Upcoming Events: Humanities

Thu 9/10

Image - Analyzing Police Encounters with the Public: Some Methods for Reducing t

Analyzing Police Encounters with the Public: Some Methods for Reducing the Use of Force

Date: Thu, September 10, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
Examining research into techniques to diffuse explosive situations

Geoffrey Raymond, Professor and Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Sociology, UC Santa Barbara
Nikki Jones, Professor of African American Studies, UC Berkeley

Police encounters with suspects and protesters ripped straight from the headlines of 2015 give the impression of an unavoidable descent into violence and chaos. However, the timely research of Professors Raymond and Jones show a way forward. Their results make it clear that various methods have been developed and successfully implemented that both reduce police overreaction during dangerous situations and diminish the tendency for such situations to get out of hand to begin with.

Mon 9/14

Image - Crime and Punishment

Crime and Punishment

Date: Mon, September 14, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With author and former SFPD and FBI agent John Mindermann

John Mindermann, Author, In Pursuit

Monday Night Philosophy arrests your attention with John Mindermann’s insights from his book In Pursuit (co-authored with Brian Solon). Gathered from nearly a decade on the SFPD and his career as an FBI agent, the book details his riveting experiences, including June 17, 1972, when Mindermann just happened to be called in to investigate a burglary at the Watergate complex. You cannot get any closer to history than this.

Mon 9/28

Humanities West Book Discussion: Dante’s Divine Comedy (Books 1 & 2)

Date: Mon, September 28, 2015
Time: 5:00 PM
With discussion led by Lynn Harris

Join us for a discussion of hell and purgatory within Dante’s Divine Comedy, led by Lynn Harris. The Clive James’s translation will be used, which was decades in the making and renders the entire epic as a coherent and compulsively readable lyric poem. Yet the translation reproduces the same wonderful momentum of the original Italian, propelling the reader along the pilgrim’s path from hell to heaven, from despair to revelation.

Socrates Café

Date: Mon, September 28, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Discussion of philosophical issues.

On one Monday evening of every month the Humanities Forum sponsors Socrates Café at The Commonwealth Club. Each meeting is devoted to the discussion of a philosophical topic chosen at that meeting. The group's facilitator, John Nyquist, invites participants to suggest topics, which are then voted on. The person who proposed the most popular topic is asked to briefly explain why she or he considers that topic interesting and important. An open discussion follows, and the meeting ends with a summary of the various perspectives participants expressed. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Tue 10/6

Image - Strange Tools: Art and Human Nature

Strange Tools: Art and Human Nature

Date: Tue, October 06, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With professor Alva Noë

Alva Noë, Professor of Philosophy, UC Berkeley; Author, Strange Tools: Art and Human Nature

What is art? Why do we value art as we do? What does art reveal about our nature? Alva Noë offers new answers to these questions through his book Strange Tools, which makes provocative use of examples in philosophy, art history and cognitive science. Listen to Noë explain why recent efforts to frame questions about art in terms of neuroscience and evolutionary biology alone have been, and will continue to be, unsuccessful.

Mon 10/12

Living in the Material World

Living in the Material World: The Future of the Humanities

Date: Mon, October 12, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With Professor Caroline Winterer

Caroline Winterer, Director and Anthony P. Meier Family Professor in the Humanities, Stanford Humanities Center; Professor of History and of Classics at Stanford University
Russell Hancock, Pianist, Saint Michael Trio, and President and CEO of Joint Venture Silicon Valley
Judy Salter, Board Member, Cal Humanities, and former President and CEO of Turtle Bay Exploration Park

The runaway success of material culture in the last two centuries has often overshadowed the pursuit of subtler, more humane forms of happiness and understanding. Recently even the great universities, the last strongholds of liberal education, have been struggling to define the value of critical thinking next to career building. How will these subtler pursuits survive the cultural onslaught of materialism? Join us for another panel discussion of how to live humanely in the 21st century.

Thu 10/22

Image - Civil Saints and Civic Pride in the Renaissance City-State

Civil Saints and Civic Pride in the Renaissance City-State

Date: Thu, October 22, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With assistant professor Mary Doyno

Mary Harvey Doyno, Assistant Professor, Humanities and Religious Studies, CSU Sacramento

Campanilismo is the Italian term for civic pride, something that was a quintessential part of life in Italian city-states during the Renaissance. During this time, the city-state provided a crucial piece of identity: a person was a Sienese, Florentine or Venetian above all else, and the veneration of a city’s patron saint was key when creating this all-encompassing civic identity. Join us as Doyno explains how the Italian Renaissance society was championing a return to an ancient, pre-Christian worldview, while at the same time creating complex civil religions steeped in devotion to Christian saints.

Mon 10/26

Humanities West Book Discussion: Dante’s Divine Comedy (Book 3)

Date: Mon, October 26, 2015
Time: 5:00 PM

Join us to discuss paradise within Dante’s Divine Comedy with discussion leader Lynn Harris. The Clive James’s translation will be used, which took decades to finish and renders the entire epic as a coherent and compulsively readable lyric poem. The translation reproduces the same wonderful momentum of the original Italian, propelling the reader along the pilgrim’s path, from hell to heaven, from despair to revelation.

Socrates Café

Date: Mon, October 26, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Discussion of philosophical issues.
On one Monday evening of every month the Humanities Forum sponsors Socrates Café at The Commonwealth Club. Each meeting is devoted to the discussion of a philosophical topic chosen at that meeting. The group's facilitator, John Nyquist, invites participants to suggest topics, which are then voted on. The person who proposed the most popular topic is asked to briefly explain why she or he considers that topic interesting and important. An open discussion follows, and the meeting ends with a summary of the various perspectives participants expressed. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Wed 11/4

Travels in France with Terrance

Date: Wed, November 04, 2015
Time: 12:00 PM
Sample the varied richness of France

Terrance Gelenter, Author, Travels in France with Terrance and Paris par Hasard: from Bagels to Brioches

Join Terrance Gelenter to sample the varied richness of France – food, wine and culture. His travels have taken him from the green, rain-soaked pastures of Normandy, providing cheese and butter for both eating and cooking, to the confit de canard and goose fat of the southwest, to Provence where olive oil is king. Gelenter often has a smile on his face when he pinches himself to make sure that his life isn’t a dream.

Mon 11/9

America's Future Role in Global Security

Date: Mon, November 09, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
Monday Night Philosophy revisits America’s foreign policy

Eugene Gholz, Stanley Kaplan Visiting Professor of American Foreign Policy, Williams College
David M. Kennedy, Donald J. McLachlan Professor of History Emeritus, Stanford University; Author, Freedom From Fear: The American People in Depression and War (Pulitzer Prize)
Kori Schake, Research Fellow, Hoover Institution

Monday Night Philosophy revisits America’s foreign policy. The United States a neutral nation for 150 years after its inception, observing George Washington’s “Great Rule.” Following the Truman Doctrine, some argue that the U.S. has acted as the world's policeman for the past 70 years. Are we ready for a third phase of American history? Is the global community ready? The panelists will debate questions and possibilities regarding the U.S. as an empire or an umpire for the rest of the world, raised in the forthcoming PBS documentary, American Umpire, based upon the book by Elizabeth Cobbs.

Tue 11/10

Patient Safety: Get the Diagnosis Right

Date: Tue, November 10, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
Join the discussion with medical experts

Elizabeth McGlynn, Ph.D., Director, Center for Effectiveness and Safety Research, Kaiser Permanente
Urmimala Sarkar, M.D., MPH, Associate Professor of Medicine, UCSF
Kathryn McDonald, M.M., Executive Director, Center for Health Policy and the Center for Primary Care and Outcomes Research, Stanford University
George Lundberg, M.D., Professor, Pathology, Health Research Policy, Stanford University; Editor-at-Large, Medscape; Founder, The Lundberg Institute – Moderator

Modern medical science accepts it as fact that no one can know absolute medical truth. It is understood that diagnoses act as shortcuts for quickly conveying a common understanding of what certain symptoms imply about a body's state of health. But diagnostic errors can be as lethal as therapeutic errors. The fifth annual Lundberg Institute Lecture welcomes three panelists from the National Academy of Medicine's Committee on Diagnostic Error in Health Care. They will discuss current knowledge of the dangers of false diagnoses in terms of its economic and personal costs. Join the discussion with medical experts focusing on how to improve diagnostic clarity and effectiveness.

Mon 11/16

Socrates Café

Date: Mon, November 16, 2015
Time: 5:00 PM
Discussion of philosophical issues.

On one Monday evening of every month the Humanities Forum sponsors Socrates Café at The Commonwealth Club. Each meeting is devoted to the discussion of a philosophical topic chosen at that meeting. The group's facilitator, John Nyquist, invites participants to suggest topics, which are then voted on. The person who proposed the most popular topic is asked to briefly explain why she or he considers that topic interesting and important. An open discussion follows, and the meeting ends with a summary of the various perspectives participants expressed. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Mon 12/21

Socrates Café

Date: Mon, December 21, 2015
Time: 6:30 PM
Discussion of philosophical issues.
On one Monday evening of every month the Humanities Forum sponsors Socrates Café at The Commonwealth Club. Each meeting is devoted to the discussion of a philosophical topic chosen at that meeting. The group's facilitator, John Nyquist, invites participants to suggest topics, which are then voted on. The person who proposed the most popular topic is asked to briefly explain why she or he considers that topic interesting and important. An open discussion follows, and the meeting ends with a summary of the various perspectives participants expressed. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Mon 1/11

Image - Values that Guide Healthcare Decisions

Values that Guide Healthcare Decisions

Date: Mon, January 11, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM
A critical component of end-of-life choices

Mileva Saulo Lewis, Ed.D., RN, Associate Professor, Samuel Merritt University; Vice President, The Center for Medical Ethics and Mediation

The values that guide our medical treatment decisions become increasingly important when we face the sudden onset of a stroke or heart attack and become even more critical when we cannot speak for ourselves after serious trauma from a car accident or fall. Dr. Lewis' presentation draws on a values history approach developed at The Center for Medical Ethics and Mediation in San Diego, which examines the decision-making process and quality-of-life factors. It provides a way to shape and share health-care decisions with family and health-care providers, and to review or revise them as your health changes. It is a critical component of end-of-life choices.