This Side of Good and Evil: Primo Levi and Our Ordinary Moral World

The Centre for Access to Justice and Inclusion at Anglia Ruskin University promotes the important values of access to justice and inclusion through research, dialogue and policy initiatives.

The Law in Writing series is designed for academics and members of the public to come together to discuss a particular text. In order to be able to make a meaningful contribution to the discussion, you are highly encouraged to read the allocated text beforehand. Each session will have a chair to introduce and moderate the discussion.

 The book “If this is a Man” has found international praise because in it Primo Levi finds words for the unspeakable by giving witness of life in the concentration camp Auschwitz. The chapter ‘This Side of Good and Evil’, in particular, gives the reader a sobering insight into the mechanics of survival in a death camp. Right and wrong are just words, if, for example, theft means surviving. Levi describes the camp for prisoners not as a punishment, yet as am ascribed “manner of living … without limits of time” and at the chapter’s very end, the reader is asked to reflect on notions of just and unjust, good and evil and ‘our ordinary moral world’.


This seminar will do exactly that: Read and discuss the relativity and suitability of a binary moral vocabulary and its relation to the notion of justice. On the basis of a close reading and an associative discussion we will try to extrapolate insights about the nature of law and morality that need to be drawn and shed light on ideas underlying our world that need questioning. The seminar is open to all academic subjects and the public. We kindly ask you to read the chapter of 9 pages prior to the event which can be found online.

Calendar (black)

10 Dec 2020, 6:00 pm

Location (black)

Online Webinar

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