Why is America’s class divide worsening, and what can we do to limit inequality? Philosopher and author Matthew Stewart will share his insights in a lecture Monday, Sept. 17, at 7:30 p.m. in the Gund Gallery’s Community Foundation Theater.
In his work, Stewart draws on his background as a management consultant to make complex philosophical arguments accessible to a broader audience. His evening lecture, titled “Aristocracy and Its Discontents: America’s Class Problem and What to Do About It,” is expected to expand upon a widely discussed June cover article he wrote for the Atlantic, “The Birth of a New American Aristocracy.” The article sparked further coverage on NPR and PBS, among other outlets, and was included in a summer reading list shared by former President Barack Obama in June.
In addition to his Monday evening lecture, Stewart will speak Tuesday, Sept. 18, at 11:10 a.m., also in the Community Foundation Theater. Titled “An Emancipation of the Mind: Radical Enlightenment in the American Struggle over Slavery,” Stewart’s lecture will explore the surprising combinations of philosophy and action in the lives of Theodore Parker, Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln.
“Matthew Stewart has earned a reputation as a broad and incisive thinker by bringing his background in philosophy to topics as varied as management consulting, the invention of the submarine, and the American founders' notion of the deity,” said Professor of Mathematics Bob Milnikel, a member of Kenyon’s Faculty Lectureships Committee. “This latter topic, which was the subject of his most recent book, ‘Nature’s God,’ inspired Kenyon’s Center for the Study of American Democracy to join the Department of Philosophy and the Faculty Lectureships program in sponsoring Stewart’s visit. We are delighted that he will address both this topic, as well as his Atlantic cover story, in his two talks at Kenyon.”
Stewart’s most recent book, “Nature’s God: The Heretical Origins of the American Republic,” was long-listed for the National Book Award. Other books he has authored include “The Management Myth: Debunking the Modern Philosophy of Business,” “The Courtier and the Heretic: Leibniz, Spinoza, and the Fate of God in the Modern World,” and “The Truth About Everything: An Irreverent History of Philosophy.” He earned a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University and a doctorate in philosophy from Oxford University.