Burchard Scholars Program | Seminar Topics and Special Events


 Previous Burchard Dinner-Seminars and Special Events


Spring 2020

David Caughey - Associate Professor of Political Science
"Dynamic Democracy: Citizens, Politicians, and Policymaking in the American States, 1936–2018"

Dave Donaldson -  Professor of Economics
"Do Free Markets Get Things Right?"


Fall 2019


Kenda Mutongi - Professor of History
"Law and Disorder in Post-colonial Kenya: The Matatu Bill of 1984"

Amy Moran-Thomas -  Associate Professor of Anthropology
"Sugar Machine: Reflections on the Social Lives of Medical Objects"

Catherine Clark - Associate Professor of History and French Studies
Guest: Kristen Gresh - Estrellita and Yousuf Karsh Senior Curator of Photographs, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
"The exhibition of the Howard Greenberg Collection of Photographs"

Howard Greenberg Collection of Photographs  -  Museum of Fine Arts, Boston


Spring 2019

Leslie Tilley - Associate Professor of Music and Theater Arts
"Collective Improvisation in Bali: The Preoccupations of an Analytical Enthnomusicologist"

M. Amah Edoh - Assistant Professor of Global Studies and Languages
"Making African Print Cloth Global: Design, Branding, and Classification"

Vipin Narang - Associate Professor of Political Science
"Nuclear Weapons and Strategy"

David Atkin - Professor of Economics
"Why Does Technology Diffuse So Slowly?"


Fall 2018

Joaquín Terrones - Lecturer in Literature
"Art, AIDS, and Culture in the 80s and 90s"

Lisa Parks -  Professor of Comparative Media Studies
"Historicizing the Cell Site Simulator: A Geneaology of Eavesdropping"

Tod Machover - Muriel R. Cooper Professor of Music and Media, Media Lab
"Operas With and Without Robots"

Tod Machover's Schoenberg in Hollywood  -  Boston Lyric Opera


Spring 2018

Sana Aiyar - Associate Professor of History
"Migration and Expulsion Across the Indian Ocean"

Christine Walley - Professor of Anthropology
"The Exit Zero Project: Storytelling About Social Class and Growing Inequality in Chicago"

Charles Schadle - Senior Lecturer in Music and Theater Arts
"From STEM to STEAM: Einstein and Music"

Daron Acemoglu - Elizabeth and James Killian Professor of Economics
"Robotics, AI, and the Future of Work"


Fall 2017

Edward Schiappa, Jr. - Professor of Comparative Media Studies/Writing
"America's 'Transgender Moment': The Role of Media Representation"

Tamar Schapiro - Associate Professor of Philosophy
"What Are You Doing When You Are Controlling Yourself?"

Kenneth Urban's A Guide for the Homesick  -  Huntington Theater Company

Kenneth Urban - Senior Lecturer in Theater Arts
"An Evening with Playwright Ken Urban"


Spring 2017

Eugenie Brinkema - Associate Professor of Literature
"Horror Without Bodies"

Anne McCants - Professor of History
"Growth, Inequality, and Well-Being: Lessons from Economic History for Uncertain Times"

Richard Nielsen - Assistant Professor of Political Science
"Jihadists -- What They Think and What to Do About It"

Robin Scheffler - Assistant Professor of Science, Technology, and Society
"Can Science Win the War on Cancer?"


Fall 2016

Martin Marks - Senior Lecturer, Music and Theater Arts
"Going to CARMEN: An Ever-Thrilling Opera vs A Tawdry, Lean and Very Mean Adventure"

Bizet's Carmen - Boston Lyric Opera

David Kaiser - Germeshausen Professor of the History of Science, Program in Science, Technology, and Society and Professor of Physics, Department of Physics
"Cold War Curvature: Writing A Political History of Gravity"

Helen Elaine Lee - Professor of Comparative Media Studies / Writing
"The Power of Words


Spring 2016

Agustín Rayo - Associate Dean
"Metaphysics: The Grandfather Paradox"

Tanalís Padilla - Associate Professor of History
"Teachers, Education and Protest in Twentieth-Century Rural Mexico"

David Autor - Professor of Economics
"Importing Political Polarization: The Electoral Consequences of Rising Trade Exposure"

Devin Caughey - Assistant Professor of Political Science
"Dynamic Democracy: Citizens, Parties, and Policy in the American States, 1936-2015"

Fall 2015

Lucas Stancyzk - Assistant Professor of Political Science

"A Little Night Music" -  Huntington Theater

Patricia Tang - Associate Professor of Music

Kieran Setiya - Professor of Philsophy

Spring 2015

Norvin Richards - Professor of Linguistics, Margaret MacVicar Faculty Fellow

Stephanie Frampton - Associate Professor of Literature

Fall 2014

Marah Gubar - Associate Professor of Literature
“That Terrible Masterpiece: Peter Pan, Finding Neverland, and the Cult of the Child"

Stephen Van Evera - Professor of Political Science
"US Grand Strategy and the Crises in Ukraine and the Middle East"

Erica James - Associate Professor of Anthropology
"Bureaucracy, Sorcery, and the Politics of Aid to Trauma Survivors in Haiti”

Spring 2014

Heather Hendershot - Professor of Comparative Media Studies/Writing
"'Don’t Immanentize the Eschaton!': Firing Line, William F. Buckley Jr., and the American Conservative Movement"

Amy Finkelstein - Professor of Economics
"The Economics of Expanding Health Insurance: Evidence from the Oregon Health Insurance Experiment"

Hiromu Nagahara - Assistant Professor of History
"What did World War II sound like?"

Catherine Clark - Assistant Professor of Professor of Global Studies and Languages
"More than Retronauting or How History Extends Beyond the Edges of a Photograph?"

Fall 2013

Ta-Nehisi Coates – MLK Visiting Scholar in Writing
“A college dropout at MIT” 

Lynn Chang – Associated Artist
Lowell Lindgren – Professor Emeritus of Music
Emily Richmond Pollock – Assistant Professor of Music
Discussion of “Prokofiev, Shostakovich and Strauss,” as performed by Yo-Yo Ma and the Boston Symphony Orchestra

Arthur Bahr – Associate Professor of Literature
“The Page before Print: the Strange and Beautiful Lives of Medieval Manuscripts”

Malick Ghachem – Associate Professor of History
“Kill All the [Bankers]”: Why the Law of Fraud Will Not Save Us”

Spring 2013

Vivek Bald - Assistant Professor of Writing and Digital Media
"Lost Histories, 'Old' Media, and New Technologies: Building a Digital Humanities Practice"

Manduhai Buyandelger - Associate Professor of Anthropology
“Exchanging History for Sheep: Remaking Memory after Suppression in Contemporary Mongolia”

Julia Markovits - Associate Professor of Philosophy
"Saints, Heroes, and Villains"

Adam Berinsky - Professor of Political Science
"Rumors, Truths and Reality: A Study of Political Misinformation"

Fall 2012

Natasha Dow Schüll - Associate Professor, Program in Science, Technology, and Society
"LOST IN THE MACHINES: The Technology of Gambling Addiction"

Diana Henderson - Professor, Literature Section
Alan Brody - Professor of Theater Arts
Discussion of ArtEmerson's production of Hamlet presented by Shakespeare's Globe Theatre Company

Andrea Campbell - Professor of Political Science
"How American Social Policies Really Work"

Spring 2012

Glenn Ellison - Gregory K. Palm Professor of Economics
"Google Advertising: How Does it Work and Why Should We Care?"

Martin Hackl - Associate Professor of Linguistics
"Covert Movement in Real Time"

Hanna Rose Shell - Leo Marx Career Development Assistant Professor of Science, Technology, and Society
"Playing Hide and Seek"

Christopher Leighton - Assistant Professor of History
"The History of Chinese Business, and Vice Versa"

Fall 2011

Chris Ariza - Visiting Assistant Professor of Music and Theater Arts
"Generative Music as a Prop for Technological Play: Historical Perspectives and Aesthetic Alternatives"

"Porgy and Bess" at the American Repertory Theatre

Graham Jones - Assistant Professor of Anthropology
"Modern Magic and the Technology of Enchantment"

Ruth Perry - Ann Fetter Friedlaender Professor of Humanities
"Singing Literature"

Spring 2011

Nick Montfort - Associate Professor of Digital Media
"10 PRINT CHR$(205.5+RND(1)); : GOTO 10"

William Broadhead - Associate Professor of History
"Judging Augustus Caesar: the making of Rome’s first emperor"

Caspar Hare - Associate Professor of Philosophy
"What Philosophy Tells us About How to Make Big Decisions"

Donal Fox - MLK Visiting Artist of Music and Theater arts
"Musical Improvisation: The Art of Making Mistakes and the Art of Discovery"

Fall 2010

Susan Silbey - Leon and Anne Goldberg Professor of Humanities, Professor of Sociology and Anthropology, and Section Head
"The Common Place of Law: Signs and Stories of Law in Everyday Life"

Evan Ziporyn - Kenan Sahin Distinguished Professor of Music
"A House in Bali"

Sara Ellison - Senior Lecturer of Economics
"What Has the Internet Done to the Book?"

Fotini Christia - Assistant Professor of Political Science
"Counterinsurgency in Afghanistan: Can we win hearts and minds?"

Spring 2010

Wayne Marshall - Postdoctoral Fellow, School of Humanities, Arts, & Social Sciences
"Follow the Musical Money: Public Culture on Corporate Platforms"

Kai von Fintel - Associate Dean and Professor of Linguistics
"Subjective Meaning"

Craig Wilder - Professor, History
"Darmouth's Warring Murals: Indians, Negroes, and Mascots"


Fall 2009

Noel Jackson – Associate Professor, Literature
"The Humanities as Half-Knowledge: Two Romantic-Period Examples."

Haimanti Roy – Assistant Professor, History
"Borderline Citizens: Becoming ‘Indians’ and ‘Pakistanis’ in Post-Partition Bengal, 1947-56"

David Jones - Associate Professor, Science, Technology, and Society
"Do Doctors Make Good Decisions? History and the Complications of Cardiac Surgery"

Ben Olken - Associate Professor, Economics
"The Economics of Corruption"


Spring 2009

Taylor Fravel – Associate Professor, Political Science
"Three Perspectives on China's Rise: Threat, Opportunity, or Menace?"

Yo Yo Ma – Multiple Grammy®-winning cellist, Special Burchard Event
Performance with the Silk Road Ensemble at Symphony Hall

Dr. Thomas Byrne – Clinical Professor of Neurology
"Mirror Neurons: Impact on Learning, Empathy and Theory of Mind"

George Ruckert – Senior Lecturer, Music and Theater Arts
"The Sarod and the Raga in North Indian Tradition"


Fall 2008

Ed Barrett- Senior Lecturer, Writing and Humanistic Studies
“What Splendor! It All (most) Coheres. Discontinuity, Imagination, and for example, Digital Poetry"

Lily Tsai- Associate Professor, Political Science
“Accountability Without Democracy: Solidary Groups and Public Goods Provision in Rural China”

Elena Ruehr- Lecturer, Music
“Music, History, Movies”

William Uricchio- Professor, Comparative Media Studies
“Television as Provocation: rethinking media history”


Spring 2008

Ken Oye- Associate Professor, Political Science
“Assessing Implications of Emerging Technologies: Looking Back to Look Ahead”

Melissa Blanco- Visiting Artist, Music and Theater Arts
“Can Hips Talk? An Inquiry Into Corporeality, Cuban Mulatas, and ‘Caderas’”

David Macaulay- Author of "The Way Things Work," Special Buchard Speaker
“Let’s Eat”

Panle Jia- Rudi Dornbusch Career Development Assistant Professor, Economics
“What Can We Learn About the Real World With a Little Bit of Economics”

Fall 2007

Norvin Richards- Professor, Linguistics and Philosophy
“Structured disorder:VP-ellipsis in Maliseet”

Deborah Fitzgerald- Dean, School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, Professor of the History of Technology
“Fast Planes and Fast Food: How World War II Changed the Way We Eat”

Chris Capozzola- Associate Professor, History
“Should the United States Reinstitute the Draft?: Lessons from History”

Sandy Alexandre- Class of 1948 Career Development Professor, Literature
"If Trees Could Talk: Lynching in American Literature & Culture"


Spring 2007

Henry Jenkins – Professor, Comparative Media Studies
“What Does It Mean to be Literate in the 21st Century?”

Michael Cuthbert – Assistant Professor, Music and Theater Arts
“Geek Musicology”

Mary Fuller – Associate Professor, Literature
“Before there was American Literature, who read John Smith, and why?”

Abhijit Banerjee – Ford International Professor, Economics
“The Economic Lives of the Poor”


Fall 2006

Diana Henderson – Professor, Literature
“Why Shakespeare? Why Now?"

Chap Lawson – Associate Professor, Political Science
“Mexico’s Recent Elections and the Controversy that Followed Them”

Suzanne Flynn – Professor, Linguistics and Philosophy
“Multilingualism: Nature’s Standard”

Tuli Banerjee – Lecturer, Foreign Languages and Literatures


Spring 2006

Junot Diaz – Rudge and Nancy Allen Professor of Writing
"The Uses of Apocalypse"

Michael Ouellette and Charles Shadle – Senior Lecturer, Theater Arts and Senior Lecturer, Music
“A Question of Love: Opera and Collaboration”

Ed Steinfeld – Associate Professor, Political Science
“China's Real Energy Crisis”

Meg Jacobs – Associate Professor, History
“The Energy Crisis of the 1970s”