Lectures & Interviews
Is Civility a Sham?
TED Salon Talk, November 2018
The Open Mind
The Value of Disagreements and Limits of Intolerance
As the core premise of modern moral and political philosophy, equality often demands more allegiance than investigation. The question of its historical emergence as a social and political ideal is generally set aside in favor of identifying the causal and constitutive harms of various kinds of inequality – political, social, or economic. This talk will explore ideas of equality as a political principle, a religious commitment, and a social practice in seventeenth-century England. These fascinating but forgotten visions of “equality before egalitarianism” shed light on the development of a central concept in modern political thought while providing some analytical clarity and historical insight sorely missing in contemporary debates.
Two Concepts of Freedom (of Speech)
American Philosophical Society, April 2018
What does it mean to be civil in conversation with others? Is it always a virtue? Teresa Bejan, author of Mere Civility, discusses this topic and its long history in this episode of the Philosophy Bites podcast.
Click the play button to listen to the podcast, or
In this episode, Teresa Bejan talks to Elizabeth Oldfield about her book, the importance of building resilience when being confronted with ideas different from our own, and why not having a thick skin when it comes to critique, might be a good thing.
Part 1 - Early American Religion
Prof. Bejan joins the podcast to discuss religion, civility, and toleration in early modern Europe and America. She and Toby discuss the case of Roger Williams, the puritan minister who founded the colony of Rhode Island.
Part 2 - Civility and Tone Policing
In the second part of the conversation, Prof. Bejan and Toby Buckle discuss civility on the left and right of U.S politics. Professor Bejan agues that both sides should be more willing to continue the conversation and 'tolerate the disagreeableness of disagreement.'
A polite protest at a restaurant last weekend led politicians and pundits to wonder whether, at long last, civility in America was dead. But as unique as this political moment might seem, rudeness and uncivil protest have been around for a long time — as has the debate over how a diverse society can best exist or whether it can at all. Brooke talks to Dr. Teresa M. Bejan, associate professor of political theory at Oxford University and author of Mere Civility: Disagreement and the Limits of Toleration, about our long history of uncivil disagreement and whether civility is all it's cracked up to be.
We enter the early modern age with an expert opinion featuring Teresa Bejan, associate professor at Oriel College, Oxford University and author of “Mere Civility: Disagreement and the Limits of Toleration.” In this episode, Jacob and Teresa will discuss political thought on tolerance and the limits of religious speech in early modern England and colonial America. The episode investigates the writings of intellectual rock stars John Milton, Thomas Hobbes, and John Locke and the less famous but hugely relevant Roger Williams.