The Love and Justice Project

Two normative categories long prominent in the culture of the West are those of love and justice, bequeathed to us by two fundamental strands of our inheritance, the Greco-Roman and the Jewish-Christian. They have always been intertwined, and they have always been in tension. The proper relationship between the two has been the source of never-ending debate, both in theory and practice.

The Love and Justice Project is aimed at illuminating and, when possible, offering guidance concerning the deep and contentious debates concerning the relationship between love and justice. We understand both terms broadly: by love, we understand not only the various forms of what is strictly called “love,” but also mercy, charity, humanitarian relief, pardon, forgiveness, amnesty, and the like; by “justice” we understand primary justice, along with issues related to punishment, retribution, penance, reparations, human rights, and the like.

The Love and Justice Project has hosted The Love and Justice Lecture Series and a working group.

The Love and Justice Lecture Series

Ten prominent scholars gave lectures at the University of Virginia on some aspect of love and justice. Speakers included: Regina Schwartz (Northwestern), Craig Calhoun (Social Science Research Council President), Jeffrie Murphy (Arizona State University), Thomas Brudholm (U. of Copenhagen), Cathleen Kaveny (Notre Dame), John Brewer (U of Aberdeen), Jeremy Waldron (NYU), Jean Porter (Notre Dame), Leora Batnitzky (Princeton), and Christopher Eberle (United States Air Force Academy).

Spring 2010

Regina Schwartz, Northwestern University

"Loving Justice"


Craig Calhoun, Social Science Research Council & New York University

"From Common Humanity to Humanitarian Obligation: Suffering Strangers, Progress, and Emergencies"

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Jeffrie Murphy, Arizona State University

"The Case of Dostoevsky's General—Reflections on Forgiving the Unforgivable"

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Thomas Brudholm, University of Copenhagen

"The Anatomy of Hatred"

Fall 2010

M. Cathleen Kaveny, Notre Dame

"Love, Law, and Justice: The Strange 'Divorce' Case of Watts v. Watts"

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John Brewer, University of Aberdeen

"Compromise after Conflict"


Jeremy Waldron, New York University

"Rescuing Impersonality: the Myth of Mrs. Jellyby"

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Jean Porter, Notre Dame

"Beyond Self-Sacrifice: The Recovery of Political Virtue"

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Leora Batnizky, Princeton University

“The Priorities of Love and Justice: Some Reflections on Judaism, Christianity, and the Question of Human Anthropology”

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Christopher Eberle, United States Naval Academy

"The Soldier's Rationale"

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The Love and Justice Working Group

The Love and Justice Working Group met for two hours every week or two for a year to discuss the work-in-progress of group participants and for working sessions with some of the lecturers from the Love and Justice Lecture Series.


Participating Scholars

  • Talbot Brewer (Philosophy)
  • Geoff Claussen (Jewish Studies)
  • Jamie Ferreira (Religious Studies)
  • Corinne Field (History)
  • Karen Guth (Religious Studies)
  • Charles Mathewes (Religious Studies)
  • Dan Philpott (Political Science)
  • Regina Schwartz (English)
  • Greg Thompson (Religious Studies)

Who We Are

The Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture is an interdisciplinary research center and intellectual community at the University of Virginia committed to understanding contemporary cultural change and its individual and social consequences, training young scholars, and providing intellectual leadership in service to the public good.

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