The Niebuhrian Moment, Then and Now: religion, democracy, and political realism

A Workshop under the Auspices of the History of Political Thought Project,
University Center for Human Values, Princeton University

February 24, 2011 - McCosh 10 **Please note the change in location
Provisional Schedule and Papers

The Project in the History of Political Thought of the University Center for Human Values will hold a half-day symposium reflecting on the thought of theologian Reinhold Niebuhr and its appropriation across a range of disciplines and in American public life over the last eighty years. The political implications of Niebuhr's account of sin as pride or self-love unfolded in the course of his lifetime, paralleling and challenging major turning points in American history involving domestic social change and varying forms of armed intervention abroad. Niebuhr's non-sentimental view of democracy and his 'Christian realist' perspective on international relations constitute a controversial legacy for political debate today, having been cited by both Obama and McCain in the 2008 election and contended over by David Brooks and Arthur Schlesinger. With this gathering, we explore the meaning of a figure and school of thought dominant in shaping the American ethical landscape of the twentieth century, and its disputed relevance for the twenty-first.