Speaker Series

Click on underlined lecture titles to view videos.

Helena Baillie and Tanya Gabrielian
“Out of the Abyss: Stravinsky and Schnittke Reframe the Past in Pulcinella and Suite in the Old Style”

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. August 23, 2013

Bard Conservatory

Franz Schubert’s Octet

An open rehearsal and discussion. “An hour in length, this is a chamber music epic….Archduke Rudolph’s chief steward had requested it to be ‘exactly like Beethoven’s Septet’, an intimidating order which inspired the choice of instrumentation (with added second violin), and six-movement structure. Both revive the art of the divertimento, but Schubert’s feast of song and dance has an undeniably Romantic quality.” August 14, 2014

Bard Festival Chorale
“Stravinsky’s Turn to Classical Greece: Oedipus Rex”

Directed by James Bagwell, with narrator Kathleen Chalfant, vocal soloists Jennifer Larmore, Gordon Gietz, Sean Panikkar, and John Relyea, and the American Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Leon Botstein, President of Bard College and Leon Levy Professor in the Arts and Humanities

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 will get to hear what Stravinsky called an “opera-oratorio,” narrated in English and sung in Latin. August 17, 2013

Roger Berkowitz
Academic Director, The Hannah Arendt Center for Politics and the Humanities, Associate Professor of Political Studies and Human Rights

“The Singularity and the Human Condition” August 20, 2014 and 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.

“Freedom and Presidential Leadership” August 16, 2012 (no video available)

“Truthtelling in an Age Without Facts” August 15, 2011

“Earth Alienation from Galileo to Google”

In The Human Condition, Hannah Arendt distinguishes humans from animals by their ability to create artificial worlds. Without the power of artifice, humans would be at the mercy of nature, thus no different from animals. The problem that confronts man in the 20th and now 21st centuries, Arendt explains, is that we face the danger that we might so fully create and make our artificial world that we endanger that quality of human life which is subject to fate, nature, and chance. She names this danger earth alienation, which she argues has its beginnings with Gallileo’s discovery of the telescope. In this talk, I explore the origin and meaning of earth alienation from Gallileo to Google. August 16, 2010

Jonah Bokaer
Choreographer, Dancer

“RECESS” Jonah Bokaer and Daniel Arsham, in collaboration with the performers.

RECESS is a collaboration between visual artist Daniel Arsham and choreographer and media artist Jonah Bokaer. RECESS is a site-specific work that challenges architectural space through the in situ implementation of choreography, objects, to challenge perceptual assumptions between these forces. In their work together, the artists create a score around the following words: Collapse- Expansion- Explosion- Single/Multiple- Rational form versus natural form- Time- Broken time- Rules / Broken Rules August 13, 2010

“About ECLIPSE” —Jonah Bokaer, Choreographer, and Anthony McCall, Media Artist

Bokaer and McCall discuss their collaboration on a new work, ECLIPSE, which for its premiere in September, 2012 had the distinction of being the first production to be staged at the new Fishman Space at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. August 21, 2012

Leon Botstein
President of the College and Leon Levy Professor in the Arts and Humanities, Bard College

President Botstein led the American Symphony Orchestra in an open rehearsal of Psalm 92, D953 by Franz Schubert and Rendering by Luciano Berio. Friday, August 15, 2014

“Saint-Saëns: Open Rehearsal and Conductor’s Talk”
President Botstein lectured to the students before leading the American Symphony Orchestra in an open rehearsal of Saint-Saëns’s Le déluge, poème biblique and Lili Boulanger’s Psalm 130, “Du fond de l’abîme.” August 17, 2012

“Jean Sibelius: National Symbol, International Iconoclast” August 12, 2011
This lecture preceded an open rehearsal of the American Symphony Orchestra (not included in video)

Paul Cadden-Zimansky
Assistant Professor of Physics

“Einstein at the Center of the Universe: On the Specifics of General Theories”

The first decades of the 20th century witnessed Albert Einstein working to extend to the utmost the centuries old principle of relativity, a principle which strives to eliminate any privileged perspective from our explanations concerning the motions of physical objects. In this talk, I’ll describe the specific sacrifices of human intuition Einstein made in the service of this principle, and address the question of whether he succeeded in formulating a truly general theory of motion. August 21, 2014

“Quantum Darwinism and the Limits of Visualizing the Physical World” August 22, 2012 and 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.

John Cronin
Senior Fellow for Environmental Affairs, Pace Academy, New York

“The Imagined Environment”

Every great accomplishment begins with an act of the imagination, and then an act of courage to see it through.  Thinkers as diverse as Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Dr. Richard Feynman encourage us to dream large and boldly. But do we have the courage to imagine a different environmental future or are we defined by the very things we protest?
Co-sponsored by Bard’s Sustainability Council. August 18, 2014

The Daedalus Quartet

“Music, Modernism, Humanism: Alban Berg’s Lyric Suite”

A performance by the Daedalus Quartet and a talk by Leon Botstein, President of the College and Leon Levy Professor in the Arts and Humanities, August 12, 2010

Frans De Waal
C. H. Candler Professor of Primate Behavior, Emory University; Director, Living Links Center at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center

“Morality Before Religion: Empathy, Fairness and Prosocial Primates” August 10, 2011

Co-sponsored by Citizen Science and the Distinguished Scientist Lectures and the Bard Biology Program

In this lecture, the acclaimed author of Primates and Philosophers (2006) and The Age of Empathy (2009) shows how empathy comes naturally to a great variety of animals, including humans. By studying social behaviors in animals, such as bonding, the herd instinct, the forming of trusting alliances, expressions of consolation, and conflict resolution, de Waal demonstrates that animals ­and humans ­are preprogrammed to reach out, questioning the assumption that humans are inherently selfish. He argues that understanding empathy’s survival value in evolution can help to build a more just society based on a more accurate view of human nature.

Only the Question and Answer section of Professor de Waal’s lecture at Bard was recorded, which can be viewed here>>. Professor de Waal gave a similar lecture, albeit shorter, in 2011 at a TedX conference.

Michele Dominy
Dean of the College and Professor of Anthropology

“The Impact of the Concept of Culture”
An anthropological close reading of Clifford Geertz’s “The Impact of the Concept of Culture on the Concept of Man.” August 16, 2011

“Darwin and 21st Century Biology: Variation, Selection, and Diversity”
with Felicia Keesing, Associate Professor of Biology August 10, 2010


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

Daniel Berthold, Professor of Philosophy, Bard College, Mariel Fiori, Editor of La Voz, Peter Rosenblum, Professor of International Law and Human Rights, Bard College, and Zelda Bas, leader of Bard Palestinian Youth Initiative

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. August 14, 2013

Gidon Eshel
Bard Center Fellow in Physics, Math and Environmental Science

“Modeling Sustainability: The Human Unknown”

One of the biggest challenges humanity now confronts is anthropogenic (= brought about by human actions) climate change. Yet the enormity and urgency of the task at hand is only surpassed by the manifest unwillingness/inability of governments throughout the world to act. Can individuals change that? Do we even know what to do in case we decide to commit ourselves to change? In my talk, I will introduce the general idea of model building in the physical sciences, and quickly narrow the discussion to numerical models. I will then highlight some climate change related issues that can or are modeled, and what they tell us about the scope of game changing personal decisions open to us. August 23, 2010

Hearty Roots

“Local Food Matters”
A discussion among farmers about farming in the contemporary world, specifically in the Hudson Valley, and with a special emphasis on sustainability.

John-Paul Sliva, of Bard Farm
Paul Marienthal, Dean for Social Action & Director of the Trustee Leader Scholar (TLS) Program, Bard College
Ken Greene, of the Hudson Valley Seed Library
Norman Greig, of Greig Farm in Red Hook, NY
August 22, 2014

John-Paul Sliva, of Bard Farm
Saundra Ball, of Grazin’ Farm
Sarah Lyons Chase, Chaseholm Farm
August 20, 2013

John-Paul Sliva, of Bard Farm
Derrick Mead, of Mead Orchards
Ken Kleinpeter, of Glynwood Farms
Ben Shute, of Hearty Roots Farm
August 24, 2012

“Eating from the Place Where You Are: A Discussion with Local Farmers” August 17, 2011
Ben Shute of Hearty Roots Farm, Derrick Mead of Mead Orchards, Ken Kleinpeter of Glynwood Farm, Paul Marienthal, Associate Dean for Civic Engagement and Director of the Trustee Leader Scholar Program
A discussion among farmers about farming in the contemporary world, and specifically in the Hudson Valley, with a special emphasis on sustainability.

“Hudson Valley Foodshed: Who’s Doing the Work?” Tuesday August 17th, 2010
Kaycee Wimbish, of Awesome Farm, Ben Shute, of Hearty Roots Farm, Derrick Mead, of Mead Orchards, and Ken Kleinpeter, of Glynwood Farm
Young farmers face a particularly fierce confluence of obstacles as they work to start and sustain their farm operation here in the Hudson Valley, the headwaters of the capital of capital. Despite unprecedented demand for fresh, local, organic and gloriously colorful produce down in the city, in agriculture it is never a simple story of supply and demand. The complex set of relationships, processes and practices that play into the production of food are often overlooked in the glistening and glossy interface of “supermarket.” This panel will help clue you in to the backstory of the food grown by people who live nearby, and daily work land visible from a highway you may drive on everyday. It aims to enhance food literacy and introduce young people who have chosen to ‘be the change’ astride a tractor, instead of in a cubicle at the UN.

Kris Feder
Associate Professor of Economics, Bard College

“Economists on History (and the History of Economics)”

A common theme among these selections is that of rapid technical change. George (1879) reflects on the unprecedented rate of invention of the past century and asks why the countless labor-saving devices have not eradicated poverty. The average standard of living had risen, but the gap between rich and poor had so widened that the poor were now worse off than before, and the country was mired in depression.

A half century later, Keynes, writing after the onset of the Great Depression, ascribes it to growing pains–to the inability of institutions to adapt quickly enough to rapid technical change. A century hence, he predicts, humanity (at least in “progressive” countries, will have solved “the economic problem”–the struggle for subsistence that has up to now been the lot of all living things.

Hayek (1944) observes that rapid technological (and other) change brings the risk of loss for people who are free to choose their occupations. Spooked by the rise of socialism and Nazism, he warns that efforts to use government to protect individuals from such risks (to guarantee income stability) puts us on the “road to serfdom.”

What accounts for the rapidity of economic growth of recent centuries, after millennia of relative constancy? Keynes’ 100 years have nearly passed (2030). Has humankind just about solved “the economic problem”? Is the Golden Age upon us at last? If not, why not? And what are the prospects for the next 100 years? August 24, 2012

Marjorie Folkman
Dancer, Choreographer, and Visiting Assistant Professor of Dance, Bard College

“Motion, Language & Thinking”

In these collaborative workshops, relationships and antagonisms among language, text and movement are explored through group and individual moving and writing prompts. August 22 and 23, 2013

Tanya Gabrielian and Helena Baillie
“Out of the Abyss: Stravinsky and Schnittke Reframe the Past in Pulcinella and Suite in the Old Style”

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. August 23, 2013

Eban Goodstein
Director, Bard Center for Environmental Policy

“Free to Choose: Will Miami Drown, and What Does it Mean to Me?”

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. August 15, 2013

“Climate Change Avatars”

Tired of hearing 50+ year old white guys tell you that we screwed up the planet, that we’re sorry, but now you have to fix it? This talk will focus on the science, economics, and politics of global warming, and show how– if my 50+ generation will first deliver– then you really do face a brilliant opportunity to vastly enrich the future. August 20, 2010

Mark Hertsgaard
Independent Journalist and Author

“How Generation Hot Could Still Save the World… And Itself” August 22, 2011
with Eban Goodstein, Director of Bard Center for Environmental Policy as (discussant)

Philip Johns
Assistant Professor of Biology

“Bug Safari”

Arguably, the initial stage of any scientific exploration is observation. In this exercise, we will explore the local insect fauna on Bard’s campus, catch, handle, and identify a variety of insects, ask questions about their biology based on our observations, and design ways to answer our questions. August, 2010

Brooke Jude
Assistant Professor of Biology

“The Time of Cholera: History of an Infectious Disease”

Microbiology and microbial infectious diseases have played a significant role in shaping the fields of public health, epidemiology and microbiology. Cholera, caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae, was responsible for the formation of the first boards of health and was the first reportable disease to these boards. We’ll examine the illness of cholera and the organism causing it, the historical discoveries of Snow and Koch concerning V. cholerae, and how 21st century cholera outbreaks in many areas of the world drive the research for more effective treatment and prevention. August 19, 2010

Daniel Karpowitz
Daniel Karpowitz
Director of Policy and Academics for the Bard Prison Initiative;
Lecturer in Law and the Humanities

“The Paradox of Punishment” August 20, 2012

Felicia Keesing
Associate Professor of Biology, Bard College

“Climate Change, Insight, and Your Inner Fish: Freedom and Constraint in Science” August 15,2012

“Chocolate Makes You Fit and Preschool Keeps You Out of Jail: Why You Should Care About the Nature of Science”

Keesing will argue that knowing the three ways that scientific questions get answered is one of the most important skills you can learn in college. This knowledge has the potential to transform your understanding of politics, health care, economics, education, and, of course, science. August 18, 2011

“Evolution, Lyme Disease, and Biodiversity”

The world is in the midst of two global environmental crises — biodiversity loss and the rise of emerging infectious diseases. Surprisingly, recent evidence suggests that these two crises may in fact be linked by ecological and evolutionary processes. Beginning from the simplest biology, Professor Keesing will describe her work showing that the loss of biodiversity can lead to an increase in the transmission of Lyme disease. She will describe how the pattern seen in Lyme disease has now been found in numerous other human diseases, including schistosomiasis and West Nile virus encephalitis, as well as diseases of plants and wildlife. Finally, she will explain how knowledge of these processes can help us manage diseases to reduce risk. August 11, 2010

“Darwin and 21st Century Biology: Variation, Selection, and Diversity” August 10, 2010
with Michèle Dominy, Dean of the College and Professor of Anthropology

Max Kenner
Executive Director, Bard Prison Initiative

“Liberal Education and Freedom”
with NANCY LEONARD, Professor of English
A discussion about the Bard Prison Initiative and its engagement with both incarceration and liberal arts education in the United States. August 11, 2011

“Liberal Education and Freedom” Tuesday, August 17, 2010
with DANIEL BERTHOLD, Professor of Philosophy

Greg Landweber
Associate Professor and Chair of Mathematics

“Mathematics vs. Common Sense”

Mark Twain popularized the saying, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics”. If mathematics is, as most people see it, a search for the right answer or an absolute truth, how can it be used to misrepresent the truth? And why are we so gullible? This lecture will discuss several cases where mathematics is at odds with common sense, ranging from discussions in the media to classic mathematical puzzles. August 16, 2011

Joseph Luzzi
Associate Professor of Italian and Director of the Italian Studies Program, Bard College

Freedom and Constraint in Antonioni: Blow-Up between Text and Image

My talk will focus on how Michelangelo Antonioni explores our dialectic between “freedom and constraint” in his film Blow-Up, especially in its creative tension between the social and sexual revolution of the 1960s and the desire for “truth” and “evidence” in a world increasingly beholden to illusion and escapism. Considering both Antonioni’s film and the short story that inspired it, Julio Cortázar’s “The Devil’s Spittle,” we will discuss how Antonioni meditates on art’s capacity to reveal truth about lived experience in a way that more empirical modes of investigation fail to do, especially in the film’s portrayal of the transition from photographic still to cinematic narrative. Overall, our conversation will consider what I take to be an often overlooked aspect of Antonioni’s films: their sense of humanism and sharp sociopolitical analysis, hidden as it were in the incredible beauty of his rarefied aesthetic forms. August 22, 2014

Tanya Marcuse
Photographer and Visiting Associate Professor of First-Year Seminar, Bard College

“Undergarments and Armor”

Photographer Tanya Marcuse won a Guggenheim Fellowship to pursue her project Undergarments and Armor– she photographed corsets, helmets, cage crinolines and breastplates in archives in the U.S. and England. In this video Tanya discusses how she explores the theme of freedom and constraint in Undergarments and Armor and in her more recent projects as well. August 14, 2012

“Seeing and Knowing: Projects, 2006-present”

Tanya Marcuse discussed her three recent photography projects, Wax Bodies, Bountiful and Fallen in the context of the overarching concerns of her work. While the subjects in these projects differ, ranging from photographs of Italian wax anatomical models made at the height of the Enlightenment to her new allegorical series of fallen fruit, she continues to explore ideas of ephemerality and perception. August 18, 2011

paul marienthal
Paul Marienthal
Dean for Social Action & Director of the Trustee Leader Scholar (TLS) Program, Bard College

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

Dawn Lundy Martin
Poet, Associate Professor, Department of English, University of Pittsburgh

The Value of Forgetting and the Architecture of Desire

This speculative lecture in four acts investigates the relationship between “race” and innovative poetics or aesthetics.  What, it asks, can a poetics that values/enacts fracture, fissure, and a complication of the lyric “I” contribute to a contemporary understanding of the experiences of raced bodies in the social sphere? Using artist Kara Walker’s controversial works, Claudia Rankine’s hybrid writings, and M. Nourbese Philip’s ZONG!, this talk problematizes the assumed neutrality of whiteness and foregrounds the potential power of fractured subjectivities. What does it mean to know our “selves”? Is there a way to take the remains of a fractured subjectivity—the post-traumatic body, black bodies unjustly beaten or killed by police, other disposable bodies—and build forward toward an imagined future? Co-sponsored by the Difference and Media Project. August 21, 2014

Anthony McCall
Media Artist

“About ECLIPSE” —Jonah Bokaer, Choreographer, and Anthony McCall, Media Artist

Bokaer and McCall discuss their collaboration on a new work, ECLIPSE, which for its premiere in September, 2012 had the distinction of being the first production to be staged at the new Fishman Space at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. August 21, 2012

Sean McMeekin
Professor of History, Koç University, Istanbul (and incoming Professor of History, Bard College)

The War of 1914: An Avoidable Catastrophe

This lecture is on the outbreak of the First World War, why it did not have to happen as it did, and the consequences of the fact that it did break out. Sean McMeekin is the author of five books, including The Berlin-Baghdad Express. The Ottoman Empire and Germany’s Bid for World Power, The Russian Origins of the First World War, and most recently, July 1914: Countdown to War. August 12, 2014

David McNeil
Department of Philosophy, 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.

“Antigone’s Autonomy”

Shortly before she is led away to be buried alive for transgressing the edict forbidding the burial of her brother, Antigone, for the first time, apparently laments her fate. No one will sing a marriage hymn for her, she says, because her marriage is to Acheron. The chorus attempts to console her with the following words: “But, will you not have fame and praise when you depart into the depths of the bodies of the dead? You were not struck down by wasting diseases, nor did you pay the price of the sword, but autonomous, you are the only mortal who will go down alive into Hades.”

The chorus’ words contain the very first recorded instance of the word “autonomous” (autonomous), a law of the self. This is also the only early use of autonomous to refer not to either a self-governing political community or an individual as a member of such a community, but to something like what we think of autonomous agency, i.e. free, independent or self-legislating action. Strikingly, in the Antigone, ‘autonomy’ is explicitly related to Antigone’s uncanny relation to life and death. This paper will center on what we can learn about the Antigone by focusing on her transgressive action as an example of the virtue of autonomy, and what we can learn about the virtue of autonomy by reflecting on the Antigone. August 18, 2010

Walter Russell Mead
James Clarke Chace Professor of Foreign Affairs and Humanities at Bard College and Editor-at-Large of The American Interest magazine

American Power and the New World Disorder
Thursday, August 14, 2014

Fred Moten
Helen L. Bevington Professor of Modern Poetry, Duke University

“The Touring Machine: Flesh Thought Inside Out”

“The Touring Machine” explores some issues that emerge at the convergence of cognitive science (selfhood), political theory (sovereignty) and black poetics (slavery). August 23, 2012

Greg Moynahan
Associate Professor of History and Director of the Science, Technology, and Society Program, Bard College

History, Science, and Freedom in Kuhn’s Structure of Scientific Revolutions August 14, 2014 and 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.

History and Thomas Kuhn’s “Decisive Transformation of the Image of Science”

This talk investigates Thomas Kuhn’s short presentation “The Essential Tension” by placing it in the context of his classic book, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, and situating both in the broader modern history of science. August 16, 2012

Keith O’Hara
Assistant Professor, Computer Science

“On Computing and Simulation”

Simulation, and computation in general, play important roles in the science, engineering and art that shape our daily lives. Policy makers use computer models to support legislative decisions about climate change. Roommates foster long forgotten friendships, relay relationship statuses and tend virtual farms on Facebook. Is computer simulation fundamentally different than other methods of modeling and abstraction? Or is the digital computer “just another tool” to ask (and answer) “What if?” questions? In this lecture, we will discuss the many meanings of simulation, where, when and why it is used, and the role of computing transparency and literacy in a democratic, digital era. August 16, 2010

Screen Shot 2015-08-12 at 6.23.07 PM
Race in the Everyday


“Race in the Everyday: Activism, Social Justice, and Political Organizing”

How do we understand race in contemporary America, not only in light of the violence that has (finally) caught national headlines, but in terms of our own communities? What can ‘change-making’ or political action look like in our own neighborhood and local institutions? And how do we understand our own participation in relation to larger movements that are focused on racially-motivated violence, police brutality, and widespread social injustice? This panel of community leaders and experts from the region will address these questions with an emphasis on practical activity and student involvement.

Participants: [See vimeo link for speaker bios.]

Angela Armstrong
Micah Blumenthal
Alexandra Cox
Cedric Fulton
Nina Dawson

Savage, Amy
Amy Savage
Director, Citizen Science Program, Visiting Assistant Professor of Biology, Bard College

Human Infectivity in African Trypanosomes: Trying to Understand Evolution

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. August 13, 2013

Cate Shanahan
M.D., Nutritionist; Author of Deep Nutrition and Food Rules

“The Omega Generation: How Modern Foods Have Redefined What It Means to be Human”

Kids today rely on prescriptions and specialized care more than any generation in history. They’re suffering from diseases that used to be limited to adults, like diabetes and hypertension, and from novel disorders that have just recently emerged. This lecture explores how children’s bodies are adapting—or failing to adapt—to a diet far less rich than their parents have enjoyed growing up, and will demonstrate a pattern of facial and skeletal anatomic changes between their great-grandparents generation and their own. Attendees will learn how rebuilding a healthy relationship with food will help their own bodies work better and may be critical for long-term survival of the human race as currently defined. August 20, 2012

Lynne Tillman and Amy Sillman

A conversation about composition in painting and writing. Amy Sillman’s exhibition “One Lump or Two” is currently showing at the Hessel Museum/CCS. Lynne Tillman is the author of many books, including most recently the collection of short stories Someday This Will Be Funny and the collection of essays What Would Lynne Tillman Do?. She has written extensively on contemporary art. August 19, 2014

Becky Thomas
Associate Professor of Computer Science

“On Making Computers More Human”

In his new book, The Most Human Human, Brian Christian describes strategies for making a computer converse, human-style, and ways for human conversationalists to distinguish themselves from computer chatbots. In this talk, we’ll take a broader view of the project of making computers behave more like humans, and we’ll explore the questions: Is there any reason to make computers more like us? If so, what about us would we like our machines to emulate, and what about us do we explicitly NOT want our machines to emulate? How realistic is it to think that computers can be made more human? And should we be worried? August 17, 2011

Lynne Tillman and Amy Sillman

A conversation about composition in painting and writing. Amy Sillman’s exhibition “One Lump or Two” is currently showing at the Hessel Museum/CCS. Lynne Tillman is the author of many books, including most recently the collection of short stories Someday This Will Be Funny and the collection of essays What Would Lynne Tillman Do?. She has written extensively on contemporary art. August 19, 2014

Peter Wallace
Director, writer, sculptor, and former Chair of the Theater Program at Eugene Lang College of The New School University

Action, Pretence and Geography: How we create meaning in performance

A performance-based workshop using texts from the Language and Thinking anthology. August 13, 2014

Lawrence Weschler
Director, The New York Institute for the Humanities

“Art as a Way of Knowing” August 19, 2011

Nowadays, artists and scientists tend to think of their ways of probing the world as distinctly different. But such was not always the case (in fact the divide is only a few centuries old; think of Leonardo, think of the wonder cabinets of the seventeenth century). Nor may the differences be all that distinct or even real.

In a lecture originally developed for a conference sponsored by the National Science Foundation, longtime New Yorker writer Lawrence Weschler–director of the New York Institute for the Humanities at NYU (where the sciences are emphatically included as part of and central to the humanities) and author, among others, of Mr. Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonder and Everything that Rises: A Book of Convergences–will extrapolate on such themes, with side-meanders into the thinking of artists Robert Irwin and David Hockney (subjects of his two most recent books) and a whole new interpretation of Rembrandt’s Anatomy Lesson.