The 2021 Nuveen Lecture by Agnes Callard

Agnes Callard
Agnes Callard

Agnes Callard, Associate Professor of Philosophy, will deliver the 2021 Nuveen Lecture at The Divinity School: "Socratic Politics”

Tuesday October 12, 2021 | 4:30pm | Swift Lecture Hall (3rd floor) | Livestream

The livestream will be available in real-time on our Youtube channel (tune in Tuesday, October 12th a few minutes before the lecture begins at 4:30pm). Just click on this link and enjoy.  

Coming to our event in-person? Our building is open to all members of the University of Chicago community with an active key card.

Because of COVID-19 protocols, non-University individuals may not be able to access the building. Please enjoy our livestream. The lecture will also be recorded and made available for viewing.



Professor Agnes Callard’s primary areas of specialization are ancient philosophy, ethics, and the philosophy of action. Her lecture, “Socratic Politics,” will engage the issue of how people who disagree manage to live peacefully together. Authority, tolerance, majoritarianism and persuasion are some mechanisms for the management of political disagreement; Socrates expresses opposition to each of them. One might conclude that Socrates was apolitical or anti-political, but he also claims to be "the one true politician" in Athens. What would Socratic politics look like today?

A widely published academic writer, Professor Callard is also interested in public philosophy. She is a monthly columnist for The Point magazine and a frequent contributor to The New York Times. A frequent commentator on podcasts and sought-after interview guest, she is also the host of the popular Night Owls series, which features faculty-led, late-night conversations each year on arcane philosophical topics. Callard’s first book, Aspiration: the Agency of Becoming (OUP, 2018) was about how we come to value new things. In it, Prof. Callard argues that such fundamental personal transformations as becoming a parent, acquiring a passion for classical music, or becoming a patriot of one’s adopted homeland can be understood as governed by a rational process of self-creation. On Anger (MIT Press, 2020), which she both edited and wrote the lead article for, was selected as one of the best books of 2020 by The New Yorker.

Her work in progress, On Socrates, will analyze contemporary intellectual culture—within philosophy, within academia more broadly, and on social media—in the light of its Socratic origins.

Prof. Callard was the 2020 co-recipient of the American Philosophical Associations’ Lebowitz Prize, awarded in recognition of outstanding achievement in the field of philosophy. Callard is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Loeb Fellowship, among other awards.

She is recognized for her teaching as well as her scholarship: in 2019 she received the Sze Teaching Award in the Division of the Humanities and in 2017 the University’s Llewellyn John and Harriet Manchester Quantrell Award for undergraduate teaching.

John S. Nuveen was one of Chicago’s most influential business leaders and an active civil and cultural leader with ties to many educational institutions. At the University of Chicago, he served as chairman of the University’s Alumni Association and as a trustee of the Baptist Theological Union, which established the Nuveen lecture in 1972 and manages an endowment that supports the University of Chicago Divinity School. Each year, a prominent member of the University's faculty is invited by the Divinity School to deliver the lecture. Past lecturers have included Wu Hung, Janet Rowley, Jonathan Lear, and Leon Kass.

This year’s lecture will be held on Tuesday, October 12, 2021, at 4:30 pm in Swift Hall's third-floor Lecture Hall. The event will also be livestreamed.

If you need an accommodation to attend an event, please call Suzanne Riggle in advance: 773-702-8219.