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 Coleen Murphy, Professor of Molecular Biology; Gáspár Bakos, Professor of Astrophysical Sciences; Leah Boustan, Professor of Economics; Keith Whittington, Professor of Politics; Alan Blinder, Professor of Economics; and Gene Jarrett, Professor of English and Dean of the Faculty. 

Past Talks

  • Coleen Murphy
    James A. Elkins Jr. Professor in the Life Sciences. Professor of Molecular Biology and the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics
    Slowing the Ticking Clock: Quantitating "Quality of Life" with Age
    Oct 11, 2022
  • Sarah Rivett
    Professor of English and American Studies
    From Common Land to Raven's Land: Unsettling American Origins
    Apr 20, 2022
  • 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

Is there a Talk you want to hear?