Upcoming Events: Humanities

Mon 8/11

Image - The Men's Story Project

The Men's Story Project

Date: Mon, August 11, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
Celebrates men’s beauty and humanity and stimulates dialogue.

Josie Lehrer, ScD, Founder/Director, Men’s Story Project; Senior Technical Specialist, Gender, Violence and Health, International Center for Research on Women

For this summer's August platforum series, Monday Night Philosophy highlights the Men's Story Project, a replicable storytelling and dialogue project in which men publicly share life stories that explore social ideas about masculinity, through the lens of their own experience. The MSP highlights men's stories that are less often heard, breaks the silence on issues including sexism, racism, homo/transphobia, ableism and violence, celebrates men’s beauty and humanity and stimulates critical dialogue on masculinities. The MSP aims to help expand the presence of genuine self-expression, health and justice in communities.

 

Tue 8/19

Image - It Was 50 Years Ago Today

It Was 50 Years Ago Today

Date: Tue, August 19, 2014
Time: 12:00 PM
An interactive outline of the Beatles' history and influence.

Dulais Rhys, Professional Musician

The Beatles, their songs and their musical revolution arrived in the Bay Area 50 years ago today for a concert at the Cow Palace. The Beatles’ final public performance was at Candlestick Park two years and 10 days later. Paul McCartney commemorates that show at the last-ever event scheduled at Candlestick Park just a few days before this lecture at the Club. Come hear Rhys, a Welsh musician, outline the Beatles' history, songs, influences, form, stylistic development and legacy with musical examples, pictures and audience interaction. Singing along will not be discouraged!

Image - Augustus is Dead! Latin is Not!

Augustus is Dead! Latin is Not!

Date: Tue, August 19, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM

Matt Davis, Latin Teacher, Miramonte High School

On this bimillennial anniversary of the death of the first Roman emperor, Augustus, we peer into the perennial popularity of a seemingly long-dead language. Davis heads the very popular (over 150 students) Latin program at Miramonte High School in Orinda, and he will share with us his passion for the classics that keeps his 21st-century students tapping out declensions of ancient verbs on their iPads. Who was Augustus? Was August named after him? Or vice versa? And why Latin? Why, indeed! Carpe diem and come hear why.

Mon 8/25

Image - The San Francisco LGBT Struggle for Freedom Revisited: Catholic Power an

The San Francisco LGBT Struggle for Freedom Revisited: Catholic Power and the Right to the City

Date: Mon, August 25, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM

Bill Issel, Professor of History Emeritus, San Francisco State University

The LGBT movement of the 20th century became one of the challenges to Catholic power that Walter Lippmann called "the acids of modernity." Bill Issel's new book, Church and State in the City, describes how, in San Francisco, the church and laypeople worked to make it a Catholic city. They wanted to make their city a place where residents would be secure against modernity's incursions. By the 1940s, Catholic power reached its zenith just as LGBT newcomers began demanding equal rights to the city. This story helps explain the city's robust opposition to LGBT activists' call for broader American freedoms in the 1950s and beyond.

Thu 9/4

Image - The West Without Water

The West Without Water

Date: Thu, September 04, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
Exploring the climate of the American West throughout history.

B. Lynn Ingram, Professor, Earth & Planetary Science and Geography, UC Berkeley; Co-author, The West Without Water
Frances Malamud-Roam, Senior Environmental Planner and Biologist, Caltrans; Co-author, The West Without Water
 
The West Without Water documents the tumultuous climate of the American West over 20 millennia, with tales of past droughts and deluges and predictions about the impacts of future climate change on water resources. Its authors ask the central questions of what is “normal” for the West, and whether the relatively benign climate of the past century will continue into the future. Their answers are derived by merging climate and paleoclimate research from a wide variety of sources.

Mon 9/8

Image - What Is It to Redeem Your Past? Some Lessons from Nietzsche and Kundera

What Is It to Redeem Your Past? Some Lessons from Nietzsche and Kundera

Date: Mon, September 08, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
Straight from Stanford's The Art of Living course.

Lanier Anderson, Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, Stanford University

Monday Night Philosophy focuses on the ancient issues raised by the human ability to remember our pasts. Should it exert a heavy burden upon the present, or light the way to a better future? Though neither extreme is commonly indulged, redeeming ourselves from our apparently unredeemable pasts does get a lot of cultural attention. Straight from Stanford's The Art of Living course, hear Professor Anderson's views on Friedrich Nietzsche's and Milan Kundera's insights into one version of redemption.

Tue 9/9

Image - The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan

The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan

Date: Tue, September 09, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
Creating the Reagan Revolution

Rick Perlstein, Author, The Invisible Bridge

The Invisible Bridge is a dazzling portrait of America on the verge of a nervous breakdown in the tumultuous 1970s. In the wake of Watergate, Nixon's resignation, congressional investigations of CIA assassinations and the chaotic end to the Vietnam War, Americans began thinking about their nation in a new way, as just one nation among many, no more providential than any other. But Ronald Reagan never got the message. Instead, he was reconstituting the conservative political culture we know now. Perlstein recalls that in America's bicentennial year, that temporary vision of patriotism rooted in a sense of American limits was quickly derailed by the rise of the smiling politician from Hollywood.

Thu 9/25

Image - Daring: My Passages

Daring: My Passages

Date: Thu, September 25, 2014
Time: 12:00 PM
An iconic guide for women and men seeking to have it all.
Gail Sheehy, Literary Journalist; Author, Daring: My Passages
 
Hear Gail Sheehy, author of the classic New York Times bestseller Passages, discuss her unguarded memoir, a thrilling tour of her trials and triumphs as a groundbreaking “girl” journalist starting in the 1960s, her growth into an iconic guide for women and men seeking to have it all and one of the premier political profilers of modern times.

Mon 10/6

Image - The Island of Knowledge: The Limits of Science and the Search for Meanin

The Island of Knowledge: The Limits of Science and the Search for Meaning

Date: Mon, October 06, 2014
Time: 12:00 PM

Marcelo Gleiser, Author, The Island of Knowledge; Professor of Physics and Astronomy, Dartmouth College

To be human is to want to know, but what we are able to observe is only a tiny portion of what’s “out there.” Brazilian theoretical physicist Marcelo Gleiser traces our search for answers to the most fundamental questions of our existence and reaches a provocative conclusion: science, the main tool we use to find answers, is fundamentally limited. Our tools of exploration limit the precision of our perceptions, and the nature of physical reality (the speed of light, the uncertainty principle, the impossibility of seeing beyond the cosmic horizon, the incompleteness theorem) just adds to our own limitations as an intelligent species. These limitations, though, constitute neither a deterrent to progress nor a surrender to religion. Rather, they free us to question the meaning and nature of the universe while affirming the central role of life and ourselves in it.

Mon 10/13

Dryden Liddle

Emperor Augustus: A Force for Civilization

Date: Mon, October 13, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM
The man who made empire from republican disarray

Dryden Liddle, Ph.D.

Monday Night Philosophy remembers Emperor Augustus, who died 2,000 years ago on August 19, 14 A.D. This gifted and successful politician seized power ruthlessly and was declared the savior of the Roman Republic even as he was abolishing it. He ruled as an autocrat but maintained the fiction that he was no more than the Republic’s First Citizen. His 40-year reign was Rome’s Golden Age, when a new imperial government inspired institutions to be established, and art, architecture and literature to flourish, creating a prosperous civilization that lasted for centuries.

Thu 10/23

Image - The Return of George Washington

The Return of George Washington

Date: Thu, October 23, 2014
Time: 6:00 PM

Edward Larson, Author, The Return of George Washington; Professor of History, Pepperdine University

Did George Washington retire to Mount Vernon after winning the Revolutionary War? Did he stay out of politics until he was drafted to become the first president? Edward Larson argues that, during his so-called "lost period," George Washington remained the indispensable person behind the movement toward a stronger union based on a constitution. Come hear how this founding father quietly worked behind the scenes to lay a secure foundation for our long-lived democracy.

Tue 11/4

Image - Founders' Son: A Life of Abraham Lincoln (MLF)

Founders' Son: A Life of Abraham Lincoln (MLF)

Date: Tue, November 04, 2014
Time: 12:00 PM
Lincoln's life as a struggle to carry on the work of the Founding Fathers.

Richard Brookhiser, Historian

Abraham Lincoln turned to Washington, Paine and Jefferson for knowledge, guidance, inspiration and purpose. He brought their vision to bear on the Civil War and the question of slavery. In Founders' Son, celebrated historian Richard Brookhiser presents Lincoln's life as a struggle to carry on the work of the Founding Fathers. From Lincoln’s humble origins in Kentucky to his assassination in D.C., Brookhiser shows us every side of the man: laborer, lawyer, congressman, president; storyteller, wit, lover of ribald jokes; depressive, poet, friend and visionary.

Wed 11/5

Go to Humanities West Book Discussion - A Most Dangerous Book: Tacitus's Germania from the Roman Empire to the Third Reich

Humanities West Book Discussion - A Most Dangerous Book: Tacitus's Germania from the Roman Empire to the Third Reich

Date: Wed, November 05, 2014
Time: 5:30 PM
A lucid account of the abuse of history.

Join us to discuss Harvard classics professor Christopher Krebs' lucid account of the abuse of history. Germania, written in 98 C.E. by the Roman official Tacitus, was lost for centuries but resurfaced around 1500. It launched a primitivist myth of ancient Germans as freedom-loving warriors, uncultured but honorable, in contrast with decadent Romans. In fact, Tacitus probably never visited Germany. He wrote for a Roman audience that shared his romantic view of northern barbarians. But enthusiastic German readers from Luther to Himmler ignored Tacitus's disparaging comments and misread passages to confirm their prejudices. Krebs warns against this irresistible human yearning to find written proof of one's ideology. Lynn Harris will lead the discussion.

Fri 11/7

Image - The Crusades of Cesar Chavez

The Crusades of Cesar Chavez

Date: Fri, November 07, 2014
Time: 12:00 PM

Miriam Pawel, Author, The Crusades of Cesar Chavez

On November 9, 1984, at the invitation of then-President Shirley Temple Black, Cesar Chavez gave a memorable lecture at the Club. To celebrate its 30th anniversary, Pulitzer-Prize-winning journalist Miriam Pawel will describe the details of the complex life of Chavez, one of the great iconic leaders of the 20th century, one of the most celebrated Latinos in U.S. history and one of the most effective labor organizers California has ever seen. Now that Chavez is once again the focus of public attention, a balanced view of his contributions and his difficulties is all the more valuable.

Wed 11/19

Image - Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 2: The Difficulty of Speaking the Tr

Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 2: The Difficulty of Speaking the Truth

Date: Wed, November 19, 2014
Time: 12:00 PM

Harriet Elinor Smith, Editor

Mark Twain wanted to write a completely candid autobiography, without "shirkings of the truth,” so he decided to speak from the grave 100 years after his death. The Mark Twain Papers Project at the Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley has fulfilled that desire. Editor Smith will discuss Twain's numerous observations about the difficulty of speaking the truth, and the strategies he adopted to remove his inhibitions, illustrating her talk with passages he suppressed during his lifetime. Come hear Mark Twain's "whole, frank mind" highlighted by his characteristic blend of humor and ire.

Wed 2/4

Go to Humanities West Book Discussion: Two Lives of Charlemagne, by Einhard and the Monk of St. Gall (MLF)

Humanities West Book Discussion: Two Lives of Charlemagne, by Einhard and the Monk of St. Gall (MLF)

Date: Wed, February 04, 2015
Time: 5:30 PM
The Holy Roman emperor and “father of Europe.”

Join us to discuss the life of Charlemagne, the Holy Roman emperor and “father of Europe.” One biography we’ll look at is by Einhard, who joined the royal court in 791 to serve as an epic poet, mathematician and architect. His work is believed to be the most accurate portrayal of Charlemagne and the finest biography of its time. This edition also contains the highly anecdotal "life" of Charlemagne, penned by the Monk of Saint Gall, whose accuracy is scorned but whose witty tales keep popping up in modern biographies. Lynn Harris will lead the discussion.

Wed 3/4

Go to Humanities West Book Discussion - The Song of Roland

Humanities West Book Discussion - The Song of Roland

Date: Wed, March 04, 2015
Time: 5:30 PM
A Classical epic that glorifies the heroism of Charlemagne.

Join us to discuss The Song of Roland, the anonymous classical epic that glorifies the heroism of Charlemagne in the 778 battle between the Franks and the Moors. Lynn Harris will lead the discussion.

Mon 3/16

Image - The Amazons

The Amazons

Date: Mon, March 16, 2015
Time: 6:00 PM
Were these ancient warrior women fact or fiction?

Adrienne Mayor, Research Scholar, Classics and History and Philosophy of Science, Stanford University

Amazons – fierce warrior women dwelling on the fringes of the known world – were the mythic archenemies of the ancient Greeks. Heracles and Achilles dueled Amazon queens, and Cyrus of Persia, Alexander the Great and Pompey each tangled with them. But who were these bold barbarian archers on horseback? Were Amazons real? Mayor's is the first comprehensive account of warrior women in myth and history across the ancient world, including new archaeological discoveries of battle-scarred female skeletons buried with their weapons. Mayor argues that a timeless search for a balance between the sexes explains the allure of the Amazons and reminds us that there were as many Amazon love stories as there were war stories.