From a mother’s willingness to give her life to protect her infant son in the Harry Potter books to calls for austerity in fiscal policy, sacrifice persists as a prominent trope in discussions of contemporary morality.
Sociology professor Ronjon Paul Datta will delve into the theme in his free public lecture “Debating Sacrifice with Durkheim,” Friday, March 29, at 6 p.m. in the Performance Hall, SoCA Armouries, 37 University Ave. E.
Dr. Datta will explore the legacy of David Émile Durkheim (1858-1917), one of the founders of modern social science.
“Durkheim sought in part to explain why people would willingly and joyously act altruistically, even at the price of painfully sacrificing their selfish inclinations,” he says. “But Durkheim’s work also reflects some ambivalence about established religion and sacrificial practices since they have contributed to dogmatism, violence, social exclusion, and the devaluing of personhood.”
Datta is a 2018-19 HRG Fellow; his presentation is the final event in Humanities Week, sponsored by the UWindsor Humanities Research Group.