University of Virginia, College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Personhoods Initiative

Personhoods Initiative

What is a person? How do we understand personhood? The Personhoods Initiative is a new research network sponsored by IHGC that brings together scholars interested in how we extend moral and legal recognition within and across ontologies, taking up questions of race, gender, sexuality, animality, environmental ethics, planthood, artificial intelligence, and bioethics.

To learn more information, email Anne Gilliam ( or Jack Chen (

Spring 2024 Lineup of Events

January 26, 2024, 12 pm–2 pm, Wilson 142, Personhoods Initiative Lecture, co-sponsored with the Health, Ethics, & Society Program: “Unraveling the Ties that Bind: The Social Fragility of Old Age” by Gail Weiss, Professor of Philosophy, George Washington University

Friday, February 9, 2024, 3:15 pm–4:30 pm, Wilson 142 Personhoods Initiative Lecture, co-sponsored with Religious Studies and East Asia Center: “Buddhist Personhood Between Gendered Hierarchies: How Transgender Members of Soka Gakkai in Japan Cultivate Subjectivities” by Levi McLaughlin, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies, North Carolina State University


Fall 2023 Lineup of Events

Sept. 15, 12-2 pm, Wilson 142: Personhoods Initiative First Lunch Meeting. RSVP to Anne Gilliam ( if joining for lunch.

Oct. 12, 4-6 pm, Wilson 142: “The Plant At the End of the World: Invasive Species in the Anthropocene.” Lecture by Dr. Yota Batsaki, Harvard University and Dumbarton Oaks.

Oct. 13, 10 am - 12 pm, Scholars Lab, Clemons Library: "Plant Humanities Lab." Seminar with Dr. Yota Batsaki, Harvard University and Dumbarton Oaks.

Oct. 13, 4-6 pm, Wilson 142: Lecture by Dr. Anatole Tchikine, Harvard University and Dumbarton Oaks.