Skip to main content Skip to secondary navigation

2015-16 ESF Plenary Lectures

Main content start

2015-16 Lectures

Bishop Auditorium, 12:30 - 2:20 pm

9/25 Plenary featuring ESF classes

10/2 Caroline Hoxby, Using economics to answer your questions about education

SCOTT AND DONYA BOMMER PROFESSOR IN THE SCHOOL OF HUMANITIES AND SCIENCES

Caroline M Hoxby is the Scott and Donya Bommer Professor of Economics at Stanford University. Hoxby is also the Director of the Economics of Education Program at the National Bureau of Economic Research. She is a Senior Fellow of the Hoover Institution and the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research. A public and labor economist, she is one of the world's leading scholars of the economics of education. Hoxby is well known for her research on school choice, school finance, the market for college education, peer effects, university finance and financial aid. Her current projects include work on how how education affects economic growth; globalization in higher education; and ideal financing for schools. Hoxby is the recipient of many honors including Global Leader of Tomorrow (World Economic Forum) and Sloan, Olin, Mellon, and Ford fellowships. Hoxby has served as a presidential appointee to the National Board of Education Sciences. She has a Ph.D. from MIT, studied at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar, and obtained her BA from Harvard University.

See the video of Prof. Hoxby's lecture [ESF STUDENTS ONLY]

10/9 Edward Slingerland, Trying Not to Try: Early China, Modern Science and the Power of Spontaneity

PROFESSOR OF ASIAN STUDIES AND CANADA RESEARCH CHAIR IN CHINESE THOUGHT AND EMBODIED COGNITION AT THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA

Modern Western societies tend to emphasize the importance of hard work and striving when it comes to achieving personal and social goals. They also tend to embrace a dualistic model of the self that sees human thought as disembodied and dispassionate. In this talk, I will explore an alternate, early Chinese model of both the self and self-cultivation, one built upon an embodied model of cognition and focused on the power of wu-wei or “effortless action.” I will also discuss the particular tension that accompanies this ideal—the problem of how one can “try not to try”—as well as some of the early Chinese strategies for circumventing this tension.

Edward Slingerland is Professor of Asian Studies and Canada Research Chair in Chinese Thought and Embodied Cognition at the University of British Columbia, and was educated at Princeton, Stanford and the University of California, Berkeley. His areas of specialty include Chinese thought, comparative religion, cognitive science, and the relationship between the sciences and the humanities. In addition to over twenty academic journal articles in a range of fields, he has written several scholarly books, including What Science Offers the Humanities and a translation of the Analects of Confucius. His first book for a popular audience, Trying Not to Try, came out from Crown (Random House) in March 2014. For the 2015-16 academic year he is a fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University.

Required Readings:

Introduction, Trying Not to Try (SUNET required)

The Problem of Moral Spontaneity in the Guodian Corpus (SUNET required)

10/16 Andrei Linde, Universe or multiverse

HARALD TRAP FRIIS PROFESSOR OF PHYSICS

Andrei Linde, Harald Trap Friis Professor of Physics at Stanford University, is one of the authors of inflationary theory and of the theory of an eternal inflationary multiverse. His work emphasizes the cosmological implications of string theory. He is one of the authors of the inflationary cosmology and of the theory of the cosmological phase transitions. These two topics remain the main subject of his work. Current research also involves the theory of dark energy, investigation of the global structure and the fate of the universe, cosmological constraints on the properties of elementary particles, and quantum cosmology.

10/23 Robert Harrison, love and education (*held in oshman auditorium)

ROSINA PIEROTTI PROFESSOR IN ITALIAN LITERATURE

Robert Harrison has written four books on a diverse array of topics, ranging from Italian lyric poetry to man and his relationship with the environment. He received his doctorate in romance studies from Cornell University in 1984, with a dissertation on Dante's Vita Nuova. In 1985 he accepted a visiting assistant professorship in the Department of French and Italian at Stanford. In 1986 he joined the faculty as an assistant professor. He was granted tenure in 1992 and was promoted to full professor in 1995. In 1997 Stanford offered him the Rosina Pierotti Chair. In 2002, he was named chair of the Department of French and Italian. In 2007, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

10/30 M. Elizabeth Magill, in another's shoes

RICHARD E. LANG PROFESSOR OF LAW AND DEAN OF STANFORD LAW SCHOOL

M. Elizabeth Magill was appointed the Richard E. Lang Professor of Law and Dean of Stanford Law School on September 1, 2012. She is the law school’s 13th dean. Before coming to Stanford she was on the faculty at the University of Virginia School of Law for 15 years, serving most recently as vice dean, the Joseph Weintraub–Bank of America Distinguished Professor of Law, and the Elizabeth D. and Richard A. Merrill Professor. After completing her BA in history at Yale University in 1988, Dean Magill served as a senior legislative assistant for energy and natural resources for U.S. Senator Kent Conrad. After graduating in 1995 from the University of Virginia Law School, Dean Magill clerked for Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and then for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

11/6 Russell Berman, Ultimate values: religion, politics and liberal education

WALTER A. HAAS PROFESSOR IN THE HUMANITIES

Russell Berman is the Walter A. Haas Professor in the Humanities and senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. He has written widely on topics in German and comparative literature, with a special emphasis on questions of modernism, German culture and politics, literature and philosophy, and critical theory. He is an expert in questions of German modernism and the cultural politics of the Weimar Republic and Nazi Germany. His interests range from literary aesthetics to trans-Atlantic relations and problems of terrorism. He is the 2013 recipient of the Lloyd W. Dinkelspiel Award for Distinctive Contributions to Undergraduate Education.

11/13 Danielle Allen, The ethics of citizenship and the liberal arts

DIRECTOR, EDMOND J. SAFRA CENTER FOR ETHICS, AND PROFESSOR OF GOVERNMENT, HARVARD UNIVERSITY

Danielle Allen is the Director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University, where she is also a professor in the department of Government. She is a political theorist who has published broadly in democratic theory, political sociology, and the history of political thought. Widely known for her work on justice and citizenship in both ancient Athens and modern America, Allen is the author of The World of Prometheus: The Politics of Punishing in Democratic Athens (2000), Talking to Strangers: Anxieties of Citizenship since Brown v. Board of Education (2004), Why Plato Wrote (2010), and Our Declaration (Norton/Liveright, 2014). In 2002, she was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship for her ability to combine “the classicist’s careful attention to texts and language with the political theorist’s sophisticated and informed engagement.” She is currently working on books on citizenship in the digital age and political equality. Allen is a frequent public lecturer and regular guest on public radio affiliates to discuss issues of citizenship, as well as an occasional contributor on similar subjects to The Washington Post, Boston Review, Democracy, Cabinet, and The Nation.