The Rubin is transforming. Read more about our future as a global museum.

Akeel Bilgrami + David Bromwich

What Gandhi and Lincoln Can Teach Us

Wednesday, November 30, 2016
7:00 PM–8:30 PM

“Good travels at a snail’s pace. Those who want to do good are not selfish, they are not in a hurry, they know that to impregnate people with good requires a long time.”

—Mahatma Gandhi


Columbia University philosopher Akeel Bilgrami and Yale professor of English David Bromwich have a conversation about the philosophical concerns that arise from the lives and thoughts of Mahatma Gandhi and Abraham Lincoln.

“How and when did we transform the concept of nature into the concept of natural resources?’ I don’t believe that question is essentially different from the questions, “˜How and when did we transform the concept of people into the concept of populations?’ and “˜How and when did we transform the concept of knowledge into the concept of expertise?’. It may even, at bottom, be the same as the question, “˜How and when did we transform the concept of human beings into the concept of citizens?’, though, I suspect, this last bold equation will raise many liberal eyebrows”.

– Akeel Bilgrami, Secularism, Identity, and Enchantment (Harvard University Press, 2014)


About the Speakers

Akeel Bilgrami received a BA in English literature from Elphinstone College, Bombay University, and went to Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar where he read philosophy, politics, and economics. He has a PhD in philosophy from the University of Chicago and is currently the Sidney Morgenbesser Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University, where he is also a professor on the committee on global thought. He was the director of the Humanities Center at Columbia University for seven years and is now the director of its South Asian Institute. His publications include the books Belief and Meaning (1992), Self-Knowledge and Resentment (2006), and Secularism, Identity, and Enchantment (2014). He is due to publish two short books in the near future: What Is a Muslim? and Gandhi’s Integrity. His long-term work is on the relations between agency, value, and practical reason.

David Bromwich teaches literature at Yale. He has written on politics and culture for The New Republic, The Nation, The New York Review of Books, and other magazines. He is editor of Edmund Burke’s selected writings On Empire, Liberty, and Reform and co-editor of the Yale University Press edition of On Liberty.

Sign up for alerts about this series

​Tickets: $18.00

Member Tickets: $16.20

Student Tickets: $10.00

For select programs the Museum offers $10 student-rate tickets. These tickets are available in advance of the event and can be purchased online, over the phone, or at the front desk. Tickets must be redeemed in person with the presentation of a student ID. Limited to one ticket per student ID.