18 Oct 2011 5:00pm - 7:00pm Lady Mitchell Hall, Sidgwick Site


CRASSH 10th Anniversary Lecture Series: The Idea of the University

Professor Onora O'Neill


Professor Onora O'Neill (former Principal, Newnham College) will give the second in a series of six lectures on The Idea of the University.


There is now little prospect of imposing or rehabilitating any single view of what a university is or should be. Essentialism is for the past, and we can at most expect family resemblances among the varied institutions that call themselves universities. However diversity of mission needs to be matched by explicit acceptance of diversity of accountability. In the UK we already have diversity of mission, but still assume that we should have uniformity of accountability, often on the grounds that anything else would open the door to unequal ‘access’. Is it time to look again at the relevant conceptions of ‘access’, fairness and equality, and to ask afresh how a fair but diverse university system might be held to account?

Further lectures in the series are:

About Onora O'Neill

Onora O'Neill was Principal of Newnham College, Cambridge until 2006. She lectured in the faculties of Philosophy and History and Philosophy of Science, and has written books and articles in ethics, political philosophy, on the philosophy of Immanuel Kant and on bioethics. She is a former member and chair of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics and the Human Genetics Advisory Commission and the Nuffield Foundation. She is a Member of the House of Lords and sits as a crossbencher.


Tel: +44 1223 766886
Email enquiries@crassh.cam.ac.uk