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The Equitable City: The 2017 Dallas Festival of Ideas

Save the Date: Saturday, April 29, 2017

UPDATE: The Texas spring weather is doing a number on our plans for the weekend, and we wanted to let you know about some key changes. Because of the threat of storms and wind, we have made the call to pull the entire Festival of Ideas inside the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center. The good news: the Convention Center is located just across the street …




Mary Vernon, Professor of Art at SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts

The animal world gives us images of beings beyond human quirks and dangers. As symbols, as emblems, and as narrative figures, the animals, our cousins, are our shadow selves. The poet Mary Oliver said:
“here is such shyness, such courage!
here is the shining rudimentary soul”
Yet one of Thomas Edison’s early movies is about electrocuting Topsy the elephant, while we can’t resist cat pictures on the internet, and …

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Beyond the Sterotype: a Brief Introduction to Islam

Beyond the Stereotype: a Brief Introduction to Islam

From its emergence in Arabia in the seventh-century CE to its subsequent spread across the globe, Islam’s continued growth in contemporary societies is evidence of its variability, both in interpretation and practice.  Yet non-Muslim understanding of Islam continues to be stereotypic, reinforced by sensationalist media images and reports that depict the Muslim ‘terrorist’ wreaking violence on innocent bystanders or the mysterious, veiled woman leading a subjugated and sheltered existence.  While these images are very …

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If You See Something, Say Something

If You See Something, Say Something

A Writer Looks at Art

SMU’s DeGolyer Library has just released a beautifully illustrated anthology of Willard Spiegelman’s art reviews that have appeared in The Wall Street Journal for almost three decades. Its title reflects its author’s basic premise: If You See Something, Say Something: A Writer Looks at Art. Namely, responding to art requires patience, time, energy, and persistence, and it produces intellectual and emotional gratification. The New York Times film critic A. O. Scott titled a …

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Mosaix Lounge

Mosaix Lounge: International Tasting Social

With Urban Mosaix on May 21; 3:00 pm

People are the colorful ‘mosaic pieces ‘ in this lounge where strangers arrive… friends depart! Get together for a delicious international tasting buffet of shared dishes and lively conversations inspired by enlightening questions that spark insightful new viewpoints.
Please bring an 8+ serving appetizer or dessert with a GLOBAL THEME; beverages will be provided. Good quality store-bought absolutely OK if lacking time or culinary skills. Come prepared to ‘eat around the world’ as we relax on …

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Remembering Louise Cowan

Remembering Our Teacher, Dr. Louise S. Cowan

The Louise S. Cowan Memorial Fund

In response to gifts received honoring Dr. Louise Cowan, who passed away on November 16th, the Dallas Institute has established the Louise S. Cowan Memorial Fund.
We are deeply grateful to those who have made contributions and invite others who would like to do so to contact us at 214-871-2440 or jkalin@dallasinstitute.org. Or you may make your gift directly by clicking here.


A memorial mass was held Monday, November 23, at …

What is the Dallas Institute?

Since 1981, the Dallas Institute has conducted original programs that enrich and strengthen the cultural heart of our great city. Our campus on Routh Street is home for those who enjoy reading, thinking, exploring, and discussing timeless ideas that make us most fully human. The Institute has been described by our members as a “sanctuary,” as an “oasis,” as a “place for reflection,” as “food for the soul.”

Our members are the lifeblood of the Institute. It is for them that we create classes, groups, programs, and events that bring the wisdom and imagination of the humanities into their lives. If you are already a member, we thank you. If you aren’t, please think about becoming a member, and join us on a common journey toward the discovery of truth, beauty, and all else that is good and noble.

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