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Humanities Institute


Chancellor’s Colloquium

Launched in 2010, the UC Davis Chancellor’s Colloquium Distinguished Speakers Series invites leaders in government, industry, and higher education who promise to spark engaging conversations with our academic community and the broader public around pressing issues of the day. Great universities are characterized by the many contributions they make to the societies they serve.

The series, administered with the assistance of the Humanities Institute, provides opportunities for robust discussions around topics involving food and agriculture, biochemistry, medicine, and humanities and scientific research.

Intended to heighten local and national awareness of the research at UC Davis, the series reaches across disciplines and colleges to foster critical dialogue and creative engagement, a core mission of the Humanities Institute. Each forum features a focused presentation by a renowned speaker on a new vision for university-based research, followed by a forum discussion with faculty and policy experts on that vision and possibilities of transforming it into action. Prior to the public lectures, speakers sit down for a series of more intimate meetings with a diverse group of faculty, students, and administrators to discuss current research programs and explore future research opportunities.

To view the current Chancellor’s Colloquium calendar, please visit the Chancellor’s web site.

Chancellor’s Colloquium

Distinguished Speakers Series 2016-2017

Martha Nussbaum (9.21.16)

Anger and Revolutionary Justice”

As Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law & Ethics at the University of Chicago, Martha Nussmartha_nussbaumbaum holds appointments in the Law School and the Philosophy Department, and is an associate in the Classic Department, the Divinity School, and the Political Science Department.  Professor Nussbaum is an internationally renowned scholar and writer who has published dozens of books, including her most recent, Anger and Forgiveness: Resentment, Generosity, Justice.  In 2016 she won the Kyoto Prize in Arts and Philosophy. Read her full bio hereThis colloquium is presented in partnership with the UC Davis Forums and the UC Davis Law School. Monday, September 21, 2016 at 4 p.m.

Florian Idenburg (12.8.16)

 Museum Building in Unpredictable Times”

florianFlorian Idenburg, architect of UC Davis’ new Jan Shrem & Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art, is founding partner of the award-winning SO-IL architecture studio and Associate Professor in Practice of Architecture at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design.  He is the 2010 laureate of the Charlotte Köhler Prize and a 2014 finalist for the Prix de Rome in the Netherlands. Thursday, December 8, 2016 at 4 p.m. Larry and Rosalie Vanderhoef Studio Theatre, Mondavi Center.


Laurie Fendrich (1.18.17)

The Downside of Art”

fendrichLaurie Fendrich is an abstract painter, writer and professor emerita of fine arts at Hofstra University.  Fendrich recently had a lengthy essay published in the Chronicle of Higher Education about the importance of making art in the age of STEM, in which she used famed artist and UC Davis adjunct faculty member Wayne Thiebaud as a case study.  The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation recently awarded her the 2016 Fine Arts Fellowship. Wednesday, January 18, 2017 at 4 p.m. Larry and Rosalie Vanderhoef Studio Theatre, Mondavi Center.

To register to attend this event, please RSVP here.

Katherine Butler Schofield & Davesh Soneji (3.7.17)

Indian Music Between Past & Present: Conversations on Ethics, Archives, and Mortality”

schofieldKatherine Butler Schofield is a historian of music in the Mughal empire and the colonial Indian Ocean. Through stories about ill-fated courtesans, overweening ustads, and captivated patrons, she writes on Mughal sovereignty and selfhood, friendship and desire, sympathy and loss, and power, worldly and strange. She has recently finished a €1.2M European Research Council grant, “Musical transitions to European colonialism in the eastern Indian Ocean,” on the ways in which music and dance were transformed c.1750-1900 in the transition to colonial rule in India and the Malay world. Her first book, an edited volume with Francesca Orsini, is Tellings and texts: music, literature, and performance in North India (Open Book, 2015).

davesh-sonejiDavesh Soneji is Associate Professor of South Asia Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. For the past two decades, he has produced research that focuses primarily on the performing arts in South India. He is best known for his work on the social history of professional female artists in Tamil and Telugu-speaking South India and is author of Unfinished Gestures: Devadāsīs, Memory, and Modernity in South India (University of Chicago Press, 2012), which was awarded the 2013 Bernard S. Cohn Book Prize from The Association for Asian Studies (AAS). He is also editor of Bharatanatyam: A Reader (Oxford University Press, 2010; 2012) and co-editor, with Indira Viswanathan Peterson, of Performing Pasts: Reinventing the Arts in Modern South India (Oxford, 2008).

Tuesday, March 7, 2017 at 4 p.m. Larry and Rosalie Vanderhoef Studio Theatre, Mondavi Center.

Ken Caldeira (4.19.17)

“Coral Reefs, Ocean Acidification, and Transformation of Global Energy Systems”

Ken Caldeira is a climate scientist at the Carnegie Institution for Science, where his job is “to make important scientific discoveries.” He also serves as a Professor (by courtesy) in the Stanford University Department of Earth System Science. Among Caldeira’s key contributions to science are his relatively early recognition of the threats posed by ocean acidification, his pioneering investigations into the environmental consequences of intentional intervention in the climate system (“geoengineering”), and the first peer-reviewed study to estimate near-zero-emission energy needs consistent with a 2°C climate stabilization target. He has also played a central role in helping to elucidate what our understanding of long-term geochemical cycles implies for the fate of today’s carbon dioxide emissions. Caldeira co-authored the 2015 U.S. National Academy of Sciences reports on climate geoengineering. In 2010, he was elected Fellow of the American Geophysical Union. Caldeira was coordinating lead author of the oceans chapter for the 2005 IPCC report on Carbon Capture and Storage. For the past decade, he has been meeting with Bill Gates a few times each year for learning sessions about climate change and energy. Bill Gates, in his 2016 end-of-year blog post, referred to Ken Caldeira as “my amazing teacher”. Wednesday, April 19, 2017 at 4 p.m. Larry and Rosalie Vanderhoef Studio Theatre, Mondavi Center.



This page was last updated: April 24, 2017



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