The Saurman Provocative Lecture Series

Have you been provoked lately?

San Jose State University Department of Economics presents the Provocative Lecture Series, a forum to raise intellectual arguments on a variety of thought-provoking topics, offered in memory of David S. Saurman, Ph.D., former Professor in the Department of Economics.

This lecture series fosters the tradition in higher education of challenging ideas and developing critical thinking in an environment of respect and intellectual discourse on controversial topics. Presenters in the Provocative Lecture Series are noted for their outstanding scholarship and public speaking ability; students, faculty, the general public, as well as the media are invited.

Our goal is to help students and life-long learners develop the critical thinking skills necessary to reach their own informed positions on controversial issues. We invite you to attend, relax, ponder, and enjoy the thought process at upcoming lectures. You can also enjoy viewing recordings of past lectures at the video archive.

If you would like to support The Saurman Provocative Lecture Series, please contact Colleen Haight at For information or to be added to our events list, please contact

Upcoming Lectures

Spring 2019 

March 18th, 2019 (Mon.) 
Linda Royster Beito, Ph.D., Professor, Stillman College. Ph.D. University of Alabama
SJSU, SU Theater  |  5:15-6:45pm  |  free, open to public
“T.R.M. Howard: Doctor, Entrepreneur, Civil Rights Pioneer", flyer (pdf)

Professor Beito's talk tells the remarkable story of T.R.M. Howard, one of the early
leaders of the Civil Rights movement. Howard was the subject of a biography that
she and her co-author David T. Beito wrote under the title of Black Maverick:
T.R.M. Howard's Fight for Civil Rights and Economic Power (University of Illinois
Press, 2009), which is now available with a new foreword and afterword (Independent
Institute, 2018). A renaissance man, Theodore Roosevelt Mason Howard (1908-1976)
was a respected surgeon, important black community leader, and successful
businessman. Howard's story reveals the importance of the black middle class, their
endurance and entrepreneurship in the midst of Jim Crow, and their critical role in
the early Civil Rights movement. Howard founded black community organizations,
organized civil rights rallies and boycotts, championed free enterprise, critiqued Big
Government and socialism, mentored Medgar Evers, fought the Ku Klux Klan, and
helped lead the fight for justice for Emmett Till and others. Raised in poverty and
witness to racial violence from a young age, Howard was passionate about justice
and equality. Ambitious, zealous, and sometimes paradoxical, T.R.M. Howard provides
a complete and fascinating portrait of an important leader all too often forgotten.

April 23rd, 2019 (Tues.) 
Robert L. Bradley, Jr.
SJSU, SU Theater  |  5:15-6:45pm  |  free, open to public
“Mixed-Economy Entrepreneurship: What is a Capitalist to Do?”

February 19th, 2019 (Tues.)
Channy Chhi Laux
SJSU, SU Theater  |  5:15-6:45pm  |  free, open to public
"The Cambodian Genocide and Communism", flyer (pdf)

Past Lectures

Fall 2018 

November 8, 2018 (Thurs.)
Howard Root, 
Founder and CEO of Vascular Solutions, Inc.
"Who Watches the Prosecutors?", flyer (pdf) 

October 10, 2018 (Wed.) 
Adam Andrzejewski, 
CEO and Founder of Open the Books
“Knowledge is Power”, flyer (pdf) 

September 27, 2018 (Thurs.) 
Safwan Shah, Ph.D, 
CEO and Founder PayActive
“Helping Low-Income Workers Get Ahead: A Market Solution”, flyer (pdf) 

Spring 2018

April 11, 2018 John Cochrane
“The Old Lady, the Fly and the Horse: an Outline for Economic Reform”, flyer (pdf)

March 20, 2018 Clark Neily
"Incarceration Nation - How America Became the World's Leading Jailer", flyer (pdf)

February 28, 2018 Jacob T. Levy
"Black Liberty Matters", flyer (pdf)

View past lectures via the video archive