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Lori Gruen, assistant professor of philosophy at Wesleyan University, will speak on “Feminism, Pornography, and Censorship: Where Are We Now?” at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 8, in the auditorium of Lafayette’s Kirby Hall of Civil Rights.

Gruen’s talk is free and open to the public. It is the second lecture in the three-part Ethics Project Spring Speaker Series “Sex and the Law,” sponsored by the Ethics Project and the department of philosophy.

On Thursday, April 12, Stephen J. Schulhofer, Julius Kreeger Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Studies in Criminal Justice at the University of Chicago Law School, will talk about “Rape, Sexual Assault and the Twilight Zone: When Sex is Unwanted but not Unlawful” at 7:30 p.m. in Kirby Auditorium. Schulhofer’s talk is based on themes in his book, Unwanted Sex: The Culture of Intimidation and the Failure of Law (Harvard University Press, 1998). Yale Law School professor Vicki Schultz kicked the series off with a talk on “Sexual Harassment in the Workplace: What’s Sex Got to Do With It?” Feb. 8.

“Consistent with the overall mission of the Ethics Project, this lecture series is designed to expose members of the Lafayette community to recent thought on the morally complex issues that arise at the intersection of sex and the law,” says director George Panichas, professor and head of the philosophy department. “Each of the speakers in the series is actively involved in research in this important area of normative jurisprudence, and their presentations will be of great interest to students and faculty in a variety of courses taught in the spring term.”

Lafayette’s Ethics Project promotes sound moral analysis and reasoning and their application to a full range of contemporary problems. It involves faculty throughout Lafayette. The program has sponsored talks, seminars, and other activities for more than a decade. Funding is provided by an endowment established by the late Louise M. Olmsted and her husband, Robert Olmsted.

Gruen, a former member of the Lafayette faculty, specializes in ethics (normative theory and applied ethics), environmental philosophy, feminist philosophy, and social and political philosophy/philosophy of law. She is co-author of Animal Liberation: A Graphic Guide with Peter Singer, published in 1987 by Camden Press in London. She also co-edited Sex, Morality and the Law (New York: Routledge Press, 1997) with Panichas, and Reflecting on Nature: Readings in Environmental Philosophy (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994) with Dale Jamieson.

Sex, Morality, and the Law, edited by Lori Gruen and George E. Panichas, is an interesting and innovative contribution to interdisciplinary literature focusing on the intersection of law and society,” notes Eileen L. McDonagh, a professor in the department of political science at Northeastern University. “Their primary concern is to produce a counterbalance to the irrational, contentious, and contradictory public discourse generated by a society all but saturated by sex. They seek to do this by presenting ‘calmer, more careful assessments of matters of intimate concern.’”

Two articles by Gruen will be published this year, “The Morals of Animal Minds” and “Pornography and Censorship,” both in The Cognitive Animal (MIT Press). She has contributed articles in numerous publications, including A Companion to Applied Ethics, Singer and His Critics, Daring to be Good, Midwest Studies in Philosophy, Ecological Feminism, Ethics and Behavior, Society and Nature, Living With Contradictions, and many others. Her commentaries have been included in Science and Engineering Ethics, Environmental Ethics, Journal of Women in Culture and Society, and the Feminism and Philosophy Newsletter of the American Philosophical Association. She also has published numerous book reviews in a variety of publications.

Gruen has given many papers and presentations, including “Theories of Intrinsic Value” at the University of California, Berkeley in March 2000; “Toxic Responsibility and Moral Luck” at the Eastern American Philosophical Association, New York in December 2000; “Refocusing Environmental Ethics” at Mansfield College, Oxford in June 1999; “Multiculturalism and Oppression” at the University of Minnesota in October 1999; “Environmental Justice and Environmentalism” at Carleton College in October 1999; “Non-Humans as Sources of Normativity” at Stanford University in November, 1999; and others.

Gruen taught an advanced ethics seminar on “Is Morality Too Demanding?”, a class on business ethics, an ethics seminar for faculty, courses on environmental ethics and feminist philosophy, and other classes at Lafayette from 1994-96.

She was a visiting lecturer in the department of philosophy and Ethics in Society Program at Stanford University from 1997-2000. She was a Mellon Fellow for the 1999-2000 school year. Gruen has been a visiting assistant professor in the department of philosophy at Lafayette College, an acting assistant professor in the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and has held positions at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, and the University of Colorado, Boulder. She graduated summa cum laude from the University of Colorado in 1983 and earned her Ph.D. there in 1994.

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