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Joseph F. Rice School of Law

Knowlton Visiting Scholar Program

The Knowlton Visiting Scholar Program brings together faculty and students from various departments to promote interdisciplinary discussion and scholarship. The marquee event is the Charles W. Knowlton Law & Liberal Arts Lecture, which is also open to the public and features internationally known scholars from a variety of disciplines.

2018 Knowlton Lecture

The 2018 Charles W. Knowlton Law & Liberal Arts Lecture will be held on March 8, 2018 at 5 p.m. at the School of Law. "The Lessons of Lawyering: Why Ours Is an Honorable Profession" will be presented by Heather Gerken, Dean and Sol & Lillian Goldman Professor of Law at Yale University.   


In 1989, professors Nathan Crystal of the Law School and the late Ferdinand Schoeman of the Philosophy Department collaborated to develop the concept of an interdisciplinary visiting scholar program. With the support of the Deans of their respective colleges, two seminars took place. In 1989 Professor Robert Post of the University of California at Berkeley led a seminar on “Community and Liberalism: Problems with Free Speech and Privacy.” In 1990 Professor Deborah Rhode of Stanford Law School conducted a seminar on “The Impact of Feminist Theory on Law, the Humanities, and Social Science.”

The next year family and friends of distinguished Columbia attorney Charles Wilson Knowlton began establishment of an endowment in his memory to support the program, which is now known as the Charles Knowlton Law and Liberal Arts Visiting Scholar Program.

The lecture is made possible by generous support from the Knowlton Family, Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd, P.A., and the many friends and associates of Charles Knowlton who admired his outstanding contributions to the legal profession.

Previous Knowlton Scholars

  • Robert Post (Yale Law School), Spring 2017
    “Freedom of Speech and the Modern University”
  • Sandy Levinson (University of Texas Law School), Spring 2015
    “Learning from the Federalist”
  • Jeremy Waldron (New York University and Oxford University), Spring 2014
    “Deep Morality and the Laws of War”
  • Dr. Catharine MacKinnon (University of Michigan), Spring 2009
    “Women’s Status, Men’s States”
  • Dr. Eric R. Kandel (Columbia), Physiology or Medicine, Spring 2007
    “We Are What We Remember: Memory and the Biological Basis of Individuality”
  • Professor Martha Nussbaum, University of Chicago School of Law, Spring 2006
    “Radical Evil in the Lockean State: The Neglect of the Political Emotions”
  • Professor G. Edward White (Virginia), Legal History, Spring 2005
    “Historicizing Judicial Scrutiny”
  • Professor Maria Rosa Menocal (Yale), Medieval Arab World, Fall 2002
    “Culture as Tolerance: The Surprising Legacies of Medieval Europe”
  • Professor Garry Wills (Northwestern), History, Spring 1999
    “Government and the Arts”
  • Professor Lani Guinier (Harvard) Law, Race and Gender, Spring 1998
    “Reframing the Affirmative Action Debate”
  • Professor Richard Epstein (Chicago), Law & Economics, Fall 1996
    “Modern Uses of Ancient Law”
  • Professor Stephen Jay Gould (Harvard), History of Science, Spring 1995
    “Why Progress Does Not Rule the History of Life, and Why No One Hits .400 Any More: Thoughts on the Nature of Excellence”
  • Professor Ronald Dworkin (N.Y.U. and Oxford), Law & Philosophy, Spring 1993
    “Life’s Dominion — An Argument — Abortion, Euthanasia and Individual Freedom”
  • Professor Jarislav Pelikan (Yale), History, Fall 1993
    “The Idea of the University”

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.