While America is focused on the clashes of religious militancy and terrorism in the Middle East, democracy has been under siege from religious extremism in other critical parts of the world, including India and Southeast Asia.
Nussbaum argued that the real "clash of civilizations" is the clash within every modern society between those who are prepared to live with and respect people who differ and those who seek the comfort of a single "pure" ethno-religious ideology. She discussed how to manage religious extremes and violence while preserving democratic values.
Martha Nussbaum is the Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago, with appointments in philosophy, law, and divinity. She is also an associate in political science and classics, a member of the university's Committee on Southern Asian Studies, a board member of the Human Rights Program, and the founder and coordinator of the new Center for Comparative Constitutionalism. She has also taught at Harvard, Brown, and Oxford universities. Nussbaum has chaired the Committee on International Cooperation, the Committee on the Status of Women of the American Philosophical Association, and the Committee for Public Philosophy. She has been a member of the Board of the American Council of Learned Societies and of the Council of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She has earned numerous awards, including the 1991 PEN American Center's Spielvogel-Diamonstein Award for the Art of the Essay, the Grawemeyer Award in Education in 2002, and the 2009 A.SK prize for social reform by the Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung. She has published and edited numerous books. Nussbaum received her B.A. from New York University and her A.M. and Ph.D. from Harvard University and has received honorary degrees from thirty-two colleges and universities in the United States, Canada, Asia, and Europe.
Recorded Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at InterContinental Hotel.