Chautauqua Institution is excited to present a sneak peek of themes for the 2017 season. We’re especially pleased to share our earliest preview ever of a number of other programs within our unique mix. 

Regular updates to this schedule will be provided each week throughout this summer in The Chautauquan Daily’s weekend editions and online.

Book your 2017 accommodations while you’re on the grounds this summer! 

Chautauqua’s Athenaeum Hotel and most private rentals will be ready to take reservations for the 2017 season.

• Visit our helpful staff at the Visitors Center on Bestor Plaza.

• Visit

• Visit or call 1-800-821-1881


Email me 2017 season news & announcements


Week One :: June 24 – July 1


Invention is a way to pinpoint what we value, and we look to men and women throughout history, around the world, who challenged the status quo by what they thought, saw and created. As we celebrate the evolution of humanity, we explore what’s next and how we’ll achieve it.

  • What are the conditions — within society and within ourselves — that make invention possible?
  • Are we in the last age of American invention?
  • What do we need for humanity’s next “giant leap” in our lifetime?
  • Are there ethical and legal limits to be placed on human curiosity?


 View All Week One Events


Week Two :: July 1 - July 8

The Human Lens: Origins, Exploration and Preservation
In Partnership with National Geographic

As a species, as communities, and as individuals, we have altered our physical world, with both beneficial and devastating effects. From our earliest history, humanity’s movement across the globe—driven by survival and curiosity—has impacted our environment. With such exploration also comes a greater understanding of our relationship to the planet. From the depths of the ocean to the plains of Africa, humans are searching for ways to make positive change and help protect the ecosystems and species that contribute to our essential biodiversity on Earth. During this week, in partnership with National Geographic and a renowned team of explorers and scientists, we look at our past, present and future impact on the planet.


View All Week Two Events


Week Three :: July 8 – July 15

A Crisis of Faith?

As we experience a decline in mainstream Christianity, demographic shifts pointing to a growing Muslim population, and more young people than ever who claim no affiliation with any organized religion, are we in the midst of a crisis of faith?

  • How are churches changing — or how do they need to change — in order to best meet the needs of the communities they serve?
  • What impacts do shifting religious norms mean for other aspects of public life?
  • Does science — or something else — now fill a void that religion once occupied?

View All Week Three Events


Week Four :: July 15 – July 22

Geopolitics Today:

A Partnership with the Center for Strategic and International Studies

For more than 50 years, the Center for Strategic and International Studies has worked to develop practical solutions to the world’s greatest challenges. From the economics of energy and climate change, to international security in the age of terrorism, CSIS and its experts bring the issues of the world to Chautauqua’s doorstep.


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Week Five :: July 22 – July 29

The Supreme Court: At a Tipping Point?

The new American president is likely to nominate several justices to the Supreme Court, shaping the future of our country and, in particular, how we govern ourselves for decades to come.

  • What impact have presidential appointments to the Court had on major Court decisions?
  • What potential appointments are looming in the 45th president’s first term, and what impact can those appointments have on major cases before the Court?
  • How has the balance of power among the three branches of government changed throughout the Court’s history?


View All Week Five Events


Week Six :: July 29 – August 5

Comedy and the Human Condition:

In Partnership with the National Comedy Center

We partner with the National Comedy Center — the first cultural institution and national-scale visitor experience dedicated to the art of comedy, under construction now in nearby Jamestown, New York — for a week that engages both the mind and the funny bone.

  • We’ll explore the politics of comedy and political satire — comedy often serves as our greatest mirror, a unique conduit of truth.
  • We venture into the writers’ room for insight into the craft of comedy for television and film.
  • We travel the globe to see if there is such a thing as “universally funny”
  • When has a joke gone too far? We consider issues of free speech and ask, “Is there such a thing as too offensive?”


View All Week Six Events 


Week Seven :: August 5 – August 12

The Nature of Fear

Now more than ever, fear dominates us in ways we may not even be aware of — in politics, in advertising, in media. In this week, we grapple with recognizing fear and what it does to us.

  • What is the history of fear as a political tool and how effectively has it been used to shape our politics?
  • We examine fear’s effect on the brain and how fear has been shaped by evolution.
  • How and why does fear work in persuading, motivating and manipulating us?
  • We look at what it means to seek out that which scares us, from Grimm’s Fairy Tales and ghost stories to rollercoasters and haunted houses.


View All Week Seven Events 


Week Eight :: August 12 – August 19

Media and the News: Ethics in the Digital Age

The creative disruption of traditional media is bringing about a crisis in local journalism and changing the role of journalists in a changing America. In this age of information overload, who and what do we trust and how do we become smarter news consumers?

  • How is data journalism bridging tradition and innovation to provide a deeper understanding of our world?
  • Do emerging business models aimed at “saving” news organizations threaten journalistic independence?
  • In the age of podcasting, where do we draw the line between information and entertainment? What are the challenges of a reporter becoming part of the story?


View All Week Eight Events


Week Nine :: August 19 – August 27

At the Table: Our Changing Relationship with Food

The way we interact with our food is changing, from fast food to farm-to-table. Food is tied to our well-being, our sense of community. Joined by world-renowned chefs, leading food journalists, and other experts, we look at the value of food across the socioeconomic spectrum and learn what it is about our meals that bring us together. During this week, our celebration of food moves beyond the Amphitheater stage to several venues throughout the Chautauqua grounds, with cooking demonstrations, food fairs, master classes and much more.


 View All Week Nine Events