Wayne State Dean to Discuss ‘Civility: Its Uses and Abuses in Public Discourse’ on March 18

Community News |Mar 3, 2020|2 min read

The MCC Lecture Series continues on Wednesday, March 18, when John Corvino, the dean of the Irvin D. Reid Honors College and a professor of philosophy at Wayne State University, will discuss “Civility: Its Uses and Abuses in Public Discourse.”


The event, which is free and open to the public, will take place in Stevenson Center Room 1300 at 7 p.m.


In the last 25 years, Corvino has spoken to over 250 campuses on LGBTQ issues, ethics, public dialogue, and marriage. His online videos have received over two million views.


“There’s much to be said in favor of being nice and of taking a ‘big tent’ approach toward those with whom we differ,” explains Corvino. “Yet claims about civility are often deployed to silence those who are justifiably angry. When the status quo is unjust, it should be disrupted—sometimes even with shouting, shunning, and shaming. How should we draw the line?”


In this talk, Corvino will draw upon several decades of experience as a participant in the “culture wars,” as well as classical and contemporary philosophers, to shed light on puzzles about civility, free speech, and tolerance.

He is the author or co-author of three books from Oxford University Press: Debating Same-Sex Marriage (with Maggie Gallagher), What’s Wrong with Homosexuality? and, most recently, Debating Religious Liberty and Discrimination, with Ryan T. Anderson and Sherif Girgis. He edited the 1997 seminal work Same Sex: Debating the Ethics, Science, and Culture of Homosexuality. Corvino has contributed to The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Detroit Free Press, the Huffington Post, The New Republic, Slate, Commonweal, and other popular venues.


He earned a B.A. from St. John’s University in New York and a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin. He has received the Wayne State University President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching and a 2012 Distinguished Professor of the Year Award from the Presidents Council of the State Universities of Michigan.


“Dr. Corvino is a gifted speaker who is able to communicate difficult material clearly to a broad audience,” said MCC Philosophy Instructor Andy Wible, who coordinates the MCC Lecture Series. “He is witty, smart, and, most importantly, kind. His speeches and books have literally changed the world. We are lucky to have him at MCC.”


For more information on the lecture, contact Wible at (231) 777-0626.