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Social Science Essays

With the World to Choose From

Celebrating Seven Decades of the Beatty Lecture at McGill University

edited by Brett Hooton, Robin Koning & Meaghan Thurston

foreword by Suzanne Fortier

McGill-Queen's University Press, Research and Innovation, McGill University
Initial publish date
Sep 2021
Essays, General
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    Publish Date
    Sep 2021
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    Sep 2021
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The Beatty Lecture, established in 1952 in honour of former Canadian Pacific Railway president and McGill chancellor Sir Edward Beatty, is McGill University’s most anticipated annual event. Some of the series’ greatest lectures, delivered by Nobel Prize laureates, world leaders, and cultural icons, have been forgotten, carefully stowed away in the McGill Archives.

To help us understand some of the most significant moments and discoveries of our time, With the World to Choose From spotlights fifteen outstanding Beatty Lectures, spanning seven decades. Readers can discover – or rediscover – these important and inspiring lectures, all in print for the first time. One of the twentieth century’s most influential visionaries, the economist Barbara Ward, opens this anthology with her future-looking 1955 lecture. Lectures from acclaimed biologist Robert Sinsheimer, former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, Nobel Prize laureate Muhammad Yunus, philosopher Charles Taylor, and author and social commentator Roxane Gay carry readers through the decades that followed and up to the present, treating subjects from the tensions of Cold War politics and the implications of genetic engineering to the origins of life in the universe and the watershed #MeToo movement. Some of today’s leading academics add contextual and biographical information to each chapter, and an introduction sheds light on the history of the Beatty Lecture and the life of its notable namesake.

Illustrated with a selection of photographs and ephemera, With the World to Choose From provides a historical and behind-the-scenes look at one of Canada’s longest-running lecture series.

About the authors

Brett Hooton is director of communications and operations for Research and Innovation at McGill University.

Brett Hooton's profile page

Robin Koning is the digital marketing and outreach associate for Research and Innovation at McGill University and a professional archivist.

Robin Koning's profile page

Meaghan Thurston is senior communications officer for Research and Innovation at McGill University and a freelance writer.

Meaghan Thurston's profile page

Suzanne Fortier's profile page