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2013-14: Public/Private

The Conversations on Morality, Politics, and Society (COMPAS) program for 2013/14 focused on the distinction between Public and Private. This theme connects a wide range of pressing policy questions and fundamental scholarly problems across seemingly disparate domains.  Movements for social justice often press their cases by arguing that supposedly personal matters are in fact political and that the structure of public spaces often limits private choice, thereby reducing the impact of individual responsibility.  Conversely, governments have experimented with privatizing a variety of previously public functions and services such as prisons, roads, schools, and the military.  Developments in information technology, genetics, and neuroscience raise new moral, legal, and practical questions about personal privacy.  And the ubiquity of internet use and social media have changed the way we conduct our personal and social lives in respects that invite reflection on the distinction between public and private activity.  Thus, in addition to being a matter of enduring political and academic interest, the way in which societies define issues as public or private has important implications for the fundamental ethical question of how to live a good human life.  Our year-long program explored the many facets of these complex and critical issues and mobilized Ohio State’s multiple disciplinary perspectives and diverse resources to promote informed, civil discussion of the ever-shifting relationship between the public and the private.

COMPAS Conferences

Each COMPAS program is able to support two conferences, one in the fall and one in the spring.

COMPAS Colloquia

This year's COMPAS program was able to bring a number of individual speakers to campus to present their own research relating to the Public/Private theme.

COMPAS Sponsored Events

The Public/Private COMPAS program sponsored a series of events organized by faculty from across the University. The competitive call for proposals resulted in the following exciting events:

Public/Private related university events

Throughout the university, many events were held related to the COMPAS theme of Public/Private. COMPAS regularly co-sponsored and advertised these events in an effort to bring further University resources to the forefront of the COMPAS conversation.

Buckeye Book Community/First Year Experience Events

  • September 11, 2013
    Speaker: Reza Aslan
    Buckeye Book Club and OSU First Year Experience Event 
  • October 1, 2013
    Author of The Submission Visits
    Speaker: Amy Waldman
    Buckeye Book Club and OSU First Year Experience Event 

Wexner Center for the Arts Events

  • November 14-16 & 17, 2013
    Play depicting Supreme Court Case: Barnes v. Glen Theatre, Inc.
    Post-play panel discussions
  • January 16 & 18, 2014
    "Let the Fire Burn"
    Documentary Screening

Other Events around Campus

  • September 19, 2013
    "Bars and Digits: Liberal Democracy in the Digital Age of Security"
    Speaker: Bernard Harcourt
    Humanities Institute Event
  • September 26, 2013
    "Do Partisan Primaries Serve the Public Interest?"
    Panel Discussions Co-sponsored by the Bipartisan Policy Center
  • October 3, 2013
    "Cybersurveillance, Privacy, and Security"
    Mershon Center for International Security, panel discussion
  • October 10, 2013
    "Is Library User Privacy still Paramount in the 2.0 Era?"
    Speaker: Michael Zimmer
    Library Colloquium 
  • October 24, 2013
    "Big Brother is Watching (Out For) You?"
    Batelle Center Tech Talk
  • March 19-21, 2014
    "Big Data Future"
    Interdisciplinary Big Data Conference