Professor Adam Kuper FBA discusses the history of ideas about culture, and their significance in debates about identity in Europe today.
The whole article can be downloaded as a PDF file.
Published in British Academy Review, Issue 9.
Ethnomusicologist and former British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow, Dr Rachel Harris spent long periods of fieldwork in Xinjiang, in the remote desert region of Chinese Central Asia, listening and learning about the music of the Sibe, descendants of Qing dynasty military garrisons. In this edited extract from her book, ‘Singing the Village’, Dr Harris gives a biographical sketch of a village musician G’altu, and describes a typical wedding in Çabçal, a county in Sibe.
Isaiah Berlin Lecture, delivered by Professor Lord Parekh FBA, on 2 April 2008.
The nature of the relation between reason and identity lies at the heart of moral and political philosophy. In the dominant view that goes back to Plato, reason is seen as an impersonal and transcendental faculty. It is abstracted from the individuality and social affiliations of the moral agent, and expected to deliver universally valid judgements about the good life and the right course of action. This view ignores the vital role of identity in human life, and the way it influences the range of reasons the moral agent considers relevant and finds persuasive. While a well considered theory of reason needs to take full account of individual identity, it runs the risk of placing identity outside the ambit of rational scrutiny and severely limiting the role of reason in moral and political life. This lecture explores ways of resolving the tension between reason and identity.