My friend, and academic role model I aspire to emulate, Michael Munger has called me out in the social media for being "lame" for not following up with periodic posts about this Institute for Humane Studies seminar. I have been trying to be pithy in my reporting on Facebook and Twitter, but Mike is right, I did say I would post here. So I plead guilty and am now trying to rectify the matter. But since I am tryng to also learn from Tyler Cowen, who has told me on multiple ocassions that there are great returns for pithiness than my usual long-winded rambles, I will try to put the posts in bullet form.
> listening at the moment to Antony Davies talk about unlearning errors through experiments in the classroom. He is doing a great teaching experiment on minimum wage laws.
> the lectures so far by David Schmidtz on Adam Smith and Freedom, Michael Moses on globalization and culture, Steve Davies on the modern history of classical liberalism, Jacob Levy on liberal pluralism, and Virgil Storr on defending the market have been very clear and informative. I learn so much when I sit back and listen and take notes to follow up with new suggestions for reading, or re-reading older texts in the new light that came from the lecture.
> Bryan Caplan's lecture on education was provocative and I heard was still being discussed late into the night last night at the toga party (I wasn't invited, Mike would have been!)
> I have discussed students presentations on regime uncertainty, on institutional stickiness, and on the relationship between microfinance in developing countries and the spread of women's rights in the respective societies. All the papers were presented in a clear and engaging style by the authors, and the projects all have potential to be published (1 already has been accepted). I have a few more student papers to discuss before the end of the seminar.
> informal discussions with students have been fascinating as I have had the chance to learn from future lawyers, historians, political theorists, sociologists, but also classicists and an archeologist. There are also at least two geographers here who are doing fascinating work. How cool is that?
> there is a strong group of students here interested in Austrian economics as a progressive research program in political economy and I am always so excited when I learn of these young people getting interested in these ideas and the "movements" being established around the world to support these programs.
> I have learned repeatedly how lame I truly am when it comes to technology --- I did not know you can actually autograph an e-book, but now I know you can, and not just sign, but personalize.
Anyway, that is my report for the first half of the conference at Towson. And Mike, the weather has been fine, the students are very smart, the beds are not as comfortable as they first appeared to be, and the IHS staff has been as gracious and committed as always. My goal for the second half of the seminar, however, is to talk more to Kevin and see how he thinks it is going.