On Nov. 9 and 10, Marquette will host two lecture events presented by the 2006-2007 Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar Dr. Margaret Levi. The Marquette Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa: Zeta of Wisconsin, the Political Science Department and the College of Arts and Sciences Student Council are sponsoring these events.Levi will speak about two different topics. On Nov. 9, the topic is “Transforming Self-Interest and Developing Pro-Social Preferences,” and the lecture is open to the public. The next day, Levi will be talking about “Global Justice Campaigns,” an event open to only the Marquette community.
Levi is a highly decorated political science scholar who is currently the Jere L. Bacharach Professor of International Studies and the Director of the Comparative Historical Analysis of Organization and States at the University of Washington, Seattle. She has also authored a number of books including Consent, Dissent and Patriotism and Of Rule and Revenue. She served as the President of the American Political Science Association in 2004-2005.
“Dr. Levi is a role model who embodies what many students would like to achieve,” said Dr. Steven Millen Taylor, President of the Zeta Chapter and Associate Professor of French.
Levi also holds several community commitments. According to the University of Washington Web site, she has served on the Jobs for Justice Workers’ Rights Board and was a member of the first coordinating committee of Scholars, Artists and Writers for Social Justice. In an email interview, Levi has studied and written about a number of social justice issues that interests her, and in which she has been involved. This includes AFL-CIO protests at the 1999 WTO Ministerial in Seattle and fair trade coffee and living wage campaigns.
“Occasionally my involvements directly influence my research. They also affect the way I teach the Introduction to Labor Studies,” said Levi. “I address these campaigns and encourage students to do research on them or to do Service Learning with them or labor unions.”
She said she encourages students to do this also through Service Learning and has created a class to learn how to do campaign-oriented research. For that, she won the Public Service Teaching Award at the University of Washington.
Taylor stressed that, although Levi is a political science scholar, her lecture topics are relevant to students who are studying other disciplines as well. He said that her work and community involvement relate to the values and mission of the Marquette community. The Marquette Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa sponsors such events regularly and brings in scholars from various areas, including English, Classical Languages and the hard sciences.
“We have done this on a regular basis since we were given our charter,” Taylor said. “As faculty and administrators, we feel that visiting scholars are important. They show what Phi Beta Kappa stands for. This is why we invest time, effort and money to bring them to Marquette.”
The primary sponsor of these lecture events, Phi Beta Kappa, is the nation’s oldest and most prestigious academic honors society. Only ten percent of the country’s collegiate institutions have Phi Beta Kappa, and only ten percent of arts and sciences graduates of these “distinguished” institutions are invited to join. Some famous Phi Beta Kappa members include NFL quarterback Peyton Manning, author Michael Crichton and founder of Amazon.com Jeff Bezos.
All Phi Beta Kappa members have a wide array of backgrounds, interests and achievements. For Levi, she said her experiences with these groups influenced her research, teaching and opinions.
“I feel that I have an obligation to bring a critical eye to the social movement organizations and causes that concern me,” Levi said. “I see my role as raising hard questions about the effectiveness or organizations and the extent to which they are accountable to rank and file.”
Members of the Marquette community, from faculty to administrators to students, are always very excited to host scholars like Levi.
“We’re very much looking forward to hosting Dr. Levi next week and encourage the Marquette community to attend her public lecture on November 9,” said Dr. Stephani Richards Wilson, Phi Beta Kappa member and Assistant Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “Dr. Levi is a distinguished scholar and we’re hoping her talk will generate a rich discussion and exchange of ideas. Anyone interested in social justice, good government, or how individuals can make a difference will most likely benefit from her remarks.”