Campus Reflects on Theme of Justice

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CHICAGO (September 25, 2009) – Discussions ranging from Plato to hip-hop will be part of the North Park University Campus Theme Program, which is focusing on the question, “What is Justice?” during the 2009–2010 academic year.

“It is a question that befits our North Park identity as a Christian, urban, and multicultural institution, and it should challenge us in the coming months to reconsider how we understand this most basic virtue of societies and individuals,” says Karl Clifton-Soderstrom, assistant professor of philosophy, as well as the director of general education and the theme program.

“The question of justice is fundamental to who we are as Christians and global citizens, as well as how we will flourish together amid diverse communities and limited resources,” Clifton-Soderstrom adds.

The Campus Theme Program is North Park’s public lecture series, and all events are free of charge. It is an effort to focus campus events and community dialogue on some of life’s great questions.

The first event will feature Notre Dame professor Dr. Michael Zuckert, an expert in American political philosophy, who will speak at 7:30 pm on September 29 in Anderson Chapel. Zuckert will compare the early philosophical underpinnings of justice promoted 2,500 years ago by Plato compared to the contemporary American view articulated by John Rawls.

The lecture and discussion will touch on questions such as, “What is more important, liberty or equality?” and, “Do we seek justice to protect individuals or communities?”

Dr. Soong-Chan Rah, the Milton B. Engebretson Associate Professor of Church Growth and Evangelism at North Park Theological Seminary, will respond by focusing on what the church can learn from our philosophical traditions.

Other planned events include:

October 20, 2009, 7:30 pm – John Dinges, long time journalist covering Latin America and currently a professor at Columbia University in New York, will focus on human rights issues.

February 8, 2010, 7:00 pm – Dr. Paul Butler of the George Washington University School of Law will lecture on “Hip-Hop and Justice."

February 25, 2010, 7:00 pm – Dr. Terry Lindsay, dean of Diversity and Intercultural Programs, will discuss genocide.

Plans also are being developed for a five-day “Justice Experience Week” to be held during the spring semester. The Campus Theme program and other organizations will sponsor lectures on political, environmental, and theological conceptions of justice; workshops on urban justice and community renewal; and worship services.