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November 8, 2007 (REVISED November 13, 2007)

William F. May To Discuss "Containing Fear in Foreign Policy" at the Library of Congress Nov. 29

"Containing Runaway Fear in Foreign Policy: Recovering Our National Identity" will be discussed by William F. May, holder of the Cary and Ann Maguire Chair in American History and Ethics, at the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress.

The lecture starts at 4 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 29, in Room 119 of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. S.E., Washington D.C. Sponsored by the Kluge Center, the event is free and open to the public; no reservations are needed.

In his presentation, May will discuss the religious apprehensions, such as good versus evil, embedded in American politics. He will look at American foreign policy during the last 60 years, as political anxieties in the West shifted from the mind-set during the Cold War (the West vs. tyranny) to the current apprehensions (the West vs. anarchy).

May was appointed to the Maguire Chair by Librarian of Congress James H. Billington for a three-month tenure from September to December. He is a leading scholar in the field of medical ethics who has taught at Smith College and at Indiana, Southern Methodist and Georgetown universities. Upon his retirement at SMU, May also served a year as a visiting professor at the Institute for Social and Policy Studies, Yale University.

May is a fellow of the Institute for Practical Ethics and Public Life at the University of Virginia. In 1993 he served on the Ethical Foundations subgroup for the Clinton Task Force on National Health Care Reform; and, from 2002 to 2004, as a member of the President’s Council on Bioethics. From 1985 to 2001, May was the Cary M. Maguire Professor of Ethics at Southern Methodist University, where he founded and directed the Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility. May also founded and chaired the Department of Religious Studies at Indiana University, where he taught from 1966 to 1980. From 1952 to 1966, May taught at Smith College, where he twice served as chair of the Department of Religion.

A 1978 Guggenheim Foundation fellow, May is a former president of the American Academy of Religion and a founding fellow of the Hastings Center, where he co-chaired its research group on death and dying. He has served at length on the Phi Beta Kappa panel of visiting lecturers and scholars.

May has written widely on the moral and ethical obligations of health care professionals to their patients. In 2001 he published a study of eight professions under the title "The Beleaguered Rulers: The Public Obligation of the Professional." He also wrote "The Physician’s Covenant" (1982, revised edition 2000), "The Patient’s Ordeal" (1991) and "Testing the Medical Covenant: Euthanasia and Health Care Reform" (1996).

Through a generous endowment from John W. Kluge, the Library of Congress established the Kluge Center in 2000 to bring together the world’s best thinkers to stimulate, energize and distill wisdom from the Library’s rich resources and to interact with policymakers in Washington. For further information on the Kluge Center, visit

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PR 07-228
ISSN 0731-3527

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