HSS Seminars and Conferences
The 2021–22 theme of the Critical Intersections: Conversations on Race, History, and Science seminar series is "Putting the University in Its Place," which invites conversation about the histories, places, and people that make up the modern university. Events are organized by faculty in the Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences—Maura Dykstra (assistant professor of history), Jennifer Jahner (professor of English), and Hillary Mushkin (research professor of art and design)—and university archivist Peter Collopy.
► Past Critical Intersections events
This series, which is part of Caltech's visual culture program, brings together a diverse community of academics and non-specialists to discuss the broad theme of exploration, from antiquity to the present day, from newly discovered lands on Earth to other planets in our solar system.
► Past Exploration seminars
The History and Philosophy of Science (HPS) seminars feature a variety of practitioners in the broad area of the history and philosophy of science—from antiquity to the present—including the social and institutional dimensions of science, the history and philosophy of the biological sciences, neuroscience, medicine, as well as the history of exploration, the engagement with language, empirical ethics, decision making, computer science, and psychology.
► Past HPS seminars
The History seminar series brings scholars to campus to share their work in a wide variety of historical studies. Recent talks have covered medieval literature, the history of consumption and waste, and the history of philosophy in quantum mechanics and mathematics.
► Past History seminars
The Literary Dimensions series presents leading figures in literary scholarship, with the goal of enhancing the already robust conversation happening in humanities departments all over the country about the crucial role that literature and its contexts play in representing, challenging, and educating us about our world.
► Past Literary Dimensions seminars
Caltech's visual culture program, which is funded by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, features lectures, panel discussions, and other programming intended to foster conversations between humanities scholars and scientists. Its activities are organized by HSS and other Caltech faculty in collaboration with scholars at The Huntington, Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens.
► Past Visual Culture events
The Harris lectures, which began in 1996, enable the history and philosophy of science program to bring distinguished scientists, historians, philosophers, and other analysts of science to campus to address concerns of mutual interest—especially ethical implications—across the intellectual spectrum. Read more about the series here.
► Past Harris lectures
The Caltech writers-in-residence Program brings writers of fiction, poetry, and popular nonfiction to campus to meet with students, visit classes, and give public readings or talks. HSS established the series in 2014 with support from the James Michelin Distinguished Visitors fund.
► Past Writers-in-Residence events
Social Sciences Seminars
The Banks-McKelvey Memorial Lecture series honors the research and teaching of two colleagues who made seminal contributions to political economy. Jeffrey S. Banks was a 1986 Caltech PhD recipient who, after a stellar career at University of Rochester, returned to Caltech in 1997. He made important contributions to game theory and the politics of voting. He was a fantastic teacher and, in the few years he was teaching at Caltech, trained some of our best students. Richard D. McKelvey (Banks' advisor) was a pioneer in just about every field of political science, including developing statistical methods for analyzing voting patterns, mathematical models of voting participation, and key contributions to game theory that spanned computer and social sciences. He was a member of both the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. During his years at Caltech (1979–2001), he too was a celebrated teacher. We lost both of them prematurely.
The Banks-McKelvey Memorial Lecture series brings important figures in the social sciences to campus to energize the Caltech community and address new and important questions in the social sciences. The series is made possible by a gift of endowment from Howard E. Jessen (BS '46).
► Past Banks-McKelvey lectures
With generous support from The Ronald and Maxine Linde Institute of Economic and Management Sciences, this seminar series features mostly Caltech speakers who work at the intersection of computer science, engineering, and economics. These events provide an invaluable opportunity to bring together scholars in HSS with their colleagues in computation and neural systems (CNS) and computing and mathematical sciences (CMS), among others.
► Past CSIS seminars
Funded by the generous support of The Ronald and Maxine Linde Institute of Economic and Management Sciences, the Finance seminar series features talks by invited scholars addressing the financial and credit markets, high-frequency trading, entrepreneurship, design and regulation of markets, financial networks, investment and hedging strategies, asset pricing, optimal managerial compensation, corporate governance, and other topics.
► Past Finance seminars
The Social Sciences History seminars bring speakers to campus to discuss their research at the intersection of history and the social sciences. These talks focus particularly on work that examines the institutions and institutional changes that affect long-term social and economic development.
► Past SSH seminars
The T&C Chen Center for Social and Decision Neuroscience (SDN) seminar series features talks by invited scholars who work on neuroeconomics, behavioral economics, psychology, and behavioral neuroscience. Students enrolled in the SDN PhD program are encouraged to attend and interact with their faculty mentors and colleagues.
► Past SDN events
Established in 1981, the Ulric B. Bray and Evelyn L. Bray Visiting Lectureship Fund supports lectures by individuals from business, industry, academia, and government who have been invited to speak to students and faculty on a diverse range of subjects concerned with the American economic system. Today the seminars in this series cover a broad range of topics in the social sciences, including political economy, microeconomic theory, game theory, experimental economics, econometrics, and applied microeconomics, among others. Speakers include invited scholars as well as Caltech faculty, postdoctoral scholars, and graduate students.
► Past Bray seminars