The Saurman Provocative Lecture Series

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 see donation details

Past Lectures

Spring 2021

Thursday April 22, 2021 5:30-7:00pm (pst)
Bart Wilson
Professor, Donald P. Kennedy Chair in Economics and Law 
Director, Smith Institute for Political Economy and Philosophy
"The Property Species: Mine, Yours, and the Human Mind", flyer (pdf)

Wednesday February 24, 2021 5:30-7:00pm (pst)
Gary Hoover, Ph.D.
Tulane University, Professor of Economics and Executive Director of the Murphy Institute
"Why the Study of Economics Neglects Race, and What Can be Done About It?" flyer (pdf)


March 18, 2020-to be rescheduled
Roberta Q. Herzberg, Ph.D.
Distinguished Senior Fellow, F. A. Hayek Program in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics The Mercatus Center at George Mason University
“The Challenging Political Economy of Medicare-For-All”
flyer (pdf)

April 14, 2020-to be rescheduled
John A. List, Pd.D.
Professor, University of Chicago
“What can we learn from Uber? Three Large Scale Field Experiments on Tipping, Apologies, and the Gender Pay Gap”
flyer (pdf)


November 19, 2019, Tues. 
Marc Joffe, MPA
Sr. Policy Analyst, Reason Foundation
“Bringing Fiscal Sanity to California Infrastructure Policy” flyer (pdf)

October 30, 2019, Wed. 
Alex Tabarrok, Ph.D.

Professor, George Mason University
“Patents, Intellectual Property, and the Rise of the Rent-Seeking Society” flyer (pdf)

September 18, 2019, Wed. 
David Skarbek, Ph.D.
“The Social Order of the Underworld: How Prison Gangs Govern the American Penal System”, flyer (pdf)

April 23rd, 2019 
Robert L. Bradley, Jr.
“Mixed-Economy Entrepreneurship: What is a Capitalist to Do?”, flyer (pdf)

March 18th, 2019  
Linda Royster Beito, Ph.D., Professor, Stillman College. Ph.D. University of Alabama
“T.R.M. Howard: Doctor, Entrepreneur, Civil Rights Pioneer", flyer (pdf)

February 19th, 2019  
Channy Chhi Laux
"The Cambodian Genocide and Communism", flyer (pdf)


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

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

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

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