Our Symposia

Students organize five annual symposia, several of which have been running for many decades. Though each symposium is sponsored by a particular academic department or program, they attract audiences from the entire institution and draw participants from the Portland community, across the Pacific Northwest, and beyond.

  • Now over 20 years old, the Environmental Studies Symposium examines “Environment Across Boundaries,” or ENVX. Participants are invited to cross intellectual, geographic, and communication boundaries to examine all sides of contemporary environmental debates that affect our entire world. ENVX kicks off with a cluster of events each October and continues through the school year with a series of workshops and engagement opportunities.
  • National and global questions of race and ethnicity are at the center of the Ray Warren Symposium on Race and Ethnic Studies, created by students to honor a beloved alumnus and former staff member. One of the highlights each year is Race Monologues, a powerful and moving presentation of original narratives written by L&C students of color to share their experiences with racial and ethnic identity. Mixing academic explorations with deeply personal reflections, recent symposia have focused on the prison-industrial complex, education, place and belonging, memory and ancestry, health and medicine, and revolutionary struggle. The 17th symposium in November 2020 focused on the theme of movement.
  • Marking its 40th anniversary in March 2021, the Gender Studies Symposium examines issues of gender and sexuality through feminist and queer theoretical frameworks. Recent symposium topics and themes have included capitalism, security, access, care, and possibility, with distinguished keynote speakers from academia, activism, and the arts.
  • The Middle East and North African Studies Symposium, which is the newest of our annual symposia, showcases research on this region of the world on issues such as migration, religion, human rights, and artistic expression, among many other topics.
  • Heralded as the oldest student-run symposium in the United States (it began in 1966!) and highly acclaimed by The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and The Chronicle of Higher Education, the International Affairs Symposium illuminates controversial international dilemmas through a series of debates featuring policy experts and public figures from opposing viewpoints. Recent symposia have examined topics such as state sovereignty, humanitarian intervention, populist movements, global development, and the role of non-governmental organizations.