10:45 a.m., Monday-Friday, Amphitheater
Ideas and opinions are exchanged in an open, challenging atmosphere, and Chautauqua's knowledgeable audiences have the opportunity to participate in question-and-answer sessions at the conclusion of the lectures.
Week One :: June 24–July 1
Invention is a way to pinpoint what we value, and we look to men and women throughout history, around the world, who challenged the status quo by what they thought, saw and created. As we celebrate the evolution of humanity, we explore what’s next and how we’ll achieve it.
- What are the conditions — within society and within ourselves — that make invention possible?
- Are we in the last age of American invention?
- What do we need for humanity’s next “giant leap” in our lifetime?
- Are there ethical and legal limits to be placed on human curiosity?
Week Two :: July 1–July 8
The Human Journey: Origins, Exploration and Preservation
In Partnership with National Geographic
As a species, as communities, and as individuals, we have altered our physical world, with both beneficial and devastating effects. From our earliest history, humanity’s movement across the globe—driven by survival and curiosity—has impacted our environment. With such exploration also comes a greater understanding of our relationship to the planet. From the depths of the ocean to the plains of Africa, humans are searching for ways to make positive change and help protect the ecosystems and species that contribute to our essential biodiversity on Earth. During this week, in partnership with National Geographic and a renowned team of explorers, scientists and journalists, we look at our past, present and future impact on the planet.
Week Three :: July 8–15
A Crisis of Faith?
For decades, Chautauqua Institution has brought people of different faiths – and no faith – together for civil, enlightening dialogue. Building on that work, this week we dive even deeper into questions of identity, religion and community. Pew Research Center reports that religions are undergoing dramatic change: a decline in mainstream Christianity and practicing Judaism, demographic shifts pointing toward a growing Muslim population, and more young people than ever who claim no affiliation with any organized religion. Some detect crisis amidst these changes, but in this week we look to the possibilities. What impacts do shifting religious norms mean for other aspects of public life? How are churches reinventing themselves as moral centers of the communities they serve? Together, we imagine the future of faith and of religion as we have come to know it.
Week Four ::July 15–22
A Partnership with the Center for Strategic and International Studies
For more than 50 years, the Center for Strategic and International Studies has worked to develop practical solutions to the world’s greatest challenges. From the economics of energy and climate change, to international security in the age of terrorism, CSIS and its experts bring the issues of the world to Chautauqua’s doorstep.
Week Five :: July 22–29
The Supreme Court: At a Tipping Point?
President Donald J. Trump is likely to nominate several justices to the Supreme Court, shaping the future of our country and, in particular, how we govern ourselves for decades to come.
- What impact have presidential appointments to the Court had on major Court decisions?
- What potential appointments are looming in the 45th president’s first term, and what impact can those appointments have on major cases before the Court?
- How has the balance of power among the three branches of government changed throughout the Court’s history?
Week Six :: July 29 – Aug. 5
Comedy and the Human Condition:
In Partnership with the National Comedy Center
We partner with the National Comedy Center — opening in 2017 in nearby Jamestown, New York, and the first cultural institution dedicated to the art and celebration of comedy—for a week that engages both the mind and the funny bone.
- We’ll explore the politics of comedy and political satire — comedy often serves as our greatest mirror, a unique conduit of truth.
- We venture into the writers’ room for insight into the craft of comedy for television and film.
- We travel the globe to see if there is such a thing as “universally funny”
- When has a joke gone too far? We consider issues of free speech and ask, “Is there such a thing as too offensive?”
Week Seven :: Aug. 5–12
Now more than ever, fear dominates us in ways we may not even be aware of — in politics, in advertising, in media. In this week, we grapple with recognizing fear and what it does to us.
- What is the history of fear as a political tool and how effectively has it been used to shape our politics?
- We examine fear’s effect on the brain and how fear has been shaped by evolution.
- How and why does fear work in persuading, motivating and manipulating us?
- We look at what it means to seek out that which scares us, from Grimm’s Fairy Tales and ghost stories to rollercoasters and haunted houses.
Week Eight :: Aug. 12–19
Media and the News: Ethics in the Digital Age
The creative disruption of traditional media is bringing about a crisis in local journalism and changing the role of journalists in a changing America. In this age of information overload, who and what do we trust and how do we become smarter news consumers?
- How is data journalism bridging tradition and innovation to provide a deeper understanding of our world?
- Do emerging business models aimed at “saving” news organizations threaten journalistic independence?
- In the age of podcasting, where do we draw the line between information and entertainment? What are the challenges of a reporter becoming part of the story?
Week Nine :: Aug. 19–27
At the Table: Our Changing Relationship with Food
The way we interact with our food is changing, from fast food to farm-to-table. Food is tied to our well-being, our sense of community. Joined by world-renowned chefs, leading food journalists, and other experts, we look at the value of food across the socioeconomic spectrum and learn what it is about our meals that bring us together. During this week, our celebration of food moves beyond the Amphitheater stage to several venues throughout the Chautauqua grounds, with cooking demonstrations, food fairs, master classes and much more.