Spring 2013: Justice Beyond National Boundaries

Over the last forty years, beliefs about the significance of national boundaries for justice have transformed. Attitudes about the system of sovereign states that have held sway since the seventeenth century are being displaced, and the moral and legal significance of national boundaries is increasingly called into question.

Under the influence of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, many of the wealthiest North American philanthropists now focus on global issues. This is in stark contrast to the philanthropic practices that prevailed during the preceding century. This shift in the culture of giving attests to the widespread popular interest that now surrounds issues of global justice.

The notion that relations of justice extend beyond the state is fuelled in part by recognition that processes that are causally responsible for people's well-being are distributed across state boundaries. The spread of infectious diseases is one example. The effects of human-caused climate change is another.

There is growing appreciation that these harms present collective action problems whose resolution will require an equitable distribution of the benefits and burdens of cooperation among all human beings. Yet at present, a fully worked account of a global theory of justice remains elusive. The aim of this colloquium is to bring into sharper focus the issues that a credible theory of global justice must address.


Faculty Organizer
Sam Black, Associate Professor, Philosophy

Advisory Committee
Onur Bakiner, International Studies
Endre Begby, Philosophy
Sam Black, Philosophy
Nick Blomley, Faculty of Environment
Bruce Brandhorst, Molecular Biology and Biochemistry
Colleen Collins, Beedie School of Business
Laurent Dobuzinskis, Political Science
Dai Heide, Philosophy
Morten Jerven, International Studies
Mary-Ellen Kelm, History
Anke Kessler, Economics
David Laycock, Political Science
Rémi Léger, Political Science
John D. O'Neil, Health Sciences
Krishna Pendakur, Economics
Peter Ruben, Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology
Nic Schmitt, Economics
Jeremy Snyder, Health Sciences
Julian Somers, Health Sciences
Evan Tiffany, Philosophy
John R. Welch, Faculty of Environment
Eldon Yellowhorn, Chair to and Associate Professor in the Department of First Nations Studies; and Associate Professor in the Department of Archaeology

Learn More

If you'd like to be notified when there's more information on how to register in the upcoming Dream Colloquium, please let us know via websurvey.

We'll also let you know about any other public events associated with each guest speaker.


* Colloq-course-desc.pdf
Course Outline
* UGrad-Spring2013colloq.pdf
Undergrad application form
* Grad-Spring2013colloq.pdf
Grad student application form


All SFU graduate students and senior undergraduates may register with permission of their departments. Graduate students in the following departments have been pre-approved to take this course for credit towards their degrees:

  • Beedie School of Business
  • Economics
  • Health Sciences (approved in principle)
  • Molecular Biology and Biochemistry
  • Philosophy
  • Political Science
  • Environment

Enrolment in the colloquium will be capped at 20 registrants, and admission will be by application only.

Colloquium start date: January 17, 2013