affiliate and senior scholar in many institutions in the US and in Europe such as Berlin’s Wissenschaftskolleg (2009) and the NYU Strauss Center for the Study of Law and Justice (2012).


Benhabib has written several books, most recently “The Claims of Culture: Equality and Diversity in the Global Era” (2002), “The Rights of Others: Aliens, Citizens and Residents” (2004), “Dignity in Adversity: Human Rights in Troubled Times” (2011), and her forthcoming “Playing Chess with History: Exile, Statelessness, Migration from Hannah Arendt to Isaiah Berlin” (2018). Her work has been translated into German, Spanish, French, Italian, Turkish, Swedish, Russian, Serbo-Croatian, Hebrew, Japanese and Chinese. She also has edited and coedited 10 volumes on topics ranging from democracy and difference to feminism as critique; the communicative ethics controversy; identities, allegiances and affinities.


The Stiernotte lecture series is named in honor of the late Alfred P. Stiernotte, who initiated the teaching of philosophy at Quinnipiac more than 50 years ago, and has been funded largely from an endowment provided by his estate. The lecture is traditionally one of the first academic events of the year.


For more information, call (203) 582-8652.


Thursday, September 14, 2017 at 5:00pm to 7:00pm

Center for Communications and Engineering, CCE 101 Mt. Carmel Auditorium (LC 218)