Discussion Colloquia

About Our Discussion Colloquia

Discussion Colloquia enable faculty and graduate student to learn from each other by participating in structured discussions of foundational texts and contemporary scholarship in the classical liberal tradition selected for their intellectual rigor and relevance to a theme. Discussion Colloquia are hosted in partnership with faculty or academic centers at hotels or university campuses across the country or online.

Programs that convene in person typically include four to six 90-minute discussion sessions and 250 to 300 pages of reading. Online programs usually include three to four 75-minute discussion sessions and 200- 250 pages of reading.

For programs convening in person, participants receive an honorarium, a travel stipend, all meals, and lodging for their full participation. For online programs, participants receive an honorarium for their full participation.

As part of its Discourse Initiative, IHS is particularly interested in research and programs in the following general categories: Liberalism and Its Critics, Key Challenges within a Free Society, Cultural Challenges within Liberal Society, Contentious Topics within the Liberal Tradition, and Liberalism in Times of Crisis. Learn more about the Discourse Initiative here.

We are also interested in topics addressing issues around Social Media, Big Tech, and Free Speech, Tensions Between National Security and Freedom, the Future of Liberalism, Social Justice Solutions and the Tension Between Freedom and Government, and Structural Problems within Higher Education.

IHS welcomes applications and proposals on these or other related topics from scholars in all disciplines.

May 15, 2021

The Impact of Regulation on Business and Society

The Impact of Regulation on Business and Society (Part I)

An interdisciplinary group of junior and senior scholars will convene in May for a three-session discussion colloquium exploring the purpose, philosophy, and consequences of governmental regulation of industry. Sessions One and Two explore the impact of regulation on innovation and societal wellbeing. Session Three examines the role of regulation and deregulation during the Covid-19 pandemic. The same cohort will convene again in June to workshop research proposals inspired by the discussion colloquium.

This program was conceptualized by and developed in partnership with Professors Brent Clark (University of Nebraska-Omaha) and Mark Packard (University of Nevada- Reno).

May 20—21, 2021

Liberalism and the Conservative Sensibility

Liberalism and the Conservative Sensibility

Called a “magnum opus” by The Economist, George F. Will’s The Conservative Sensibility (Hachette Books 2019) raises urgent and timely questions about the meaning of liberalism in America, about liberalism and economics, and about education and the future of American political ideology.

This discussion colloquium explores the meaning and implications of Mr. Will’s answers to those questions as articulated in his book and places his work in conversation with classic statements of conservatism and liberalism.

Mr. Will joins colloquium participants for the final discussion session following a live interview and Q&A.

May 24—26, 2021

Civil Society and Pluralism in Smith, Hume, and Burke

Civil Society and Pluralism in Smith, Hume, and Burke

The purpose of this colloquium is to introduce scholars, policy makers and practitioners associated with the C. Boyden Gray Center for the Study of the Administrative State at George Mason University to seminal texts in the classical liberal intellectual tradition, while providing Institute for Humane Studies (IHS) scholars with a more concrete understanding of those texts as they apply to current debates about the modern administrative state.

This program was conceptualized by and developed in partnership with Prof. Adam White.

June 12, 2021

The Impact of Regulation on Business and Society

The Impact of Regulation on Business and Society (Part II)

An interdisciplinary group of junior and senior scholars will convene in May for a three-session discussion colloquium exploring the purpose, philosophy, and consequences of governmental regulation of industry. Sessions One and Two explore the impact of regulation on innovation and societal wellbeing. Session Three examines the role of regulation and deregulation during the Covid-19 pandemic. The same cohort will convene again in June to workshop research proposals inspired by the discussion colloquium.

This program was conceptualized by and developed in partnership with Professors Brent Clark (University of Nebraska-Omaha) and Mark Packard (University of Nevada- Reno).

June 17—18, 2021

Scientific Research and Economic Growth

Scientific Research and Economic Growth: When Theory and Practice Do Not Match

Scientific research has long been treated as a public good. Accordingly, the public funding of science has been viewed as a necessary condition of economic growth. This discussion colloquium seeks to challenge that consensus by holding established theory accountable to economic history and empirical evidence. Scholars of the economics of research, economic growth, economic history, and intellectual property will study selected research in those areas before convening online to discuss its implications for economic growth. The goal is to integrate that research to develop a new model of economic growth.

This program was conceptualized by and developed in partnership with Professors Terence Kealey (Cato Institute) and Meir Kohn (Dartmouth College).

Thursdays July 8—August 12

Natural Law Liberalism

Natural Law Liberalism (Online Reading Group)

This reading group for faculty and advanced graduate students in the humanities, social sciences, and law examines how liberal thinkers within the “moderate enlightenment” tradition--- and even some who tend to be associated with the “radical enlightenment”--- have drawn from while also tempering classical and Christian thought to provide for a more sustainable liberalism. The goal is to think through not only how classical and Christian ideas can sustain liberalism but also how to bring that and related questions alive for students.

This program was conceptualized by and developed in partnership with Prof. Ben Johnson (Penn State Law).

Wednesdays Sep. 22—Oct. 27, 2021

Jonathan Barth Tells the Monetary Story of America

Economics Meets History

This series of two programs is designed to showcase what economists can offer other disciplines as well as what we can gain from them. This series was developed in partnership with Dr. Jesús Fernández-Villaverde. Economics Meets History covers a general overview of the field of economic history, with a focus on the process of long-term economic growth and its deep determinants. Emphasis will be placed on exploring how the analytical framework of economics can complement history’s detailed discussion of context, ideas, and sources. Our Discussion Leader will be Dr. Fernando Arteaga. The group will meet weekly on Wednesdays using Zoom for 6 sessions starting on September 22 and ending on October 27.

April 29 — May 1, 2022

Economics Meets Its Historiography

This series of two programs is designed to showcase what economists can offer other disciplines as well as what we can gain from them. This series was developed in partnership with Dr. Jesús Fernández-Villaverde. Economics Meets its Historiography will be held in person in Philadelphia, PA on April 29th – May 1st. This program will focus on the history of economic thought and explore in-depth the approaches of past thinkers and theories of the firm, wages, prices, and trade.

Have an Idea for Your Own Discussion Colloquium?

Please contact us at DiscussionColloquia@TheIHS.org for more information and include the following: a current CV, a detailed description of the program topic, and the dates that you have in mind for the program.

See What You Missed from Our Previous Discussion Colloquia

Political Speech May 1–2, 2021, Online

Religious Liberty at the Crossroads April 10-11, 2021, Online

Liberty, Property, and Pollution April 16-17, 2021, Online

History of Capitalism March 26-28, 2021, Online

Coexisting in a Pluralist Society November 14-15, 2020, Online

Free Speech, Free Press, and Misinformation November 7-8, 2020, Online

Intersectionality and Individualism March 27-29, 2020 in Arlington, VA

Sociology and the Classical Liberal Tradition February 21-23, 2020 in Arlington, VA

Artificial Intelligence and Liberal Futurism February 7-9, 2020 in Arlington, VA

Introduction to Law and Economics Through the Work of Elinor Ostrom January 24-25, 2020 in Fort Worth, TX

Ideological Bias in the Classroom November 8-9, 2019 in Washington, DC