Agnes Tam presents Toward an Ethics of Belonging

The F.E.L. Priestley Lecture Series proudly welcomes University of Calgary Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Agnes Tam to the University of Lethbridge to present, Toward an Ethics of Belonging.

F.E.L. Priestley Lecture Series: Toward an Ethics of Belonging with Agnes Tam


In the age of migration, many societies are grappling with a crisis of belonging. Not only do immigrants and minorities feel alienated from their community, but even the majority feels disoriented in their homeland. What’s the missing social glue?  Many philosophers have argued that the cement of a society is a social contract, and that civil debates can help define the right terms. In this lecture, Professor Tam challenges this conventional view, arguing instead that the social glue is the bond of history. To create this bond, she emphasizes the pressing need for stories, ethical and artful ones. 

Agnes Tam is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of Calgary and the 2023-4 Applied Ethics Fellow of the Calgary Institute for the Humanities. Abandoned in rural China, adopted first by Hong Kong and later by Canada, Agnes is grappling with questions of belonging herself. She has a law degree from the University of Hong Kong, a Master in Political Theory from the London School of Economics and Political Science, a PhD in Philosophy from Queen’s University, and held a Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship at McGill University. Her research reflects her hybrid identities and is unified by her belief that the liberal tradition tends to misunderstand the nature of community, exaggerate its risks, and undervalue its contribution to a good society. Her empirically-informed work on how community drives progress has been published in Journal of Political Philosophy, Analyse & Kritik and edited volumes with Oxford University Press and Routledge, and more is forthcoming in Analysis and Standard Encyclopedia Entry (with Margaret Meek Lange).

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