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The various Departments in the Faculty of Social Science each represent a unique avenue of research. The Departments bring some of the most respected researchers to Western University. Lectures from prominent external researchers revitalize our research culture, establish connections with researchers from around the world, and publicize the activities of our Departments across the world.

With support from donors and alumni, we are creating a Social Science Distinguished Lecture series. The series will give our Departments, and the Faculty more generally, the capacity to host leading scholars from distant institutions on a regular basis.

Our goal is that each Department will have at least one distinguished visiting academic deliver a public lecture each year as part of the overall Social Science series. Each lecture series provides students, faculty and staff insight into research and issues in their respective disciplines.

When possible, we will also live stream the lectures, available on tylebongda our live stream page.



October 2, 3, 4 2018 - The Joanne Goodman Lecture

Department of History

States of Fear: How the Quest for Security has Eroded Democracy

Presented by Elaine Taylor May, Regents Professor of American Studies and History, and Chair of the Department of History, at the University of Minnesota

Oct 2nd: Sex, Women, and the Bomb: Cold War Domesticity

Oct 3rd:The Quest for Security: Fear and its Consequences

Oct 4th: The 21st Century: The Aftermath of September 11, 2001

Elaine Tyler May is Regents Professor of American Studies and History, and Chair of the Department of History, at the University of Minnesota.

She is past president of the Organization of American Historians, and past president of the American Studies Association. Her books include Fortress America: How We Embraced Fear and Abandoned Democracy (2017); America and the Pill: A History of Promise, Peril, and Liberation (2010); Homeward Bound: American Families in the Cold War Era (1988, newest edition 2017); Barren in the Promised Land: Childless Americans and the Pursuit of Happiness (1997); Pushing the Limits: American Women, 1940-1961 (1996); and Great Expectations: Marriage and Divorce in Post-Victorian America (1980). She has written for the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Ms., Daily Beast, the Chronicle of Higher Education, and the Minneapolis Star Tribune, among others. She is a recent recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Guggenheim Foundation.


October 22, 2018 - The Balakrishnan Distinguished Lecture in Population Dynamics and Inequality

Department of Sociology

Presented by Paula England, Professor of Sociology, New York University

Established in 2016, the goal of the Balakrishnan Distinguished Lecture in Population Dynamics and Inequality, to enhance the excellence in the Department of Sociology in Population Dynamics and Inequality and to give visibility for the University in this area in the academic world. The lecture series is made possible due to the support of Professor Emeritus T.R. Balakrishnan and Lois F. Leatham.

Past speakers were Dr. Michael Hout, Professor of Sociology at New York University and Dr. Douglas Massey, Professor at the School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Princeton.


March 22, 2018 - Department of Economics Distinguished Lecture

Department of Economics

"Assistance to the Poor in the United States: Growing or Falling?"

A lecture by Dr. Robert Moffitt
Krieger-Eisenhower Professor of Economics, Johns Hopkins University

February 27, 2018 - Regna Darnell Distinguished Lecture Series in Theory, Ethnography and Activism in Anthropology

Department of Anthropology

"Boas Died for our Sins: An Anthropologist Manifesto"

Dr. Joshua Smith, Associate Editor, Franz Boas Papers, Western University

Inaugural Regna Darnell Distinguished Lecture Series in Theory, Ethnography and Activism in Anthropology

Thursday, December 7, 2017 - The Talman Lecture

Department of History

Viola Desmond: Her Historic Challenge to Race Segregation in Canada and Her Appearance on our $10 Banknote

Presented by Constance Backhouse, Distinguished University Professor and University Research Chair, Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa

Founded in 2008, The J.J. Talman Lecture Series focuses on Ontario history, Ontario regional collections and innovative uses thereof, or previously unstudied aspects of Canadian history. Reflecting the breadth of Dr. Talman’s career at Western, as a respected historian and Chief Librarian, the lectures are organized annually by a joint committee comprised of representatives from the Department of History and Western Libraries. The J.J. Talman Lecture Series was envisioned and is funded by Raj Jain, Librarian Emerita, and her brother, Dr. Sushil Jain, in gratitude for Dr. Talman’s many personal kindnesses, and to recognize his substantial contribution to Western.

Past speakers include: Carl Benn, Jane Errington, Cecilia Morgan, Peter Neary