Horning Lecture Series


The Mary Jones and Thomas Hart Horning Endowment was created through a bequest to the university from the late Benjamin B. Horning, an OSU alumnus (BS in pharmacy) who went on to a distinguished career in medical education and philanthropy. Dr. Horning died in 1991 at the age of 101, and in his will left the gift to honor the memory of his parents, Mary Jones and Thomas Hart Horning. Dr. Horning saw the need for a deeper understanding of the humanities by students in the sciences and other technical areas. The endowment was designed to create a closer link between science and the humanities.


The 2013/14 Horning lecture series explored the many intersections between Religion and Culture.

  • The Protestant Boomerang: The Foreign Missionary Project and the Transformation of Modern America - David Hollinger (UC/Berkeley)
  • Into the Valley of the Shadow of Death: Weber, Religion, and Modern Manhattan - Jon Butler (Yale)
  • Neitszche and Spirituality in the US - Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen, (Wisconsin/Madison)
  • Lincoln's Religion and the Religion of Lincoln - Richard Fox (USC)


Other Horning supported lectures this year included:

  • Ethics and Literature in Austria
    David Luft (OSU)

  • Darwin's Sacred Cause
    James Moore (Open/Cambridge)


The 2012/13 Horning lecture series featured symposia on the Alpine Environments, Digital Humanities, and the Rise and Fall of International Exhibitions and Fairs.

Alpine Environments & the Changing Climate

  • The Glaciers of South America
    Mark Carey (UO)
  • The Juneau Icefield Research Program
    Toby Dittrich (PCC)
  • The Disappearing Alpine Meadows
    Harold Zald (OSU)
  • Climate Slalom and the Ski Industry
    Michael Osborne (OSU)

The Digital Humanities Symposium

  • The Digital Newton Archive
    Rob Iliffe (Sussex)
  • Google Books, the N-Gram & Culturnomics
    Anita Guerrini (OSU)
  • Scientists, Humanists, and "Big Data"
    Patrick McCray (UC/SB)
  • On Data and 'Data'
    Dan Rosenberg (UO)

Science International:  Universalism and National Interest in the Industrial Age

  • Robert Fox (Oxford)


The 2011/12 Horning lecture series brought five scholars who work in the field of modern European intellectual history. The field of intellectual history includes all aspects of human thought since the 18th century, including the natural sciences, but it generally concentrates on the history of the social sciences and the humanities, as well as the history of ideology and meaning.

Tues., Oct. 11, 2011: “Context and ‘the Event’: The Challenge of French Theory to Historicism,” Martin Jay, UC Berkeley

Wed., Oct. 26, 2011: “The Birth of Modern Czech out of the Spirit of the Austrian Enlightenment,” David Luft, Oregon State

Mon., Mar. 5, 2012: “Karl Popper and the Liberal Imagination in Science and Politics,” Malachi Hocohen, Duke University

Thurs., Apr. 26, 2012: “Radical Enlightenment and the French Revolution,” Jonathan Israel, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton

Thurs., May 17, 2012: “Historicism and Empathy; or, Can We Learn Something from a Forgotten Orientalist?” Suzanne Marchand, Louisiana State

An Adventure of the Mind


History encompasses human events and the life span of the universe. This series explores some of the sciences that look at the past to tell us about the present. Through the eyes of experts in paleontology, geology, ecology, archaeology, and evolutionary biology, we will find unexpected connections between the humanities and the sciences, and new ways to see the past and the present.

Paleontology: Paul Sereno, University of Chicago, "Paleontology as Art," Monday, October 4, 2010, 7:00 p.m., LaSells Stewart Center, Austin Auditorium

Geology: Mott Greene, University of Puget Sound, "[Geo] History Fights Back from the Grave," Thursday, November 18, 2010, 4:00 p.m., Memorial Union, Room 109

Ecology: Eric Higgs, University of Victoria, and “History and Ecology” workshop, Thursday and Friday, February 3 and 4, 2011, Memorial Union, Journey Room

Evolutionary Biology: Stephen Stearns, Yale University, "Major Themes in Evolutionary Medicine," Thursday, May 5, 2011, 4:00 p.m., Memorial Union, Journey Room 

Archaeology: Deborah Pearsall, University of Missouri, "Food and Society at Real Alto, a Prehistoric Community in SW Coastal Ecuador," Thursday, May 12, 2011, 4:00 p.m., Memorial Union, Journey Room

The Historical Sciences


In a world of many languages, translation builds bridges across the boundaries of language and culture. In this year’s Horning lecture series, experienced translators and theorists emphasize the role of language in our lives and the way translation brings other cultures to us. 

Thurs, Oct 15, 2009: “Why Translation Matters,”  David Luft, Oregon State University

Thurs, Nov 5, 2009: “A Life in Translation,” Michael Heim, University of California, Los Angeles

Thurs, Feb 11, 2010: “Translation, Intertextuality, Interpretation,” Lawrence Venuti, Temple University

Thurs, May 13, 2010: “The Future of Translation,” Burton Pike, City University of New York

Thurs, May 27, 2010: “Translation Is Writing: Borges in/on Translation,” Suzanne J. Levine, University of California, Santa Barbara

translation: Crossing borders, crossing cultures

2008/09 • DARWIN AT 200

Monday, November 10, 2008 –
“Themes in the Humanities: Understanding, Ethics, Language, and Culture”  David Luft, Horning Professor in the Humanities, OSU 

Monday, February 2, 2009 –
“Do animals have a history—and why should we care?”  Anita Guerrini, Horning Professor in the Humanities, OSU

Thursday, February 5, 2009 –
“Charles Darwin, The Man & The Myth”
Mott Greene, University of Puget Sound

Friday, February 20, 2009 –
“The Post-Darwinian Natural Theologies of Asa Gray and Charles Kingsley” Piers  J. Hale, University of Oklahoma

Darwin at 200


The OSU Horning Endowment in the Humanities and the Outreach in Biotechnology Program brought seven speakers to campus during 2007-2008 who addressed the theme “Food for Thought:  History, Technology, Gastronomy.”  The speakers were drawn from the USA and abroad, and included scientists, historians, and a legal scholar.  The lectures ranged from scientific, political, and commercial issues in food technologies to histories of national and local food traditions and the haute cuisine of trendy molecular gastronomy.

Monday, 22 October 2007 - “Fulfilling the Promise of Crop Biotechnology for the Poor in Africa: Challenges for Science and Society” Roger Beachy, Danforth Plant Science Center 

Thursday, 8 November 2007 -"How to Cook an Egg and Other Lessons from the Kitchen-Lab: A History of Molecular Gastronomy" Rachel Ankeny, University of Adelaide 

Thursday, 15 November 2007 - “The Role and Rule of Law in the Global Development of Food Biotechnology”  Gary Marchant, Arizona State University 

Thursday, 24 January 2008 - "Planet Taco: The Globalization of Mexican Cuisine."  Jeffrey Pilcher, University of Minnesota 

Monday, 25 February 2008 -"Getting Biofuels Right: A Solution to  the Biofuel versus Food and  Environment Dilemma"  David Tilman, University of Minnesota 

Thursday, 10 April 2008 -  “The Apple of Our Eyes:  Innovation, Art, and Ownership in American Fruits” Daniel J. Kevles, Yale University 

Thursday, 15 May 2008 - “Eating Good in the Neighborhood: The Medical and Moral History of Dietary Localism” Steven Shapin, Harvard University 

Food For Thought