Second Annual Eva Holtby Lecture on Contemporary Culture

ICC welcomes Kwame Anthony Appiah on Oct. 12th

On Friday, October 12, 2007, the Institute for Contemporary Culture (ICC) at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) presents the second annual Eva Holtby Lecture on Contemporary Culture. Professor, philosopher and noted writer, Kwame Anthony Appiah will address some of the central ethical questions of our time during his lecture entitled The Politics of Culture, the Politics of Identity. The free lecture begins at 7 pm in the ROM’s Signy & Cléophée Eaton Theatre on Level B1 and is reserved seating only. (Museum admission is not included.) Seating may be reserved starting October 1, 2007 by contacting the ICC at 416.586.5524 or

For this year’s lecture, Princeton University philosophy professor Kwame Anthony Appiah will offer answers and solutions grounded in a new ethics of cosmopolitanism, which celebrates our common humanity, while at the same time offers a practical way to manage our differences. Drawing on his new book Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers (W. W. Norton, February 2007), Professor Appiah will identify the struggles everyone faces to come to terms with the "strangeness of strangers" and the "foreignness of foreigners." He will also discuss a new approach to living a moral life in the modern age, where claims of "a clash of civilizations" compete with a groundless moral relativism. A panel discussion follows with Globe and Mail columnist Margaret Wente and television host and analyst Allan Gregg.

“We are pleased to welcome Professor Appiah to the ROM,” said William Thorsell, ROM Director and CEO. “With the participation of such prominent cultural theorists, we hope that the Eva Holtby Lecture continues to be one of the most important annual gatherings in the city’s intellectual calendar.”

Born in London, England and raised in Ghana, Professor Appiah obtained his Bachelor of Arts and PhD degrees in philosophy at Cambridge University in England and has taught philosophy and African and African-American studies at Cambridge, Duke, Cornell, Yale, Harvard and Princeton Universities in the United States. He is currently Rockefeller University Professor of Philosophy at Princeton with a cross-appointment at the University Center for Human Values.

Professor Appiah’s most recent book, Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers, is the 2007 winner of the prestigious Arthur Ross Book Award, chosen by the Council on Foreign Relations, and widely acknowledged as the most significant award given to a book on international affairs. Among his titles are In My Father’s House (Oxford University Press, 1992), The Ethics of Identity (Princeton University Press, 2004), and Africana (Running Press, 2003), a one-volume encyclopedia of the Pan-African experience that he compiled with co-editor Henry Louis Gates.

This lecture is named in honour of the late Eva Holtby. It was made possible through the generosity of Mrs. Holtby’s husband, former ROM Trustee Philip Holtby, and Eva Holtby’s parents, Rudolph and Paula Schury.


Margaret Wente is well known for her passionate and often controversial thoughts on current affairs and issues in her award-winning columns in the Globe and Mail. Her diverse career as writer and editor of some of Canada's leading business magazines includes Report on Business and Canadian Business and the Globe's business section, the ROB.

Former Chairman of The Strategic Counsel, one of Canada's leading market research and polling firms, Allan Gregg is much sought after for his incisive analysis and commentary on almost any social, political or economic issue. Host of TVO's Allan Gregg in Conversation With and the "Gregg and Company" segment on Studio 2, he is also a regular contributor to The Walrus, and a regular commentator on CBC news.

The Institute for Contemporary Culture

The ICC at the ROM plays a vital role in a museum whose collections embrace many civilizations, as well as the record of nature through countless ages. In the context of the ROM’s lively documentation of history, the ICC explores current cultural issues through exhibitions of art and architecture, lectures, film series, and informal gatherings. The ICC provides a unique forum where the new encounters the historical and anthropological. It explores both the continuity and discontinuity of cultures—their relationships across space and time, to each other and to the natural world. The ROM’s collections provide context and depth to contemporary issues addressed by artists, architects, and participants in ICC events from around the world. For further information, please visit the ICC website at