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PRICE Event – Rethinking Democratic Equality, Jill Frank

The Politics of Race, Immigration, Class, and Ethnicity (PRICE) Initiative would like to invite you to the next meeting of our 2022-23 working group series. Our presenter will be Cornell's own Jill FrankProfessor and the Robert J. Katz Chair of the Department of Government


 "Rethinking Democratic Equality" 

  • Tuesday, April 18th, 2023 at 12-1:30 PM ET. 
  • MVR 1219 (Martha Van Rensselaer Hall). Lunch will be provided. 

Please register for the workshop here. A paper, which participants will be expected to have read, will be distributed to registered participants in the coming weeks.



Rethinking Democratic Equality 

 Influential strands in politics, philosophy, and law treat equality as a kind of sameness, given by nature, reason, or God, somehow inherent in human beings, sometimes from birth. Versions of this understanding of equality became fixtures in social contract theories of 17th-century Western political thought, were enshrined in 18th-20th century Declarations of rights, and in the 1776 US Declaration of Independence’s “self-evident” truth that “all men are created equal.” They appear, too, in abiding commitments among contemporary Anglo-American philosophers to equality as a deep, basic, moral given or fact. Recovering the ancient Greek distinction between arithmetic and geometric equality, Rethinking Democratic Equality explores the resonances between equality as a given sameness and arithmetic equality, and the relation of these to the current US Supreme Court majority’s jurisprudence of “colorblind equality.” Putting the account of geometric equality in the texts of Plato and Aristotle in conversation with dissenting Supreme Court opinions and contemporary political philosophy, the paper seeks to forge an understanding of equality that, unlike “colorblind equality,” can be accountable to the historical and ongoing effects of systemic racial inequality. This is an equality that is made not given, and dependent not on sameness but on differences (plural). 


Start Date: April 18, 2023
Start Time: 4:00 pm
Location: Martha Van Rensselaer Hall