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.


September 30, 2022: Greg Weiner, on “Whig Improvement and Constitutional Conservation.” Gregory S. Weiner is the Interim President of Assumption College, as well as an Associate Professor of Political Science. He is the author of Madison’s Metronome: The Constitution, Majority Rule, and the Tempo of American Politics (2012); American Burke: The Uncommon Liberalism of Daniel Patrick Moynihan (2015); Old Whigs: Burke, Lincoln, and the Politics of Prudence (2019); The Political Constitution: The Case Against Judicial Supremacy (2019). Weiner is a nonresident senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, where his work is focused on politics, American institutions, political philosophy, public policy, and moralism in political life. An expert in the political thought of the American founding, Weiner has published and lectured on such topics as the political thought of James Madison, the separation of powers, the presidency, and constitutional interpretation.

October 7, 2022: Joshua Katz, on “Names, Pronouns, and the Law.” Joshua Katz is an American linguist and classicist who was the Cotsen Professor in the Humanities at Princeton University until May 2022, when Princeton fired him. Widely published in the languages, literatures, and cultures of the ancient world, from India to Ireland via Greece, Rome, and the Near East, he is interested above all in the reconstruction of Proto-Indo-European and in etymology, which he views as part of the history of ideas. He received his degree in linguistics from Yale, Oxford, and Harvard. Currently, he is a nonresident senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

October 21, 2022: Michael Auslin, on “How to Lose Cold War II: Taiwan, the Balance of Power, and Political Equilibrium.” Michael Auslin is the Payson J. Treat Distinguished Research Fellow in Contemporary Asia at the Hoover Institution. A historian by training, he specializes in US policy in Asia and geopolitical issues in the Indo-Pacific region. Auslin is the author of six books, including Asia’s New Geopolitics: Essays on Reshaping the Indo-Pacific and the best-selling The End of the Asian Century: War, Stagnation, and the Risks to the World's Most Dynamic Region. He is a longtime contributor to The Wall Street Journal and National Review. Auslin cohosts the podcast The Pacific Century with John Yoo, where they address developments in China and Asia. They discuss the latest politics, economics, law, and cultural news, with a focus on US policy in the region.

November 4, 2022: Leor Sapir, on “The Controversy over Pediatric Gender Medicine in the United States.” Leor Sapir is a fellow at the Manhattan Institute. A driven researcher with a Ph.D. in Political Science from Boston College, Sapir previously completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Program on Constitutional Government at Harvard University. His academic work, including his dissertation on the Obama Administration’s Title IX regulations, has investigated how America’s political culture and constitutional government shape public policy on matters of civil rights. Sapir studies policy issues, homing in particularly on issues of gender identity and transgenderism. His inaugural essay in the Winter 2022 issue of City Journal explores a series of recent court rulings surrounding transgenderism, demonstrating how bad ideas translate from fringe academic theory into law and policy. Previous web pieces for City Journal have explored evolving athletic guidelines and media coverage surrounding transgender issues.

November 10, 2022: Post-Election Roundup with Bill Kristol and Bill Galston, joined by Ramesh Ponnuru. Bill Kristol and Bill Galston will be meeting for their sixteenth much-anticipated biennial analysis, offering the perspectives of two reflective political participants and shrewd observers, both of them experts at providing what might be called partisan objectivity. This year, they will be joined by Ramesh Ponnuru, editor of National Review and Visiting Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. This event will be at 4 pm in the Tsai Auditorium (S-010) in CGIS South, which is located at 1730 Cambridge Street in Cambridge.

December 2, 2022: Graeme Wood, on “Liberalism and Despotism in the Middle East.” Graeme Wood is a National Correspondent at The Atlantic. He joined the magazine in 2006 after three years in Iraq as a journalist, hitchhiker, and deliveryman. Since then, he has written on diverse topics and from every continent. His 2015 cover story on ISIS, "What ISIS Really Wants," is the most widely-read story in the magazine's modern history. He is the author of a 2017 book on the Islamic State, The Way of the Strangers. He has also written for The American Scholar, Businessweek, The New Yorker, and Jane's Intelligence Review. He was the 2015-2016 Edward R. Murrow Press Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. A graduate of Deep Springs College, Harvard University, and The American University in Cairo, he is a lecturer in political science at Yale University.



March 4, 2022: Shep Melnick, on “Why School Desegregation Still Matters.” 

March 25, 2022: Nicholas Eberstadt, on “The Demographics of Russia and China.”

April 1, 2022: Diana Schaub, on “His Greatest Speeches: How Lincoln Moved the Nation.” 

April 15, 2022: Matthew Continetti, on “The Right: The History of the American Conservative Movement.”

April 22, Yascha Mounk, on “The Great Experiment: Why Diverse Democracies Fall Apart and How They Can Endure.” 

May 6, 2022: James Piereson, on “The Great Society.”



October 15, 2021: Carole Hooven, on "her new book T: The Story of the Hormone that Dominates and Divides Us.” 

October 29, 2021: Wesley Yang, on “The Successor Ideology in Power.” 

December 3, 2021: Matthew Yglesias, on “Our Parties vs. The Free Market: Economic Populism on the Left and Right"

December 10, 2021: Scott Lincicome, on “The Problems with Economic Populism.” 



February 12, 2021: A Panel Discussion with Michael Sandel, Christopher Caldwell, and Sarah Gustafson, on “The Tyranny of Merit.”

February 19, 2021: Scott Yenor, on “The Recovery of Family Life: Exposing the Limits of Modern Ideologies.” 

February 26, 2021: Sean Wilentz, on “Anglo-American Origins of Atlantic Anti-Slavery.” 

March 12, 2021: Peter Berkowitz, on “The State Department and the China Challenge.” 

April 16, 2021: Edward Conard, on “The Economics of Inequality in High-Wage Economies.”

April 23, 2021: Jonathan Marks, on his new book, "Let’s Be Reasonable: A Conservative Case for Liberal Education.” 

April 30, 2021: Rita Koganzon, on “Liberal Homeschooling vs. Republican Public Schools”.



September 25, 2020: Stephen P. Rosen, on “American Foreign Policy Today.” 

October 16, 2020: Jack Goldsmith, on “The Arc of the Conservative Legal Movement.” 

October 23, 2020: Andrew Sullivan, on “What's Next? A View of the Election.” 

October 30, 2020: Molly Brigid McGrath, on “Social Justice Rights: Sacrificial Politics and Sacred Victims.” 

November 5, 2020: Post-Election Roundup with Bill Kristol and Bill Galston, joined by James Ceaser. 

December 4, 2020: Coleman Hughes, on “The Case for Color-Blindness.”

December 11, 2020: Col. Suzanne Nielsen, on “Contemporary Challenges in American Civil-Military Relations” 



February 21, 2020:  Oren Cass, on “A More Populist Conservatism.” 

March 6, 2020:  Howard Husock, on “The Moral Basis of Alleviating Poverty.” 



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.