John Harris’ Seminar Wednesday June 5th 12 pm “Xenia: Refugees, Displaced Persons and Reciprocity”

Don’t miss this talk on Wednesday!

john harris
Professor John Harris, visiting Professor for the Bioethics & Society MSc

Visiting Professor John Harris will give a very timely paper given the rough geopolitical times we are living in:

“Xenia: Refugees, Displaced Persons and Reciprocity”
When: Wednesday 5 June 2019, 
12:00 to 13:30

Where: Room S0.11 Strand Campus


This talk is a small part of a book project tentatively called: “Where do I belong? Where does this belong?” and will deal with nationality, migration and displaced persons and things.

In this particular instantiation, I will ask the following question and give, I hope, some ideas which provide a solution. What has happened to our culture today that strangers to our shores are not welcomed, not given the protection of our laws and the warmth of our hospitality? What has happened to civilization? Refugees, displaced persons and desperate would-be migrants are treated as creatures of no consequence, no interests and no rights?

Odysseus of Ithaca

Britain, a nation built on migration: Celts, Saxons, Romans, Danes, Normans, Huguenots, Jews, West Indians, Asians from India, Pakistan, Ceylon (Sri Lanka) Singapore, and so many others; has turned its back on contemporary strangers and on ancient values. To understand this tragedy, and both the origins and possible solutions to its disastrous effects, we need to start in the bronze age, nearly three thousand years ago, with one of the most complex and human of humans ever imagined, Odysseus of Ithaca.

This seminar is open to all – NO NEED TO REGISTER – just show up!

About Professor John Harris

John Harris is Visiting Professor in Bioethics in the department of Global Health & Social Medicine at King’s College London, where he teaches in the MSc in Bioethics & Society.

Educated at the University of Kent and at Balliol College, Oxford, Prof John Harris is the author or editor of twenty-one books and over three hundred peer-reviewed articles.

From March 2004 to July 2011 John was the joint Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Medical Ethics, the leading journal in medical and applied ethics. John has also served on many advisory bodies, including as a member of the United Kingdom Human Genetics Commission (HGC) from itjohn-harris-value-lifes foundation in 1999 until 2010 and as a member of The Ethics Committee of the British Medical Association for more than fifteen years. In 1986 John jointly founded (with Margaret Brazier) the Centre for Social Ethics and Policy of the University of Manchester, one of two leading centres in bioethics in the UK (the other being the Centre for Medical Ethics and Law at King’s), as described by historian Duncan Wilson in his 2015 book, The Making of British Bioethics.

John has, throughout his career, defended broadly libertarian – consequentialist approaches to issues in bioethics. This has made him a leading defender of the rights of the individual to access medical technology and to benefit from medical services. He has defended the individual’s entitlement to these goods and services regardless of age, life expectancy, level of9780198707592 disability, quality of life or genetic pre-disposition to illness. He has been and remains a leading critic of paternalistic or restrictive approaches to regulation or legislation of access to medical services or technology.

Some of John’s papers and books have become seminal to the bioethics canon, i.e. “The Survival Lottery” (1975), The Value of Life (1985) (John is now working on The Value of Life 2), Wonderwoman and Superman (1992) and Enhancing Evolution (OUP 2007). His most recent book, How to be Good, was published by Oxford University Press, Oxford in 2016 and is poised to take its place right alongside his other groundbreaking works.

John has made many appearances in the media over his career, helping to shape public discourse around challenging bioethical topics. In 2017 he was appointed visiting Professor in Bioethics in the department of global health & social medicine, where he contributes to the teaching of the MSc in Bioethics & Society.

Applications for the Bioethics & Society Postgraduate Programme for entry September 2019 are open. For inquiries contact the MSc Programme Director Dr Silvia Camporesi:

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