Mudd Center for Ethics Annual Report 2021

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Mudd Center for Ethics Annual Report 2021

Global Ethics in the 21st Century: Challenges and Opportunities

Welcome On behalf of the Roger Mudd Center for Ethics at Washington and Lee University, I am pleased to provide this report, summarizing highlights of the center’s programming in 2020-21. This extraordinary year began quietly. In the late fall of 2019, the Center began to choose a theme for 2020-21. A clear front-runner was global ethics. Even though no one had heard of COVID-19 at the time, the global ethics topic was clearly important and timely. Issues of immigration, food insecurity, national security, and climate change were prominently in the news, and a lively debate addressed the proper role of ethics in international affairs. For this topic, a natural partner for the Mudd Center emerged: W&L’s Center for International Education. By November 2019, the Mudd Center and the CIE had officially joined forces to map out a speaker series on global ethics. We were thrilled that Ambassador Reuben Brigety, then Dean of the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University, agreed to be our keynoter. By February 2020, the world had changed: a coronavirus was spreading worldwide. In mid-March, Washington and Lee halted classes for two weeks while everyone regrouped. As Winter Term resumed, planning for the next year’s global ethics series continued with new urgency, and it became clear that all programming would be virtual. Ambassador Brigety’s brilliant keynote in September 2020 connected the international theme to America’s grappling with fundamental issues of racial inequality. The second speaker was Dr. Anne-Marie Slaughter, CEO of New America and former head of Princeton’s school of international relations, who discussed the need for truthful analysis of America’s past. Professor Thomas “Speedy” Rice next explored the concept of honor and the challenges of introducing codes of honorable conduct to institutions of higher education in Europe. The Fall Term wrapped up with a moderated conversation featuring New Yorker magazine writer Elizabeth Kolbert, who vividly discussed the global effects of climate change and the imperatives of international co-operation. With the start of the Winter Term, the topic of COVID-19 took center stage. Our January 2021 speaker was Dr. Jonathan Wortham of the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta. A W&L alumnus, Dr. Wortham discussed the ethics of public health, bringing a calm voice of duty and responsibility to a moment of crisis. Next came a joint presentation by W&L Professor Erin Taylor and alumnus Dr. Ralph Caldroney, who addressed ethical considerations related to allocation of scarce medical resources (ventilators and vaccines). The focus soon shifted to issues of national security, food security, and migration. In February, Dr. Valerie Hudson explored empirical links between a nation’s instability and its subordination of women. In March, W&L Professors Dayo Abah and Mark Rush engaged in a moderated conversation with Dr. Felix Yeboah of Michigan State University. Their dialogue addressed hunger issues in Africa and a proposal to engage youth in agricultural coalitions across the continent. Also in March, Dr. Katrina Forrester of Harvard reflected on the impact of social movements in spelling out the need for global ethics. Finally, in May, Dr. Jason De Leon of UCLA discussed migration at the U.S./Mexico border and the tragic fatalities resulting from failed U.S. border policies. It was a year to remember. We had begun with modest plans for a customary series of on-campus talks. Nothing, however, was customary in 2020-21. Instead of flying solo, the center collaborated with the CIE. Instead of relying purely on a lecture format, the series tried moderated conversations. Instead of live events, it used webinar. Above all, as the year ended, the Mudd/CIE team hoped that the series had clarified the necessity, complexity and humanity of global ethics.

Brian Murchison, Director

A Yearlong Series As the COVID-19 pandemic works its way across the globe, few if any nations are immune from unprecedented threats to health and economic stability. One commentator posits that the crisis is forcing us to “rethink how the world works together.” And other daunting questions arise: What ethical, political and economic questions about the international world order were being framed before the pandemic, and have those questions changed in nature or become all the more important? In 2020-21, the Mudd Center for Ethics and the Center for International Education will collaborate on a vital series exploring the nature of ethical responsibilities in international relations pre– and post-pandemic, the moral consequences of various approaches to foreign policy, and the potential replacements for the post-World War II liberal international order. Speakers from different perspectives and disciplines will probe the implications of the crisis for public health, the global economy and continuing concerns over climate change and food shortages. We hope to prompt serious discussion of these and other issues that appear to have put global ethics at the top of the current policy agenda.


Black Lives Matter: An International Moment REUBEN E. BRIGETY | SEPT. 24, 2020 The Mudd Center and the Center for International Education kicked off the year’s speaker series with a compelling keynote address by Ambassador Reuben Brigety. Ambassador Brigety, Vice Chancellor and President of the University of the South (Sewanee University), titled his lecture, “Black Lives Matter: An International Moment.” Speaking a mere three months after a police officer murdered George Floyd in Minnesota, Brigety emphasized that the occurrence of brutal violence against Black citizens was hardly new. Citing W.E.B. Dubois’ prophetic statement that “the problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line,” Brigety observed that “well into the twenty-first century, it is a problem that endures.” Noting that “the study of ethics is to help us know and do what is right,” he pointed to Floyd’s slaying and its aftermath as the country’s “long overdue reckoning with race.” Turning to the demonstrations of the Black Lives Matter movement, Brigety suggested that the phrase, “Black Lives Matter,” is a way of stating that “people of African descent, who have hopes and dreams, loves and fears, work and faith, purpose and meaning, have value and significance, and that their full being deserves a place of priority in our consciousness, which cannot be dismissed without consequence.” He observed that protests in America had

brought about a “pricking of our collective conscience — a necessary, if painful exercise in our continual striving for a more perfect union.” The worldwide response echoed the theme.

“THE PROBLEM OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY IS THE PROBLEM OF THE COLOR LINE.” Brigety offered three ethics-based steps towards change. First, we must pursue the truth of injustices wherever the search takes us. Truth-seeking will question narratives that had previously excluded minority experiences. Next, we must strive to conduct productive, even if painful, conversations with those who have different perspectives and histories. Such dialogue will be vital to planting seeds of change where injustice still runs rampant. Finally, the process must forbid violence of any kind and insist on accountability under the law. Brigety noted that although combating injustice is a difficult endeavor, each of us can and must participate. He quoted Dr. Martin Luther King: “True peace is not merely the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice.” This lecture set an unmistakable tone for the entire series — a tone of candor, commitment, and even hope in a supremely difficult time.

Reuben E. Brigety is vice chancellor and president of Sewanee University. He formerly was dean of the Elliott School of International Affairs, at George Washington University, and U.S. Ambassador to the African Union. He also served as permanent representative of the U.S. to the U.N. Economic Commission for Africa. He is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and holds a Ph.D. in international relations from the University of Cambridge, England.


Renewing the Promise of America ANNE-MARIE SLAUGHTER | OCT. 15, 2020 The series’ second installment featured Dr. AnneMarie Slaughter, CEO of New America, a think tank and civic innovation platform. She is also the Bert G. Kerstetter ’66 University Professor Emerita of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University. In addressing global ethics in the 21st century, Slaughter, like Ambassador Brigety, focused on America’s need to renew its own deepest values and practices in order to play an influential moral role on the global stage. Her talk, entitled “Renewing the Promise of America: Looking Back to Move Forward,” reflected on how America can and should address its often stark divisions over matters of identity, equality and history. The renewal she advocates is “more than reform, but far less than revolution.” At its core, renewal is all about taking something old and, rather than discarding it, fashioning it into something new. All of this is important because the 250th anniversary of our nation’s independence is on the horizon. Five years from now, that anniversary will take place. Slaughter urged that we prepare for the occasion by looking inward at who we are as Americans, articulating our ideals and values perhaps in different terms or with new emphases as we move forward. Slaughter offered an example from her experience growing up in Charlottesville and revisiting Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello on numerous school field trips. Over the years, Monticello’s historical narrative slowly changed from outright veneration of Thomas Jefferson to a more layered, fact-based view of the man’s character and an inclusive account of the others

who populated Monticello, including the enslaved persons who built and worked the plantation. Slaughter challenged the audience to take a similar truth-telling approach in examining America’s history and culture. She then advocated several “lenses” or organizing principles for defining ourselves as 2026 approaches. The first principle is “radical honesty” in examining our nation’s history, acknowledging the good but owning up to the ugly at the same time. The second principle places value on one of the chief characteristics of American identity – risk taking. America is full of risk takers, innovators, entrepreneurs of all kinds; they hugely contribute to our economy and way of life, and we should pay close attention to that trait and its implications. A third principle is that America should encourage its innovators by ensuring the availability of safety nets in case of failure. A fourth principle recognizes that “independence and individualism rest on interdependence and solidarity.” A fifth principle is that unity and multiplicity, the one and the many, can and should be allowed to coexist. As Slaughter put it, Americans can be both “pluribus” and “unum” at the same time.

“MORE THAN REFORM, BUT FAR LESS THAN REVOLUTION.” As we approach the nation’s birthday, Slaughter looks to the possibility of a renewed American vision, one based on the understanding that we occupy common ground in some senses and flourish in our individuality in others.

Dr. Anne-Marie Slaughter is CEO, New America, a think and action tank, and is University Professor Emerita of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton. She formerly was director of Policy Planning at the Department of State, dean of the School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton, and director of the International Legal Studies Program at Harvard. Among her books is “The Chessboard and the Web: Strategies of Connection in a Networked World” (2017).


Cultural Norms and the Export of the W&L Honor System THOMAS H. SPEEDY RICE | OCT. 19, 2020 The Mudd Center and Center for International Education welcomed Thomas H. “Speedy” Rice, W&L Law of Practice, whose talk was entitled “Cultural Norms and the Export of the W&L Honor System.” Rice has taught at W&L since 2006. On our campus and at universities around the world, he has taught courses addressing government corruption. He has also created opportunities for students to engage in legal aid projects under his supervision in a number of countries. In addition, Rice routinely litigates human rights cases in international venues. With a law practice that takes him around the globe, Rice has encountered cultural norms of all kinds, including those that turn a blind eye to dishonesty at different levels of society. Over the years, he has become interested in the possibility that incorporating ethical training into educational programs could advance social norms of truthfulness both in schools and in the larger society. Rice’s talk for the Mudd Center/CIE series addressed the problems of cheating, bribery, and other dishonest practices in higher education overseas, particularly in Eastern Europe. When such conduct appears “normal” or at least widespread in a given institution or country, how should a visitor from America respond? In a fascinating

lecture, Rice described becoming aware of clearly corrupt practices on the part of students, their family members, and faculty in foreign schools. Institutions in which such conduct is common usually have copious written rules against the conduct, but the rules often are ignored. Over time, Rice has attempted to introduce the W&L Honor System to schools, primarily in Ukraine. At a minimum, the W&L system can be “a very effective tool” in provoking discussion among students, teachers, and administrators. On some occasions, W&L students have accompanied him to explain W&L’s system and its history. According to that history, the W&L system was not always student-administered but evolved to its current design over time. Rice has distributed copies of the W&L White Book, translated into Ukrainian, and after much discussion and study, a Ukrainian law school recently adopted a modified version of W&L’s current system. Rice closed by calling for empirical work about how our Honor System works and how (or whether) it affects student conduct. Such data would help foreign institutions think through the question of adopting an honor system. The larger hope is that anticorruption norms introduced in educational settings can have long-term positive effects across a society generally.

Professor Thomas H. Speedy Rice is a professor of practice at W&L School of Law’s Transnational Law Institute. His teaching around the globe includes anti-corruption courses using the U.N. Convention Against Corruption. He is internationally recognized for his work in legal reform, ethics, access to justice and human rights. He was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Montenegro and has lectured in more than 30 countries.

“I’m grateful for the road I’m on and where I’m heading.” STEPHEN SHARP


Climate Change and Its Impact on the World Order ELIZABETH KOLBERT | OCT. 29, 2020 The Fall Term’s final event was an hour on Oct. 29 with Elizabeth Kolbert, writer for the New Yorker magazine and winner of the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction for her book about climate change, “The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History.” Deviating from the public lecture format, the Mudd Center and CIE presented Kolbert in a moderated conversation with Mark Rush, professor of politics and CIE Director, and Lisa Greer, proffesor of geology and teacher of Global Climate Change, an undergraduate course. In a wide-ranging discussion, the three participants explored aspects of the science, politics, and ethics of climate change. Earlier the same day, Kolbert had visited Environmental Law, a class in the School of Law taught by Professor Jill Fraley. The first few questions of the moderated conversation related to five previous periods of mass extinction and the basis for considering what is happening now as a sixth. Greer then asked about the views of some that a sixth mass extinction would doom only vulnerable species, not those we might consider strong. Kolbert said that the attitude would be wrong, citing the destruction to valuable property caused by California fires in recent years and the future prospect of losing entire cities to rising sea levels. Rush broached the topic of global ethics: “Are we failing as ethical agents,” he asked, when we limit our ethical obligations to individual duties and neglect “a collective idea of ethics” focused on the duties of an entire society? Do we need to “expand our ethical horizons” to respond as a collective to the impacts of climate change? If a collective response to climate issues compromises some aspect of individual freedom, should not freedom


take a back seat to necessary change? Along the same lines, Greer asked whether addressing climate change may be “in tension” with a simultaneous need to address social justice issues, particularly in the aftermath of George Floyd’s murder and the pressing need for advances in racial justice throughout society. Kolbert noted the social justice aspect of the climate change debate. For example, how can the U.S. morally hold developing nations to stringent emissions standards today when the U.S. itself had been responsible for much of the problem originally? Kolbert expressed the hope that developed societies seriously consider their “carbon-intensive lifestyle” and deploy resources to address both social justice and climate change. Greer then asked about geo-engineering, the use of technology to manipulate environmental conditions. Geo-engineering includes a wide variety of technologies such as adding iron to the ocean to allow plankton to grow or building mirrors in space to block sunlight. Kolbert expressed caution that many such projects may have unintended consequences, including adding more carbon to the atmosphere or significantly altering ecosystems. The discussion also explored whether our present situation comes from “bad actors” or a collective devotion to carbon usage. Kolbert thought both have played parts. Fossil-fuel companies want to continue producing their products, while individuals are accustomed to over-using carbon for everyday activities. Young people need to appreciate that decisions made today will have irreversible effects on the environment of 2040 and beyond.

Elizabeth Kolbert writes for The New Yorker. Her book on climate change, “The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History”, won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize in the General Nonfiction category. The book was a New York Times 2014 Top-Ten Best Book of the Year, and is No. 1 on The Guardian’s list of the 100 Best Nonfiction Books of all time. In 2010, she received the Heinz Award for her writings on global change.

Ethical Problems in Public Health Practice JONATHAN WORTHAM | JAN. 28, 2021 As the pandemic unfolded, the Global Ethics series started Winter Term with Dr. Jonathan Wortham, who spoke about his work with the Outbreak Investigations Team of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Wortham is a 2004 graduate of W&L with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry. He received his medical degree from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. Bridging his experience at the CDC with the on-going threat of COVID-19, he titled his talk “Ethical Problems in Public Health Practice.” Wortham differentiated between ethical principles applicable to individual interactions between physician and patient and ethical principles applicable to public health personnel or institutions serving the public at large. As an example of basic physician-patient ethics, he presented an image of a trauma unit trying to resuscitate a patient. He asked audience members to reflect on the considerations that should arise when a trauma unit makes such decisions in the heat of the moment. He explained that four principles of medical ethics take priority: autonomy, beneficence, nonmaleficence and justice. He then shifted focus to the concerns of public health officials as they combat the spread of illness on a community or global scale. Public health officials need to assess cultural practices, create equitable policies and develop long-term strategies to ensure equal access to health care. Unlike a primary care physician who works within the confines of the four ethical principles

cited above, a public health official prioritizes interdependence, maintaining community trust, fundamentality, and justice for population groups. Sometimes principles of medical ethics for individual practitioners can conflict with those governing public health officials. Still, physicians and public health officials often work in tandem, informing each other and developing solutions together. In the context of COVID-19, some individuals have resisted a sense of communal responsibility, asking instead, “What’s the big deal about COVID?” and “Why should I give up my autonomy?” In Wortham’s view, the “big deal” is that many hospitals are under maximum pressure and may not be able to address current rates of infection. Moreover, in the public health context, individual autonomy may have to yield to community needs. Wortham urged a greater sense of ethical responsibility among citizens as the pandemic continues. Even small changes in our own behavior can limit the spread. Questions from the audience addressed the availability and efficacy of vaccines for COVID-19. Wortham noted that although the vaccines are developing quickly, all of the appropriate steps have been followed. The rapidity of the vaccine’s production is a positive sign of global health cooperation, not cause for concern. Open and honest conversations between individuals and their health care providers are encouraged now more than ever.

Dr. Jonathan Wortham leads the Outbreak Investigations Team in the Division of Tuberculosis Elimination at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. At the CDC, he has investigated outbreaks of Legionnaire’s Disease, tuberculosis, Ebola, Zika and COVID-19. He graduated from W&L in 2004 and obtained his M.D. at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. He has authored more than 15 manuscripts about various public health topics.


Ethical Issues in the Context of COVID-19 ERIN TAYLOR & DR. RALPH CALDRONEY | FEB. 2, 2021 The theme of ethics in a time of global pandemic continued in February 2021 as W&L’s own Professor Erin Taylor joined forces with local physician Dr. Ralph Caldroney in a presentation entitled “Ethical Issues in the Context of COVID-19.”

in order to prepare for future pandemics. He predicted that another pandemic will occur within the lifetimes of today’s undergraduates. Readiness will include having well-qualified triage officers to carry out their “gut-wrenching responsibilities.”

Taylor, a popular teacher of medical ethics and other courses at W&L, obtained her Ph.D. at UCLA and has published in leading journals. Her work addresses questions of normative ethics, political philosophy and bioethics. Dr. Caldroney, recently retired from practice in Lexington, obtained his undergraduate degree from W&L and his M.D. from the Medical College of Virginia at Virginia Commonwealth University. He practiced medicine as an internist in Kentucky for over 25 years and spent eight years in the Army Reserves.

Taylor continued the discussion of scarce medical resources, such as mechanical ventilators and vaccines. She reflected first on distinctions between theoretical and medical ethics. Theoretical ethics explores the fundamental sources of ethical principles and can involve arguments about how to rank the principles. In contrast, medical ethics involves a distinctive methodology of applying the principles to concrete situations. Medical ethics aims to show how the principles are correctly manifested in medical practice, research, and public health, particularly how the principles interrelate. Medical ethicists often try to “invent a new way” of resolving questions by focusing on relevant empirical facts. Taylor modeled the way medical ethicists apply ethical principles to facts on the ground in allocating ventilators and vaccines.

Caldroney focused on the challenges of medical decision-making by clinicians at the bedside of patients in a pandemic. He asked the audience to imagine a scenario in COVID-like circumstances, when a vaccine does not yet exist and the demand for medical supplies, such as mechanical ventilators, exceeds the supply. Sorting patients may be necessary according to the framework of triage, defined by Caldroney as doing “the best that can be done with available resources for the greatest number.” He noted that little data have emerged about triage practices in current COVID settings, but he warned that society needs such data

The rich discussion ended with comments about how audience members can help ensure the distribution of vaccines to those who want them. Social networks can play a part. Students can assist others in filling out enrollment forms and helping others reach distribution centers.

Dr. Erin Taylor has been a member of the Philosophy Department at W&L since 2016. Her work is in normative ethics, political philosophy and bioethics, focusing on role obligations and associative duties. Her writings have appeared in the American Philosophical Quarterly and the Australasian Journal of Philosophy. Her Ph.D. is from UCLA, and her undergraduate degree is from Florida International University.


Dr. Ralph Caldroney graduated from W&L in 1972 and obtained his M.D. from Medical College of Virginia at Virginia Commonwealth University. He was on the teaching medical staff at University of Kentucky Medical Center and spent 25 years in private practice in Lexington, Kentucky. He also spent eight years in the Army Reserves. He has retired from his practice in Lexington and Rockbridge Area Hospice.

Dr. Valerie Hudson is University Distinguished Professor and George H.W. Bush Chair & Professor of International Affairs at Texas A&M University, where she directs the Bush School’s Program on Women, Peace and Security. She is an expert on international security and foreign policy analysis. In 2009, Foreign Policy named her one of the top 100 Most influential Global Thinkers. Her most recent book is “The First Political Order” (Columbia 2020).

The First Political Order: How Sex Shapes Governance and National Security Worldwide VALERIE HUDSON | FEB. 15, 2021 In February, the series explored gender issues in the field of global ethics. The featured speaker was Dr. Valerie Hudson, holder of the George H.W. Bush Chair in the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University. Hudson’s talk, “The First Political Order: How Sex Shapes Governance and National Security Worldwide,” addressed themes of her recent book of the same name. The field of international relations considers states as the principal players, with primary focus given to issues of security, sovereignty and war. Scholars of ethics have urged recognition of ethics as a necessary value in global politics relating to those issues. They study how moral norms can and should affect the actions and strategies of states on the international stage. Hudson’s work sheds light on serious ethical issues within states that affect the stability and security that states present to the world. In particular, she examines how gender relations of a certain kind can lead to substantial societal instabilities, with potentially disastrous results internationally. Within any society, Hudson argues, political ordering first takes place on the level of gender: the interactions of women and men. From the nature and quality of these interactions, the moral values of the society arise. In her view, many societies that boast of empowering women by counting women’s participation in the political process often mask underlying gender inequities in the household. By asking probing questions that touch on the intimacy of the home, social scientists gain insight into the true indications of empowerment (or lack thereof). These systems often involve the subordination of women. Legal and cultural norms unfavorable

to women can significantly subvert apparent political participation. Put simply, “what you do to your women, you do to your nation-state.” Many practices aimed at subjugating women, common in various countries, have tangential effects on the overall quality of life within the state and the national security interests of neighboring states. For instance, many disadvantaged young men become alienated when they are unable to afford high bride prices. The practice of charging a price for a bride has led in turn to the strengthening of rebel groups, such as Boko Haram, seeking to abduct women when disgruntled males cannot afford a bride. Another effect of male-oriented political values is the distortion of sex ratios in populations, a condition that only exacerbates symptoms of failing states. Hudson concluded that subjugation of women as a latent political value has provable negative outcomes for the entire state. She reached three main conclusions: first, that domestic violence functions as a kind of boot camp for political violence; second, that domestic subjugation of women provides a structural goad to engage in political violence; and third, that the silencing of women eliminates half of those who might otherwise dissent. Hudson asked the audience to consider what the U.S. would look like if it started to take the treatment of women into its foreign policy analysis. Could the U.S. better track which groups or organizations will become problematic? Could the U.S. better understand which nation-states have unstable political landscapes? She encouraged listeners to reflect more deeply on a nation’s first political order and to consider both internal and external effects.


Dr. Felix Kwame Yeboah is assistant professor of international development and a member of the Food Security Group at Michigan State University. He has expertise in agricultural and food system transformation, natural resource management and youth livelihood issues in Africa. He was Principal Author of “Youth for Growth: Transforming Economies through Agriculture”, sponsored by the Chicago Council for Global Affairs (2018). He was a John M. Gunn Exchange Scholar at W&L.

Africa’s Youth and Agrifood System: Pathways for Job Creation and Economic Transformation FELIX KWAME YEBOAH | MARCH 15, 2021 Dr. Felix Kwame Yeboah explored ethical dimensions of global hunger issues in his talk, “Africa’s Youth and Agrifood System: Pathways for Job Creation and Economic Transformation.” Yeboah is assistant professor of international development at Michigan State University. His work focuses on food system transformation, natural resource management, and youth livelihood issues in Africa. As lead author of a 2018 Global Food Security Report commissioned by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Yeboah advised the U.S. government’s strategies concerning youth livelihood issues in developing countries. Dr. Yeboah began by asking: Why should we care about Africa’s youth? Many predict that Africa will see a doubling of its population in the next three decades, accounting for roughly 58% of the 1.9 billion increase in global population by 2050. The young people of Africa will thus play a huge part in charting the continent’s future, and Africa’s impact on global affairs will be a function of the values, trainings and competencies of its youth. What will assure that these individuals reach their full potential in ensuring prosperity and peace for the continent?

MANY PREDICT THAT AFRICA WILL SEE A DOUBLING OF ITS POPULATION IN THE NEXT THREE DECADES, ACCOUNTING FOR ROUGHLY 58% OF THE 1.9 BILLION INCREASE IN GLOBAL POPULATION BY 2050. Yeboah sees a sector of opportunity in Africa’s agri-food system. He posits that investments in African agriculture productivity can provide tangible benefits to African youth through rises in employment and decreases in food demand. Potential investors can

help transform Africa’s present agricultural deficiencies not only through direct investment in agriculture infrastructure but also through indirect human capital development such as educational opportunities. For strategic human capital investments, Yeboah encourages prioritizing girls’ education and reduction of infant mortality rates. After touching on his own personal experience with strategic African youth aid, Yeboah reminded the audience of Dr. Martin Luther King’s belief that “whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be.” W&L Professors Dayo Abah and Mark Rush then joined the conversation with Yeboah. Abah asked about practical issues related to agricultural investment: the lack of formal documentation of ownership of much subSaharan land and the concentration of most arable land in nine countries. Given such complexities, how can African leaders join forces to coordinate agriculture investment? Yeboah agreed that “land is a sticking point,” yet he pointed out that inter-governmental coordination through the African Union has had significant success in spreading both tangible resources and human capital resources, benefiting the entire continent. Yeboah also described how “young people don’t follow industries, they follow opportunities.” That is, young Africans have unhesitatingly chosen to work in the agriculture industry when the opportunity arose. For instance, many African youth have crossed the Mediterranean to work on farms in Italy or other nearby European nations. Yeboah observed that economics is not always a zero-sum game. When many work to benefit themselves in some way, it is usually the case that these actors desire to work together and reap benefits for everyone involved. As nations coordinate with each other, each can work in its self-interest but also bring benefits to everyone at the table.


Feminist Internationalism Revisited KATRINA FORRESTER | MARCH 25, 2021 In her March 2021 talk, “Feminist Internationalism Revisited,” Professor Katrina Forrester situated aspects of global ethics in the larger framework of post-World War II liberal democracy, its triumph and seeming decline, and contemporary calls for critical appraisal of blind spots in the liberal tradition. Some blind spots were addressed earlier in the series, certainly in Ambassador Brigety’s reflections on racial inequality and Dr. Hudson’s work on the subjugation of women and its destabilizing effects on states. Forrester’s approach involved looking back at a seminal feminist activist of the 1960s and 1970s, Selma James. Forrester asked what helpful ideas can be found in James’s work as new conflicts of ethics and justice deeply challenge the old solutions of the liberal tradition. Forrester is assistant professor of government and social studies at Harvard. Her 2019 book, “In the Shadow of Justice: Postwar Liberalism and the Remaking of Political Philosophy,” is an acclaimed history of how the political philosophy of John Rawls defined liberal egalitarianism after World War II but lost ground in the 1970s when, as she writes, “the center of gravity pulled right.” She chronicles how Rawls’ influence was challenged by “fiscal and legitimacy crises” as “neoliberal ideologues and policymakers gained power and ideas of the public interest and common good fractured.” Forrester’s book also posits that Rawls’ post-war optimism that social consensus could continue to bind the country has

been undermined by post-liberal calls emphasizing historic wrongs to racial and other minority groups, truth-seeking processes and application of human rights to income, health care, education and housing. Opening her talk, Forrester asked, “What aspects of social, political and economic life under global capitalism should be subject to global ethics?” The question becomes acute under the current pandemic. She noted that capitalist society already undervalues the labor of many in the workforce, and the pandemic has only worsened the risks they face.

“NEOLIBERAL IDEOLOGUES AND POLICYMAKERS GAINED POWER AND IDEAS OF THE PUBLIC INTEREST AND COMMON GOOD FRACTURED.” A tradition of political thought to help us understand the current scene is the feminist internationalism of decades ago, particularly as communicated in the life and work of Selma James. It was James who founded the International Wagers for Housework Campaign in 1972, and it was her writing that paved the way for an account of capitalism as organized displacement of women and wageless work. In an incisive talk packed with history and theoretical detail, Forrester suggested the kind of social movement and philosophy that could motivate a global ethics based on a proper understanding of women’s identity and worth.

Dr. Katrina Forrester is assistant professor of government and social studies at Harvard. Her research focuses on the history of 20th-century social and political thought and its implications for political theory. Her acclaimed book, “In the Shadow of Justice: Postwar Liberalism and the Remaking of Political Philosophy” (Princeton 2019), won the Merle Curti Intellectual History Award and was shortlisted for the Gladstone Book Prize of the Royal Historical Society.


Understanding the Politics of Migrant Life and Death along the U.S./Mexico Border JASON DE LEON | MAY 4, 2021 In the concluding lecture of the series, the Mudd Center and Center for International Education teamed up with the Departments of Anthropology and Sociology to address one of the day’s most pressing issues: migration.

host institutions choose to fill out and hang the tags before the exhibition opens, W&L’s organizers decided to make the installation more interactive by allowing the viewers to help fill out the tags.”

The guest speaker was Jason De Leon, professor of anthropology and Chicana, Chicano and Central American Studies at UCLA and executive director of the Undocumented Migration Project. The latter is a long-term anthropological study of clandestine migration between Latin America and the United States, using a combination of ethnographic, visual, archaeological, and forensic approaches to convey this violent social process. De Leon is also the author of “The Land of Open Graves: Living and Dying on the Migrant Trail,” and head curator of an exhibition entitled “Hostile Terrain 94” or “HT94.”

As W&L professor and event organizer Alison Bell said of the project: “The goal is the process as much as the product. The product itself is visually striking and really powerful, but it is also powerful to sit down and enter this person’s name and how she died and what her age was. It is that sort of personal encounter that is intended to make the border crisis, this humanitarian crisis, real and authentic to people so they can really relate to the humanity of the people who died trying to cross. And these are just the people who have been found – so many are lost.”

De Leon’s talk coincided with the arrival of the HT94 exhibition on the W&L campus. Featured on the main floor of Leyburn Library, the exhibition includes a long map of the Arizona/ Mexico border with hand-written toe tags representing the bodies of people who have died between the mid-1990s and 2020 crossing the border through the Sonoran Desert. The tags are color-coded (manila for identified bodies and orange for the more than 1,000 unidentified bodies). The display teaches the realities of the dangerous journey taken by thousands of migrants each year as they flee Latin America for what they hope will be a better life in the United States. As writer Lindsey Nair reported on the W&L website: “Each toe tag is pinned to the map in the exact location of the body’s discovery, and when all of the tags have been hung, the result is a staggering visual. Although some


W&L is one of 150 locations worldwide hosting HT94. Other destinations include Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Mexico City, San Pedro Sula, San Salvador, and Lampedusa. De Leon’s work on the Undocumented Migrant Project stems from his research as a young archaeologist in Mexico. His public lecture on May 4 was entitled, “Understanding the Politics of Migrant Life and Death along the U.S./ Mexico Border.” De Leon shared the history of a border control policy called Prevention through Deterrence (PTD), implemented in 1994 during the Clinton Administration and continuing through subsequent presidential administrations. PTD was designed to reduce migration attempts by increasing security at urban points of entry. Instead, it forced undocumented migrants to re-route through remote border regions such as the Sonoran Desert. There the hostile terrain is harder to traverse. Many have died in the attempt.

Dr. Jason De Leon is Professor of Anthropology and Chicana, Chicano, and Central American Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is also Director of the Undocumented Migration Project and Head Curator of Hostile Terrain 94, a global participatory exhibition. Dr. De Leon is author of the award-winning book, “The Land of Open Graves: Living and Dying on the Sonoran Migrant Trail” (2015). He is a 2017 MacArthur Foundation fellow.

2 0 - 2 1 E ne t v s Course on Ethics of International Relations Aligning with the Mudd Center’s annual theme on Global Ethics in the 21st Century, Mudd Postdoctoral Fellow Jeremy Weissman taught a seminar entitled Ethics of International Relations during the Fall, Winter and Spring terms. In this virtual seminar, students critically analyzed what the proper role of the individual nation upon the world stage ought to be. Specific issues included immigration, world poverty, war and conflict, global bioethics, and the climate crisis. In many cases the themes of course readings aligned directly with invited speakers to the Mudd Center. For a unit on global gender justice, Mudd speaker Professor Valerie Hudson was a guest lecturer leading a class discussion on her work regarding gender and national security. Opportunities like these allowed for a deeply synergistic experience between the classroom and the activities of the Mudd Center.


GLOBAL ETHICS IN THE 21ST CENTURY: Challenges and Opportunities

Challenges and Opportunities

A Year-long Series


CEO, New America; Bert G. Kerstetter ’66 University Professor Emerita of Politics and International Affairs, Princeton University; Director of Policy Planning, U.S. State Department (2009-2011); Dean, School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton (2002-2009); Director, International Legal Studies Program, Harvard (1994-2002) Leading Commentator on ethics, law, international relations, gender equality; Author, The Chessboard and the Web: Strategies of Connection in a Networked World (2017); Recipient, U.S. State Department’s Distinguished Service Award


OCT. 15

5 P.M.

A Year-long Series

This webinar is co-sponsored by the Mudd Center for Ethics and the Center for International Education

THE FIRST POLITICAL ORDER: HOW SEX SHAPES GOVERNANCE AND NATIONAL SECURITY WORLDWIDE DR. VALERIE HUDSON University Distinguished Professor, Bush School of Government and Public Service, Texas A&M University. Director, Bush School’s Program on Women, Peace, and Security. Expert on international security & foreign policy analysis, with focus on gender issues. “Foreign Policy” list of top 100 Most Influential Global Thinkers. Recipient, Andrew Carnegie Fellowship


FEB. 15

Webinar is co-sponsored by the Center for International Education and Mudd Center for Ethics


5 P.M.

CLIMATE CHANGE AND ITS IMPACT ON THE WORLD ORDER ELIZABETH KOLBERT Staff Writer, The New Yorker; author, “The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History,” winner of the Pulitzer Prize, listed as a Top Ten Book of the Year by the N.Y. Times and cited as No. 1 on The Guardian’s list of 100 Best Nonfiction Books of all time; Recipient of Heinz Award, recognizing work on global climate change


Moderated Conversation with W&L Professors



Registration: This webinar is co-sponsored by the Mudd Center for Ethics and the Center for International Education



Challenges and Opportunities

Challenges and Opportunities

A Year-long Series

A Year-long Series

Webinar is co-sponsored by Mudd Center for Ethics and the Center for International Education

ETHICAL PROBLEMS IN PUBLIC HEALTH PRACTICE JONATHAN WORTHAM ’04, M.D. Physician at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia; Leader, Outbreak Investigations Team, Division of Tuberculosis Elimination; Investigated outbreaks of Covid-19, Legionnaire’s Disease, TB, Ebola, Zika; Author of over 15 scientific works on public health topics; Graduate of Baylor College of Medicine; Pediatrician in urgent care settings.


Physician in Lexington & Rockbridge Area Hospice; long-time practice in Lexington, KY; teaching medical staff at University of Kentucky Medical College; eight years of Army Reserves practice in Germany, Iraq, Afghanistan.


JAN. 28


W&L PROFESSOR ERIN TAYLOR Philosophy Department since 2016; Ph.D., UCLA; expert in Normative Ethics, Political Philosophy, Bioethics; courses include Medical Ethics, Ancient Philosophy.


FEB. 2

7 P.M.

5 P.M.

Challenges and Opportunities A Year-long Series This webinar is co-sponsored by the Mudd Center for Ethics and the Center for International Education



Challenges and Opportunities

Challenges and Opportunities

A Year-long Series

A Year-long Series

This webinar is co-sponsored by the Mudd Center for Ethics and the Center for International Education

This webinar is co-sponsored by Mudd Center for Ethics, Center for International Education, Community Based Learning, and Department of Sociology and Anthropology.




5 P.M.



FELIX KWAME YEBOAH Assistant Professor of International Development and Member of Food Security Group, Michigan State University; Expert in agricultural and food system transformation, natural resource management, and youth livelihood issues in Africa; Lead author, 2018 Global Food Security Report, Chicago Council of Global Affairs

5 P.M.





OCT. 19

Co-sponsored by Roger Mudd Center for Ethics, Center for International Education, Institute for Honor and W&L Executive Committee

This webinar is co-sponsored by the Mudd Center for Ethics and the Center for International Education

THOMAS H. SPEEDY RICE Professor of Practice, Transnational Law Institute, W&L School of Law; Global lecturer on human rights, ethics, access to legal aid; Internationally recognized for work in international legal reforms; Created and taught international student programs in legal aid, defense services of International Tribunals, and anti-corruption education using UN Convention Against Corruption and UN Education for Justice

Intellectual historian, political theorist, Assistant Prof., Harvard University, Dept. of Government & Social Studies; Author, “In the Shadow of Justice: Postwar Liberalism & the Remaking of Political Philosophy” (Princeton 2019), winner, Merle Curti Intellectual History Award, shortlisted for RHS Gladstone Book Prize, Royal Historical Society.



5 P.M.

Professor of Anthropology & Chicana, Chicano, and Central American Studies, UCLA; Executive Director, Undocumented Migration Project; Author, “The Land of Open Graves: Living and Dying on the Migrant Trail”; Head Curator, Hostile Terrain 94.



5 P.M.

2020 -2021: Behind the Scenes

Left to right: Mark Rush, director, Center for International Education; Kate Saacke, Mudd Center administrative assistant; Jeremy Weissman, Mudd post-doctoral fellow; Amy Jarrett, Mudd Center administrative assistant; Clare Perry ’21, editor-in-chief, Journal of Ethics; Brian Murchison, director, Mudd Center for Ethics

Patrick Sheridan, operations manager, Ruscio Center for Global Learning

Scott Ingram, law student and writing volunteer in the Mudd Center Student organizers of Hostile Terrain exhibit, Kathryn Fagan ’21 and Tina Taylor ’22

One of the hallmarks of the two-year postdoctoral fellowship in the Mudd Center is the opportunity for the fellow to undertake important scholarship. This year, Jeremy Weissman completed his book, “The Crowdsourced Panopticon: Conformity and Control on Social Media,” published by Rowman & Littlefield. He presented this work in a talk jointly sponsored by Leyburn Library and the Mudd Center. We wish Jeremy all the best as he moves on to a faculty appointment in the Philosophy Department of Nova Southeastern University in Florida.

FROM THE BOOK COVER Behind the omnipresent screens of our laptops and smartphones, a digitally networked public has quickly grown larger than the population of any nation on Earth. On the flipside, in front of the ubiquitous recording devices that saturate our lives, individuals are hyperexposed through a worldwide online broadcast that encourages the public to watch, judge, rate, and rank people’s lives. The interplay of these two forces – the invisibility of the anonymous crowd and the exposure of the individual before that crowd – is a central focus of this book. Informed by critiques of conformity and mass media by some of the greatest philosophers of the past two centuries, as well as by a wide range of historical and empirical studies, Weissman helps shed light on what may happen when our lives are increasingly broadcast online for everyone all the time, to be judged by the global community.

2021 Undergraduate Ethics Conference About This Conference: The Conference of The Mudd Journal of Ethics is a national undergraduate research conference devoted solely to the study of ethics. Sponsored by both the Roger Mudd Center for Ethics and the Phi Sigma Tau Honor Society in Philosophy, this conference was created with the goal of recognizing, studying and discussing exceptional academic work in ethics produced at the undergraduate level. This fifth annual conference features students from three colleges and universities located in two different states across the country. Each paper presented will be published in the fifth edition of The Mudd Journal of Ethics this spring. DAY 1: SATURDAY, MARCH 6

2-2:10 p.m.

Opening Remarks

2:10-2:50 p.m.

“Kantian Forgiveness: A Shared End,” by Sofia Stutz, Northwestern University

2:50-3 p.m. BREAK 3-3:40 p.m.

“The Biopolitical and Return of the Ethical,” by Andrew Gillespie, Eastern University

3:40-3:50 p.m. BREAK 3:50-4:30 p.m.

“An Analysis of the Morality of Infanticide,” by Roslyn Valdespino, Northwestern University

4:30-4:40 p.m. BREAK 4:40-5:20 p.m. “Medical Rationing, Moral Thinking, and Common Morality,” by Robert Campbell, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities DAY 2: SUNDAY, MARCH 7

9-10:30 a.m. Keynote Address: “An Explanation of the Value of Human Beings,” by Professor Nandi Theunissen, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh 10:30-10:40 a.m. BREAK 10:40-11:20 a.m. “Thoughts, Thinkers, and a Hollow Substitution for Mental Privacy,” by Justin Wong, Harvard University 11:20-11:30 a.m.

Closing Remarks


Keynote Speaker Nandi Theunissen is an associate professor of philosophy at University of Pittsburgh. Her work is on theoretical topics in ethics, with a focus on the nature of value. Her book, “The Value of Humanity,” was published by Oxford University Press in 2020. She received her B.A., first class honors with University Medal (philosophy), from the University of Sydney, and her M.Phil. from the University of Sydney as well. Her Ph.D. is from Columbia University (2012). Theunissen co-edited (with Sarah Buss) “Re-Evaluating The Value of Humanity” (Oxford 2021).

The Mudd Journal of Ethics Editors: Clare Perry ’21 (Editor-in-Chief) Ben Hess ’23 (Assistant Editor) Tyler Bernard ’23 (Assistant Editor) Chad Thomas ’21 (Editor) Anna Hurst ’22 (Editor) James Torbert ’23 (Editor) J.C. Ward ’23 (Editor) Watson Deacon ’24 (Editor)


In Memoriam ROGER MUDD ’50 Roger Harrison Mudd ’50, an award-winning journalist who endowed the Roger Mudd Center for Ethics at W&L, died March 9, 2021. He was 93. Born on Feb. 9, 1928, in Washington, D.C., Mudd served in the military before arriving at W&L. He earned an M.A. in history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, then began a long, distinguished journalism career that included covering Congress and Capitol Hill for CBS News, co-anchoring “NBC Nightly News” and “Meet the Press” and teaching at Princeton University and Washington and Lee. Mudd was the recipient of the Peabody Award, the Joan Shorenstein Barone Award for Distinguished Washington Reporting and five Emmy awards. He also authored a memoir, “The Place to Be: Washington, CBS, and the Glory Days of Television News.”

He served on multiple committees and advisory boards at W&L. He also was inducted into ODK, received a doctor of letters degree, and was given W&L’s highest honor, the Washington Award, which recognizes distinguished leadership and service to the nation and extraordinary acts of philanthropy. His name was added to the Benefactor’s Wall in 2011. Mudd and his late wife, E.J., gave W&L $4 million to establish the Roger Mudd Center for Ethics. They also donated a collection of 20th-century Southern literature first editions and Mudd’s papers, which document his successful career and connections with the university. The family requests that gifts in his memory be directed to the Mudd Center.

Karla Murdock Named Next Director of the Mudd Center for Ethics Karla Klein Murdock, professor of cognitive and behavioral science at Washington and Lee University, has been named the next Roger Mudd Professor of Ethics and director of the university’s Roger Mudd Center for Ethics. She succeeds Brian Murchison, who recently concluded his threeyear appointment. Murdock came to Washington and Lee in 2005 as an associate professor of psychology. She became a core faculty member in the Shepherd Program for the Interdisciplinary Study of Poverty and Human Capability in 2013 and served as head of the Department of Cognitive and Behavioral Science from 2015-19. In 2018 she was appointed as an inaugural faculty fellow in the Office of Community-Based Learning. “Brian Murchison and his predecessor Angie Smith have created fertile soil for our growth as thinkers and citizens,” she said, “and I can’t wait to do my part to nurture the Mudd Center’s mission.” 28 | MUDD CENTER ANNUAL REPORT 2021

Omar Quiñonez Joins W&L as the New Postdoctoral Fellow Joining the Mudd Center as the new postdoctoral fellow will be Dr. Omar Quiñonez, who received his Ph.D. at Emory University in 2021. His areas of research and teaching specialization are 19th century German philosophy and social and political thought. He will be teaching a course that parallels the center’s upcoming theme of “Daily Ethics.”

Upcoming 2021-2022


How Individual Choices and Habits Express Our Values and Shape Our World Responsible Persons in Everyday Life

Philosophy is Not a Luxury



The Half-Life of Freedom

Environmental Ethics Right Now: Individual, Collective, Local, and Global Actions That Matter


What to Do When You Don’t Make a Difference ANDREW CHIGNELL | OCTOBER 28, 2021

Living in the Questions of a Climate-Changed World


The Everyday Ethics of Scrolling Through Social Media: How to Avoid Getting Buried in an Online Information Avalanche MARK CODDINGTON | MARCH 24, 2022


The Daily Ethics Mosaic: A Community Artwork

The Ethics of Consumer Choice NEERU PAHARIA | JANUARY 31, 2022


The Criticality of Technical Honesty in Growing Energy Technology Companies: How Even the Best Intentions Can Lead to Ruin JAY WHITACRE | FEBRUARY 10, 2022











Mudd Center for Ethics