Knowl­edge net­works, re­search dis­sem­i­na­tion and the Uni­ver­si­ties of Cyprus and Cam­bridge

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

Dr. Stam­a­toula Pana­gakou of the Univer­sity of Cyprus pre­sented her lat­est re­search on the fem­i­nist phi­los­o­phy of J. S. Mill at the in­ter­na­tional con­fer­ence “Knowl­edge Net­works, the Grote Club and Cam­bridge Ide­al­ism” which took place at Wolf­son Col­lege, Cam­bridge, June 26-27.

Ac­cord­ing to the con­fer­ence or­gan­is­ers, “knowl­edge net­works have emerged in schol­ar­ship as vi­tal forces within the gen­er­a­tion of new knowl­edge.” Many au­thors “have il­lus­trated how knowl­edge is of­ten sit­u­ated in spe­cific lo­cal spa­ces at spe­cific times, such as Athens, Alexan­dria, Rome, Con­stantino­ple, Bagh­dad, Cor­doba, Florence, Paris, Berlin and Vi­enna. Stud­ies of Bri­tish Ide­al­ism have iden­ti­fied Ox­ford, Glas­gow and Ed­in­burgh, while Util­i­tar­i­an­ism has been lo­cated pri­mar­ily in the Lon­don me­trop­o­lis.” The con­fer­ence con­nected “Knowl­edge Net­works, Cam­bridge Univer­sity and Bri­tish Ide­al­ist phi­los­o­phy.”

Dr. Pana­gakou’s paper was “An Ide­al­ist Com­mit­ment to the Com­mon Good? J. S. Mill on Women’s Em­pow­er­ment and the Im­prove­ment of Hu­mankind.” She ar­gued that Mill’s vin­di­ca­tion of the rights of women and his cri­tique of pa­tri­archy do not only ad­dress is­sues of in­di­vid­ual free­dom, equal­ity and jus­tice, but they also re­fer to the im­prove­ment of so­ci­ety as a whole. The em­pow­er­ment of women, the recog­ni­tion of their con­tri­bu­tion to so­ci­ety and pol­i­tics, and the cul­ti­va­tion of a so­cial and fam­ily en­vi­ron­ment based on re­spect, equal­ity and friend­ship con­sti­tute nec­es­sary con­di­tions for both the build­ing of a truly demo­cratic polity and the pro­mo­tion of the com­mon good.

Dr. Pana­gakou em­pha­sised that Mill chal­lenged con­ven­tional views and con­nected his fem­i­nist the­ory to a holis­tic nar­ra­tive of civic con­scious­ness and the good life. She showed that Mill’s ac­knowl­edge­ment of the in­ter­de­pen­dence of the dif­fer­ent lev­els of so­cial ex­pe­ri­ence, and his view of the vi­tal in­ter­re­la­tion be­tween in­di­vid­ual good and the com­mon good echo the ide­al­ist prin­ci­ple of in­sti­tu­tions as eth­i­cal ideas and con­vey an ide­al­ist com­mit­ment to a shared com­mon good that in­cludes the self-re­al­i­sa­tion of in­di­vid­u­als.

Con­fer­ence or­gan­is­ers Pro­fes­sor James Con­nelly and Dr. John Gib­bins stated that: “Dr. Pana­gakou pre­sented a pow­er­ful case for fe­male eman­ci­pa­tion based upon the writ­ings of J. S. Mill and his wife Har­riet. Re­moval of le­gal im­ped­i­ments plus ed­u­ca­tional op­por­tu­ni­ties would give women an equal chance to im­prove hu­man well-be­ing. This paper pro­voked en­er­getic de­bate and use­ful re­sults.”

Ac­cord­ing to Dr. Pana­gakou, the en­thu­si­as­tic re­cep­tion of her paper demon­strated that there is a huge in­ter­est in cut­tingedge in­ter­pre­ta­tions of J. S. Mill’s po­lit­i­cal phi­los­o­phy. She felt im­mensely happy that the “Knowl­edge Net­works” con­fer­ence pro­vided her with the op­por­tu­nity to dis­sem­i­nate her re­search find­ings to an in­ter­na­tional gath­er­ing of schol­ars. Dr. Pana­gakou con­cluded: “A knowl­edge net­work has been cre­ated be­tween Cyprus and Cam­bridge which re­flects the recog­ni­tion and im­por­tance of the re­search done at the Univer­sity of Cyprus.”

The con­fer­ence was sup­ported by the Cen­tre for Ide­al­ism and the New Lib­er­al­ism (Univer­sity of Hull) and by the in­de­pen­dent char­ity Ed­u­ca­tion Ser­vices 2010. Regius Pro­fes­sor Sir Richard Evans, Pres­i­dent of Wolf­son Col­lege, gave the open­ing ad­dress. Ple­nary lec­tures were de­liv­ered by Dr. John Gib­bins and by Pro­fes­sor Wil­liam C. Lubenow.

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