Capen Lectures & Seminars

The Capen Chair sponsors a three-day seminar every Fall. It consists of three lectures delivered on subsequent days by a distinguished speaker who addresses important topics in philosophy and contemporary society.

In addition, the Chair sponsors other lectures by both established and younger scholars throughout the year to encourage the dialogue across disciplines and to maintain UB faculty and students up to date on recent developments.

The Capen Lectures are free and open to the public.




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Capen Lectures 2017

José Medina, Northwestern University

Organized by Jorge J. E. Gracia

José Medina's latest book, The Epistemology of Resistance: Gender and Racial Oppression, Epistemic Injustice, and Resistant Imagination, received the 2012 North-American Society for Social Philosophy Book Award.

Lecture 1.

Taking responsibility for racial violence: Shooting the racial imagination

September 26, 2017

Tuesday, 4:00 pm
640 Clemens Hall
UB North Campus

AUDIO: José Medina, Capen Lecture, September 26, 2017

AUDIO: José Medina, Q & A, September 26, 2017

Lecture 2.

Racist Propaganda and Epistemic Activism

September 27, 2017

Wednesday, 4:00 pm
640 Clemens Hall
UB North Campus

AUDIO: José Medina, Capen Lecture, September 27, 2017

AUDIO: José Medina, Q & A, September 27, 2017

José Medina

About the Speaker

José Medina
Walter Dill Scott Professor of Philosophy
Northwestern University Faculty Profile

Research Interests: Race and Gender Theory, Social and Political Philosophy, Social/Political Epistemology, and political topics in Philosophy of Language and Mind.

Recent Seminars: Hate Speech, Critical Race Theory, the Imagination, Meaning and Identity, Social Theories of Mind, Truth and Interpretation, and Wittgenstein.

Specializations: Race and Gender, Political Philosophy, Social Epistemology, and Philosophy of Language and Mind

Lecture sponsored by Minorities & Philosophy and the Capen Chair

Meena Krishnamurthy, University of Michigan

Organized by Harjeet Parmar

September 28, 2017

Thursday at 4:00 pm
106 Clemens Hall
UB North Campus

Meena Krishnamurthy

White Blindness

AUDIO: Meena Krishnamurthy, 9/28/2017

About the Speaker: Meena Krishnamurthy

At the most general level, Professor Krishnamurthy’s work addresses three questions: What are just political institutions? Why are current political institutions unjust? And, how ought we progress from unjust to just political institutions? Most of her research has focused on these questions as they relate to the practice of democracy both at the national and international level. Her early work argues that, because of the values of self-respect, autonomy, and ownership, just political institutions are those that are democratic. She also argues that current political institutions, such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, are unjust because they are undemocratic and also because they do not satisfy the basic demands of distributive justice. Her current work focuses on the question of what sorts of attitudes are necessary among citizens for the promotion of democracy. Building on the work of Martin Luther King Jr. and other radical political thinkers, she defends the non-standard view that distrust promotes (rather than undermines) democracy and, for this reason, is a morally valuable attitude.

Samuel P. Capen Chair Lectures on Race and Ethnicity

Stephanie Rivera Berruz

Organized by Jorge J. E. Gracia

October 11, 2017

Wednesday at 4:00 pm
640 Clemens Hall
UB North Campus

Stephanie Rivera Berruz

Writing Latinas into Philosophical History

AUDIO: Stephanie Rivera Berruz, 10/11/2017

About the Speaker

Stephanie Rivera Berruz
Assistant Professor, Philosophy
William Paterson University Faculty Profile 

Stephanie Rivera Berruz received her Ph.D. in Philosophy at SUNY Buffalo in 2014. Her main interests lie in social and political philosophy with an emphasis on philosophy of race and feminist philosophy, as well as, Latin American philosophy. Rivera Berruz approaches these topics at their intersections as she is committed to the importance of diverse approaches to philosophical praxis. Her dedication to these topics stem from an investment in exploring her own identity as a Latina in philosophy. Her research has explored racial and gendered embodiment, the relationship between language and identity, the concept of boomerang perception in Latina feminist scholarship, and the metaphilosophical question of Latin American philosophy.

Her teaching interests include: Social and Political Philosophy; Feminist Philosophy; Latin American Philosophy; Caribbean Philosophy; Philosophy of Justice; Philosophy of Human Rights; and, Philosophy of Race.

Capen Lectures Archive

Capen Lectures 2016 — Christia Mercer, Agency and Suffering: Women Then and Now

Areas of Specialization: Early Modern Philosophy; History of Platonism; History of Women in Philosophy.

Capen Lecture Series 2016 — Philosophy and Its History

2016 Lecture materials, papers, photos, audio players, and related links

Areas of Specialization: Early Modern Philosophy; History of Platonism; History of Women in Philosophy.
Near the beginning of the twentieth century, celebrated quantum physicist Niels Bohr confided to a friend that he had “made a discovery, a very great discovery.” It wasn’t in physics.  “All that philosophers have ever written is pure drivel."
Areas of Specialization: Phenomenology, Existentialism, Hispanic/Latin American Philosophy, Social and Political Philosophy.
Applied Ethics (Business and Bio/Medical Ethics),
Areas of Specialization: Social and Political Philosophy (esp. antiracist critical theory); History of African-American Political Thought; 19 Century European Philosophy (esp. Nietzsche); Existentialism; and Aesthetics

Capen Lectures 2015 — Paul C. Taylor, Facing Ferguson

Police officers using tear gas during the first wave of the Ferguson unrest. Ferguson Day 6, Picture 44. Created: August 17, 2014  CC BY-SA 4.0

October 19, 20, 21, 2015

Time: 4:00 to 6:00pm
UB North Campus, 640 Clemens Hall
(Skype-cast locations as listed)

October 19, Monday: Lecture 1
Facing the Fire: On Mr. James Baldwin and Others
Seminar: 640 Clemens Hall
(Skype-cast: 201A Capen Hall, inside the library)

October 20, Tuesday: Lecture 2
Facing Foolishness: On Philosophy and the Academy
Seminar: 640 Clemens Hall
(Skype-cast: 143 Park Hall)

October 21, Wednesday: Lecture 3
Facing the Future: What Will Happen To All That Beauty?
Seminar: 640 Clemens Hall
(Skype-cast: 201A Capen Hall, inside the library)

All lectures are free and open to the public.

About the Speaker

Paul C. Taylor

Paul C. Taylor teaches philosophy at Pennsylvania State University, where he also directs the Program on Philosophy After Apartheid at the Rock Ethics Institute. Taylor received his bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Morehouse College and his PhD in philosophy from Rutgers.

Taylor writes on aesthetics, race theory, Africana philosophy, pragmatism, and social philosophy, and is the author of the book Race: A Philosophical Introduction (Polity, 2004). He recently co-edited a special issue of The Journal of Social Philosophy (with Ronald Sundstrom) on critical philosophy of race, and is currently at work on a book entitled Black is Beautiful: A Philosophy of Black Aesthetics (under contract, Blackwell).


Listing of Capen Lectures and Seminars since 2009

Fall 2014
Seminar: On Life
Juan Manuel Gamido, Universidad Diego Portales, Santiago, Chile
The Knowledge of Life, Lecture 1
The Poetry of Life, Lecture 2
The Promise of Life, Lecture 3

Fall 2013
Symposium: Metaphysical Fundamentals
Lynn Baker, University of Massachuetts
Jorge J. E. Gracia, University at Buffalo
John Heil, Washington University
Ted Sider, Cornell University
Erwin Tegtmeier, University of Mannheim, Germany
Javier Cumpa, University at Buffalo

Seminar: Navigating Race Theory Today
Linda Martin Alcoff, Hunter College and CUNY Graduate Center
The Future of Whiteness, Lecture 1
Anti-Latino Racism, Lecture 2
A Realist Theory of Social Identity, Lecture 3

Fall 2012
Seminar: Racist Logics
Robert Bernasconi, Penn State University
I am also a racist, Lecture 1
I am not a racist, but…, Lecture 2
I do not see race, Lecture 3

Fall 2011
Andrés Claro, Universidad Chile
The Arts of Language as Political Resistance and Transcendental Revolution: The Great Traditions of Love Poetry

Fall 2010
Seminar: Time, Desire, Affect
David Marriott, University of California, Santa Cruz
History of Consciousness Program
The Exile of Black Representation, Lecture 1
The Black Time-Image, Lecture 2
Whither Fanon? The Afterlife of Postcolonial Sovereignty, Lecture 3

Fall 2009
Mirta Kupferminc, Arist - Buenos Aires
From Words to Images: A Jewish View on Borges
Jorge J.E. Gracia, University at Buffalo
Carlos Estévez's Images of Thought

Spring 2009
Lecture featuring Andrés Claro, Universidad Chile
Broken Vessels: Philosophical Implications of Poetic Translation (The Limits, Hospitality, Afterlife and Marranism of Languages)