Fifteen standout Beatty Lectures - in print together for the first time

Purchase your copy at McGill's Le James Bookstore in-store or online here.

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, had 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: Celebrating Seven Decades of the Beatty Lecture at McGill University 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 lecture, 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 also provides a historical and behind-the-scenes look at one of Canada’s longest-running lecture series.

Published by McGill-Queen's University Press (MQUP), the book is 336 pages, hardcover, 7" x 10” in size, and features a selection of 55 photographs and historical documents. The editors are Brett Hooton, Robin Koning and Meaghan Thurston. For more details visit the MQUP website here. Available at Indigo, Amazon, or McGill's Le James Bookstore in-store or online here.


In September 2021, as part of the virtual launch of With The World To Choose From, McGill Professor Emeritus Charles Taylor (whose 2017 lecture is featured in the collection) joined Dr. Rowan Williams (former Archbishop of Canterbury, who wrote an introduction to the lecture) for a conversation on the importance of public discourse and the role of the public intellectual. The conversation was moderated by Professor Debra Titone, Department of Psychology and Associate Vice-Principal, Research. While the event featured a condensed twenty-minute version of the conversation, the full-length version is featured here.


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