with David Wood

Centennial Professor
of Philosophy,
Vanderbilt University

more detailed information



Thinking Out
of the Lunchbox

Spring 2011

May 4, 2011
“Love, Death, and Form in the Modern Sonnet”
Mark Schoenfield
Professor, English

Since the Renaissance, the sonnet has been an especially beloved form for the writers and readers of English poetry, and if these 14-line monuments to a moment often seem light and playful, they equally have a dark side, as poets have stretched the form and experimented with new content.  Seduction, death, and political oppression all make their way into this remarkably versatile form.  We will look at some famous-and infamous-sonnets, enriching our understanding by considering both their formal features and their contexts.

See the video.

April 6, 2011
“Dreams in the 20th Century”

Barbara Hahn
Distinguished Professor, Germanic & Slavic Languages
Why write down dreams? Why try to share these strange experiences that determine our nights? Obviously, there is a need to remember and not to forget dreams. So many come down to us, most without any interpretation. Since it is said that each epoch dreams the next: reading the dreams of the last century might tell us a lot about ours.
Reservations are now being taken for the April lecture only.  Please call 322-8585 by April 4, 2011 or email

Watch streaming video of Outside of the Lunch Box discussion here. 

March 2, 2011
“What Our Medical Past Can Tell Us About Our Genomic Future”
Holly Tucker
Associate Professor, Center for Medicine, Health & Society
Associate Professor, French & Italian

Every era, particularly one deep in "Scientific Revolution" as we now find ourselves, necessarily has to ask some time-worn questions, such as: should a society set limits on its science? If so, at what price? This lunchbox presentation asks what early cultural fears and resistance to a now commonly accepted practice in modern medicine—blood transfusion—tell us about our own efforts to navigate current clashes between science and society, especially genetic research.

Watch streaming video of Outside of the Lunch Box discussion here.

February 2, 2011
“What Is the Meaning of the American Civil War on Its 150th Anniversary?””
Michael Kreyling, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of English
Richard Blackett, Andrew Jackson Professor of History

Robert Penn Warren wrote his book The Legacy of the Civil War on the War’s centennial in 1961. Our discussion will look at what has changed in the perception of the war in the fifty years that follow: the personality and stature of Warren as writer and critic of American culture; whether the War was about slavery or states' rights; what is the use of remembering the War in our hard economic times; how the War belongs differently to Yankees and Rebels, men and women, African Americans and whites; why some people refer to it as the defining experience of American identity; and what is the optimal way to commemorate the War on its sesquicentennial.

Watch streaming video of Outside of the Lunch Box discussion here.