Dr. K. Anthony Appiah, the Laurance S. Rockefeller Professor at Princeton University, will be Penn’s guest speaker for this year’s Baccalaureate Ceremony. The Ceremony will be held on Sunday, May 13 in Irvine Auditorium at 1:30 p.m. (for graduates whose last names’ begin with A through K) and again at 3 p.m. (for L through Z). Dr. Appiah will also be the GSE ceremony speaker on Saturday, May 12.
Dr. Appiah was born in London (where his Ghanaian father was a law student) but moved as an infant to Ghana, where he grew up. He was educated at Cambridge University in England, where he received both B.A. and Ph.D. degrees in philosophy. Since Cambridge, he has taught at Yale, Cornell, Duke and Harvard universities and lectured at many other institutions in England, Germany, Ghana, Holland, Norway, South Africa and the United States, as well as at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris. He has taught at Princeton since 2002.
In 1992, he published In My Father’s House , which deals with the role of African and African-American intellectuals in shaping contemporary African cultural life. This book won the 1993 Herskovits Award from the African Studies Association “for the best work published in English on Africa.” Among his other works are Color Conscious: The Political Morality of Race with Amy Gutmann (which won the Ralph J. Bunche Award of the American Political Science Association, “for the best scholarly work in political science which explores the phenomenon of ethnic and cultural pluralism”) and Bu Me Bé: Proverbs of the Akan (of which his mother, Peggy Appiah, was the major author), which is an annotated edition of 7,500 proverbs in Twi, the language of Asante. Along with Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. he edited the Encarta Africana CD-ROM encyclopedia, which is now available in a revised and expanded multi-volume print edition from Oxford University Press. He is also the author of three novels, of which the first, Avenging Angel, was largely set at Clare College, Cambridge. He also writes often for the New York Review of Books.
Dr. Appiah joined the Princeton faculty in 2002 as Laurance S. Rockefeller University Professor of Philosophy and the University Center for Human Values. His current interests range over African and African-American intellectual history, ethics and political philosophy, and the philosophy of culture.
In January 2005, Princeton University Press published The Ethics of Identity , and a year later Norton published his Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers. This book is currently scheduled for publication in Chinese, Dutch, French, German, Hebrew, Indonesian, Italian, Korean, Portuguese, Romanian, Spanish and Turkish. Next year, Harvard University Press will publish his Experiments in Ethics.
Dr. Appiah has received honorary degrees from the University of Richmond, Colgate University, Bard College and Swarthmore College.