Tubman Talks: “The Intellectual Origins of Martin Luther King Jr.’s Emancipative Philosophy” — January 18, 2018

Dr. Ramin Jahanbegloo will present a paper entitled, The Intellectual Origins of Martin Luther King Jr.’s Emancipative Philosophy”, on January 18, 2018 at the Harriet Tubman Institute from 2:30 – 4:30.


Martin Luther King, Jr. is without doubt the greatest American figure in 20th century. A Baptist priest of vast intellectual depth and complexity, King was also a systematic political thinker.  His thoughts on nonviolence and his struggle against segregation and inequalities in the US influenced several generations of nonviolent thinkers and activists. This historical breakthrough, formulated by King’s social and political strategies, was the outcome of a long period of philosophical incubation that constituted King’s intellectual evolution. King was influenced by a variety of authors such as Walter Rauschenbusch, L. Harold De Wolf, Reinhold Niebuhr and Personalistic thought, but also he adopted the Gandhian principle of nonviolence. In other words, King had not only a sound understanding of Christian thought, but also an acute awareness of Western philosophy. King was not a philosopher in the traditional sense of the term, but what really matters is the use which he made of philosophers in order to shape his own thought and create his own intellectual world, one in which the dialogue between religion and philosophy is permanent.


Dr. Ramin Jahanbegloo is a political philosopher. He is presently the Executive Director of the Mahatma Gandhi Centre for Nonviolence and Peace Studies and the Vice-Dean of the School of Law at Jindal Global University- Delhi, India. He received his B.A. and M.A. in Philosophy, History and Political Science and later his Ph.D. in Philosophy from the Sorbonne University. In 1993 he taught at the Academy of Philosophy in Tehran. He has been a researcher at the French Institute for Iranian Studies and a fellow at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University.  Ramin Jahanbegloo taught in the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto from 1997-2001. He later served as the head of the Department of Contemporary Studies of the Cultural Research Centre in Tehran and, in 2006-07, was Rajni Kothari Professor of Democracy at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies in New Delhi, India. In April 2006 Dr. Jahanbegloo was arrested in Tehran Airport charged with preparing a velvet revolution in Iran. He was placed in solitary confinement for four months and released on bail. He was an Associated Professor of Political Science and a Research Fellow in the Centre for Ethics at University of Toronto from 2008-2012 and an Associate Professor of Political Science at York University in Toronto from 2012 – 2015. He is also a member of the advisory board of PEN Canada. He is the winner of the Peace Prize from the United Nations Association in Spain (2009) for his extensive academic works in promoting dialogue between cultures and his advocacy for non-violence and more recently the winner of the Josep Palau in Fabre International Essay Prize. Among his twenty-eight books in English, French, Spanish, Italian and Persian are Conversations with Isaiah Berlin (Peter Halban, 1992), Gandhi: Aux Sources de la Nonviolence (Felin, 1999),   Penser la Nonviolence (UNESCO,2000),  Iran: Between Tradition and Modernity (Lexington Books, 2004India Revisited: Conversations on Contemporary India(Oxford University Press, 2007), The Clash of Intolerances (Har-Anand 2007) The Spirit of India (Penguin 2008), Beyond Violence (Har-Anand 2008), Leggere Gandhi a Teheran (Marsilio 2008),  India Analysed (Oxford University Press 2009),Talking Politics (Oxford University Press 2010), Civil Society and Democracy in Iran (Lexington Press, 2011), The Gandhian Moment (forthcoming at Harvard University Press) Democracy in Iran (Palgrave 2013) Introduction to Nonviolence (Palgrave 2013)  Time Will Say Nothing (University of Regina Press 2014)  Gadflies in the Public Space (Lexington Press, 2016) The Decline of Civilization (Aleph Books 2017), Letters to a Young Philosopher (Oxford University Press, 2017) and very recently On Forgiveness and Revenge (University of Regina Press 2017)

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