The Point/Counterpoint conversation series features an Amherst College professor and guests engaging in thoughtful discussion and attempting to bridge the growing ideological divide in our nation. Series information is available on the Amherst College website.
Join Professor of Philosophy Nishi Shah for a discussion on "Is Progress in Our Genes?" A Q&A will follow, with books available for purchase through Amherst Books.
Stephen L. Carter is the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law at Yale Law School, where he has been a member of the faculty since 1982. Among his recent courses are "Contracts," "Evidence," "Law and Religion," "The Ethics of War," "Slavery and the Law" and "Libertarian Legal Theory." He is the author of 15 books, including, among others, The Violence of Peace: America’s Wars in the Age of Obama (2010); God’s Name in Vain: The Wrongs and Rights of Religion in Politics (2000); Civility: Manners, Morals, and the Etiquette of Democracy (1998); The Dissent of the Governed: A Meditation on Law, Religion, and Loyalty (1998); The Confirmation Mess: Cleaning up the Federal Appointments Process (1994); and The Culture of Disbelief: How American Law and Politics Trivialize Religious Devotion (1993). His most recent volume, published in 2018, is Invisible: The Forgotten Story of the Black Woman Lawyer who Took Down America’s Biggest Mobster. He recently delivered the W.E.B. Du Bois Lectures at Harvard, which he is writing up for publication.
Nicholas A. Christakis, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., is a sociologist and physician who conducts research in the areas of social networks and biosocial science. He directs the Human Nature Lab. His current research is mainly focused on two topics: (1) the social, mathematical and biological rules governing how social networks form (“connection”), and (2) the social and biological implications of how they operate to influence thoughts, feelings and behaviors (“contagion”). His lab uses both observational and experimental methods to study these phenomena, exploiting techniques from sociology, computer science, biosocial science, demography, statistics, behavior genetics, evolutionary biology, epidemiology and other fields.
The Point/Counterpoint series is based on a course of the same name. The course and associated event series received special funding through a generous gift from 36 members of the 50th Reunion Class of 1970.