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Landsberg Salon Talk - Crowd Watching

Endowed Public Lecture Series

University College alumni and friends have established several endowments that allow the College to invite some of the world’s greatest researchers to our campus each year.  Each lectureship involves at least one public lecture that is open to the public.  Several of the lectureships also allow for visiting faculty to participate in an undergraduate class and to meet faculty and graduate students for more concentrated research workshops and discussions.

Public lectures typically take place during the academic year (September - April).

Please visit our events page to find additional details about upcoming lectures. 

S. J. Stubbs Lecture in Classics or English Literature

The Stubbs Lectures were founded in 1988 by Helen Eunice Stubbs, a graduate of University College, in honour of her father, Samuel James Stubbs, also a UC graduate.  The lectures commemorate his love of Classics and of English Literature.

F.E.L. Priestley Memorial Lectures in the History of Ideas

The F.E.L. Priestley Lectures in the History of Ideas have been funded by a number of Professor Priestley's former student. The F.E.L. Priestley Lectures reflects Professor Priestley's broad interest in the history of ideas and his dedication to teaching and scholarship.

R.K. Teetzel Lecture in Art or Architecture

The Teetzel Lectureship was established under the terms of the will of Mrs. Rita K. Teetzel, who graduated from University College in 1912. In her will, Mrs. Teetzel requested that a portion of her estate be used "for the furtherance of studies in Architecture for women in University College." This Lectureship aims to bring to the College and to the University of Toronto distinguished lecturers in art and architecture.

W. J. Alexander Lecture in English Literature

The Alexander Lectures were founded in 1928 in memory of Professor W.J. Alexander, Head of the Department of English at University College from 1889 to 1926.

Neil Graham Lecture in Science

The Neil Graham Lecture series was established through the generosity of Mr. Neil Graham, a 1930 graduate of University College and a former teacher of high school mathematics.

Upcoming Events

Oct 3
Endowed Lecture Series
This lecture explores the ways in which the exterior walls of houses serve as boundaries, screens and skins on which both architects and viewers project meanings. Drawing on "Modern," vernacular, and historicist examples, the lecture considers cultural values, gender and sexuality, interrogating the meaning of transparency, both literal and figurative, and highlighting the ways in which private lives and non-conforming or queer households can be concealed behind the walls of "poker-faced" houses. 

Lecture: 4:30pm in UC 140
Reception to follow in UC 240 
Oct 24
Endowed Lecture Series
Young children rapidly develop a basic, commonsense understanding of how the world works.  Research on infants suggests that this understanding rests on early emerging cognitive systems for representing bodies and their motions, agents and their actions, people and their social engagements, places and their relations of geocentric distance and direction, forms and their scale-invariant geometry, and number:  six systems of core knowledge. These systems are innate, abstract, strikingly limited, and yet present and functional throughout human life.  Infants’ knowledge then grows both through gradual learning processes that people share with other animals, and through a fast and flexible learning process that is unique to our species and emerges with the onset of language. The latter process composes new systems of concepts productively by combining concepts from distinct systems of core knowledge.  The compositional process is poorly understood but amenable to study, through coordinated behavioral testing and computational modeling of infants’ learning. To illustrate, this talk will focus on core knowledge of objects, agents, and number, and on two new systems of concepts that emerge over human development and support uniquely human achievements:  the artifact concepts underlying prolific tool use, and the numerical concepts underlying counting and exact arithmetic.

Lecture: 4:30pm in UC 140
Reception to follow in UC 240 
Nov 21
Endowed Lecture Series
Blood is a liquid that circulates in the bodies of human beings and other animals. How was it thought of in ancient culture? In an uncanny, disturbingly aestheticizing moment in Homer’s Iliad, Menelaos husband of Helen, for whom the war is being fought before Troy, receives a wound from the arrow of his Trojan enemy Pandaros. Athena deflects the arrow, as a mother brushes away a fly from a sleeping child, but it penetrates his armor: . . . straightway from the cut there gushed a cloud of dark blood.
As when some Maionian woman or Karian with purple (phoiniki)
colours ivory, to make it a cheek piece for horses;
it lies away in an inner room, and many a rider
longs to have it, but it is laid up to be a king’s treasure,
two things, to be the beauty of the horse, the pride of the horseman:
so, Menelaos, your shapely thighs were stained with the colour
of blood, and your legs also and the ankles beneath them.
                                    (Iliad 4. 140-47, trans. Lattimore) The poet-singer addresses the wounded man himself, later describes a scene of healing, and distinguishes between this blood and ikhor, the fluid flowing in the veins of the gods. The lecture will pursue questions of blood and the body; blood and the sacred; blood, belonging, and kinship, with some consideration of the applicability of these categories in the present.
Lecture: 4:30pm in UC 140
Reception to follow in UC 240 
Mar 17-19
Endowed Lecture Series
The sixteenth century saw the rise of several European overseas empires -- Portuguese and Spanish, and then English and Dutch -- as well as the consolidation of more 'traditional' forms of empire like those of the Ottomans and Mughals. These empires had their admirers, who included their paid propagandists and official chroniclers. But they also encountered critics of various sorts, who deployed a variety of distinct arguments. In the Priestley Lectures for 2020, I intend to explore these distinct positions, focusing on some celebrated figures such as Michel de Montaigne, but also on more obscure writers of 'reform tracts' (so called 'arbitristas'). In closing, I will consider how these positions contrasted with later critiques that came from a nationalist standpoint.

Lecture: 4:30pm in UC 140
Reception to follow in UC 240 (on Mar 17 only)