LAWRENCE — Ann Cudd, a University Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, and associate dean of humanities in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Kansas, will present her inaugural lecture, “Justice and Freedom: A Cooperative Venture for Mutual Advantage,” at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 17, at the Big XII Room in the Kansas Union. The event is free and open to the public.
Cudd’s research focuses on liberalism and the nature of freedom and oppression, and seeks to integrate social science research with timeless ethical and political questions.
Her lecture will expand on her idea that capitalism and competition are paths to justice and freedom. The success of either depends on the cooperation of individuals to play by the same rules grounded in a shared sense of morality. If there are rules in place and they allow all a fair chance at prosperity, then individuals as well as the society overall will benefit. If there are no rules, or the rules oppress a group of people, the result is negative not just for excluded individuals but the society as well.
“The question I have been most interested in is what makes individual human lives go well or go badly,” Cudd said. “Freedom and justice are the positive ends we seek, but we face major obstacles to achieving these in the form of oppression and deprivation.”
Cudd has been at KU since 1988. She also teaches in the Department of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies, where she was director from 2001 to 2008 and was instrumental in developing its graduate program. She has served as associate dean for the humanities in the College since 2008.
She has held fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Hall Center for the Humanities, and was inducted into the KU Women’s Hall of Fame. She is also a recipient of a W.T. Kemper Fellowship for Teaching Excellence and served on the executive committee of the Center for Teaching Excellence from 2002 to 2010.
Cudd has published more than 40 philosophical articles on topics ranging from the nature of rationality to sports metaphors. She is the co-author of “Capitalism For and Against: A Feminist Debate, “ published in 2011 by Cambridge University Press, and author of “Analyzing Oppression,” published in 2006 by Oxford University Press, which was awarded the 2007 Byron Caldwell Smith Award.
The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences is KU’s broadest, most diverse academic unit. The College encourages learning without boundaries in its more than 50 departments, programs and centers. Through innovative research and teaching, the College emphasizes interdisciplinary education, global awareness and experiential learning.