How to cite lectures and speeches in Chicago style

To cite a lecture, speech or talk in Chicago style, you’ll need the name of the lecturer; the title of the talk; details of the course, event or institution that hosted it; and the date on which it took place.

In a Chicago style bibliography, a typical lecture citation looks something like this:

Jones, David. “The Causes and Consequences of the Spanish Civil War.” Lecture, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, July 15, 2011.

Citing a class lecture

When you’re citing a lecture you attended as part of your studies, include the lecturer’s name and the title of the lecture in quotation marks. After a descriptive label such as “Class lecture”, add the name of the course, your university, and the date of the lecture.

The format depends on which style of Chicago citation you are using.

Notes and bibliography style

The standard format for a Chicago footnote and bibliography entry is as follows:

Footnote

1. Lecturer First Name Last Name, “Title of Lecture” (class lecture, Course Name, University, Date).

Bibliography

Lecturer Last Name, First Name. “Title of Lecture.” Class lecture, Course Name, University, Date.

A typical example might look like this:

1. Elizabeth Johnson, “Gender in Shakespeare” (class lecture, Politics in Early Modern Literature, University of Edinburgh, April 15, 2019).

Johnson, Elizabeth. “Gender in Shakespeare.” Class lecture, Politics in Early Modern Literature, University of Edinburgh, April 15, 2019.

Author-date style

In author-date style, the in-text citation is simply the last name of the lecturer and the year in which the lecture took place:

(Johnson 2019)

The corresponding reference list entry looks much like a bibliography entry, but with the year added directly after the lecturer’s name. The full date (including the year) still appears at the end:

Johnson, Elizabeth. 2019. “Gender in Shakespeare.” Class lecture, Politics in Early Modern Literature, University of Edinburgh, April 15 2019.

Citing lecture materials

If you’re citing something specific like a handout or the Powerpoint used in the lecture, you can replace “class lecture” with a more specific label:

Davis, William. “Antisemitism in 19th-Century Europe.” Powerpoint presentation, Modern European History, University of Amsterdam, September 15, 2012.
Smith, Molly. “Autism and Schizophrenia.” Lecture handout, Introduction to Psychology, Harvard University, October 21, 2011.

Citing other lectures, talks and speeches

If you’re citing a lecture or talk from outside the context of your studies, use an appropriate descriptive label (e.g. “Speech” or “Presentation”), and list the institution or event that sponsored or hosted the talk – for example, a university, conference, or business – as well as the location.

Notes and bibliography style

The standard format for a note and bibliography entry is as follows:

Footnote

1. First Name Last Name of speaker, “Title of Lecture” (speech/lecture/presentation, Event/Institution, Location, Date).

Bibliography

Last Name, First Name of speaker. “Title of Lecture” Speech/lecture/presentation, Event/Institution, Location, Date.

A typical example might look like this:

1. Janice Burns, “Women in Tech” (presentation, 3rd Annual Startup Conference, Berlin, March 25, 2018).

Burns, Janice. “Women in Tech.” Presentation, 3rd Annual Startup Conference, Berlin, March 25, 2018.

Author-date style

In author-date style, the in-text citation consists of the name of the speaker and the year of the event:

(Burns 2018)

The reference list entry looks a lot like a bibliography entry, but with the year added after the author’s name:

Burns, Janice. 2018. “Women in Tech.” Talk, 3rd Annual Startup Conference, Berlin, March 25, 2018.

Citing recordings or transcripts of lectures

If you’re not citing a talk you attended in person but instead citing from a transcript or video recording, start with the speaker’s name, followed by a citation in the format appropriate to the type of publication.

For example, the bibliography entry for a TED Talk viewed on YouTube might look like this:

Barabási, Albert-László. “The Real Relationship Between Your Age and Your Chance of Success.” September 3, 2019. Video, 16:16. https://youtu.be/ysblroPCgCw.

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Jack Caulfield

Jack is a Brit based in Amsterdam, with an MA in comparative literature. He writes and edits for Scribbr, and reads a lot of books in his spare time.

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