Discussion Colloquia

About Our Discussion Colloquia

Discussion Colloquia offer faculty and graduate students an opportunity to learn from each other by participating in structured discussions of key texts 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.

Programs are typically weekend-long and include four to six 90-minute sessions and 200 to 300 pages of reading.

Participants receive an honorarium, a travel stipend, all meals, and lodging for their contributions.

Nov. 8-9, 2019 in Washington, DC

Ideological Bias in the Classroom

Ideological Bias in the Classroom

This Discussion Colloquium explores the following questions: Why is there a lack of intellectual diversity in college and university classrooms and to what extent is this a problem?, what are the specific tools needed to bring a wider range of perspectives to the classroom? and, what can be done at the institutional level to encourage a broader appreciation and greater tolerance of diverse perspectives? The program features these reading selections, which will be mailed to you after your participation in the program has been confirmed.

Our Discussion Leader for the program will be Dr. Bradley R. Jackson.

January 24-25, 2020 in Fort Worth, TX

elinor-ostrom discussion colloquia

Introduction to Law and Economics Through the Work of Elinor Ostrom

This colloquium explores the work of Elinor Ostrom as it relates to the importance of public choice. In particular, the role of self-governance in effectively caring for the commons will be examined by delving into such topics as polycentrism, public entrepreneurship and collective action. Discussion sessions are designed to bridge the gap between Ostrom’s work and legal scholarship, while inspiring further research in this area.

Sessions will be expertly framed by Dr. Bobbi Herzberg and Dr. Liya Palagashvili.

February 7-9, 2020 in Arlington, VA

artificial intelligence discussion colloquia

Artificial Intelligence and Liberal Futurism

Many of society’s leading engineers and computer scientists believe our world is on the brink of an intelligence explosion which will break and remake our civilization(s) in ways none of us will be able to predict. How can classical liberals prepare for this rapid expansion of intelligence and help contribute to ensuring it is a humanitarian success? How can we respond to potential catastrophes or doomsday scenarios which become all the more likely as technology becomes more powerful? How can we remain free in a world of potentially unlimited power? This seminar will engage scholars in discussing the future, its possible outcomes, its spontaneous character, and the implications for individual freedom.

February 21-23, 2020 in Arlington, VA

Discussion Colloquia

Sociology and the Classical Liberal Tradition

This colloquium brings together a small group of esteemed sociologists to explore the classical liberal tradition within sociology by delving into such topics as classical sociology, mass incarceration, post-socialist societies, economic sociology, and more. This viewpoint-diverse group will also explore opportunities for rebuilding an appreciation of the classical liberal tradition in sociology.

This program was created in partnership with Dr. Fabio Rojas, who will also be acting as Discussion Leader.

March 27-29, 2020 in Arlington, VA

Intersectionality Individualism

Intersectionality and Individualism

Is it possible to theoretically and practically merge the intersectional and individualistic methods in the social sciences? Does one imply the other, or can scholars understand human behavior either without reference to individuals or without reference to the intersections of an individual’s many different identities? This seminar will explore the contemporary concept of intersectionality and its place within a framework of methodological individualism, with particular emphasis on gender, race, religion, sexual identity, and individual agency.

April 3-5, 2020 in Chicago, IL


Religious Liberty at the Crossroads

This colloquium explores current academic debates on religious liberty with a view toward encouraging open and respectful dialogue between proponents of diverse perspectives. Religious pluralism, freedom of conscience, and the conflict between religious liberty and equal protection are among the topics that will be examined.

This program was conceptualized by and created in partnership with Dr. Barbara A. McGraw of Saint Mary’s College of California.

April 24-26, 2020 in Arlington, VA


Liberty, Responsibility, and Mental Health

Only individuals act and all individual actions accumulate into social movements, social institutions, or social problems. If classical liberals hope to maintain the freest societies possible, we will also have to advocate for the healthiest and most capable individual minds possible. This seminar will explore the rich and understudied tradition of caring for mental health within classical liberalism from the English Civil Wars and Restoration period right up through the present day. Participants will explore historical and current understandings of mental health, ways for individuals to become healthier decision-makers, and the ways a liberal worldview can positively contribute to individual and social health and wellness.

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.