Lunch Speakers Series

Each of the lunchtime seminars runs from 12 to 2 pm in room 354 in the CGIS Knafel Building, located at 1737 Cambridge Street in Cambridge. 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.

Videos of past seminars are available on YouTube.


February 21, 2020:  Oren Cass, on “A More Populist Conservatism.” Oren Cass is an author and a political analyst whose 2018 book The Once And Future Worker. A Vision for the Renewal of Work in America has received high praise. Cass was a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, where his work on strengthening the labor market addressed issues ranging from the social safety net and environmental regulation to trade and immigration to education and organized labor. He also writes extensively on the nature and implications of climate change and on the process of formulating and evaluating public policy. Cass has written for publications including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Foreign Affairs, National Affairs, and National Review. He regularly testifies before Congress. He earned a B.A. in political economy from Williams College and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.

March 6, 2020:  Howard Husock, on “The Moral Basis of Alleviating Poverty.” Howard Husock is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute. A City Journal contributing editor, he is the author of Who Killed Civil Society? The Rise of Big Government and Decline of Bourgeois Norms. From 1987 through 2006, Husock was director of case studies in public policy and management at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. ​His writing has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, National Affairs, New York Times, and many other publications​. A former broadcast journalist and documentary filmmaker for WGBH Boston, his work there won three Emmy Awards, including a National News and Documentary Emmy (1982).

March 27, 2020: Andrew Sullivan, on “Brexit and Other Shenanigans.” Andrew Sullivan is an American-British author. He’s an Oakeshott conservative with a Harvard PhD in government, a former editor at The New Republic and the author or editor of six books, including Virtually Normal. An Argument About Homosexuality (1996). His political blog “The Daily Dish”, founded in 2000, was one of the very first political blogs. He later moved it to various publishing platforms, including Time, The Atlantic, and The Daily Beast, and finally a subscription-based format. Sullivan has been a writer-at-large at New York since 2016.

April 3, 2020: Stephen Rosen, on “American Foreign Policy Today.” Stephen Rosen is the Beton Michael Kaneb Professor of National Security and Military Affairs at Harvard. He worked in the Department of Defense as well as the National Security Council, and he was a professor in the Strategic Department at the Naval War College. He has done work for the President’s Commission on Integrated Long Term Strategy and for the Air Force. He has published articles on ballistic missile defense, the American theory of limited war, and on the strategic implications of the AIDS epidemic. He is the author of “Winning the Next War: Innovation and the Modern Military” as well as “Societies and Military Power: India and its Armies.

April 10, 2020: Jack Goldsmith, on “The Past, Present, and Future of the FBI” Jack Goldsmith is the Henry L. Shattuck Professor at Harvard Law School, co-founder of Lawfare, and a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution. Before coming to Harvard, Goldsmith served as Assistant Attorney General, Office of Legal Counsel from 2003-2004, and Special Counsel to the Department of Defense from 2002-2003. He is the author of, among others books, The Terror Presidency, Power and Constraint, Who Controls the Internet?, and most recently, In Hoffa’s Shadow. A Stepfather, a Disappearance in Detroit, and My Search for the Truth.



September 13, 2019: Michael Lewis on “Lessons from the Notre Dame Fire.” 

October 4, 2019: Walter Russell Mead on "The Information Economy and Global Revolution." 

October 25, 2019: Aaron Friedberg on “The Rise of China and the Strategic Threat to the US.” 

November 1, 2019: Anthony Kronman on “The Assault on American Excellence.” 

November 8, 2019: Stephen W. Smith on “Young Africa’s Scramble For Old Europe.”

December 6, 2019: Ben Ginsberg on “The 2016 and 2018 Election: Blip or Paradigm Shift?”



March 8, 2019: Tamar Jacoby, on “Restoring the Dignity of the Working Class.”

March 29, 2019: Michael Strain, on: “The American Dream Is Not Dead.” 

April 5, 2019: Jeff Bergner, on “The Vanishing Congress: Reflections on Politics in Washington.” 

April 12, 2019: Glenn Loury and John McWhorter, on “The ‘Race Debate’ in America Today.”

April 26, 2019: Amy Wax, on “The Perilous Quest for Equal Results in Academia.” 



September 21, 2018: Allison Stanger, on “Whistle-Blowing as Civil Disobedience; Leaks in the Era of Trump and the Deep State.” 

October 19, 2018: Edward W. Conard, on “The Upside of Inequality.” 

October 26, 2018: William Baude, on “Constitutional Liquidation.” 

November 30, 2018: Heather Mac Donald, on “The Diversity Delusion.” 



February 9, 2018: Shep Melnick, on “The Transformation of Title IX: Regulating Gender Equality in Education.” 

February 16, 2018: Glenn Loury and John McWhorter, on “The Development Narrative versus the Bias Narrative: Persistent Racial Inequality in the 21st Century.”

March 9, 2018: Greg Weiner, on “James Madison’s View of Constitutional Interpretation.” 

March 30, 2018: Eva Brann, on “Compromise Good and Bad.”

April 20, 2018: Nick Eberstadt, on “Men Without Work.”

April 27, 2018: George Borjas, on “We Wanted Workers. Unraveling the Immigration Narrative.” 



September 29, 2017: Jill Lepore on “Re-reading Federalist No 1.”

October 13, 2017: Paul Hollander on “Dictators, Intellectuals and the Spiritual Problems of Modernity.”

October 20, 2017: Diana Schaub on “Lincoln on Discoveries and Inventions.”

October 27, 2017: Stan Veuger on “Health Care and Tax Reform in the 115th Congress.”

November 3, 2017: Philip Kennicott on “The Artist as Citizen: How could anyone quibble with that?”

December 1, 2017: Jack Goldsmith on “The Digital Cold War: The Failure of US Cybersecurity Strategies.” 



February 10, 2017: Christopher DeMuth, on “Congress and the Dilemma of Fiscal Restraint.”

March 10, 2017: Allen Guelzo, on “The Lovely, Fair, Judicious and Democratic Meaning of the Electoral College.” 

March 24, 2017: Ruth Wisse, on “Anti-Semitism and Why It Matters.” 

March 31, 2017: Irwin Stelzer, on “The New Domestic and World Orders: The Meaning of ‘America First.’” 

April 7, 2017: Barton Swaim, on “Donald Trump and the War on Expertise.” 

April 14, 2017: Russ Muirhead, on “Democracy and Demagoguery.”



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.