Want better conversations in the culture wars? Then bring John Corvino to your campus.
John has nearly 30 years’ speaking experience at over 250 campuses across the globe. A veteran of the marriage-equality debate, he combines logical precision, empathy, and humor to get audiences thinking about hard questions: on sexuality, religion, free speech, political polarization…and the possibility of constructive dialogue across deep divides.
John is available both for solo programs—including his popular keynote, “Conversation Stoppers in the Culture Wars” and his new talk “ Punching the Nazi: The Uses and Abuses of Civility”—and for debates and dialogues such as “Reclaiming Disagreement” with Matthew Lee Anderson. If you’re looking for a campus speaker who combines serious academic credentials with accessibility, sensitivity, and impact, look no further. As one student put it, “He’s funny and he makes you think.”
John Corvino, Ph.D. is Dean of the Irvin D. Reid Honors College and Professor of Philosophy at Wayne State University. He is the author or co-author of several books, including Debating Same-Sex Marriage (with Maggie Gallagher; 2012), What’s Wrong with Homosexuality? (2013), and Debating Religious Liberty and Discrimination (with Ryan T. Anderson and Sherif Girgis; 2017), all from Oxford University Press. His current research concerns free speech, civility, and the ethics of public discourse.
John has appeared on CNN, ABC, FOX, MSNBC, CSPAN, and other TV and radio networks, and has written for The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Detroit Free Press, Slate, Commonweal and elsewhere. An award-winning teacher, he has spoken at over 250 college campuses, and his YouTube videos have received nearly three million views. He lives with his husband in the City of Detroit.
20+ TIME NACA SHOWCASING ARTIST PAST AFA SHOWCASING ARTIST
Chosen as one of the Top 25 LGBT Favorites from Campus Pride
Ask about adding a complimentary book signing to your event! "What's Morally Wrong with Homosexuality?" DVD also available.
From the 2007 DVD of John’s classic, “What’s Morally Wrong with Homosexuality?”
Note: These are select programs. John is always writing new material and is happy to customize programs for specific campuses’ needs. All programs include a substantial Q&A portion.
Conversation Stoppers in the Culture Wars
In this popular keynote, John reflects on 25+ years in the culture wars by pointing out how rhetoric from all sides of the debate — both right and left — hinders rather than helps real dialogue. Using his unique blend of logic and humor, he shines light on “hot-button” topics, including “political correctness,” religious privilege, the fact/opinion distinction, the analogy between LGBT identity and racial identity, and more. In the process, he invites everyone into a more nuanced and productive conversation about the issues that divide us — as well as the values that bind us together.
PUNCHING THE NAZI: THE USES AND ABUSES OF CIVILITY
There's much to be said in favor of being nice and of taking a “big tent” approach toward those with whom we differ. Yet claims about civility are often deployed to silence those who are justifiably angry. When the status quo is unjust, it should be disrupted—sometimes even with shouting, shunning, and shaming. How should we draw the line? In this talk, John Corvino draws upon his decades of experience in the “culture wars,” as well as classical and contemporary thinkers, to shed light on puzzles about civility, free speech, and tolerance.
ON GOD’S AUTHORITY: RELIGIOUS LIBERTY IN A MARRIAGE EQUALITY WORLD
Now that same-sex marriage is legal throughout the U.S., conflicts have emerged with objectors who do not wish to facilitate same-sex weddings: clerks who do not wish to issue marriage licenses; bakers, florists, and caterers who do not wish to provide services for the receptions, and so on. Is it possible to oppose discrimination while also respecting religious liberty? In this talk, John draws from his latest book, Debating Religious Liberty and Discrimination (and his related YouTube series), to provide a thoughtful response.
RECLAIMING DISAGREEMENT: CONSTRUCTIVE CONVERSATIONS IN THE CULTURE WARS
Everyone agrees that our nation is more polarized than ever. We claim to want something better, yet we find ourselves in constant skirmishes—on social media, in family gatherings, and in everyday interactions.
John Corvino and Matthew Lee Anderson know that constructive dialogue is possible amidst profound cultural divides. Having met as opponents in the marriage-equality debate, they ostensibly come from opposite sides of the “culture wars”: Corvino is a gay man and religious skeptic, while Anderson is a conservative evangelical Christian. They have since developed a rich and productive friendship—even while maintaining deep, and deeply personal, disagreements.
In this popular program, they make the case for civil yet candid dialogue by modeling it; they also explore the limits of such dialogue. Less a debate than a lively conversation between friends, the program covers a wide range of hot-button issues: from free speech and “cancel culture,” to religious
Dr. John Corvino’s presentation was an absolute success. Our audience loved it, from the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences to the faculty to the students to people within our city and beyond. John was personable, gracious, thoughtful, profound, humble, accessible, and very funny. Peppering his presentation with interesting, relevant, and illustrative anecdotes, he discussed a socially controversial subject with humor and generosity. As a philosopher myself, I’m pleased he really gave academic philosophy a good name. Thank you so much for sending John to us. I would love to recommend him to any lecture coordinator.
Dr. Minh Nguyen Professor of Philosophy Associate Director of the Honors Program Coordinator of the Chautauqua Lecture Series Eastern Kentucky University