Private Injustice: Enlarging the Boundary of Justice
From Ms Ann SHEN _
Date: 26th September 2019
Location: Ngee Ann Kongsi Auditorium
Time: 5:30pm to 7:00pm
How does private injustice, the injuries that individuals and private, non-state actors inflict on each other, affect social harmony and how should we deal with them? Prof Sonu Bedi, Joel Parker 1811 Professor in Law and Political Science and Associate Professor of Government, Dartmouth College, explores this in his lecture on 26 September 2019 (Thursday) at SMU Ngee Ann Kongsi Auditorium on Private injustice: enlarging the boundary of justice, drawing from his forthcoming book titled Private Racism.
The collective wellbeing, happiness and suffering of the nation is built on the ideals of mutual respect of each other regardless of race and ethnicity. This lecture examines the issues around racial harmony and private justice. We usually think that justice is about what the government or the state must do. The government should not discriminate on the basis of race. The government should help those who are economically disadvantaged. This much we know and agree on.
This lecture enlarges the boundary of justice beyond the state. It argues that justice is also about what individuals should do. In Singapore, for example, the enactment of the Maintenance of Parents Act in 1996 indicates that there is a strong societal consensus that parents should have a legal channel to seek maintenance from their offspring if they are unable to provide for themselves. In other words, the state recognizes private injustice and offers are remedy for it.
This lecture will discuss two analogous kinds of private injustice: private racism and private economic injustice. Private racism occurs when individuals not affiliated with the government or the state discriminate on the basis of race. Private economic injustice occurs when such individuals make decisions that do not help the economically disadvantaged. If we are to aspire to a more just society, it is critical that we enlarge the boundary of justice beyond what government does or does not do, by addressing the racism and economic injustice that happen in our private, not just public lives.
Professor Sonu Bedi
Sonu Bedi is the Joel Parker 1811 Professor in Law and Political Science, associate professor of Government and the Hans '80 and Kate Morris Director of the Ethics Institute at Dartmouth College where he has been teaching since January 2007. He is the author of three books, including Rejecting Rights (Cambridge, 2009) and Beyond Sex, Race, and Sexual Orientation (Cambridge, 2013), and over a dozen peer-reviewed articles and law reviews. His research is in the areas of contemporary political theory and law. He was awarded the Jerome Goldstein Award for Distinguished Teaching (twice), chosen by a vote of the class of 2014 and the class of 2017 of Dartmouth College. His lecture will draw from his forthcoming book titled Private Racism.
Professor Elvin Lim
Elvin Lim is Dean of the Core Curriculum, Professor of Political Science, and Director of the Wee Kim Wee Centre at SMU. He held faculty positions previously at the National University of Singapore, and Wesleyan University in the United States. He is the author of The Lovers’ Quarrel: The Two Foundings and American Political Development (Oxford, 2014) and The Anti-intellectual Presidency (Oxford, 2008) and his research has been cited in Bloomberg, The Boston Globe, Forbes, The Guardian, The Huffington Post, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and other venues.
About Big Questions
Big Questions will rotate through a different annual theme, or a major challenge that humanity faces, broadly defined as a thesis and its (seeming) antithesis. Students will explore different aspects of the theme of the year through a multidisciplinary lens through regular seminars, a specially curated field-trip to a National Heritage Board site, and public lectures delivered by prominent scholars.