Wintersession 2022

Wintersession 2022, Freedom Project

January 17-21, 2022


Theme: Freedom and Global Crises

As we leave another year of pandemic behind us, our task is to reflect on the changing nature of freedom while taking into account the long standing philosophical and theoretical discussions about this concept. Wintersession 2022 will feature prominent scholars in their respective fields and initiate discussions on pressing contemporary issues in the United States and beyond. This time, we will have 6 sessions from 17-20 January, and a student-led open discussion will conclude the program on Thursday, January 21, 2022. The schedule is as follows:


Day 1: January 17, 2022


Session 1: 9:30 AM- 11:15 AM

Please register here.

Vanessa L. Fong

Olin Professor in Asian Studies, Amherst College


“Freedoms won and lost when Chinese students study abroad”

Based on longitudinal research conducted between 1998 and 2022 with a cohort of Chinese citizens born under China's one-child policy who studied abroad, this talk examines how study abroad their access to developed world freedoms, but learned that the new freedoms they acquired abroad were not as complete, satisfying, or useful as they had hoped and that transnational migration also entailed the loss of many freedoms they had taken for granted in China, such as the freedom to fulfill filial obligations, to spend time with friends and family members, to enjoy Chinese food, culture, city life, and relationships, to finish college, start careers, get married, and have children at the same time as their peers, to avoid the instability and uncertainty associated with the floating life of a migrant, and to live as part of the mainstream middle class rather than the marginal migrant lower class.


Session 2: 12:45 PM-2:30 PM

Please register here.

Craig Murphy

Betty Freyhof Johnson ’44 Professor of Political Science, Wellesley College


“How Did We End Up with Global Supply Chains and Why Are They Such a Mess?”

From Drones for Kids to quick COVID test kits, Christmas 2021 has been a holiday of shortages caused by blocked supply chains. This talks about how we ended up with the current global economy of precarious abundance—the technologies and industrial standards that enabled it, the business models that encouraged it, and the chokepoints that cause all the problems. Many of the chokepoints are also sties of extraordinary profit making, the kind of oligopolistic markets that big businesses prefer. Some may also be potential sites of organized resistance to the excesses of global industrial capitalism. Today’s blockages will surely end, but the way that happens will have great implications for global politics and global inequality. 


Day 2: January 18, 2022 


Session 1: 9:30 AM- 11:15 AM

Please register here. 

Erich Hatala Matthes

Associate Professor of Philosophy, Wellesley College


“When Good Artists Do Bad Things”

Recent years have been punctuated by revelations and reminders that popular artists (musicians, directors, actors, comedians, painters) have committed a range of morally condemnable acts. What should we do, think, and feel in response to these actions? Does it affect the aesthetic quality of the work these artists have produced? Is it morally permissible for us to engage with or enjoy that work? Should such work even be available for consumption, or should it be “canceled?” In short, can we separate the art from the artist? In this presentation, Matthes argues that it doesn’t matter whether we can separate the art from the artist, because we shouldn’t. Taking both art and morality seriously requires grappling with them together. Recognizing the moral and aesthetic relationships between art and artist is essential to determining when and where we should draw the line when good artists do bad things.



Session 2: 12:45 PM-2:15 PM 

Please register here.

Shingirai L. Taodzera

Assistant Professor, African American & African Studies Department, University of California Davis

“Natural Resources and Ownership Rights in Africa: Government vs Kingdoms”


Day 3: January 19, 2022


Session 1: 10:00 AM-11:30 AM

Please register here.


Katty Alhayek

Assistant Professor, School of Professional Communication, Ryerson University

Facebook, displaced women, and the pursuit of empowerment”

Katty Alhayek approaches displaced women’s use of social media as a social capital to build solidaristic social networks. Displaced women reclaim empowerment through discursive practices of positivity by these social networks they created. 


Session 2: 12:45 PM-14:30 PM

Please register here.

Ruth L. Okediji

Jeremiah Smith, Jr. Professor of Law, Harvard Law School

Co-Director, Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society, Harvard University

“How Innovation Policy Undermines Access to Medicines and Global Justice”
Multilateral agreements that govern the protection and enforcement of patents and other types of intellectual property have placed unprecedented emphasis on private markets to supply global public goods such as life-saving medicines.  Despite growing social inequality and sub-optimal diffusion of medical technologies, demands for legal reform of patent law have thus far only fueled new forms of private property in innovation goods. These legal tools reinforce structural conditions that deny many people the medicines they need and amplify the failures of previous global health crises in  underprivileged communities and poor countries. 
This lecture highlights how global access to vaccines and other medical technologies has been undermined by the legal institutions designed to advance the progress of science in the public interest. It offers ideas to reclaim the human right to a just and ethical innovation system.


Day 4: January 20, 2022

Please register here.

9:30 AM-11:30 AM

Student-led discussion conducted by the Adam Smith Fellows