Well-known U.S. academic Francis Fukuyama will deliver inaugural lecture Feb. 12

January 20, 2009

GREENVILLE, SC – January 20, 2009 – Furman University will bring leading scholars and public intellectuals to campus over the next three months with the launch of the university’s Tocqueville Program.

Named for Alexis de Tocqueville, considered by many the greatest student of modern democracy, the program will include three free lectures open to the public. The program is being conducted by Furman’s Department of Political Science in conjunction with the Ernest J. Walters Jr. Lecture in Political Thought.
 The theme of the inaugural program is biotechnology and politics.

Leading off the series will be Johns Hopkins professor Francis Fukuyama, one of the county’s top public intellectuals.  He will speak about Our Posthuman Future: Consequences of the Biotechnology Revolution, the title of a book he published in 2002, at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 12, in the Watkins Room of the University Center.

Fukuyama is the Bernard L. Schwartz Professor of International Political Economy at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins and director of the SAIS International Development program. He was named to the President’s Council on Bioethics.

Among his many books are The End of History and the Last Man (1992) and Beyond Bioethics: A Proposal for Modernizing the Regulation of Human Biotechnologies (2006).

On Wednesday, March 4, Leon R. Kass, a University of Chicago professor and American Enterprise Institute fellow, will speak on For Love of the
Game: Biotechnology and the Adulteration of American Sport.

On Wednesday, April 22, Virginia Postrel, a contributing editor at the Atlantic Monthly and former editor of Reason magazine, will speak on Biotechnology and the Self-Made Man: Beyond Horror and Glamour.

All lectures begin at 8 p.m. in the Watkins Room of the University Center.

The program is being created in the spirit of Tocqueville, the French writer and statesman who traveled widely in America in the 1830s to study and write about the young nation’s experiment with democracy.

As a brave new world unfolds because of steady advances in areas such as the human genome project, complicated moral questions arise with implications in both ethics and politics. Some believe that questions sparked by this revolution in biotechnology are even more pressing than those of war and peace or the current economic crisis.  The Tocqueville Program consists of the course, Issues in Political Thought, with Fukuyama, Kass and Postrel each teaching a class as well as providing a university-wide lecture.

For further information, go online to http://ps.furman.edu/engaged/tocqueville or contact Furman’s News and Media Relations office at (864) 294-3107.