Rivendell Faculty Forum

The Rivendell Faculty Forum is a regular lunchtime gathering of Yale faculty and staff designed to promote creative dialogue across the academic disciplines, and to explore how the tasks and various projects of the modern scholar intersect with issues relevant to contemporary society. The Forum focuses on the exploration of topics at the intersection of scholarship, culture, worldview, values, and faith with implications for research, teaching and public life.  At each event a guest presenter facilitates a conversation derived from his or her own research or experience. The guest presenter is encouraged to raise issues and questions rather than to offer a formal paper. Our ambition has been to feature presenters from a wide range of academic disciplines and professions.  Though most presenters are members of the Yale faculty, the Rivendell Institute occasionally invites faculty and other notable guests from outside Yale to present on relevant topics. Our past presentations and discussions have included:


May 1, 2014

Topic: “AI, Human Dignity and Mentoring the Next Generation of Scholars”

Presented by Professor David Gelernter, Professor of Computer Science, Yale University


March 27, 2014

Topic: “What is Critical Realism and Why Should You Care?”

Presented by Professor Phil Gorski, Professor of Sociology, Yale University


November 8, 2013

Topic: “Rethinking Religious Reasons in Public Justification”

Presented by Professor Andrew March, Associate Professor of Political Science, Yale University


April 25, 2013

Topic: "Al Qaeda and the Future of America's 'War on Terror'"

Presented by Professor Mary Habeck, Associate Professor of Strategic Studies at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS)


March 7, 2013

Topic: Author’s Roundtable on the book Postmodern Belief: American Literature And Religion Since 1960 

Presented by Professor Amy Hungerford, Professor of English, Yale University


February 1, 2013

Topic: “The Psychology of Morality”

Presented by: Professor Paul Bloom, Brooks and Suzanne Ragen Professor of Psychology, Yale University Chair, Cognitive Science Program


April 26, 2012

Topic: “Is Religious Poetry Possible Today?”

Presented by Christian Wiman, Editor Poetry Magazine


February 2, 2012

Topic: “Neuroethics”

Presented by Professor Marvin Chun, Professor of Psychology, Cognitive Science, and NeurobiologyJohn B. Madden Master of Berkeley College


April 20, 2011

Topic: “Political Theory or Political Theology?”

Presented by Professor Paul W. Kahn, Robert W. Winter Professor of Law and Humanities, Yale Law School, and Director of the Orville H. Schell, Jr. Center for International Human Rights


January 27, 2011

Topic: “The Courage to Act: The Challenge of Living Ethically in Today’s Business Climate”

Presented by Sherron Watkins, former VP of Corporate Development and whistleblower in the Enron Scandal in 2001.


December 9, 2010

Topic: “Teaching the Second World War: Thoughts on the Humanistic Education of Undergraduates”

Presented by Professor Alexander Nemerov (Vincent J. Scully Professor of the History of Art and Chair of the Yale Department of Art History)


November 18, 2010

Topic: “Does Democracy Require Civility? A Conversation on the Nature of Civility and Democtratic Discourse”

Presented by Professor Stephen M. Carter (William Nelson Cromwell Prof. of Law, Yale Law School)


October 18, 2010

Topic: “Exploring Ancient Heresies”

Presented by Professor Harry W. Attridge (Reverend Henry L. Slack Dean of Yale Divinity School and Lillian Claus Professor of New Testament)


March 29, 2010

Topic: “PSR and Its Application to Questions of the Existence of God, Monism, Necessitarianism, and Hume’s ‘Hideous Hypothesis””

Presented by Professor Michael Della Rocca (Andrew Downey Orrick Professor of Philosophy and Chair of Yale Department of Philosophy)


January 21, 2010

Topic: “Science and Religion: Should Conflict Arise?”

Presented by Professor Alvin Plantinga (John A. O’Brien Professor of Philosophy, Unviersity of Notre Dame)


December 10, 2009

Topic: “Competing Idealogies in Putin’s Russia”

Presented by Maxim Trudolyubov (Chief Editor Vedomosti Newspaper, Russia, Yale World Fellow)


November 19, 2009

Topic: “Moral and Spiritual Ideologies in Modern Russia”

Presented by Dr. Frederick Schneider (Research Fellow, Rivendell Institute)


October 22, 2009

Tour of Contemporary Art Exhibit “Continuous Present”, Yale Art Gallery

Presented by Dr. Jennifer Gross (Curator of Modern Art Collection, Yale Art Gallery)


October 5, 2009

Topic:”God in the Cosmos”

Presented by Dr. Jennifer Wiseman, Chief of the Laboratory for Exoplanets and Stellar Astrophysics at NASA, Goddard Space Flight Center


February 12, 2009

Topic: “Poverty and Politics in Washington”

Presented by Congressman/Ambassador Tony P. Hall


December 11, 2008

Topic: “Public Morality and the Subprime Mortgage Crisis”

Presented by Professor Shyam Sunder (Yale School of Management)


November 20, 2008

Topic: “Class, Nation & Covenant: Barak Obama and the Return of Civil Religion”

Presented by Professor Philip Gorski


October 22, 2008

Topic: “Nations, Statecraft, and the Shaping of Moral Vision”

Presented by Professor Charles Hill ((Senior Lecturer, International Affairs Council, Distinguished Fellow of International Security Studies


March 27, 2008

Topic: “Aristotle on Political Identities and Spiritual Commitments”

Presented by Professor Norma Thompson (Senior Lecturer in Humanities, Co-Director of the Whitney Humanities Center)


February 27, 2008

Topic: “Politics and the Right to Spiritual Nurture”

Presented by Professor Stephen M. Carter (William Nelson Cromwell Prof. of Law, Yale Law School)


December 12, 2007

Topic: “Justice, Entitlements and Religion”

Presented by Professor Anthony Kronman (Sterling Professsor of Law, Yale Law School)


November 14, 2007 

Topic: “Academic Excellence and the Moral Formation of the Modern Scholar

Presented by Professor Harry Lewis (Former Dean, Harvard College)


October 11, 2007

Topic: “Right Individual Conduct, Wrong Aggregate Consequences” 

Presented by Professor Shyam Sunder (Yale School of Management, Dept. of Economics)