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The E. Maynard Adams Symposium on the Humanities

April 22, 2017 @ 9:00 am - 12:30 pm


Maynard Adams Symposium

The Maynard Adams Symposium for the Humanities: The Power of Emotions in Personal and Public Life

We are pleased to announce a new annual Symposium in honor of the distinguished UNC philosopher Maynard Adams (1919-2003).  This first “Adams Symposium” will feature a keynote address by Martha C. Nussbaum, the Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics at the University of Chicago and the recipient of the 2016 Kyoto Prize in Arts and Philosophy—which is often called the “Nobel Prize” of philosophy.

Professor Nussbaum is a prominent advocate for the essential role of the humanities in democratic societies and an expert on the connections between human emotions, philosophical traditions, and social justice. She is thus an ideal speaker to launch a new Symposium that honors one of Carolina’s leading proponents of humanistic knowledge and the enduring quest for a more humane world.

The 2017 Adams Symposium focuses on the power of anger and resentment in our private lives and public conflicts.  Why do people respond to injustices and betrayals with intense desires for “payback” or for the “status reduction” of wrongdoers?  Do such responses help or impede the development of better personal relationships and social justice?  How can anger be transformed into constructive transitions that serve future well-being rather than endless cycles of retribution and payback?  How do emotions affect our definitions of truth and justice?

These questions shape Professor Nussbaum’s influential analysis of human emotions; and they provide a framework for her lecture and for panel discussions in which UNC colleagues will respond to Professor Nussbaum’s ideas. Join the conversation as we examine the power of emotions and the creative transformation of anger in our private lives and public cultures.


Transforming Anger into Justice: Gandhi, King, Mandela

Martha C. Nussbaum, Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics, University of Chicago

Panel One: Dialogic Responses to Professor Nussbaum’s Views on Anger and Justice

Russ Shafer-Landau, Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Parr Center for Ethics

Eric L. Muller, Dan K. Moore Distinguished Professor of Law in Jurisprudence and Ethics

Kiran Bhardwaj, Maynard Adams Fellow for the Public Humanities, Royster Fellow, and PhD Candidate in Philosophy

Panel Two: Dialogic Responses to Professor Nussbaum’s Views on Anger and Justice

Susan Wolf, Edna J. Koury Distinguished Professor of Philosophy

Emily Burrill, Associate Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies and History; Director of African Studies Center

Jeff Sebo, Research Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Associate Director of the Parr Center for Ethics

Panel Three: Open Discussion with Professor Nussbaum, the Panelists and our Audience


The Symposium begins with Professor Nussbaum’s lecture and a public reception on Friday, April 21, 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. The panel sessions will take place on Saturday, April 22, 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The Adams Symposium is free, but seats are limited and registration is required on-line ( or by phone (919-962-1544).

To register for the April 21st event, complete this Google registration form.

To register for the April 22nd event, complete the Google registration form.


The Program in the Humanities thanks the Taylor Charitable Trust, the College of Arts and Sciences, the Philosophy Department, and The Center for Global Initiatives for generously supporting the Maynard Adams Symposium.


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301 Pittsboro Street
Chapel Hill, NC 27599 United States
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