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SLE and Theme House Events

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Thinkers in Residence


Our Sushi Salons create lively and provocative discussions on a range of diverse topics and feature writers, artists, and thinkers at SLE's homebase in Florence Moore Hall. Events to the campus and the public.

Simone Kotva on Mysticism and Ecology
Further Connections


Coffee and pastries go well together. Fostering intellectual curiosity and deep conversations on literature, philosophy, and the arts is the purpose of these casual gatherings. Open to campus and the public.

Orpheus and Eurydice, SF Opera perfromance 2022
Exploring the Bay Area


From performances spaces to museum exhibitions, theme house activities give SLE theme house students and program alums the opportunity to explore the cultural offerings of the Bay Area.

Orpheus and Eurydice, DEC 1, 07:30 PM, SF OPERA
The iconic myth of Orpheus and Eurydice comes to life in a new production of Gluck's energetic, lyrical opera. Countertenor Jakub Józef Orliński makes his San Francisco Opera debut as Orpheus with Sopranos Meigui Zhang as Eurydice and Nicole Heaston as Amore.


Study and struggle is a student group housed with SLE
Winter 2023


Meets on Fridays at noon in the SLE office. This reading group seeks to bring together students, faculty, and community members at Stanford who are interested in and committed to abolition through political education, community building, and mutual aid. 

To quote the creators of Study and Struggle, “We believe that study and struggle are necessary, complementary parts of any revolutionary movement, and that dismantling the prison industrial complex (PIC) requires centering criminalized people.”




Malcolm Harris

APRIL 7, 12:15 pm

We are excited to invite Malcolm to Stanford during the first week of Spring quarter to talk about his most recent book, Palo Alto

In PALO ALTO, the first comprehensive, global history of Silicon Valley, Malcolm Harris examines how and why Northern California evolved in the particular, consequential way it did, tracing the ideologies, technologies, and policies that have been engineered there over the course of 150 years of Anglo settler colonialism, from IQ tests to the "tragedy of the commons," racial genetics, and "broken windows" theory. The Internet and computers, too. It's a story about how a small American suburb became a powerful engine for economic growth and war, and how it came to lead the world into a surprisingly disastrous 21st century. PALO ALTO is an urgent and visionary history of the way we live now, one that ends with a clear-eyed, radical proposition for how we might begin to change course.

Michaela Hulstyn discusses her book, Unselfing: Global French Literature at the Limits of Consciousness 

MAY 11, 12:15 pm

Michaela Hulstyn

Michaela Hulstyn is a Lecturer in Structured Liberal Education (SLE), a first-year residential education program at Stanford University. Her first monograph, Unselfing: Global French Literature at the Limits of Consciousness, with the University of Toronto Press was published in 2022. Her research interests center on 20th- and 21st-century French and Francophone literature, phenomenology of the self and intersubjectivity, cognitive approaches to transcultural literature, and literature as ethical philosophy. Her work has appeared in MLN, Philosophy and Literature, and Contemporary French and Francophone Studies, among other places.

She previously held academic appointments at Florida State University and Reed College.

Simone Kotva on Mysticism and Ecology

MAY 26, 4:30 pm - 6 pm

Simone Kotva on Mysticism and Ecology

What does ecstasy and religious trance have to do with ecology? According to one influential narrative, mystical experiences are so rarefied or so rare as to have no bearing on earthlife. In this talk, I will be debunking some of the misconceptions regarding mysticism. In particular, I will be talking about mysticism and speciesism and show how, historically, mysticism has been seen as a multi-species activity connecting humans to a more-than-human field.

Kotva is a philosopher of religion working at the intersection of theology, critical theory and earth ethics. She received her PhD in 2015 from the Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge, and has taught at the Universities of Gothenburg and Cambridge. Currently, Kotva is a research fellow at the multidisciplinary ECODISTURB project, based in the Faculty of Theology, University of Oslo. She is also an affiliated lecturer at the Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge.

Kotva is the author of Effort and Grace: On the Spiritual Exercise of Philosophy, a monograph on what it means to practice philosophy as a way of life and spiritual exercise. She is currently working on projects on ecologies of ecstasy and magic and ecology and actively shares her research on several social media accounts. @thisnonhumanity

Ann Delehanty on Skepticism and the Early Modern Novel

 JUNE 1, 12:15 pm

Ann Delehanty on Skepticism and the Early Modern Novel


Previous Speakers this Year

Michael Shur, Creator of Good Place and The Office - FEB 7

Michael Shur, Creator of Good Place and The Office

Loved Parks and Rec? Laughed at The Office? Wondered about The Good Place? Then join us for a special session with the creator, writer and director of all three shows, Michael Schur, to discuss a humorous introduction to moral philosophy.

Michael Schur will be in conversation with Prof. Rob Reich from Political Science.

In addition to creating The Good Place, Parks and Rec, and writing for The Office, Michael Schur is the author of the new book, How to Be Perfect: The Correct Answer to Every Moral Question which offers a sprawling discussion of the major ethical theories in philosophy with candor and humor. 

Michael Schur is the author of the New York Times-bestselling book, HOW TO BE PERFECT: The Correct Answer to Every Moral Question, published in January 2022. He created the critically acclaimed NBC comedy “The Good Place,” and co-created "Parks and Recreation," "Brooklyn 99," and the Peacock series “Rutherford Falls." He is also an Executive Producer on HBOMax’s “Hacks” and Netflix’s "Master of None." Prior to “Parks,” Michael spent four years as a writer-producer on the Emmy Award-winning NBC hit "The Office." His first TV writing job was at "Saturday Night Live," where he spent seven seasons, including three as the producer of "Weekend Update" with Tina Fey and Jimmy Fallon.

Sarah Derbew discusses her book, Untangling Blackness in Greek Antiquity - FEB 2

Sarah Derbew, Untangling Blackness in Greek Antiquity

Untangling Blackness in Greek Antiquity (Cambridge University Press, 2022) is the first book to examine the articulations of blackness from the fifth century BCE to the twenty-first century. In the book, Sarah F. Derbew traces literary and artistic representations of black Egyptians, Aithiopians (Nubians), Indians, and Greeks in the ancient Greek world. In addition, she probes deeply into race’s precarious grip on skin color and thereby uncovers the silences, suppression, and misappropriation of blackness within modern studies of Greek antiquity. Altogether, her anti-racist study promotes a contextualized, rigorous approach to representations of black people in Greek antiquity that rejects simplistic conflations. 

Yuri Herrera on Writing and the Novel - DEC 8

Yuri Herera on Writing and the Novel

Yuri Herrera (Actopan, Hidalgo, México, 1970). Received his BA in Political Science at UNAM, MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Texas at El Paso, and Ph.D. at the University of California at Berkeley. His first novel Trabajos del reino (in English: Kingdom Cons) won the Premio Binacional de Novela Joven 2003 and received the “Otras voces, otros ámbitos” prize for the best novel published in Spain in 2008; his second novel, Señales que precederán al fin del mundo (Signs Preceding the End of the World) was finalist of the Rómulo Gallegos Prize. His third novel is La transmigración de los cuerpos (Transmigration of Bodies). The three novels have been translated into multiple languages, and published in English by the British publisher And Other Stories. He has also published two books for children in Mexico: ¡Éste es mi nahual! and Los ojos de Lía

In 2016 he shared with translator Lisa Dillman the Best translated Book Award for the translation of Signs Preceding the End of the World. In 2016 Rice University and Literal Publishing published Talud, a collection of his short stories. Also in 2016 he received the Anna Seghers Prize at the Academy of Arts of Berlin, for the body of his work. His latest books are the historical narrative A Silent Fury: The El BordoMine Fire, and the sci fi short stories collection Diez planetas. He has taught literary theory, creative writing and Latin American literature at the Universidad Iberoamericana, in Mexico; and at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, before coming to Tulane University, where he is an Associate Professor.   

Haleh Liza Gafori: Poet, Performer, and Rumi Translator - NOV 17

Haleh Liza Gafori: Poet, Performer, and Rumi Translator

Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi (1207–1273) was a Sufi mystic born to Iranian parents in or near Balkh, in present-day Afghanistan. He is considered the greatest poet of the Farsi language. His major works include the Masnavi, a six-volume collection of mystical teachings in rhyming couplets, and the Diwan-e Shams-e Tabrizi, a collection of lyric poetry dedicated to his spiritual mentor. 

Haleh Liza Gafori is a poet, translator, and musician born in NYC of Persian descent. Her book of translations by Rumi, the 13th century mystic was published by New York Review Books/Penguin Random House. A graduate of Stanford University, her work has been published by Columbia University Press, Literary Hub, and Rattapallax. As a musician, she has toured extensively, adapting Persian poetry to song and performing at venues such as David Byrne’s One Note at Carnegie Hall, Celebrate Brooklyn, and Bonnaroo. She teaches workshops on Rumi’s poetry at universities and festivals across the country.