September 28, 2015

Political philosopher to discuss Declaration of Independence at SVSU Fall Focus speaker series

Danielle Allen is a renowned political philosopher with the ability to connect audiences to complex ideas about democracy, citizenship and justice. In her book, “Our Declaration,” she explores the United States’ founding document and its relevance today. A bold, incisive speaker, Allen challenges audiences to look beyond what they think they already know.

Allen will share her story and her work as the second speaker in the 2015 Fall Focus Lecture Series at Saginaw Valley State University. She will give her presentation Tuesday, Sept. 29, at 7 p.m. in the Rhea Miller Recital Hall; her talk is titled “Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality.”

This year’s series has the theme of “Discovery!,” and features seven speakers who will talk about topics that both test historical narratives and illuminate issues that may shape the future. Eman Mohammed, the only female photographer in the Gaza Strip, was the first speaker in the series on Tuesday, Sept. 22.

In her Fall Focus presentation, Allen will delve into the history of democracy through the framework of the Declaration. She presents the text as a coherent and riveting argument about equality. Challenging so much of our conventional political wisdom, she makes the case that citizens can’t have freedom as individuals without equality among people. With cogent analysis and passionate advocacy, this talk examines the enduring significance of America’s founding text, attempting to reveal what democracy means and what it asks of its practitioners.

Allen was named the director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University and is a professor with the university's government department. She is a contributor to the United Kingdom’s Labour party policy review, is on the board of the Pulitzer Prize, and serves as a trustee at Princeton University. She worked on President Barack Obama's first presidential campaign.

All lectures in the Fall Focus series are open to the public; admission is free of charge. For more information on the series, visit svsu.edu/fallfocus.