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Profs & Pints: Revolutionary Manners

November 20 @ 6:00 pm - 8:30 pm UTC+0

$2 – $12

Profs and Pints presents: “Revolutionary Manners,” a look at calls for civility in response to demands for change, with Olufemi Taiwo, assistant professor of political philosophy and ethics at Georgetown University.

Many decry the decline of civility in an age of increasing political polarization and easy mass communication via social media. Among them, Amy Olberding, author of the recently published book The Wrong of Rudeness, defends politeness with some unexpected help from ancient Chinese thought that held that neglecting courtesy comes at great costs to social beings like ourselves. On the other side, the broader conversation on social justice often links demands for civility with oppressive social structures, a charge for which history provides plenty of evidence.

Join Olufemi Taiwo, a scholar of political and social philosophy who previously has given well-received Profs and Pints talks on environmentalism and colonialism, as he unpacks the civility debate and describes its potential hazards.

Professor Taiwo will describe how the fact that civility gets mobilized in defense of injustice is no idiosyncrasy of our current political moment, but a natural extension of the sort of role that civility plays in organizing social life. He’ll argue, however, that rather than abandoning the idea of civility, we need to reclaim and repurpose it precisely for the sake of taking oppression seriously. To understand why this is the case, we need to understand civility differently, and see how informal social patterns play an important role in distributing social goods like attention, respect, and status. Any non-authoritarian version of a better world would also have systems of civility and etiquette. Justice in this informal aspect of social structure is an important part of the wider struggle for social justice.

Dr. Taiwo will describe what role civility already plays in the pursuit of social justice—both in past campaigns about social norms, like the “Ms.” form of address for adult women and nascent norms of etiquette that encourage people to ask others their pronouns. And he’ll discuss what role it could play in future campaigns for justice, and what’s at stake—even for activists, organizers, and political gadflies—if civility is left by the wayside. (Advance tickets: $12. Doors: $15. Save $2 with a student ID. Listed time is for doors. Talk begins 30 minutes later. Please allow yourself adequate time to get seated and settled in.)

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November 20
6:00 pm - 8:30 pm
$2 – $12
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The Bier Baron Tavern
1523 22nd Street Northwest
Washington, DC 20037 United States
202 293-1888


Profs and Pints