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 9, 2018: Shep Melnick, on “The Transformation of Title IX: Regulating Gender Equality in Education.” Shep Melnick (‘73) is the Thomas P. O’Neill, Jr. Professor of American Politics at Boston College and co-chair of the Harvard Program on Constitutional Government. His books include Regulation and the Courts: The Case of the Clean Air Act (Brookings, 1983) andBetween the Lines: Interpreting Welfare Rights (Brookings, 1994). He will be discussing his forthcoming book The Transformation of Title IX (Brookings, 2018). He has taught at Harvard and Brandeis, and served on the research staff of the Brookings Institution. He received both his BA and Ph.D. from Harvard.

February 16, 2018: Glenn Loury and John McWhorter, on “The Development Narrative versus the Bias Narrative: Persistent Racial Inequality in the 21st Century.” Glenn C. Loury is the Merton P. Stoltz Professor of the Social Sciences and Professor of Economics at Brown University. He holds a Ph.D. in Economics from MIT. On top of his scholarly publications, Loury has published over 200 essays and reviews in journals of public affairs in the U.S. and abroad. Loury’s books include One by One, From the Inside Out: Essays and Reviews on Race and Responsibility in America (The Free Press); The Anatomy of Racial Inequality (Harvard University Press, 2002); and Race, Incarceration and American Values (M.I.T. Press, 2008). Glenn Loury is the host of “The Glenn Show” on, where his friend John McWhorter is a frequent guest.

John McWhorter is an associate professor of English and comparative literature at Columbia University. He holds a Ph.D. in linguistics from Stanford University. McWhorter is an author of more than a dozen books including The Power of Babel: A Natural History of Language (Harper Perennial, 2003); Losing the Race: Self Sabotage in Black America (Avery, 2009); and Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue: The Untold History of English (Harper Perennial, 2001). John McWhorter has his own podcast on language called “Lexicon Valley.”

March 9, 2018: Greg Weiner, on “James Madison’s View of Constitutional Interpretation.” Greg Weiner is Associate Professor of Political Science at Assumption College. He is the author of Madison’s Metronome (2012) and American Burke; The Uncommon Liberalism of Daniel Patrick Moynihan (2015). He graduated from the University of Texas in 1991 and received his PhD at Georgetown in 2005.

March 30, 2018: Eva Brann, on “Compromise Good and Bad.” Eva Brann is a former dean and the longest-serving tutor (1957–present) at St. John’s College, Annapolis. She is a 2005 recipient of the National Humanities Medal. Brann was born to a Jewish family in Berlin. She emigrated to the United States in 1941 and received both her M.A. in Classics and her Ph.D. in Archaeology from Yale in 1956. She holds an Honorary Doctorate from Middlebury College. Among the most recent of her many books are The Logos of Heracleitus (2011); Un-Willing: An Inquiry into the Rise of the Will’s Power and an Attempt to Undo It (2014.); and Then and Now: The World’s Center and the Soul’s Demesne (2015.) She has translated her friend Jacob Klein’s notable book Greek Mathematical Thought and the Origin of Algebra, and has translated several Platonic dialogues.

April 20, 2018: Nick Eberstadt, on “Men Without Work.” Nick Eberstadt (’76) holds the Henry Wendt Chair in Political Economy at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), where he researches and writes extensively on demographics and economic development generally, and more specifically on international security in the Korean peninsula and Asia. Domestically, he focuses on poverty and social well-being. Dr. Eberstadt is also a senior adviser to the National Bureau of Asian Research (NBR). His many books and monographs include The End of North Korea (AEI Press, 1999); The Poverty of the Poverty Rate (AEI Press, 2008); and Russia’s Peacetime Demographic Crisis (NBR, 2010). His latest book is Men Without Work: America’s Invisible Crisis(Templeton Press, 2016). Mr. Eberstadt has a Ph.D. in political economy and government from Harvard University. In addition, he holds a master of science from the London School of Economics.

April 27, 2018: George Borjas, on “We Wanted Workers. Unraveling the Immigration Narrative.” George J. Borjas is the Robert W. Scrivener Professor of Economics and Social Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School and a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. He is the author of several books, including Immigration Economics(Harvard University Press, 2014), Heaven’s Door: Immigration Policy and the American Economy(Princeton University Press, 1999), and the widely used textbook Labor Economics (McGraw-Hill, 2016), now in its seventh edition. His latest book is We Wanted Workers: Unraveling the Immigration Narrative (Norton, 2016). He has published over 150 articles in books and scholarly journals. He received his Ph.D. in economics from Columbia University in 1975.



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.