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Shared Academic Experience: Class of 2024 and Transfer Students


Introduction

Each year, a member of the Dartmouth faculty is asked to curate a Shared Academic Experience to meaningfully engage incoming students and encourage community dialogue and personal reflection.

This year, Sonu Bedi, Joel Parker 1811 Professor in Law and Political Science, Professor of Government, and Hans '80 and Kate Morris Director of the Ethics Institute, will ask students to consider two prominent ways or methodologies of thinking about racial justice: an ideal society approach and an actual society approach.

As part of New Student Orientation, you will engage in the "Experience" through a Canvas website and webinar lecture. 


Lecture information

A Practice of Disagreement
Sunday, September 13, 2020 | 10:00 a.m. ET

Join your classmates and Professor Bedi from the Government Department for your first official lecture at Dartmouth.

Central to academic inquiry is a practice of disagreement. That practice is not a bug but a feature of scholarly work. This shared academic experience seeks to introduce you to this practice through a reading of Private Racism, a book that seeks to enlarge the boundary of racial justice by drawing on two prominent ways or methodologies of thinking about racial justice: an ideal society approach and an actual society approach.
In reading the book and answering the questions, the intention is to see how these methodologies generate both agreement and disagreement in political theory. In particular, you will apply that distinction to the case of casting racism. In doing so, you will see how our understanding of what a racially just casting process looks like depends on whether we adopt an ideal or actual society approach. We will explore this practice of disagreement together in the lecture and see it as a way of advancing our scholarly conversations about racial justice.


Background Information

From Professor Bedi

Central to academic inquiry is a practice of disagreement. That practice is not a bug but a feature of scholarly work. This Shared Academic Experience seeks to introduce you to this practice through a reading that is at the intersection of political theory, law, and race. You will read the Introduction, Chapters 1 and 2, and a chapter of your own choosing from Private Racism (Cambridge University Press, 2019). This book is about enlarging the boundary of racial justice by drawing on two prominent ways or methodologies of thinking about racial justice: an ideal society approach and an actual society approach.

In reading the book, the intention is to see how these methodologies generate both agreement and disagreement. In particular, you will apply that distinction to the case of casting racism. In doing so, you will see how our understanding of what a racially just casting process looks like depends on whether we adopt an ideal or actual society approach. Seeing this kind of methodological disagreement at work represents an important feature of our scholarly conversations.

My hope is that during this, our Shared Academic Experience, we can explore this practice of disagreement together and see it as a way of advancing our conversations about racial justice.


Biography

Sonu Bedi

Sonu Bedi has been teaching at Dartmouth since January 2007. He is the author of four books: Private Racism (Cambridge University Press 2019), Rejecting Rights (Cambridge University Press: 2009), Beyond Race, Sex, and Sexual Orientation: Legal Equality without Identity (Cambridge University Press: 2013), and Political Contingency (NYU Press: 2007) (co-editor). He has published articles in leading peer reviewed journals in political science and political theory as well in numerous law reviews. 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. His research interests are in the areas of contemporary political theory, constitutional law and theory, and race, law and identity. He holds a doctorate in political science from Yale and a law degree from Harvard Law School. He also worked as a litigation associate focusing on First Amendment law at Cahill, Gordon, and Reindel. He routinely teaches courses on constitutional law, civil liberties, legal theory, freedom of speech, and theories of justice.