Past Tanner Lectures on Human Values

Rosi Braidotti, Utrecht University, "Posthuman, All Too Human," 2017

Wednesday, March 1
“Memoirs of a Posthumanist“

Thursday, March 2
“Aspirations of a Posthumanist”

Friday, March 3
Rüdiger Campe and Joanna Radin in conversation with Rosi Braidotti

Press release

Judith Butler, "Interpreting Non-Violence," 2016

Wednesday, March 30
“Why Preserve the Life of the Other?”

Thursday, March 31
“Legal Violence: An Ethical and Political Critique”

Friday, April 1
A conversation with Judith Butler, Paul North, and Jason Stanley

Limited seating. First come, first seated.

Press release

Dipesh Chakrabarty, "The Human Condition in the Anthropocene," 2015

Wednesday, February 18, “Climate Change as Epochal Consciousness”
Thursday, February 19, “Decentering the Human? Gaia”
Friday, February 20, Roundtable discussion with Daniel Lord Smail, Harvard University; Wai Chee Dimock, Yale University; Michael Warner, Yale University
Moderator: Gary Tomlinson

Dipesh Chakrabarty is the Lawrence A. Kimpton Distinguished Service Professor of History, South Asian Languages and Civilizations, and Law at the University of Chicago. He taught at the University of Melbourne and the Australian National University before moving to Chicago.

He is the author of many articles and books including The Calling of History: Sir Jadunath Sarkar and His Empire of Truth (2015, forthcoming), Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference (2008; 2000), Habitations of Modernity: Essays in the Wake of Subaltern Studies (2002), and Rethinking Working-Class History: Bengal 1890-1940 (2000; 1989).

He is founding member of the editorial collective of Subaltern Studies, a founding editor of Postcolonial Studies, and a consulting editor of Critical Inquiry. Chakrabarty is currently working on a book on climate change and on a collection of essays on history’s relationship to the present. Chakrabarty was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2004 and an Honorary Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities in 2006. He was recently named the recipient of the 2014 Toynbee Prize for his contributions to global history.


Bruno Latour, "How Better to Register the Agency of Things," 2014

Wednesday, March 26, “Semiotics,” Video of Lecture
Thursday, March 27, “Ontology,” Video of Lecture
Friday, March 28, Roundtable discussion with Bruno Latour, Philip Gorski, Adam Tooze, and Joanna Radin, Moderator: Daniel Kevles, Video of Roundtable discussion


Paul Gilroy, "The Black Atlantic and the Re-enchantment of Humanism," 2014

Wednesday, February 19, “Suffering and Infrahumanity”
Thursday, February 20, “Humanities and a New Humanism”
Friday, February 21, Roundtable discussion with Paul Gilroy, Hazel Carby, Kobena Mercer, and Michael Veal, Moderator: Jonathan Holloway 


Lisa Jardine, "The Two Cultures: Still Under Consideration," 2012

Wednesday, April 11, “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice: C. P. Snow and Jacob Bronowski”
Thursday, April 12, “Science and Government: C. P. Snow and the Corridors of Power”
Friday, April 13, “Why Should Scientists and Humanists Talk to Each Other Anyway?”
A panel discussion featuring Lisa Jardine, Tamar Szabo Gendler, Daniel J. Kevles, Eric Dufresne, and David Marshall Miller


Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, "The Ancient Quarrel: Philosophy and Literature," 2011

Wednesday, March 23, “Morality and Literature”
Thursday, March 24, “Metaphysics and Literature”
Friday, March 25, “Can a Novelist Write Philosophically?”
A panel discussion with Rebecca Newberger Goldstein Harry Frankfurt Michael Cunningham and chaired by Amy Hungerford


John Adams, "Doctor Faustus and His Composition" and "Doctor Atomic and His Gadget," 2009

Wednesday, October 28, “Doctor Faustus and His Composition: Reflections on Thomas Mann’s Fictional Composer”
Thursday, October 29, “Doctor Atomic and His Gadget: Composing the American Mythology”


Steven Chu, "The Epistemology of Physics and Scientific Revolutions" and "Golden Eras of Scientific Institutions," 2008

Wednesday, October 29, “The Epistemology of Physics and Scientific Revolutions
Thursday, October 30, “Golden Eras of Scientific Institutions


Santiago Calatrava, "Wings and a Prayer" and "A Collection of Pearls," 2007

Wednesday, October 3,Wings and a Prayer”
Thursday, October 4, “A Collection of Pearls



Anthony Grafton, "Rats’ Alley? The Humanities in the American University" and "Clio’s Catastrophe? History and the Humanities," 2006

Wednesday, October 18, “Rats’ Alley? The Humanities in the American University”
Thursday, October 19, “Clio’s Catastrophe? History and the Humanities”


Ruth Reichl, "Why Food Matters," 2005

Wednesday, October 26, “Cooking Lessons: A Short History of Eating”
Thursday, October 27, “Stories We Tell: The Subtext of the Table”


Oliver Sacks, "“Journey Into Wonder: Reflections on a Chemical Boyhood” and “Awakenings Revisited”," 2004

Wednesday, April 14, “Journey Into Wonder: Reflections on a Chemical Boyhood”
Thursday, April 15, “Awakenings Revisited”


Garry L. Wills, "Henry Adams: The Historian as Novelist?," 2003

Tuesday, March 4, “Democracy”
Wednesday, March 5, “Esther”


Salman Rushdie, "Step Across This Line," 2002

Monday, February 25 and Tuesday, February 26, “Step Across This Line”


Alexander Nehamas, "A Promise of Happiness: The Place of Beauty in a World of Art," 2000

Monday, April 9 and Tuesday, April 10, “A Promise of Happiness: The Place of Beauty in a World of Art”


Steven Pinker, "The Blank Slate, the Noble Savage, and the Ghost in the Machine," 1999

Tuesday, April 20, “How the Mind Works”
Wednesday, April 21, “The Blank Slate: The Denial of Human Nature in Modern Life”


Marina Warner, "Spirit Visions," 1999

Wednesday, October 20, “The Inner Eye: Figuring the Invisible”
Thursday, October 21, “Ectoplasm: Materializing the Impalpable”


Elaine Scarry, "On Beauty and Being Just," 1998

1998, “On Beauty and Being Just”

Liam Hudson , "The Life of the Mind," 1997

1997, “The Life of the Mind”

Peter Brown , "The End of the Ancient Other World: Death and Afterlife between Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages," 1996

1996, “The End of the Ancient Other World: Death and Afterlife between Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages”

Richard Posner , "Euthanasia and Health Care: Two Essays on the Policy Dilemmas of Aging and Old Age," 1994

1994, “Euthanasia and Health Care: Two Essays on the Policy Dilemmas of Aging and Old Age”

Fritz Stern , " I. Mendacity Enforced: Europe, 1914-1989 and II. Freedom and Its Discontents: Postunification Germany," 1993

1993, “I. Mendacity Enforced: Europe, 1914-1989”
        “II. Freedom and Its Discontents: Postunification Germany”

Robertson Davies , "Reading and Writing," 1991

1991, “Reading and Writing”

Edward Luttwak , "Strategy: A New Era?," 1989

Fall 1989, “Strategy: A New Era?”

John Pocock , "Edward Gibbon in History: Aspects of the Text in The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire," 1989

Spring 1989, “Edward Gibbon in History: Aspects of the Text in The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire”