Upcoming Events: Humanities

Wed 8/5

Image - Who's Afraid of Opera? Exploring the Wonderful World of Music’

Who's Afraid of Opera? Exploring the Wonderful World of Music’s Grandest Art

Date: Wed, August 05, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With dramaturg with the SF Opera, Kip Cranna

Kip Cranna, Dramaturg, San Francisco Opera

This program is part of the 2015 Platforum series Music Matters, sponsored by Ernst & Young and the John and Marcia Goldman Foundation.

It’s glorious. It’s grand. It’s larger than life. It’s opera. San Francisco Opera’s longtime staff member Kip Cranna, a noted Bay Area music-appreciation speaker, offers an insider’s look at the world of opera and a whirlwind tour through opera’s 400-year long history, using video examples (with subtitles) to illustrate the evolution of this multi-faceted, fascinating and continuingly vital art. Music Matters

Mon 8/10

Image - Pythagoras Thought Music Matters

Pythagoras Thought Music Matters

Date: Mon, August 10, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With author George Hammond

George Hammond, Author, Conversations With Socrates and Rational Idealism

This program is part of the 2015 Platforum series Music Matters, sponsored by Ernst & Young and the John and Marcia Goldman Foundation.

Monday Night Philosophy understands thoroughly that music matters. Pythagoras (whom we all know from basic geometry) thought so, too – he is well known for having uncovered the mathematical ratios underlying musical harmonies. He was so taken with his discovery that he proclaimed "all is number," and that there is a divine harmony, a music of the spheres, caused by the planets racing around a central fire in perfectly circular orbits. This first idea led directly to the development of the lush harmonies that came to define European classical music. The second, while partially obfuscating the realities of our solar system, nevertheless inspired Ptolemy, Copernicus and Newton in their search for the physical truth of our universe. Join us for a conversation of where the excitement with sound all began.

Music Matters

Mon 8/17

Socrates Café

Date: Mon, August 17, 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 8/24

Image - Why Music Education Didn’t Disappear

Why Music Education Didn’t Disappear

Date: Mon, August 24, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM

Michael Hammond, Music Teacher, Berkeley Public Schools

This program is part of the 2015 Platforum series Music Matters, sponsored by Ernst & Young and the John and Marcia Goldman Foundation.

Under Proposition 13, music education in California elementary schools could have easily disappeared due to the lack of state funding. Fortunately, private funding has stepped up in many communities — for example, Berkeley’s 1986 local tax, the Berkeley Schools Excellence Project (BSEP). Almost $2 million of Berkeley’s funds for music and the visual performing arts came from the BESP this past year. Join us as Michael Hammond, a native of Berkeley’s public schools and current music teacher for the community, tells his stories of teaching music to Berkeley’s newest generation and making music matter in their lives.

Music Matters

Wed 8/26

Image - Mozart and Masonic Semiotics

Mozart and Masonic Semiotics

Date: Wed, August 26, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
With Mozart scholar Steven Machtinger

Steven Machtinger, Attorney; Violist; Independent Mozart Scholar

This program is part of the 2015 Platforum series Music Matters, sponsored by Ernst & Young and the John and Marcia Goldman Foundation.

Steven Machtinger and the London Quintet return to The Commonwealth Club for the Music Matters series, this time exploring how Mozart expressed Masonic attitudes toward death and immortality in the third movement of his "G minor String Quintet" of 1787. 

Music Matters

Thu 8/27

Image - Changing Times and Indian Classical Music

Changing Times and Indian Classical Music

Date: Thu, August 27, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM

Mahesh Kale, Indian Classical Music Performer and Theoretician

This program is part of the 2015 Platforum series Music Matters, sponsored by Ernst & Young and the John and Marcia Goldman Foundation.

Since the time of its evolution, a few thousand years ago, Indian classical music has undergone several changes in its form. Every time there was a social impact on Indian civilization, its classical music morphed beautifully, lending itself to the changing times. Kale's talk will touch upon how the music adapted itself to major social impacts right up to the recent times of globalization, which poses a new challenge to the music and its followers, yet continues to demonstrate how much music matters.

Music Matters

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

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.

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.