Public Lectures Series
Lectures are free and open to the public. Lectures are in McCosh 50 and begin at 6:00 p.m. unless otherwise noted. Click here to see location.
Lectures Home » Arts & Humanities
Speakers in this series

Bernard Williams Emeritus Professor of Moral Philosophy, University of Oxford; Class of 1941 Monroe Deutsch Professor, University of California, Berkeley

The Human Prejudice
Tue, 15 Oct 2002 | Walter E. Edge Lectures

David Denby The New Yorker

Do Movies have a Future?
Thu, 13 Mar 2003 | J. Edward Farnum Lectures

William G. Bowen President, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

Reclaiming the Game: College Sports and Educational Values
Thu, 25 Sep 2003 | Walter E. Edge Lectures

Daniel Libeskind Studio Daniel Libeskind

Building Places from Memories.
Tue, 24 Feb 2004 | Stafford Little Lectures

Helen Vendler Harvard University

Lyric Intimacy: Speaking to Invisible Listeners.
Wed, 14 Apr 2004 | J. Edward Farnum Lectures

Hermione Lee Oxford University

Shelley's Heart and Pepys's Lobsters Jane Austen Faints Virginia Woolf's Nose
Mon, 27 Sep 2004 | J. Edward Farnum Lectures and Princeton University Press

Henry Petroski A. S. Vesic Professor of Civil Engineering and Professor of History, Duke University

The Design of Everything: From Success to Failure
Tue, 07 Dec 2004 | Louis Clark Vanuxem Lectures

Paul Taylor The Paul Taylor Dance Company

A Conversation with Paul Taylor, with Maura Keefe, dance historian
Fri, 29 Apr 2005 | J. Edward Farnum Lectures

Elie Wiesel Winner of Nobel Peace Prize Professor of the Humanities, Boston University

An Evening with Elie Wiesel
Wed, 21 Sep 2005 | Walter E. Edge Lecture

Sir Tim Berners-Lee Founder of the World Wide Web

The Future of the Web
Wed, 05 Apr 2006 | Spencer Trask Lecture

Adrienne Rich Poetry Reading and Discussion

Poetry Reading and Discussion
Wed, 04 Oct 2006 |

Joan Breton Connelly Associate Professor of Fine Arts; Director, Yeronisos Island Excavations, New York University

Visual Space/Ritual Space and the Agency of the Greek Priestess
Thu, 08 Feb 2007 | Spencer Trask Lecture

Richard Ford Novelist

Extra-Literary Influences: The Things That Help, The Things That Hurt
Wed, 18 Apr 2007 | Spencer Trask Lecture

Thom Mayne Architect, Morphosis

Work in Progress #131 (NOTE: Friend Center 101)
Thu, 26 Apr 2007 | Stafford Little Lecture

Daniel Gilbert Professor, Harvard University

How To Do Precisely the Right Thing at All Possible Times
Thu, 20 Sep 2007 | Louis Clark Vanuxem Lecture

Paula Fredriksen Aurelio Professor of Scripture, Boston University

Sin: The Early History of an Idea (NOTE: Three lectures October 9, 10, 11; in McCosh 10)
Tue, 09 Oct 2007 | Spencer Trask Lecture, cosponsored by Princeton University Press

Paula Fredriksen Aurelio Professor of Scripture, Boston University

Sin: The Early History of an Idea (NOTE: McCosh Hall 10)
Wed, 10 Oct 2007 | Spencer Trask Lecture

Paula Fredriksen Aurelio Professor of Scripture, Boston University

Sin: The Early History of an Idea (NOTE: McCosh 10)
Thu, 11 Oct 2007 | Spencer Trask Lecture

Carlos Fuentes Novelist

A Panoramic View of the History of Mexico (NOTE: McCosh Hall 10)
Thu, 18 Oct 2007 | Spencer Trask Lecture

Carlos Eire Riggs Professor of History and Religious Studies, Yale University

A Brusque History of Eternity (NOTE: McCosh 10)
Wed, 07 Nov 2007 | Spencer Trask Lecture, cosponsored by Princeton University Press

Carlos Eire Riggs Professor of History and Religious Studies, Yale University

A Brusque History of Eternity (NOTE: McCosh 10)
Thu, 08 Nov 2007 | Spencer Trask Lecture, cosponsored by Princeton University Press

Krista Tippett Founder and host of American Public Media's "Speaking of Faith"

Reading from "Speaking of Faith" followed by panel discussion (NOTE: 7:00 p.m.)
Tue, 05 Feb 2008 | Cosponsored by the Spencer Trask Lecture Fund, the Center for the Study of Religion, and the Department of Anthropology

Robert Hass Poet

Poetry Reading (NOTE: 4:30 p.m. in McCormick 101)
Fri, 22 Feb 2008 | Spencer Trask Lecture, cosponsored by the Department of English and the Princeton Environmental Institute

Robert Alter Professor of Hebrew and Comparative Literature, University of California, Berkeley

The Bible and American Fiction (NOTE: Three lectures April 8, 9, 10)
Tue, 08 Apr 2008 | Spencer Trask Lecture, cosponsored by Princeton University Press

Robert Alter Professor of Hebrew and Comparative Literature, University of California, Berkeley

The Bible and American Literature
Wed, 09 Apr 2008 | Spencer Trask Lecture, cosponsored by Princeton University Press

Robert Alter Professor of Hebrew and Comparative Literature, University of California, Berkeley

Topic to be announced
Thu, 10 Apr 2008 | Spencer Trask Lecture, cosponsored by Princeton University Press

Mario Vargas Llosa Novelist

Onetti and the Shadows of Faulkner and Borges
Tue, 22 Apr 2008 | Spencer Trask Lecture

Jerma Jackson Associate Professor of History, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Made in America: The History of Black Gospel Music, "Our Music Was Tambourines and Sometimes Guitar: Contemplating the Roots of Black Gospel" (Note: 4:30 p.m. in McCormick Hall 101)
Thu, 25 Sep 2008 | Cosponsored by the J. Edward Farnum Fund and the Center for African American Studies, Departments of Religion and Music, Davis Center, Council of the Humanities, Program in American Studies, and the Center for the Study of Religion

Andrew Delbanco Professor of American Studies, Columbia University: author, Melville: His World and Work

Does College Really Matter? The History of Undergraduate Education, Why It's in Trouble, and What to Do About It (webcast)
Tue, 02 Dec 2008 | Stafford Little Lecture

Andrew Delbanco Professor of American Studies, Columbia University; author, Melville: His World and Work

Does College Really Matter? The History of Undergraduate Education, Why It's in Trouble, and What to Do About It (webcast)
Wed, 03 Dec 2008 | Stafford Little Lectures

Glenn Close Actress

Are You Who We Think You Are? (NOTE: 5:30 p.m. in McCosh 50.) FREE TICKET REQUIRED. Tickets are no longer available. There will be a wait line the night of the event, and individuals without tickets may be seated if seats become available. The lecture will be simulcast in McCosh 28 and 46; no ticket required. (webcast)
Thu, 19 Feb 2009 | J. Edward Farnum Lecture

Special Event, Tribute to Odetta Panel Discussion and Concert

"A Tribute to Odetta" concert and "Odetta, Folk Music, and Social Activism" panel discussion (NOTE: panel discussion 4:30–6:30 p.m. in McCosh 10; concert at 8:30 p.m. in Richardson Auditorium) Free ticket for concert required: See http://www.princeton.edu/africanamericanstudies/news/events/odetta.xml for ticket information.
Thu, 09 Apr 2009 | Cosponsored by the Center for African American Studies, the Program in American Studies, the Program in Women and Gender, the Departments of History, Music, and Religion, the Humanities Council, the Centers for Human Values and the Study of Religion, the Lewis Center for the Performing Arts, the James Madison Program, Graduate School Office of Academic Affairs and Diversity, Princeton Theological Seminary, the Vice President for Campus Life, the Office of Religious Life, and the Spencer Trask Fund of University Public Lectures

Alex Ross Music critic, The New Yorker

Chacona, Lamento, Walking Blues: Bass Lines of Music History
Tue, 28 Apr 2009 | J. Edward Farnum Lecture (Note: 8:00 p.m. in McCosh Hall 10)

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Novelist, Half of a Yellow Sun and Purple Hibiscus

The Danger of the Single Story
Tue, 20 Oct 2009 | Spencer Trask Lecture (NOTE: THIS EVENT HAS BEEN POSTPONED. NEW DATE IN FALL 2010 TO BE ANNOUNCED.).)

Alfred Brendel Pianist

Character in Music (NOTE: 8:00 p.m. in Richardson Auditorium, Alexander Hall. Free ticket required--TICKETS NO LONGER AVAILABLE. THERE WILL BE A WAIT LINE AT THE EVENT FOR ANY AVAILABLE SEATING.
Mon, 09 Nov 2009 | Cosponsored by the Spencer Trask Fund, Lewis Center for the Arts, Department of Music, Princeton University Concerts, and the Department of German

Javier Marias Spanish novelist, Tu rostro mañana (Your Face Tomorrow)

A Reading from Marias's Works Followed by a Conversation with Professors Angel G. Loureiro and Michael Wood
Tue, 01 Dec 2009 | Cosponsored by the Department of Spanish and Portuguese and the Spencer Trask Fund. (NOTE: McCormick 101 at 4:30 p.m.)

Simon Winchester author, The Map That Changed the World and The Professor and The Madman

The Man Who Loved China (webcast)
Thu, 11 Feb 2010 | Spencer Trask Lecture (NOTE: McCosh Hall 10)

John Waters Film director

This Filthy World
Thu, 25 Mar 2010 | Cosponsored by the Lewis Center for the Arts/Performance Central and the Spencer Trask Lecture Fund

Anna Deavere Smith Actress and playwright

The Song Inside of What They Said to Me: On Performing America
Tue, 13 Apr 2010 | J. Edward Farnum Lecture (NOTE NEW DATE. 7:30 p.m. in McCosh 50)

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Novelist

The Writer as Two Selves: Reflections on the Private Act of Writing and the Public Act of Citizenship (webcast)
Wed, 20 Oct 2010 | Spencer Trask Lecture

Errol Morris documentary filmmaker

The Ashtray (webcast)
Mon, 15 Nov 2010 | Spencer Trask Lecture

Chip Kidd Art director and graphic designer

SIGNALS GraphicChipDesignKidd (webcast)
Tue, 30 Nov 2010 | Spencer Trask Lecture

Patti Smith Singer, songwriter, poet, and visual artist. Winner of 2010 National Book Award for Nonfiction

Picturing Robert: Remembering a friendship and artistic relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe (NO TICKETS REQUIRED. ADMISSION TO MCCOSH 50 WILL BE FIRST-COME, FIRST-SERVED)
Tue, 07 Dec 2010 | Spencer Trask Lecture

Jonathan Safran Foer Author

Writing Life (webcast)
Thu, 10 Nov 2011 | Cosponsored by the J. Edward Farnum Lecture Fund, the Center for Jewish Life, and the Departments of English and Comparative Literature

Josh Kornbluth Comic monologuist and filmmaker

The Mathematics of Change: A Comic Monologue about Failure at Princeton
Thu, 05 Apr 2012 | J. Edward Farnum

Margaret Atwood Author

Future Imperfect: The Clock Strikes Midnight
Tue, 16 Oct 2012 | J. Edward Farnum Lecture, cosponsored by the Committee on Canadian Studies