Chancellor's Colloquium Distinguished Speaker Series 2016-17

The UC Davis Chancellor’s Colloquium Distinguished Speaker Series brings together several distinguished scholars and government leaders who promise to spark engaging conversations with the academic community and broader public around pressing issues of our time.

The series is intended to heighten local and national awareness of research at UC Davis and the speakers will also share their vision for university-based research in the 21st century.

After each forum, a faculty member will be invited to comment and initiate a Q&A discussion with the audience.

These events are free and open to the public. 

All of the speakers in the 2016-17 series: 


Martha Nussbaum (9.21.16)

"Anger and Revolutionary Justice"

As Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law & Ethics at the University of Chicago, Martha Nussbaum holds appointments in the Law School and the Philosophy Department, and is an associate in the Classic Department, the Divinity School, and the Political Science Department.  Professor Nussbaum is an internationally renowned scholar and writer who has published dozens of books, including her most recent, Anger and Forgiveness: Resentment, Generosity, Justice.  In 2016 she won the Kyoto Prize in Arts and Philosophy. Read her full bio hereThis colloquium is presented in partnership with the UC Davis Forums and the UC Davis Law School. Monday, September 21, 2016 at 4 p.m. Larry and Rosalie Vanderhoef Studio Theatre, Mondavi Center.

At the request of the speaker, this event was not recorded. 


Florian Idenburg (12.8.16)

Florian Idenburg's Talk

Florian Idenburg's Talk

Florian Idenburg is a Dutch architect and educator who designed the newly opened Jan Shrem & Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art.

UC Davis
(1 hour 32 min)

"Museum Building in Unpredictable Times"

Florian Idenburg is a Dutch architect and educator, living in Brooklyn, New York, and designed the newly opened Jan Shrem & Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art. During the height of the financial crisis of 2008 he founded SO – IL with Chinese-born Jing Liu, to create an architectural firm committed to building culture. The firm consistently strives for progressive architecture beyond cultural and economic constraints facing the discipline. It is this optimistic position that guides SO – IL ’s various experiments through a range of media from temporary installations to large-scale built works.  Prior to founding SO – IL, Idenburg gained experience at the practice of Pritzker laureates Kazuyo Sejima + Ryue Nishizawa (SANAA), where he led the design teams for the Glass Pavilion in Toledo, Ohio and The New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York City.

Idenburg recognizes the merit of combining practice with academia to allow cross-pollination to stimulate innovation. He is Associate Professor in Practice of Architecture at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, where he currently leads a three-year research project on transformations in the workplace. He holds a MSc. in Architecture from Delft University of Technology.  Idenburg is the 2010 recipient of the Charlotte Köhler Prize, an award from the Prince Bernhard Royal Cultural Fund in the Netherlands for exceptional talent, and a 2014 finalist for the Prix de Rome in the Netherlands. Thursday, December 8, 2016 at 4 p.m. Larry and Rosalie Vanderhoef Studio Theatre, Mondavi Center.


Laurie Fendrich (1.18.17)

Laurie Fendrich's Talk

Laurie Fendrich's Talk

Laurie Fendrich is an abstract painter who lives and works in New York, and is a professor emerita of fine arts at Hofstra University.

UC Davis
(1 hour 35 min)

"The Downside of Art"

Laurie Fendrich is an abstract painter who lives and works in New York, and is a professor emerita of fine arts at Hofstra University. A 2016 recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship in Fine Arts, she has also been a Dora Maar Fellow, in Ménerbes, France, as well as the recipient of a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. She has had several solo exhibitions, both nationally and in New York, including a 2010 twenty-year retrospective of her paintings and drawings at the Ruth Chandler Williamson Art Gallery at Scripps College in Claremont, CA. Ms. Fendrich’s work has been reviewed in several publications, including The New York Times, Artforum, ARTnewsArt in AmericaARTS Magazine and Partisan Review. Her essays on the role of art and artists in society, on the meaning of painting, and on the place of painting in higher education, as well as her reflections on other cultural issues, appear regularly in The Chronicle of Higher Education. Her essays on beauty and painting have also appeared in The Common Review as well as in various anthologies. Ms. Fendrich’s most recent solo exhibition was at Louis Stern Fine Arts in Los Angeles in 2016. Read her abstract for the lecture here. Wednesday, January 18, 2017 at 4 p.m. Larry and Rosalie Vanderhoef Studio Theatre, Mondavi Center.


Katherine Butler Schofield and Davesh Soneji (3.7.17)

"Indian Music Between Past and Present: Conversations on Ethics, Archives, and Mortality"

Katherine Butler Schofield is a historian of music in the Mughal empire and the colonial Indian Ocean. Through stories about ill-fated courtesans, overweening ustads, and captivated patrons, she writes on Mughal sovereignty and selfhood, friendship and desire, sympathy and loss, and power, worldly and strange. She has recently finished a €1.2M European Research Council grant, “Musical transitions to European colonialism in the eastern Indian Ocean,” on the ways in which music and dance were transformed c.1750-1900 in the transition to colonial rule in India and the Malay world. Her first book, an edited volume with Francesca Orsini, is Tellings and texts: music, literature, and performance in North India (Open Book, 2015).


Davesh Soneji is Associate Professor of South Asia Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. For the past two decades, he has produced research that focuses primarily on the performing arts in South India. He is best known for his work on the social history of professional female artists in Tamil and Telugu-speaking South India and is author of Unfinished Gestures: Devadāsīs, Memory, and Modernity in South India (University of Chicago Press, 2012), which was awarded the 2013 Bernard S. Cohn Book Prize from The Association for Asian Studies (AAS). He is also editor of Bharatanatyam: A Reader (Oxford University Press, 2010; 2012) and co-editor, with Indira Viswanathan Peterson, of Performing Pasts: Reinventing the Arts in Modern South India (Oxford, 2008).

Tuesday, March 7, 2017 at 4 p.m. Larry and Rosalie Vanderhoef Studio Theatre, Mondavi Center

At the request of the speakers, this event was not recorded. 


Ken Caldeira (4.19.17)

"Coral Reefs, Ocean Acidification, and Transformation of Global Energy Systems"

Ken Caldeira is a climate scientist at the Carnegie Institution for Science, where his job is “to make important scientific discoveries.” He also serves as a Professor (by courtesy) in the Stanford University Department of Earth System Science. Among Caldeira’s key contributions to science are his relatively early recognition of the threats posed by ocean acidification, his pioneering investigations into the environmental consequences of intentional intervention in the climate system (“geoengineering”), and the first peer-reviewed study to estimate near-zero-emission energy needs consistent with a 2°C climate stabilization target. He has also played a central role in helping to elucidate what our understanding of long-term geochemical cycles implies for the fate of today’s carbon dioxide emissions. Caldeira co-authored the 2015 U.S. National Academy of Sciences reports on climate geoengineering. In 2010, he was elected Fellow of the American Geophysical Union. Caldeira was coordinating lead author of the oceans chapter for the 2005 IPCC report on Carbon Capture and Storage. For the past decade, he has been meeting with Bill Gates a few times each year for learning sessions about climate change and energy. Bill Gates, in his 2016 end-of-year blog post, referred to Ken Caldeira as “my amazing teacher”. Wednesday, April 19, 2017 at 4 p.m. Larry and Rosalie Vanderhoef Studio Theatre, Mondavi Center.