Saturday Scholar Series

A different game plan for autumn weekends.

You are invited to join in discussion with Notre Dame’s most engaging faculty on some of the most pressing and fascinating issues of our times.

Each lecture and Q&A is presented in the Snite Museum’s Annenberg Auditorium on a home football game Saturday. All lectures are free and open to the public. An archive of previous lectures (including video for many) can be found here.

More information about other home game events on campus is available on the GameDay website.


Fall 2018 Schedule

9.1.18 (vs. Michigan)

Lecture at 4 p.m.; game at 7:30 p.m.

“The Cross: When and Why It Became the Church's Central Symbol”

Robin Jensen, Patrick O'Brien Professor of Theology

Visual depictions of the cross and crucifixion are rare before the sixth century and initially refer to Christ’s triumph and glory rather than his suffering and death. This talk will consider the earliest examples and discuss their distinctive messages.


9.8.18 (vs. Ball State)

Lecture at 12:30 p.m.; game at 3:30 p.m.

“The Magic of the Mind: Illusion, Misdirection, and Deception in Our Everyday Lives”

James Brockmole, Associate Dean for the Social Sciences,
Professor of Psychology, and Joseph and Elizabeth Robbie Collegiate Chair

On stage, magicians create a fantasy of impossibility that audiences are willing to believe to be real. Using real-world examples and demonstrations, this talk explains why we are prone to see what isn’t there, miss what is right before our eyes, remember seeing things that didn’t happen, and nevertheless make it through a day of living unscathed. 


9.15.18 (vs. Vanderbilt)

Lecture at 11:30 a.m.; game at 2:30 p.m.

“‘Phantom of the Opera’ Is Not an Opera: What It Actually Means to Be an ‘Opera Singer’ in the 21st Century”  

Kiera Duffy, Associate Professor of the Practice and Head of Undergraduate Voice Studies
Päivi Ekroth, Collaborative Pianist

When you think of an opera singer, what comes to mind? A glass-shattering vocalist? A woman of generous proportions sporting a Viking helmet? The star of Phantom of the Opera? These are the stereotypes that popular culture has assigned the role of “opera singer.” As it turns out, none of these is an accurate depiction of what a classical singer actually looks like or does. “Opera singer” and ND Voice Professor Kiera Duffy seeks to set the record straight with a mix of entertaining anecdotes and musical selections, with the help of pianist Päivi Ekroth.


9.29.18 (vs. Stanford)

Lecture at 4 p.m.; game at 7:30 p.m.

“Is Winnie the Pooh Banned in China? Internet Censorship and Online Culture in the People's Republic”

Michel Hockx, Director of the Liu Institute for Asia and Asian Studies
Professor of Chinese Language and Culture

Our media are full of stories about censorship in China. Yet despite strict government regulation, China has a rich and vibrant online culture. This talk shows both sides of the coin: the control and the creativity, and how they sometimes interact in unexpected ways.


10.13.18 (vs. Pittsburgh)

Lecture at 11:30 a.m.; game at 2:30 p.m.

“Why ‘Frankenstein’ Matters at 200: Rethinking the Human through the Arts and Sciences”

Eileen Hunt Botting, Professor of Political Science
Greg Kucich, Professor of English

Mary Shelley's classic novel, Frankenstein, is the most widely taught novel at the university level around the world. Upon the novel’s bicentennial, this talk addresses the enduring relevance of Frankenstein for the arts and sciences today.


11.10.18 (vs. Florida State)

Lecture at 4 p.m.; game at 7:30 p.m.

“Was Women's Suffrage a Failure?”

Christina Wolbrecht, Director of the Rooney Center for the Study of American Democracy
C. Robert and Margaret Hanley Family Director of the Notre Dame Washington Program
Professor of Political Science

The ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920 granted American women the right to vote. Critics almost immediately decried women’s suffrage as a failure. This talk provides new insight into whether, how, and with what impact women cast their ballots in the period immediately following suffrage.