Richard B. Lippin Lecture in Ethics

Richard B. Lippin Lecture in Ethics

Focusing on current ethical issues in the fields of business, medicine, science, and technology, and questions of justice, the annual Richard B. Lippin Lecture in Ethics features the latest perspectives and work from public intellectuals. Since its inception, the Lippin Lecture has presented such notable people as Bryan Stevenson, Salman Rushdie, Melanie Killen, and Sue Knight, MD.

The Lippin Lecture is made possible by support from Richard B. (Dick) Lippin and the late Ronnie Lippin. Dick Lippin is a 1968 psychology graduate of Penn State who established the lectureship with his late wife because he felt that much of the integrity and honesty that he knew growing up was now lacking in the world of business. His company, the Los Angeles-based Lippin Group, does marketing consulting for the entertainment industry.

Upcoming Lecture:

2022 Richard B. Lippin Lecture in Ethics

Featuring Katrina Karkazis
Apr 7, 2022
101 Thomas Building

Katrina Karkazis is a cultural anthropologist working at the intersection of science and technology studies, theories of gender and race, social studies of medicine, and bioethics. Karkazis’ research and teaching examine—and challenge—scientific and medical beliefs about gender, sexuality, and the body across a range of topics. Karkazis is Professor of Sexuality, Women’s, and Gender Studies at Amherst College and a Senior Research Fellow with the Global Health Justice Partnership at Yale University. She previously held appointments at Stanford University and as the Carol Zicklin Chair in the Honors Academy at Brooklyn College, CUNY. She has also served as a Visiting Professor at Emory University.

Professor Karkazis’ latest book, Testosterone: An Unauthorized Biographywritten with Rebecca Jordan-Young and published by Harvard University Press, unsettles a great deal of long-standing knowledge and beliefs about this hormone. Testosterone was awarded the Gold Medal in Science from the Independent Publisher Book Awards. This work was supported by the National Science Foundation and the Brocher Foundation, as well as a Guggenheim Fellowship and an American Council of Learned Societies Research Fellowship. A recent essay, “The Masculine Mystique of T,”  was published in the New York Review of Books.

Karkazis’ work on testosterone stems from her earlier research, including research on “sex testing” and sport regulations that ban women athletes with naturally high testosterone. This research has appeared in ScienceThe American Journal of BioethicsBMJ, and Feminist Formations. She contributed to Dutee Chand’s successful appeal of the IAAF’s testosterone regulation at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) and served as an expert witness in the hearing. She also consulted with Caster Semenya’s team prior to her CAS hearing. Karkazis has also contributed the Report of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Intersection of race and gender discrimination in sport (June 2020) and the Human Rights Watch Report, “They’re Chasing Us Away from Sport”: Human Rights Violations in Sex Testing of Elite Women Athletes (December 2020).

Karkazis began her career looking at controversies over treatment for people with intersex traits, which resulted in the book, Fixing Sex: Intersex, Medical Authority, and Lived Experience (Duke 2008). Fixing Sex was a finalist for Lambda Literary Award in 2009 and a nominee for the Margaret Mead Award in 2010.

Karkazis’ writing has appeared in the New York TimesThe GuardianWired, and the New York Review of Books, among other outlets.

Karkazis’ research has been covered in the New York Times, Time, BuzzFeed, The Week, CNN, ESPN, The Daily Beast, The Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, Jezebel, Slate, The Advocate, La Liberation, The Chronicle of Higher Education, San Jose Mercury News, and the Toronto Star. She has also appeared on The WorldBBC, CBS News, NBC News, KCBS, CTV News, Q Radio, Al Jazeera, and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, among others.

Katrina Karkazis holds a doctorate in Cultural Anthropology and a Master’s in Public Health, both from Columbia University.

Past Lectures:

By Hands Now Known: Jim Crow’s Legal Executioners

Featuring Margaret Burnham
Feb 23, 2023
HUB Flex Theatre

The 2023 Richard B. Lippin Lecture in Ethics will feature Margaret Burnham, Professor of Law and Founding Director of the Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project at Northeastern University. In this lecture, co-hosted by African American Studies and the Rock Ethics Institute, Professor Burnham will discuss her new book By Hands Now Known: Jim Crow’s Legal Executioners — a paradigm-shifting investigation of Jim Crow-era violence, the legal apparatus that sustained it, and its enduring legacy. The lecture will be Thursday, February 23, at 6:00pm in the Flex Theatre (HUB 132).

President Joe Biden recently appointed Professor Burnham to the Civil Rights Cold Case Records Review Board, which examines records related to cold cases of murder and other racially motivated violence that occurred between 1940 and 1979. She began her career at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. In 1977, she became the first African American woman to serve in the Massachusetts judiciary when she joined the Boston Municipal Court bench as an associate justice. Later in 1993, South African president Nelson Mandela appointed Professor Burnham to serve on an international human rights commission to investigate alleged human rights violations within the African National Congress. The commission was a precursor to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

To learn more about Professor Burnham and her research into racial violence, listen to her interview on NPR’s Fresh Air and read the New York Times‘ review of By Hands Now Known.

Automating Inequality

Featuring Virginia Eubanks
Oct 1, 2020

Noted author Virginia Eubanks presented the Rock Ethics Institute’s 2020 Richard B. Lippin Lecture in Ethics the evening of October 1, 2020. In her lecture, Eubanks expanded on the themes of her book “Automating Inequality: How High-Tech Tools Profile, Police, and Punish the Poor,” which investigates the impacts of data mining, policy algorithms, and predictive risk models on poor and working-class people in America.

She was joined for a panel discussion after the talk by Sarah Rajtmajer (research associate in the Rock Ethics Institute and assistant professor of information sciences and technology) and Pamela VanHaitsma (Sherwin Early Career Professor in the Rock Ethics Institute and assistant professor of communication arts and sciences and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies, and interim director of Center for Humanities and Information). The event was moderated by Daniel Susser (research associate in the Rock Ethics Institute and assistant professor of information sciences and technology and philosophy).

Presented virtually, Eubank’s lecture and the panel discussion can be seen here.

Automatic Inequality” received the 2018 McGannon Center Book Prize and was shortlisted for the Goddard Riverside Stephan Russo Book Prize for Social Justice.

Virginia Eubanks is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University at Albany, SUNY. She is the author of Automating Inequality: How High-Tech Tools Profile, Police, and Punish the PoorDigital Dead End: Fighting for Social Justice in the Information Age; and co-editor, with Alethia Jones, of Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around: Forty Years of Movement Building with Barbara Smith. Her writing about technology and social justice has appeared in Scientific AmericanThe NationHarper’s, and Wired. For two decades, Eubanks has worked in community technology and economic justice movements. She was a founding member of the Our Data Bodies Project and a 2016-2017 Fellow at New America. She lives in Troy, NY.

Co-sponsors for this year’s Lippin Lecture included the Center for Humanities and Information; the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications; the McCourtney Institute for Democracy; and Penn State University Libraries. The McCourtney Institute interviewed Eubanks during a recent episode of its Democracy Works podcast.

An Evening with Bryan Stevenson

Featuring Bryan Stevenson
Mar 20, 2019
Eisenhower Auditorium

The Rock Ethics Institute’s 2019 Richard B. Lippin Lecture in Ethics featured award-winning author and lawyer Bryan Stevenson. Stevenson is the author of the New York Times bestseller Just Mercy and is one of the leading voices for civil rights and criminal justice reform in America today. His lecture  explored what justice demands, both inside and outside the courtroom, and the need to address the legacy of racial violence and oppression in the United States.

Stevenson is the founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) in Montgomery, Alabama. Under his leadership, EJI has won significant legal challenges eliminating excessive and unfair sentencing, exonerating innocent death row prisoners, confronting the abuse of the incarcerated and the mentally ill, and aiding children prosecuted as adults. In April 2018, EJI opened a national memorial to victims of lynching, The National Memorial for Peace and Justice, as well as a companion museum, The Legacy Museum: From Enslavement to Mass Incarceration, built on the site of a former slave warehouse in downtown Montgomery.

For more information on Stevenson’s visit, the work of EJI, and Stevenson himself, please visit the following:

WPSU BookMark: “Just Mercy” By Bryan Stevenson

Bryan Stevenson shares a message of acceptance, reconciliation, and hope

Lawyer Bryan Stevenson discusses criminal justice reform, changing the world

‘Hope is your superpower’: Bryan Stevenson speaks at Penn State Abington

TED Talk: “We Need to Talk about an Injustice”

EJI: Lynching in America

NYT: “A Memorial to the Lingering Horror of Lynching”

This event was sponsored by the Rock Ethics Institute, Student Programming Association, Office of the Vice Provost for Educational Equity, World Campus, McCourtney Institute for Democracy, Penn State Law, Adult Learner Programs & Services, and Center for Character, Conscience, and Public Purpose.