Lunch Speakers Series

Each of the lunchtime seminars runs from 12 to 2 pm.  They begin with a lunch, from 12 to 12:30, before the speaker delivers his summary wisdom.  We leave plenty of time for questions and disputes. The lunchtime events are scheduled for Knafel 354, located at 1737 Cambridge Street (CGIS North), unless otherwise noted. We will send Evites for each lunch seminar about two weeks in advance. Please RSVP to Andy Zwick (Executive Director) so that we know how much to order for lunch.

Videos of past seminars are available on YouTube.


February 10, 2017: Christopher DeMuth, on “Congress and the Dilemma of Fiscal Restraint.” Christopher DeMuth ’68 is a Distinguished Fellow at Hudson Institute in Washington, DC. He was President of the American Enterprise Institute from 1986-2008 and Senior Fellow thereat from 2008-2011. DeMuth was Staff Assistant to President Nixon, working for Daniel P. Moynihan in the Nixon White House on urban policy matters and as Chairman of the White House Task Force on Environmental Policy. After graduating from the University of Chicago Law School, he practiced law, then lectured at the Kennedy School. In Reagan’s first term DeMuth was Administrator for Information and Regulatory Affairs in the U.S. Office of Management and Budget, and Executive Director of the Presidential Task Force on Regulatory Relief. He has recently written influential articles on Congress and the Constitution for The Wall Street Journal.  

March 10, 2017: Allen Guelzo, on “The Lovely, Fair, Judicious and Democratic Meaning of the Electoral College.” Allen C. Guelzo is the Henry R. Luce Professor of the Civil War Era, and Director of Civil War Era Studies at Gettysburg College. He is the author of Abraham Lincoln: Redeemer President, which won the Lincoln Prize for 2000, Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation: The End of Slavery in America, which won the Lincoln Prize for 2005, and Lincoln and Douglas: The Debates That Defined America, which won the Abraham Lincoln Institute Prize for 2008. His most recent works on Lincoln are Abraham Lincoln As A Man of Ideas and Lincoln: A Very Short Introduction (both 2009). Gettysburg: The Last Invasion (2013) was a best-seller. He has also served on the National Council on the Humanities.

March 24, 2017: Ruth Wisse, on “Anti-Semitism and Why It Matters.” Ruth Wisse is the Martin Peretz Professor Emeritus of Yiddish Literature and Professor of Comparative Literature at Harvard University. Among her books are If I Am Not for Myself: The Liberal Betrayal of the Jews (1992); The Modern Jewish Canon: A Journey through Language and Culture (2000); Jews and Power (2008), and No Joke: Making Jewish Humor (2013). She is a member of the Editorial Board of the Jewish Review of Books and a frequent contributor to CommentaryThe Wall Street Journal, and other publications. She was awarded the National Humanities Medal.

March 31, 2017: Irwin Stelzer, on “The New Domestic and World Orders: The Meaning of ‘America First.’” Irwin Stelzer is an American economist who is the U.S. economic and business columnist for The Sunday Times and The Courier-Mail in Australia. He has been a contributing editor at The Weekly Standard and writes for numerous other publications. He has been at the American Enterprise Institute and senior director and fellow at the Hudson Institute. Stelzer is a consultant on market strategy, pricing and antitrust issues, and regulatory matters for U.S. and United Kingdom industries. He received his PhD in economics from Cornell University and has held teaching appointments at various universities. His published papers are on taxes, energy, and antitrust.

April 7, 2017: Barton Swaim, on “Donald Trump and the War on Expertise.” Barton Swaim is a writer. He attended the University of South Carolina and the University of Edinburgh. From 2007 to 2010 he worked for Mark Sanford, South Carolina’s governor, as a communications officer and speechwriter. He writes regularly for The Wall Street JournalThe Times Literary Supplement andThe Washington PostThe Speechwriter (2015) on his experience with Governor Sanford is his highly acclaimed first book.

April 14, 2017: Russ Muirhead, on “Democracy and Demagoguery.”James Russell Muirhead ’88, a former Rhodes Scholar, got his BA in Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Oxford University and his PhD in Government at Harvard. He is the Robert Clements Professor of Democracy and Professor of Government at Dartmouth. He is currently teaching Government 1080 on American Political Thought as a Visiting Professor in the Program on Constitutional Government at Harvard. He has written numerous articles. His books are Just Work (2004) and The Promise of Party in a Polarized Age (2014).




September 30, 2016: Jeb Bush on TBA. Jeb Bush was a Republican presidential candidate in the 2016 presidential race. 

October 7, 2016: John Judis on “The Populist Explosion. How the Great Recession Transformed American and European Politics.”

October 14, 2016: Jonathan Haidt on “Two Incompatible Values at American Universities.”

November 4, 2016: David Azerrad on “How Equal Should Opportunities Be?” 

November 18, 2016: Christopher Caldwell on “The Election: What Just Happened?” 

December 2, 2016: Dennis Hale on “Debating the American Jury.” 



February 5, 2016: Robert Putnam, on “Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis.”

February 26, 2016: Jason L. Riley, on “The Liberal State Against Blacks.”

March 4, 2016: Tod Lindberg, on “The Politics of Heroism.”

April 1, 2016: Randall Kennedy, on “What Racial Order Should We Be Attempting to Achieve in the United States of America?”

April 8, 2016: Leon R. Kass, on “The Ten Commandments.”

April 15, 2016: Bruce Cole, on “A Monumental Mess on the Mall: The Eisenhower Memorial.”



September 11, 2015: Roderick MacFarquhar, on The Rise of Xi Jinping. 

October 16, 2015: Jeffrey Tulis, on The Anti-Federal Appropriation.

October 23, 2015: Edward Rothstein, on TBA.

October 30, 2015: Colin Dueck, on his new book The Obama Doctrine: American Grand Strategy Today. 

November 13, 2015: Peter Wood, on The Idea of Sustainability. 



February 20, 2015:  Adam J. White, on "The Supreme Court in American Law and Politics.” 

March 6, 2015:  Paul A. Cantor ’66, on “The Apocalyptic Strain in Popular Culture.”  

March 27, 2015: David Bromwich, on “The Consistency of Edmund Burke; Are There Burkean Principles?”

April 10, 2015:  R. Shep Melnick ’73, on “Regulation of Campus Sexual Misconduct by the Office of Civil Rights.” 

April 17, 2015:  Elliott Abrams ’69, on “The Middle East Today.”



September 12, 2014:  Jed Rubenfeld, on the problem of sexual consent. 

September 19, 2014:  Russ Muirhead ’88, on "The Constitution and Political Parties. "

September 26, 2014:  Rebecca Goldstein, on her book, Plato at the Googleplex.

October 17, 2014:  Charles Lane ’83, TBA. 

October 24 2014:  Christopher Caldwell ’83, on "The Endless 1960’s: The Roots of Today’s Unrest."

October 31, 2014:  Francis Fukuyama, on his new book, Political Order and Political Decay: From the Industrial Revolution to the Globalization of Democracy. 

November 14, 2014:  R. Shep Melnick ’73, RESCHEDULED. 

December 5, 2014:  Peter Schuck, on his new book, Why Government Fails So Often: And How It Can Do Better. 



March 7, 2014:  John P. Walters, on “Addiction and American Democracy.” 

March 14, 2014:  Charles Murray, on “The Bell Curve Revisited.”  

March 28, 2014:  Colleen Sheehan, on “The Education of Jane Austen’s Emma.”

April 25, 2014:  Morton Keller, on “The Rise and Stall of the Modern American State.” 

May 9, 2014:  Ramesh Ponnuru, on “The Future of the Republican Party.” 



September 27, 2013:  Morris Fiorina, on the present political situation in the U.S.

October 18, 2013: Jonathan Last, on his new book, What to Expect When No One’s Expecting, the demographic problem faced by liberal democracy in the West.

October 25, 2013:  Christopher DeMuth, “The Bucks Start Here,” on the growth of executive government as connected to the growth of national debt.

November 1, 2013:  Jean Yarbrough, on her new book Theodore Roosevelt and the American Political Tradition.

November 15, 2013:  Wilfred McClay, on “The Strange Persistence of Guilt in a Post-Religious Age.” 



October 12, 2012:  Sohrab Ahmari, on the situation in Iran.

October 19, 2012: Lorraine Clark, on the Jane Austen novel Mansfield Park.

October 26, 2012: Irwin Stelzer, on the American economy and the election.

November 2, 2012:  Paul A. Cantor, on Shakespeare’s play Antony and Cleopatra.

November 9, 2012:  Michael W. McConnell, on current events at the Supreme Court. 

November 16, 2012: James Piereson, on his forthcoming study of John Maynard Keynes. 

November 30, 2012:  Jim Manzi, on the use and abuse of social science. 



February 3, 2012:  Steven Pinker, on his new book concerning violence, The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined(2011).

March 2, 2012:  Jay Cost, on the presidential campaign this year.

March 23, 2012:  Adam Schulman, on “The Discovery of Entropy” and its implications for our understanding and the relationship between philosophy and science. 

April 13, 2012:  Heather Mac Donald, on criticisms of American universities.