Princeton Talks

“The commons,” as both a question and an organizing theme, inaugurates a new initiative of the Princeton Public Lectures Committee called Princeton Talks, a series of short, informal and recorded presentations delivered by university faculty. It is hoped that the format of the talks will help to make them nimble intellectual resources for the community and a forum for enrichment across diverse fields of expertise. 

Is there value in invoking “the commons” as a concept or practice? In our present historical moment, questions about what is shared and who belongs converge around a set of ongoing crises: technologies that utilize and control ideas, data and genetic material; ecological destruction and the management of land and resources; conflicts over the spaces and voices that constitute political participation. Can “the commons”—with its multiple histories and applications in fields as diverse as astrophysical sciences, music, religion, archaeology and sociology—serve as an effective definition or critical term or perhaps even as an ideal today?

This year we look forward to inspiring talks by Basile Baudez, Asst. Professor of Art & Archaeology; Shamus Khan, Professor of Sociology and American Studies; Brandon Stewart, Asst. Professor of Sociology; David MacMillan, Professor of Chemistry; Marna Seltzer, Director, Princeton Concerts, Gáspár Bakos, Professor of Astrophysical Sciences; Laura Edwards, Professor of History; Fredrick Wherry, Professor of Sociology; Sarah Rivett, Professor of English and American Studies; and Coleen Murphy, Professor of Molecular Biology. 

Past Talks

  • Frederick Wherry
    Townsend Martin, Class of 1917 Professor of Sociology
    How Should We Protect the Dignity of the Indebted?
    Apr 18, 2022
  • Professor of History
    Laura Edwards
    Class of 1921 Bicentennial Professor in the History of American Law and Liberty
    Property Ownership through Practice: How People Made Common Law in 19th-Century United States
    Mar 24, 2022
  • Music
    Marna Seltzer
    Director, Princeton Concerts
    Why We Gather: The Case for Live Concerts
    Mar 8, 2022
  • Professor of Chemistry
    David W. MacMillan
    James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor of Chemistry
    A Nobel Laureate Discusses His Path to Organic Chemistry
    Feb 21, 2022
  • Assistant Professor of Sociology
    Brandon Stewart
    Text as Data
    Text as Data
    Feb 8, 2022
  • Professor of Sociology and American Studies
    Shamus R. Khan
    The Political Commons: Public Goods, Diversity, Conflict, and Elites
    Jan 26, 2022

Is there a Talk you want to hear?