IHS Discussion Colloquia

IHS Discussion Colloquia are designed for graduate students and faculty members seeking in-depth discussions about specialized topics in the classical liberal tradition. Our Discussion Colloquia utilize a roundtable discussion model and take place during a weekend with about 15 peers, a common set of readings, and an expert discussion leader. During the course of the program, participants will have the opportunity to discuss intensely interesting and challenging topics with their peers, network together, share their research, and hone their classical liberal scholarship with new ideas, perspectives, and tools.


These programs are free to attend and may take place either in-person or online. In the case of in-person discussions, IHS provides all materials, accommodations, and meals throughout the duration of the program, in addition to a generous travel stipend and $500 honorarium. Online programs also include generous honoraria and materials. See specific program websites for more information.

For more information, contact DiscussionColloquia@TheIHS.org. Participants can apply to any of the below programs.

Liberty, Responsibility and Mental Health
August 20, 2021 — August 22, 2021

Mental health is an immensely important topic, made all the more so in the COVID era. Happy, healthy individuals are the essential components of a free society, and a society with less mental health is likely to also be less free. This discussion colloquium will bring together graduate students and scholars working within the Classical Liberal tradition to study liberal approaches to mental health, individual responsibility, and liberty. The discussion will take place in the Washington, DC area from August 20-22, featuring Northwestern’s Professor Anna Chorniy as Discussion Leader. Learn More | Apply Now

World History of Liberalism

World history is necessarily interdisciplinary, drawing on insights from across the humanities; and liberalism has been integral—fundamental, even—to world history. Here we will shift endlessly across time and space, discovering kernels of liberalism everywhere from ancient China to the English Civil Wars, challenging ourselves to think much more richly, deeply, and widely about what exactly liberalism is, what is has been, where it’s gone, and where it’s heading.

Sessions will take place as close to the final Monday of each month as possible from 3:00pm-5:00pm (ET) unless otherwise noted or updated.

World History of Liberalism

Check out our new World History of Liberalism online series here.

Comparing Singularities: Social and Technological Disruptions

Throughout the course of the series, students will explore the concept and history of technological singularities and their impacts. Though ‘singularity’ means many things across many fields, in the history and development of technology, it tends to refer to points in time where technology develops so quickly and spontaneously that no one before or during the singularity can predict what effects that development will have on society. Learn more

Comparing SIngularities

2020 Retrospective

2020 has been quite the wild ride. Practically no one has escaped the year unchanged or untouched by recent events. To put it all in some context, attempt to make some sense of it, and in an effort to gather together liberal scholars working to move the future in better directions, the IHS is beginning its next online seminar series: a retrospective on the year 2020. Students will discuss important recent work by Classical Liberal scholars on topics from COVID to SCOTUS–because even 2020 should not be left behind without being understood.

These discussions will unfold in 75-90 minutes discussions the first Friday of each month, from 4:00-6:00pm EST, January through August. Learn more

What to Expect

discussion colloquia

Participants will receive readers roughly two months in advance of the conference and should come thoroughly prepared to discuss the material. Discussion will be Socratic—that is, question-driven—and will include a range of expertise levels. Discussion Colloquia do not include any lectures, workshops, or presentations. They depend entirely on the quality of discussion each member brings to the table and the questions offered by the discussion leader. A full Discussion Colloquium consists of six sessions of one and a half hours each, and participants are required to attend all sessions as well as all social events (including meals).

Additional Details

  • To be eligible for consideration, participants must either be full-time PhD students or faculty members at a degree-granting college or university.
  • IHS provides accepted participants with all meals and shared housing accommodations for the duration of the seminar, based on dual-occupancy with another participant of the same gender.
  • Accepted participants will be eligible for a travel stipend to cover airfare or ground transportation to and from the seminar.

IHS Discussion Colloquia provide unique opportunities for scholars to explore classical liberal ideas at an advanced level, inspiring and informing further research.

Most importantly, participants will have a chance to meet peers who share their passion for ideas.

If you are new to IHS and would like to take advantage of other IHS resources, you can learn about our scholarship and grant programs here.

For more information, contact DiscussionColloquia@TheIHS.org.