Brown Symposium

Past Symposia



Attraction: The science and art of sex and romance

Developed by Fay GuarraciBen Pierce

  • David M. Buss, Ph.D. is a Professor of Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. Buss previously taught at Harvard University and the University of Michigan. He is considered the world’s leading scientific expert on strategies of human mating and one of the founders of the field of evolutionary psychology.
  • Lisa Diamond, Ph.D. is Professor of Psychology and Gender Studies at the University of Utah. For over 25 years, she has studied the development and expression of gender and sexuality across the life course. Her current work focuses on the biobehavioral mechanisms through which social stigma, social stress, and social safety shape the health and well-being of sexually-diverse and gender-diverse individuals at different stages of development.
  • Amy Muise, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor at York University in Toronto, Canada, and the Director of the Sexual Health and Relationships (SHaRe) lab. In her research, she investigates the factors that help couples maintain desire and passion over time, have more fulfilling sex lives and relationships, and successfully navigate conflicts of interest or transitional periods in a relationship.
  • Michael J. Ryan, Ph.D. is the Clark Hubbs Regents Professor in Zoology at the University of Texas, Austin. He has been a Research Associate at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama since 1982, and currently is a Senior Research Associate there. Ryan’s primary research interests are in the evolution and mechanisms of animal behavior, especially animal communication and sexual selection.
  • Valerie Steele, Ph.D. is director and chief curator of The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, where she has organized more than 25 exhibitions since 1997, including: The Corset: Fashioning the Body , London Fashion, Gothic: Dark Glamour ; A Queer History of Fashion: From the Closet to the Catwalk, Pink: The History of a Punk, Pretty, Powerful Color , and Paris, Capital of Fashion .

Brown Symposium 2022 website »


The Anthropocene

Developed by Laura Hobgood

  • Carol Adams is the author of The Sexual Politics of Meat now in a 25th anniversary edition, Burger, in Bloomsbury’s Object Lessons Series, the forthcoming Protest Kitchen: Fight Injustice, Save the Planet, and Fuel Your Resistance One Meal at a Time, and many other books. 
  • Dr. Robert Bullard is often described as the father of environmental justice.  He is an award-winning author of eighteen books that address sustainable development, environmental racism, urban land use, industrial facility siting, community reinvestment, housing, transportation, climate justice, disasters, emergency response, and community resilience, smart growth, and regional equity and a proud U.S. Marine Corps veteran.
  • Dr. Christopher Carter’s teaching and research interests are in Black & Womanist Theological Ethics, Environmental Ethics, Religion & Food, and Religion & Animals. His publications explores the intersectional oppressions experienced by people of color, the environment, and animals. 
  • Andrew Revkin is one of America’s most honored and experienced journalists and authors focused on environmental and human sustainability and efforts to use new communication tools to foster progress on a finite, fast-forward planet

Brown Symposium XXXIX website »


Art and Revolution

Developed by Michael Cooper

  • Luis Camnitzer, is an internationally renowned German-born Uruguayan conceptual artist, whose work explores issues such as institutional critique, repression, and social injustice.
  • Felicia Hardison Londre, is Curators’ Distinguished Professor of Theatre at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
  • Reiland Rabaka, is Professor and Chair of the Department of Ethnic Studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder.
  • Domnica Radulescu, is the Edwin A. Morris Professor of French and Italian literature, of Women’s and Gender Studies and Medieval and Renaissance Studies at Washington and Lee University. 
  • Barbara M. Stafford, recipient of the inaugural Media Art Histories Award for Contributions to the Field, is currently based in Atlanta, Georgia
  • James Con Geldern, is Professor of Russian and International Studies and Chair of Russian Studies at Macalester College, where he teaches courses on Soviet culture and international law. 

Brown Symposium XXXVIII website »


What Things May Come: 3D Printing In The Fine Arts and Sciences

  • Anthony Atala, M.D., director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine; W.H. Boyce Professor and chair of the Department of Urology at Wake Forest University
  • Bruce Beasley, monumental modernist sculptor and producer of computer assisted sculptures
  • Lisa H. Crump, co-founder of Stratasys, Inc. and founder of Cairn Ventures
  • Olaf Diegel, professor of Product Development at Lund University
  • Christian Lavigne, artist; director and president of Ars Mathematica
  • Robert Michael Smith, digital sculptor and associate professor of art and technology at New York Institute of Technology
  • Mary Visser, Herman Brown Chair and professor of art at Southwestern University

Brown Symposium XXXVII website »


Healing: The Art And Science Of Medicine

Developed by Ben Pierce
  • Victoria Sweet, Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine
  • Mauro Ferrari, President and CEO of The Methodist Hospital Research Institute
  • Kevin Davies, Vice President of Business Development for the American Chemical Society
  • Anne West, undergraduate student at Wellesley College
  • Peter Hotez, Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine and President of the Sabin Vaccine Institute
  • Jonathan Skinner, James O. Freedman Presidential Professor of Economics at Dartmouth College
  • Patricia Olynyk, Artist. Director of the Graduate School of Art and the Florence and Frank Bush Professor of Art, Washington University in St. Louis.

Brown Symposium XXXVI website »


Sex Talk: A Symposium With Benefits

Developed by Traci Giuliano
  • Dan Savage, syndicated sex advice columnist; author, blogger, political pundit
  • The Rev. Debra W. Haffner, President of Religious Institute
  • Pamela M. Wilson, MSW, Sexuality Education Consultant and Trainer
  • Debby Herbenick, Ph.D., Research Scientist, Co-director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University

Brown Symposium XXXV website »


Back To The Foodture: Sustainable Strategies To Reverse A Global Crisis

Developed by Laura Hobgood-Oster
  • Richard Wilk, Indiana University
  • Winona LaDuke, Honor the Earth
  • Amie Breeze Harper, University of California, Davis
  • Wayne Pacelle, Humane Society of the United States
  • Jo Luck, Heifer Project International

Brown Symposium XXXIV website »


Think - Converse - Act: The Salon and Its Histories

Developed by John Michael Cooper
  • Faith E. Beasley, Dartmouth College
  • Linda Essig, Arizona State University
  • Marjanne E. Goozé, University of Georgia
  • Eleanor Heartney, New York, NY
  • Jonah Lehrer, contributing editor, WIRED Magazine
  • Sarah Holmes Miller, Oxford, U.K.
  • Natalie Kay Moore, Boston University
  • Greg Sandow, The Juilliard School
  • Vicky Unruh, University of Kansas
  • Robert N. Watson, University of California, Los Angeles

Brown Symposium XXXIII website »


Imperivm: The Art Of Empire In Rome And America

Developed by Thomas Howe
  • Karl Galinsky, The University of Texas at Austin
  • Margaret Malamud, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces
  • Edward Lucie-Smith, London
  • Alexander Stille, Columbia University
  • Edward Luttwak, Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Mersad Berber, artist
  • Francisco Benitez, artist
  • Ensemble De Organographia, demonstration of ancient Greek and Roman instruments

Brown Symposium XXXII website »


Science And Religion: Conflict Or Convergence?

Developed by Benjamin Pierce
  • Andrew Newberg, MD, University of Pennsylvania, Center for Spirituality and the Mind
  • Simon Conway Morris, Ph.D, University of Cambridge
  • Mary Evelyn Tucker, Ph.D, Yale University, Forum on Religion and Ecology
  • David Sloan Wilson, Ph.D., State University of New York, Binghamton
  • Christopher Bader, Ph.D., and Paul Froese, Ph.D., Baylor University, Baylor Survey of Religion
  • Christian Lavigne, Co-founder of Ars Mathematica

Brown Symposium XXXI website »


Umwelt: Exploring The Self-worlds Of Human And Non-human Animals

Developed by Jesse Purdy
  • Diane Ackerman, writer and poet
  • Christopher W. Clark, Imogene Powers Johnson Director of the Bioacoustics Research Program at the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology
  • David Fogel, president and CEO of Natural Selection, Inc.
  • Michael S. Gazzaniga, professor of psychology, University of California, Santa Barbara

Brown Symposium XXX website »


Who Do We Think We Are?!

Developed by Laura Hobgood-Oster
  • Paul Waldau, director of the Center for Animals and Public Policy, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University
  • Inés Talamantez, professor of religious studies, University of California, Santa Barbara
  • Marc Bekoff, professor of biology, University of Colorado at Boulder, and co-founder with Jane Goodall of Ethologists for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

Brown Symposium XXIX website »


GNP or Gross National Well-Being

Developed by A.J. Senchack
  • Ed Diener, distinguished professor of psychology, Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • Rafael Di Tella, Joseph C. Wilson professor of business administration, Harvard University
  • Tim Kasser, professor of psychology, Knox College
  • Read Mantague, professor, Department of Neuroscience, Baylor College of Medicine

Brown Symposium XXVIII website »


For Love And Justice: Breaking The Cycles Of Intimate Violence

Developed by T. Walter Herbert
  • Sarah Buel, clinical professor, University of Texas School of Law
  • bell hooks, author
  • Jackson Katz, Founder, Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) Program at Northeastern University’s Center for the Study of Sport in Society
  • Terrence Real, senior faculty member, Family Institute of Cambridge, Mass.

Brown Symposium XXVII website »


Arctic Journey: Discoveries Of Inter-Relationships in the Circumpolar North

Developed by Stephanie Fabritius
  • Barry Lopez, author of National Book Award winning Arctic Dreams
  • Richard Nelson, cultural anthropologist and naturalist
  • Ian Stirling, senior research scientist at the Canadian Wildlife Service, adjunct professor of zoology at the University of Alberta
  • Susan A. Kaplan, associate professor of anthropology and director of The Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum and Arctic Studies Center, Bowdoin College

Brown Symposium XXVI website »


Spiritualities of Resistance

Developed by Laura Hobgood-Oster
  • Karen Baker-Fletcher, associate professor of systematic theology, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University
  • James Cone, Charles A. Briggs distinguished professor of systematic theology, Union Theological Seminary
  • Roger S. Gottlieb, professor of philosophy, department of humanities and arts, Worcester Polytechnic Institute
  • Winona LaDuke, founder, White Earth Land Recovery Project and Indigenous Women’s Network
  • The Girls Choir of Harlem

Brown Symposium XXV website »


Globalization: Win-Win Or Win-Lose?

Developed by A.J. Senchack
  • Joseph E. Stiglitz, 2001 Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences, professor at Columbia University Business School, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in the Department of Economics, and the School of International and Public Affairs
  • Herman Daly, senior research scholar, School of Public Affairs, University of Maryland
  • Saskia Sassen, Ralph Lewis professor of sociology, University of Chicago and the Centennial Visiting Professor, London School of Economics
  • Stephen J. Kobrin, William H. Wurster professor of multinational management, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

Brown Symposium XXIV website »



Developed by T Walter Herbert
  • Tina Packer, founder, president and artistic director of Shakespeare & Co., Lenox, Massachusetts
  • Stephen Greenblatt, The Cogan University Professor, department of English, Harvard University
  • Patsy Rodenburg, head of voice, Royal National Theatre and the Guildhall School of Music & Drama
  • Ron Bashford, independent director, New York City. He has served as director of theatrical programming at Sequitur, a music ensemble.

Brown Symposium XXIII website »


Ratios and Radiance, Feathers and Faith: The Music Of Olivier Messiaen

Developed by F. Ellsworth Peterson
  • Robert Sherlaw-Johnson, emeritus fellow, Worcester College, Oxford
  • Hans-Ola Ericsson, professor, National College of Music in Pitea and the University of Lulea, Sweden, and Hochschule für Künste in Bremen, Germany
  • Virginia Dupuy, associate professor of music at the Meadows School of the Arts, Southern Methodist University
  • Shields-Collins Bray, principal keyboardist of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra and the Fort Worth Chamber Orchestra
  • Paul Griffiths, writer and author, former chief music critic for The Times of London and The New Yorker
  • Jonathan Bernard, professor of music at the University of Washington
  • Jaroslav Pelikan, Sterling Professor Emeritus in the Department of History at Yale University and Distinguished Visiting Professor of Ancient Rhetoric at the Annenberg School for Communication of the University of Pennsylvania
  • The Austin Symphony Orchestra

Brown Symposium XXII website »


España Y América: Cultural Encounter—Enduring Legacy

Developed by Wm. B. Jones
  • Carlos Fuentes, author
  • Rigoberta Menchú, 1992 Nobel Laureate
  • Alfred E. Lemmon, curator of manuscripts, The Historic New Orleans Collection
  • Marion Oettinger, Jr., senior curator of Latin American Art, San Antonio Museum of Art
  • Joaquín Achúcarro, Joel Estes Tate Chair in music, Southern Methodist University

Brown Symposium XXI website »


The Human Genome Project: Advances, Repercussions and Challenges

Developed by Vicente D. Villa
  • Nancy S. Wexler, Higgins professor of neuropsychology, departments of neurology and psychiatry of the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, and president, Hereditary Disease Foundation
  • Leroy Hood, founder and chairman, department of molecular biotechnology, University of Washington
  • C. Thomas Caskey, senior vice president for research, Merck Research Laboratories, West Point, Pennsylvania
  • Susan A. Henry, professor of molecular biology and genetics, Cornell University


Drawing and Crossing Boundaries: The Roots Of Texas Music

Developed by T. Walter Herbert
  • Nick Spitzer, producer and host of American Routes, folklorist, professor of American studies and communication, Tulane University
  • Manuel Pena, renowned anthropologist of music and folklore. Winner, Chicago Folklore Prize
  • Bill Malone, professor emeritus, Tulane University, country music/traditional American music historian
  • Charles Keil, ethnomusicologist, professor of American Studies (retired), University at Buffalo



Developed by Gwen Kennedy Neville
  • Michael Herzfeld, professor of anthropology and curator of European ethnology, Peabody Museum, Harvard University
  • Benedict R. Anderson, Aaron L. Binenkorb Professor Emeritus of International Studies, Government & Asian Studies, Cornell University
  • Louise Lamphere, distinguished professor of anthropology, University of New Mexico
  • Robert N. Bellah, Elliott professor of sociology emeritus, University of California at Berkeley
  • Barbara A. Babcock, anthropologist, University of Arizona


The Quartets of Shostakovich: Odyssey of a Man and of a Nation

Developed by F. Ellsworth Peterson
  • Harlow Robinson, Matthews Distinguished University Professor in the departments of History and Modern Languages at Northeastern University
  • Alison Hilton, professor of art history and chair of the department of art, music and theater, Georgetown University
  • Albert Todd, professor of European languages and literatures, Queens College
  • Donald Mitchell, professor of Music, Sussex University
  • Kiyoshi Tamagawa, professor of Music, Southwestern University
  • Manhattan String Quartet


Global Climates: Past, Present & Future

Developed by Robert L. Soulen
  • Wallace S. Broeker, Newberry professor of geology, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University
  • Jessica T. Mathews, senior fellow, Council on Foreign Relations
  • F. Sherwood Rowland, Donald Bren Professor of Chemistry, University of California, Irvine
  • William H. Schlesinger, professor in the departments of botany and geology, Duke University and Adjunct Professor at the Desert Research Institute, Reno, Nevada


Macrohistory: New Visions of the World

Developed by Weldon S. Crowley
  • Alfred Crosby, professor of American Studies, University of Texas at Austin
  • William H. McNeill, professor emeritus of history, The University of Chicago
  • Carolyn Merchant, professor of environmental history, philosophy, and ethics, University of California at Berkeley.
  • Rosalind Miles, Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts
  • Clive Ponting, research fellow, University College, Swansea, Wales
  • John Mears, associate professor of history, Southern Methodist University and president-elect of the World History Association


Discoveries of America

Developed by T. Walter Herbert
  • Brian Fagan, professor of anthropology, University of California, Santa Barbara
  • William Goetzmann, Jack S. Blanton, Jr. Chair in history, University of Texas at Austin
  • Stephen Greenblatt, The Class of 1932 professor of English, University of California at Berkeley
  • Myra Jehlen, The Richard and Laura Fisher professor of English, University of Pennsylvania
  • Linda Kerber, professor of history, the University of Chicago
  • Hortense Spillers, professor of English and women’s studies, Emory University


Cultural Worlds

Developed by Gwen Kennedy Neville
  • James Boon, professor of anthropology, Princeton University
  • Michael Herzfeld, professor of anthropology and semiotics, Indiana University
  • Sherry B. Ortner, professor of anthropology and women’s studies, University of Michigan
  • James Peacock, Kenan professor of anthropology and professor of comparative literature, University of North Carolina
  • Annette Weiner, David B. Kriser distinguished professor of anthropology, New York University and president of the American Anthropological Association


Punctuated Evolution: The Slender Thread Of Life

Developed by Robert L. Soulen
  • Stephen Jay Gould, director of the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University
  • David M. Raup, Sewell L. Avery distinguished service professor and professor of geophysical sciences, University of Chicago
  • J. William Schopf, professor of paleobiology and director of the Center for the Study of Evolution and the Origin of Life, University of California, Los Angeles


Gods, Giants And Monkeys: The Ramakian In The Arts And Culture Of Thailand

Developed by F. Ellsworth Peterson
  • Theodora Helene Bofman, author of “The Poetics of the Ramakian”
  • Stephanie Krebs, social anthropologist, author of Harvard dissertation on Thai classical dance as a model for Thai society
  • Forrest McGill, director and curator of Asian Art, Museum of Art and Archaeology, University of Missouri-Columbia
  • Donald Mitchell, chairman of Faber Music Limited, specialist in the music of Mahler and Britten as well as the music of Thailand
  • Dacre Raikes, recipient of the Order of the British Empire and of the Most Noble Order of the Crown of Thailand
  • Frank Reynolds, specialist in Buddhist Studies, The University of Chicago
  • Musicians and dancers from Srinakharinwirot University, Bangkok, under the leadership of Dr. Chalermpon Ngamsutti


Africa and Afro-America

Developed by Weldon S. Crowley
  • Alex Haley, author of “Roots,” Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winner.
  • Donald Johanson, director of the Institute of Human Origins at Berkeley and professor of anthropology, Stanford University
  • Ivan Van Sertima, associate professor of African Studies, Rutgers University
  • Paula Giddings, author of “When and Where I Enter: The Impact of Black Women on Race and Sex in America”


Pandora’s Box: Computers In Everyday Life

Developed by Naomi S. Baron
  • Isaac Asimov, professor of biochemistry, Boston University School of Medicine
  • John Chowning, director of Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics, Stanford University
  • Joseph Deken, director of Knowledge and Database Systems Program, Division of Information, Robotics, and Intelligent Systems, National Science Foundation, Washington, D.C.
  • Charles Dillman, director of the Sports Science Program, United States Olympic Center
  • Ernest Hall, director of the Center for Robotics Research, University of Cincinnati
  • Admiral B.R. Inman, chairman and chief executive officer of Westmark Systems, Inc.
  • Alan Kay, fellow, Apple Computer
  • Peter Richter, professor of physics, University of Bremen, West Germany
  • Gale Slutzky, assistant director of the Center for Robotics Research, University of Cincinnati
  • Bill Turpin, manager of Artificial Intelligence Applications, Texas Instruments


Womanhood, Manhood, And Public Life: Visions And Revisions Of Gender In America

Developed by T. Walter Herbert
  • Jacquelyn Dowd Hall, associate professor of history and director of the Southern Oral History Program, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Anne Goodwyn Jones, associate professor of English, University of Florida
  • Mary Kelley, associate professor of history, Dartmouth College
  • David Leverenz, professor of English, University of Florida
  • Kathryn Kish Sklar, professor of history, University of California, Los Angeles


Benjamin Britten and the Ceremony of Innocence

Developed by F. Ellsworth Peterson
  • Donald Mitchell, professor of music, Sussex University and senior trustee of the Britten-Pears Foundation;
  • Philip Brett, distinguished professor of musicology, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Eric Crozier, Britten-Pears School for Advanced Musical Studies
  • John Evans, chair, department of music, University of California, Berkeley
  • Drusilla Huffmaster (piano) and Anthony T. Adessa (violin)
  • Southwestern University Chorale; Kenny Sheppard (director) and F. Ellsworth Peterson (organist)


Molecular Cloning Of Human Genes: Implications For Basic And Medical Science

Developed by Robert L. Soulen
  • Paul Berg, “father of recombinant DNA technology,” Willson Professor of Biochemistry, the Stanford University Medical Center
  • Michael S. Brown, director of the Center for Genetic Disease, the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas and Paul J. Thomas Professor of Genetics, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Dallas


Performance and Ritual

Developed by Gwen Kennedy Neville
  • Barbara Myerhoff, professor of anthropology, University of Southern California
  • Dell Hymes, dean of the graduate school of education and professor of folklore and linguistics, the University of Pennsylvania
  • James Peacock, professor of anthropology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


Gustav Mahler and his Vienna

Developed by F. Ellsworth Peterson
  • Carl B. Schorske, Dayton-Stockton professor of history, emeritus, Princeton University
  • Donald Mitchell, chairman of Faber Music Limited
  • Alessandra Comini, professor of art history, Southern Methodist University
  • Maureen Forrester, contralto


Macrohistory: Cosmopolitanism On A Global Scale

Developed by Weldon S. Crowley
  • William H. McNeill, Eastman professor, Oxford University
  • Kenneth E. Boulding, director, Institute of Behavioral Science, University of Colorado
  • Garrett Hardin, chief executive officer, The Environmental Fund, Washington, D.C. and professor emeritus, University of California at Santa Barbara


Interpretation: Meaning And The Substance Of Human Experience

Developed by T. Walter Herbert
  • Clifford Geertz, professor of social science, The Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton
  • James Boon, associate professor in the department of anthropology and southeast Asia program, Cornell University
  • Stephen Greenblatt, professor of English, University of California, Berkeley
  • David Tracy, associate professor of philosophical theology, Divinity School, University of Chicago


Cosmology: The Changing Philosophies Of Science

Developed by Robert L. Soulen
  • John A. Wheeler, professor of physics, the University of Texas at Austin and Joseph Henry professor of physics, emeritus, Princeton University
  • Kip S. Thorne, professor of theoretical physics, California Institute of Technology
  • Harlan J. Smith, chairman, department of astronomy, The University of Texas at Austin and Director of McDonald Observatory