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12-06-2018 Michael Goodhart

Title: "Political Theory for the Real World"

Presenter: Michael Goodhart Professor of Political Science at University of Pittsburgh and author of Injustice: Political Theory for the Real World (Oxford 2018)

Abstract: Professor Goodhart will speak about his new book, Injustice: Political Theory for the Real World. The book challenges the conventional approach to problems of injustice in global normative theory, offering a radical alternative designed to transform our thinking about what kind of problem injustice is and to show how political theorists might do better in understanding and addressing it. It argues that the dominant paradigm, ideal moral theory (IMT), takes a fundamentally wrong-headed approach to injustice. At the same time, leading alternatives to IMT struggle to make sense of the role values play in politics and abandon political theory's critical and prescriptive aspirations. Goodhart treats justice claims as ideological and develops an innovative bifocal theoretical framework for making sense of them. This framework reconciles realistic political analysis with substantive normative commitments, enabling theorists to come to grips with injustice as a political rather than a philosophical problem. This framework reframes our thinking about the work that political theory and political theorists can do to combat injustice. Goodhart illustrates the key arguments through a novel reconceptualization of responsibility for injustice.

Bio: Michael Goodhart is Professor of Political Science, and he holds secondary appointments in Philosophy and in Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies. He is Director of the Global Studies Center at Pitt and a University Honors College Faculty Fellow. His current research focuses on questions to do with global injustice and responsibility for injustice and in the ways in which political theorists think about these problems. He is also interested in human rights praxis as a form of counter-hegemonic politics under neoliberalism. His core intellectual interests are in the theory and practice of democracy and human rights in the context of globalization and in related questions concerning global justice, democratic governance, and political responsibility at the transnational level. Dr. Goodhart is author of Injustice: Political Theory for the Real World (Oxford 2018), Democracy as Human Rights: Freedom and Equality in the Age of Globalization (Routledge, 2005), contributing editor of Human Rights: Politics and Practice (Oxford University Press, 2009, 2012, 2016), and contributing co-editor of Social Movements and World-System Transformation (Routledge 2017) and Human Rights in the 21st Century: Continuity and Change since 9/11 (Palgrave, 2011). He is also author of numerous articles and book chapters. Dr. Goodhart is co-president of the Association for Political Theory; he is an affiliate of the Human Rights Institute at the University of Connecticut, a member of the Center for Ethics and Policy at Carnegie Mellon University, and sits on several editorial boards. In 2008-2009 he was an Alexander von Humboldt Foundation research fellow and Guest Professor in the Hertie School of Governance, Berlin.