2013 Rostrum videos


Associate Professor of History, and Director of the Science, Technology, and Society program

History, Science, and Freedom in Kuhn’s Structure of Scientific Revolutions
Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A consideration of how the category of “history” relates to western ideas of freedom, and how Kuhn’s application of “history” to “nature” represents a late development in this relationship.

Savage, AmyAMY F. SAVAGE
Director, Citizen Science Program, Visiting Assistant Professor of Biology, Bard College

Human Infectivity in African Trypanosomes: Trying to Understand Evolution
Tuesday, August 13, 2013

African Trypanosomiasis is a fatal parasitic disease of humans and livestock in sub-Saharan Africa. No vaccines exist and other control strategies in place are not sustainable over the long term. Understanding the mechanisms that allow or prevent establishment of infections in humans might lead to novel disease control strategies. In this talk we will consider three closely related trypanosomes, and highlight the significant challenges we face in attempting to understand human infectivity.

paul marienthalPAUL MARIENTHAL
Dean for Social Action & Director of the Trustee Leader Scholar (TLS) Program, Bard College

Our Hands Are a Gift Of The Sun
August 14, 2013

This riff on Matthew Crawford’s Shop Class as Soulcraft is a sermon on the importance of our hands, their indistinguishability from our minds…and how techno, industrial, management culture has helped many to forget this.

eban goodsteinEBAN GOODSTEIN
Director, Bard Center for Environmental Policy

Free to Choose: Will Miami Drown, and What Does it Mean to Me?
August 15, 2013

Journalist Jeff Goodell, quoted in a Rolling Stone article this summer: ““Goodbye, Miami: By century’s end, rising sea levels will turn the nation’s urban fantasyland into an American Atlantis. But long before the city is completely underwater, chaos will begin”.
Does this have to be the future (for Miami, and New York, and Shanghai, and Buenos Aires, and Venice, and London)? And what does this mean for the way we all live our lives today? This talk will focus on fatalism, activism, and global warming.

roger-berkowitzROGER BERKOWITZ
Academic Director, Hannah Arendt Center for Politics and Humanities, Associate Professor of Politics, Philosophy, and Human Rights, Bard College

The Singularity and the Human Condition
August 15, 2013

The Singularity is a word signifying the coming moment when human beings evolve into a higher form of life by merging with the technologies we create. If you believe futurists like Ray Kurzweil, the time of the Singularity is near. But even if you doubt that humans and machines will merge, it is a fact that machines are increasingly taking on tasks and making judgments that were once the province of humans. From drones in war to computer trading on Wall Street and from Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) to the computerization of medicine, machines are replacing humans not just on assembly lines but in quintessentially human activities. Robots are even caring for elderly patients and creating art—quintessentially human activities. The question we need to ask is: what will it mean to be human in an increasingly inhuman age? This is a question Hannah Arendt addressed directly over 50 years ago in her book The Human Condition. This talk explores Arendt’s understanding of the question and the outline of her response.


The Bard Festival Chorale directed by JAMES BAGWELL, with narrator Kathleen Chalfant, vocal soloists Jennifer Larmore, Gordon Gietz, Sean Panikkar, and John Relyea.
The American Symphony Orchestra, conducted by LEON BOTSTEIN, President of Bard College and Leon Levy Professor in the Arts and Humanities

Stravinsky’s Turn to Classical Greece: Oedipus Rex
August 17, 2013

When Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971) composed his Oedipus Rex in 1926-27 it marked a high point in his engagement with mythology of Classical Greece and with a compositional style known as “Neo-Classicism.” In this final dress rehearsal, students heard what Stravinsky called an “opera-oratorio,” narrated in English and sung in Latin.

mcneill_sm-140x150DAVID McNEILL
Professor of Philosophy at the University of Essex, England

Antigone, Choice and Moral Agency
August 19, 2013

In Sophocles’ Antigone, Antigone never represents herself as choosing to bury her brother. The burial is something she will do and must do, but not something she chooses to do. She does, however, by her own report, make a choice: she chooses to be dead. This choice defines her in opposition to her sister’s choice to live. It is also an act of Antigone choosing herself as defined by her obligation to “her own,” prior to any conscious decision to tend her brother’s corpse. This talk will focus on Sophocles’ representation of Antigone’s choice as a meditation on the possibility or impossibility of moral choice as such.

TLS logo
Professor of Philosophy, Bard College
Editor of La Voz
Professor of International Law and Human Rights, Bard College
Bard undergraduate, participant in the Palestinian Youth Initiative 2013

Panel discussion on education and social justice projects at Bard: The Human Rights Program, the Prison Initiative, the Palestinian Youth Initiative, and La Voz
August 22, 2013

While Bard College is certainly “a place to think,” it is also a place where students are encouraged to be engaged citizens, and where innovative ideas about education and social justice have been nurtured and have led to the founding of unique programs and projects that have social and political implications far beyond the Annandale campus. This panel showcases several of these initiatives—some of them founded by Bard students during their undergraduate years–and invites participants and students to reflect on the relationship between academic study and social and political engagement.

tomatoesJOHN-PAUL SLIVA, of Bard Farm
SAUNDRA BALL, of Grazin’ Farm

Local Food Matters
August 20, 2013

A discussion among farmers about their own experience farming in the contemporary world, and specifically in the Hudson Valley, and their reflections on land, food, agricultural policy, and sustainability.

paul cadden-zimanskyPAUL CADDEN-ZIMANSKY
Assistant Professor of Physics, Bard College

Quantum Darwinism and the Limits of Visualizing the Physical World
August 21, 2013

As our theories of the physical world increase in explanatory power, the concepts they employ have become more abstract. This lecture will explain how some of the most counterintuitive concepts in contemporary physics are the result not of deliberate obfuscation on the part of scientists or an over-reliance on complex mathematics, but stem from inherent prejudices that humans have about reality and the constraints we are forced to adhere to in our intellectual endeavors.

marjorie_folkmanMARJORIE FOLKMAN
Dancer, Choreographer, and Visiting Assistant Professor of Dance, Bard College

Motion, Language & Thinking
August 22-23, 2013

In these collaborative workshops, relationships and antagonisms among language, text and movement are explored through group and individual moving and writing prompts.

Helena-Baillie-Tanya-GabrielianHELENA BAILLIE, violin,

Out of the Abyss: Stravinsky and Schnittke Reframe the Past in Pulcinella and Suite in the Old Style
August 23, 2013

In this concert lecture, Helena Baillie and Tanya Gabrielian explore how Igor Stravinsky and Alfred Schnittke recast music of the Baroque period through a 20th-century lens, using modern techniques such as irregular rhythmic patterns and chromaticism within the structure and tonality of 18th century music. After applying the constraints of Baroque forms through stylized dance patterns and the tonal progressions of a basso continuo, Stravinsky and Schnittke inserted subtle, playful and often ironic references to the language of 20th-century music, thus asserting their creative freedom within a narrowly established framework.