The Lunch Colloquium

Lunch Colloquiums are held in 130 Luce Center (825 Houston Mill Rd. NE, Atlanta, GA 30329). Colloquiums are generally held every first and third Monday or Tuesday from 11:30 a.m.–1:00 p.m. Entries will note if colloquiums are held offsite. All are welcome to attend any Lunch Colloquium. However, capacity seating is 45, so an RSVP is required.

Click on the sub-navigation to the left to view past speakers and topics. The 2020 speakers and topics are listed below by month. Because we webcast most colloquiums and archive the results, many are available to view online. Click on the blue titles to view past lectures as they become available.


Monday, January 6
Harvey Klehr, Andrew W. Mellon Professor Emeritus of Politics and History
"The Millionaire Was a Soviet Mole: The Twisted Life of David Karr"

It has been said that “Harvey Klehr is unquestionably the most important living historian of American Communism and Soviet espionage in the United States,” evidenced by the fact that three of the books he has authored, co-authored, or edited have been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. He’ll share the story he so memorably tells in his most recent book—the story of David Karr, who lived a number of lives: newsman, government bureaucrat, public relations flack, CEO, Hollywood and Broadway producer, hotel magnate, international banker, and Soviet and Israeli source. His remarkable life also included four wives, five children, hidden financial assets, and enemies around the world.  Even after his death in Paris in 1979, rumors swirled about his involvement in assassinations and arms dealing, and the French press exploded with claims he had been murdered. This new book, according to Klehr, is the end of a 30-year search for the truth about this slippery character.

Tuesday, January 21
Ren Davis, Retired Administrator and Consultant, Emory Healthcare; Author of Caring for Atlanta: A History of Emory Crawford Long Hospital (2003)
"When Emory Doctors Went to War: Honoring the Centennial of the Emory Medical Unit's Service in the First World War"

Following the United States’ entry into the Great War in April 1917, the US Army Surgeon General and the American Red Cross called on the country's medical schools and major hospitals to organize units to provide care to the soldiers deploying for combat in France. Emory School of Medicine Dean William Elkin, MD, asked faculty member and military veteran Edward Campbell Davis, MD, the presenter’s grandfather, to recruit physicians and nurses and to organize the Emory Medical Unit. After training at Camp Gordon, the Emory Unit arrived in France in July 1918 and established Base Hospital 43 in the city of Blois. The hospital would care for more than 9,000 patients, earning praise from AEF commander Gen. John J. Pershing before returning home in March 1919. This presentation also will highlight selected medical and surgical advances that arose from the war and provide a brief overview of the second Emory Unit that served in North Africa and France during World War II.


Monday, February 3
John Banja, Professor, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, Medical Ethicist, Center for Ethics, Emory University
“Artificial Intelligence and the Western Workforce: Will AI Take Our Jobs?”

The history of technological development and its use has clearly shown that new technologies have created more jobs than they have replaced. Innovative technologies frequently result in greater demand and thus greater productivity, which has been good for job markets. However, artificial intelligence products, especially ones characterized by “deep learning” computational functions, are generating great concern among futurists who worry that once these technologies become adopted, they will increasingly assume human job functions without improving job prospects for human workers. There is fear they will simply take over. And indeed, people in numerous job sectors including banking, delivery services, assembly line work, and the food industry are expected to be replaced by AI-run devices over the next five to twenty years. Come hear John Banja discuss the ways artificial intelligence is likely to alter the workforce in the not-so-distant future (and beyond) and the ways in which we might prepare for its doing so.

Tuesday, February 18
Paul Courtright, Professor Emeritus of Religion
The Goddess and the Dreadful Practice: An Ancient Hindu Cautionary Tale” 

Currently in the final year of the work on Indian history and religion that his recent Heilbrun grant has helped to support, Paul will offer an illustrated talk on a “Cautionary Tale” he examined in the course of his research. It features a number of Hindu gods as well as the king and daughter referenced in the title of the tale. Hating the god whom his daughter opts to marry, the king refuses to let them participate in a fire sacrifice, the ritual meant to sustain the world. We won’t spoil the suspense about what ensues here (Paul will let us know during our gathering, of course). We’ll only say, as he does, that the tale might be compared with Greek or Shakespearean tragedies and, though deeply Indian, resonates as they do with universal themes of power, loyalty, violence, love, and “the ultimate order of things.”


Monday, March 2
Pearl Dowe, Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Political Science and African American Studies, Oxford College and Emory College
“The Chaos the DNC Created”

Headed into the 2020 election, the Democratic Party is reckoning with the varied ideas that characterize liberal politics and complicate the question of “electability.” The expansive Democratic candidate field suggests that the party is not (yet) clear about its current identity or what Democratic voters want. This talk, by one of Emory’s newest professors, an expert in American politics in general and African American political leadership in particular, will provide a discussion of how the Democratic party has reached this moment and what steps it should take to ensure it is seen as a viable party option for the many millions of voters it will need to attract if it is to succeed in removing Trump (and Trumpers) from power and reclaiming the White House (and then some).

Monday, March 16
Kipton Jensen, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Director of the Leadership Studies Program in the Andrew Young Center for Global Leadership, Morehouse College
“Howard Thurman: ‘Tutor to the World’”

Howard Thurman (1899–1981) is one of the unsung heroes of the civil rights movement in America. Having met with Gandhi in 1936, he quickly and adeptly applied the philosophy of nonviolence to the problem of racism in America, eventually and memorably mentoring Martin Luther King Jr. in his application of that philosophy. However, as Kipton Jensen demonstrates in his most recent work, Howard Thurman: Philosophy, Civil Rights, and the Search for Common Ground (2019), the reach of this extraordinary man’s thinking extended to an entire generation of activists, making him the man his wife has described as a “tutor to the world.” An activist as well as a philosopher, Thurman preached the power of the love that can get us past hatred, through reconciliation, and into a peaceful and productive life shared on “common ground.” And, speaking of preaching, Kipton will also discuss Thurman’s Sermons on the Parables, subject of another book that he recently co-edited with Emory (and Oxford) professor of religion, David Gowler.


Monday, April 20
Voracious Readers Anonymous, Members of the Emeritus College
“BookFest 2020: Recommendations for Summer Reading”

Now that we’re about to enter the lazy-hazy-crazy days of summer, we thought we’d seek speakers among our members to suggest titles and authors they have enjoyed and think others might enjoy too, whether relaxing at the beach or in the mountains, in far-flung sites around the world, or in the Adirondack chairs on our own porches and patios. We’ll be recruiting people willing to offer brief presentations on favorite books (or perhaps book series) via the newsletters of March and early April and via online requests for volunteers as well. In the meantime, please consider what you yourself might recommend by way of some light (or maybe not-so-light) reading for the long hot days (and short hot nights) that we’ll enjoy before the leaves (and the weather) turn again towards fall.