Chautauqua Institution is excited to present a sneak peek of themes for the 2017 season. We’re especially pleased to share our earliest preview ever of a number of other programs within our unique mix.
Regular updates to this schedule will be provided each week throughout this summer in The Chautauquan Daily’s weekend editions and online.
Book your 2017 accommodations while you’re on the grounds this summer!
Chautauqua’s Athenaeum Hotel and most private rentals will be ready to take reservations for the 2017 season.
• Visit our helpful staff at the Visitors Center on Bestor Plaza.
• Visit ciweb.org/accommodations
• Visit athenaeum-hotel.com or call 1-800-821-1881
Email me 2017 season news & announcements
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?
Interfaith Lecture Theme :: Inventing God? A Brief History of Religions
The search for meaning and imagining the Source of Life are among the hallmarks of being human. Calling this Source by many names in different ages and among all peoples has inspired ever-evolving ways of knowing and experiencing It, including looking within ourselves. In this week we will consider both the traditional and the newer ways that the religious imagination has conceptualized our experience of the Holy.
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.
Interfaith Lecture Theme :: Celebrating the Genius and Soul of a Nation
Alexis de Tocqueville said, "The greatness of America lies not in being more enlightened than any other nation, but rather in her ability to repair her faults." Today, global and national events challenge us to initiate introspection, self-analysis, and repair, all while celebrating the greatness of our democracy. In this week of observing our nation’s birthday we will seek to discern the genius and soul of the nation, and ask how they may be authentically embodied and celebrated.
Week Three :: July 8 – July 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.
Interfaith Lecture Theme :: 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. Major research organizations such as Pew Research Center and PRRI report 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 – July 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.
Interfaith Lecture Theme :: Religion and Statecraft Today: The Soft Power of Global Peacemaking
Across the global community a shared consciousness is arising that can guide us towards a sustainable, healthy, and peaceful earth for humans and for all living beings. Increasingly, interfaith traditions are promoting new paradigms for conflict transformation, understanding, and collaboration through promising practices, rituals, visions, and ideals. In this we week will learn from organizations and individuals who are exploring and practicing these emerging paradigms for global peacemaking, reconciliation, and enhancing the quality of life.
Week Five :: July 22 – July 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?
Interfaith Lecture Theme :: The Supreme Court and Religious Communities: Holding America Accountable?
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. observed that “The conscience of the country must be both the Supreme Court and the Religious Communities.” How are these, as well as other civil entities, informing the moral compass of the nation today? In this week we will seek to discern how our social conscience is faring.
Week Six :: July 29 – August 5
Comedy and the Human Condition:
In Partnership with the National Comedy Center
We partner with the National Comedy Center — the first cultural institution and national-scale visitor experience dedicated to the art of comedy, under construction now in nearby Jamestown, New York — 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?”
Interfaith Lecture Theme :: The Spiritual Power of Humor
Many religions tell stories in which ‘the gods laughed.’ In the Hebrew Scriptures Abraham and Sarah named their only son Isaac – meaning ‘she or he laughs,’ because of Sarah’s improbable advanced age to be giving birth – and Buddhism often depicts the Buddha laughing. In this week we will look at the power of humor to create in-sight and healing of the spirit.
Week Seven :: August 5 – August 12
The Nature of Fear
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.
Interfaith Lecture Theme :: Spirituality in an Age of Anxiety
Theologians have begun calling the time in which we are living ‘The Age of Anxiety,’ and describing an immersion in an ocean of fear and insecurity. In this week we will strive to identify the presenting causes of anxiety in our times, and in previous times, and to discern what secularists, religions, and spiritual modalities can offer as antidotes.
Week Eight :: August 12 – August 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?
Interfaith Lecture Theme :: Media, News, and Ethics in the Digital Age
The world community now experiences a 24/7 barrage of news and information that penetrates all aspects of the world’s culture – indeed, that not only shapes commerce, consumerism, and world affairs, but also permeates the private sphere. What are the ethical obligations of information consumers? Of the community? What are the ethics of reporting and advocacy? How does the citizen discern truth and make ethical choices in the face of Big Data and big distortions? In this week we will ask how to stay afloat in the flood of information-overload.
Week Nine :: August 19 – August 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.
Interfaith Lecture Theme :: Food and Faith
Eating is essential for life, but it is so much more. All cultures have developed rituals around food and eating that shape the life patterns and rhythms of family and communal life, and religions also utilize food for spiritual nourishment in sacred meals, religious dictums for self-discipline, and for the formation of communal identity. This week will be a rich and full exploration into the relationship between food and faith.