Niemeyer Lecture Series: The Importance of Proximity


Location: Auditorium of Hesburgh Center for International Studies

The University of Notre Dame’s Political Theory program presents the Niemeyer Lectures in Political Philosophy, featuring Jeremy Waldron, University Professor and Professor of Law at New York University. Professor Waldron will deliver a series of four lectures on “The Principle of Proximity” on four evenings in March.

These lectures explore the implications of an approach to political community that is not based in any way on ethnic nationalism or cultural affinity. Political community is primarily territorial and it ought to be predicated on the moral significance of the fact that people find themselves clustered in distinct vicinities. People have a compelling obligation to form a political community with those with whom they are, in Kant’s phrase, unavoidably side by side. That is the premise of this series of lectures.

The individual lectures will explore its implications for abstract modelbuilding in political philosophy, for social contract theory, for our ideals of national sovereignty and self-determination, for the mission of state and law in regard to culture, and for the principles that underlie the proper treatment of migrants. The lectures will consider the dangers of nativism and ethnic nationalism, and they will also consider the distorting impact that notions of the specialness of cultural, religious, and ethnic ties can have in individual as well as political morality.

Tuesday, March 15

“Two Models of Political Community”

Reception to follow

Wednesday, March 16
“The Importance of Proximity”

Tuesday, March 22
“Proximity and Migration”

Wednesday, March 23
“Telescopic Philanthropy”
Reception to follow

All four lectures will take place at 4:30 p.m., in the auditorium of Notre Dame’s Hesburgh Center for International Studies. Abstracts of the lectures are available online.

The Niemeyer Lectures honor the contributions and memory of the late Gerhart Niemeyer (1907-1997), professor of political philosophy at the University of Notre Dame from 1955 to 1997. This biennial lecture series is made possible by the generosity of Notre Dame alumnus Raymond Biagini.

No ticket is required for these lectures. The public is welcome to attend.

For questions or further information, please contact