Capen Lectures 2016 — Agency and Suffering: Women Then and Now

Christia Mercer, Columbia University

Agency and Suffering: Women Then and Now


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

On this page

October 17, 18 & 19, 2016

Capen Lectures 2016.

About the Speaker

Christia Mercer, Professor, Department of Philosophy, Columbia University Gustave M. Berne Professor. 

Professor Mercer studied art history in New York and Rome, before going to graduate school in philosophy (PhD, Princeton University, 1989). Mercer is the recipient of awards that include: Fulbright Scholarship (1984-85); Humboldt Fellowship (1993-94); NEH Fellowship (2002); Guggenheim Fellowship (2012-13); Seamus Heaney Resident Scholar at the American Academy in Rome (Spring, 2013); ACLS (2015-16); Folger Library Fellowship (2016); and, Senior Visiting Professor at Harvard University's Villa I Tatti Library, Florence, Italy (2015).

Professor Mercer is proudest of her teaching awards. She won the 2008 Columbia College Great Teacher Award, and the 2012 Mark van Doren Award, which annually recognizes a professor for “commitment to undergraduate instruction, as well as for humanity, devotion to truth and inspiring leadership.”

Mercer has become increasingly involved in activist causes with a special interest in rethinking criminal justice and access to higher education. She was the first professor to teach in prison as part of Columbia University’s Justice-in-Education Initiative and has published public pieces on the need to make higher education more widely available and on justice reform.

Podcast Lecture 1, Meditating on Truth: How women changed the course of philosophy 1300-1600 and laid the groundwork for Descartes’ Meditations

Podcast, Lecture 2, Early modern women, suffering and agency: The Case of Anne Conway (1631-79)

Podcast, Lecture 3, Race, Gender, and Suffering in the Prison Industrial Complex

Photo Gallery