Upcoming Events: Humanities

Wed 2/17

Image - Chris Jennings, by Terri Loewenthal

Paradise Now

Date: Wed, February 17, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM

Chris Jennings, Author, Paradise Now

Many wonder what the future will look like. A few visionaries try to recreate it. Jennings explores the golden age of American utopianism through the lens of five bold and eccentric dreamers who, in the wake of the Enlightenment and the onset of industrialism, confronted the messiness and injustice of a rapidly changing world.

Jennings reveals the worlds of the Shaker prophet Mother Ann Lee, the Welsh industrialist Robert Owen, the French visionary Charles Fourier, the French communist radical Étienne Cabet, and John Humphrey Noyes, the Vermonter who created New York’s Oneida Community. Each utopian movement fell apart, but their galvanizing ideas still influence our culture and inspire imitators.

Thu 2/25

Image - Custers Trials

Custer's Trials

Date: Thu, February 25, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM

T. J. Stiles, Author, Custer's Trials

This program is part of the Good Lit series, underwritten by the Bernard Osher Foundation.

In his biography of George Armstrong Custer, T. J. Stiles—winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award—demolishes Custer’s historical caricature by focusing on how he lived, rather than how he died. A celebrity at 23, controversial at 26, Custer immersed himself in the making of the modern United States—as a professional soldier, politician, popular writer, outdoorsman, and financier—yet he could never adapt to the times he helped to create.

Stiles paints an intimate portrait of a volatile public figure, highlighting the women who surrounded him, as he finds surprising new significance in a life that stretched from West Point to Wall Street to the Western frontier. 

Mon 2/29

Humanities West Book Discussion: Will of the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare, by Stephen Greenblatt

Date: Mon, February 29, 2016
Time: 5:00 PM

Join us to discuss Stephen Greenblatt's influential and insightful book, Will of the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare. The discussion will be led by Lynn Harris.

Socrates Café

Date: Mon, February 29, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM

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 3/14

Image - George Hammond

Thomas More's Utopian Humor: The 500th Anniversary

Date: Mon, March 14, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM

George Hammond, Author, Rational Idealism

Monday Night Philosophy erases 500 years and takes you back to Antwerp in 1516, where a young British diplomat, Thomas More, cools his heels during a diplomatic mission to Bruges by entertaining his friends Erasmus and Pieter Gillis with fanciful tales of the discovery of the island of Utopia ("no place"). The traveler, Raphael Hythlodaeus ("archangel nonsense"), narrates his tale of discovery just 24 years after Columbus sailed to the Caribbean. But philosophical and ironical gold are the treasures of Utopia. The gold Columbus sought is dismissed so thoroughly that Utopians use it to make toilets. Enjoy a glimpse of late medieval humanist humor, before Henry VIII ruined all the fun.

Mon 3/28

Humanities West Book Discussion: Don Quixote, by Cervantes

Date: Mon, March 28, 2016
Time: 5:00 PM

Join us to discuss Cervantes’ classic novel Don Quixote. We will be using the Edith Grossman translation. If anyone has a windmill to bring in, we will all tilt our lances at it. The discussion will be led by Lynn Harris.

Socrates Café

Date: Mon, March 28, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM

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 4/11

Gamechanging California Elections

Date: Mon, April 11, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM

Steve Swatt, Former Political Journalist, United Press International and KCRA TV Sacramento
Susie Swatt, Former Key Staffer, California Legislature; Former Special Assistant, California Fair Political Practices Commission
Jeff Raimundo, Former Political Reporter, Sacramento Bee and McClatchy Newspapers
Rebecca LaVally, Instructor, Sacramento State University; Former Sacramento Bureau Chief, United Press International

Monday Night Philosophy investigates California election history with the authors of the award-winning Game Changers: Twelve Elections That Transformed California. They will discuss the elections and political trends which had the greatest impact on California history, and how they continue to shape our lives and the current political landscape. Drawing from primary sources and new interviews, each chapter explores one election, from Leland Stanford's gubernatorial race to Gray Davis's recall, revealing the forces behind the choices made at the polls and their effects upon the intricate game played in Sacramento.

Mon 4/25

Image - The Commonwealth Club of California

Humanities West Book Discussion: How the Irish Saved Civilization

Date: Mon, April 25, 2016
Time: 5:00 PM

Join us to discuss Thomas Cahill's book How the Irish Saved Civilization. In his entertaining and compelling narrative, Cahill tells the story of how Europe evolved from the classical age of Rome to the medieval era and argues that, without the help of Irish monks and Irish culture, that transition could not have taken place. Discussion led by Lynn Harris. 

Socrates Café

Date: Mon, April 25, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM

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 5/9

Image - Spain in Our Hearts

Spain in Our Hearts

Date: Mon, May 09, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM

Adam Hochschild, Author, Spain in Our Hearts

Monday Night Philosophy follows award-winning author Adam Hochschild deep into the three crucial years in the 1930s when the Spanish Civil War dominated headlines in America and around the world. Volunteers rushed to help Spain’s democratically elected government fight off an uprising by right-wing army officers heavily backed by Hitler and Mussolini. Adam Hochschild brings alive a group of men and women who lived through this painful and dramatic period: a few are familiar figures like Hemingway and Orwell; others, until now, have been completely unknown.

Tue 5/17

Image - Jojo Capece

Portofino Souvenir

Date: Tue, May 17, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM

Jojo Capece, Author, Portofino Souvenir

Jojo Capece returns to the Club to speak about Portofino Souvenir, her third novel. Set in magnificent Portofino, Italy, Jojo's latest focuses on la dolce vita, marriage Italian-style, millions and billions of laundered Euros, confiscated art and intrigue. Embedded in the novel is the true story of Countess Francesca Agusta, one of Europe's wealthiest women, whose mysterious death illuminates the truth that being one of the 1 percent can be deadly.

Thu 5/19

Image - Nancy Unger

The Unexpected Belle La Follette: Progressive Model for 2016

Date: Thu, May 19, 2016
Time: 6:00 PM

Nancy C. Unger, Author, Belle La Follette

This program is part of our Good Lit series, underwritten by the Bernard other Foundation.

In her new book Belle La Follette: Progressive Era Reformer, Nancy C. Unger reveals some surprising truths about this radical reformer (1859-1931) denounced as “disgraceful to the white race.” La Follette fought for votes for women, peace, civil rights … and more. Come discover, through a richly illustrated presentation, the progressive activist hailed by The New York Times as "perhaps the least known, yet the most influential of all the American women who have had to do with public affairs in this country."

Mon 5/23

Socrates Café

Date: Mon, May 23, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM

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 6/20

Socrates Café

Date: Mon, June 20, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM

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 7/18

Socrates Café

Date: Mon, July 18, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM

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 8/29

Socrates Café

Date: Mon, August 29, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM

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 9/26

Socrates Café

Date: Mon, September 26, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM

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 10/24

Socrates Café

Date: Mon, October 24, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM

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 11/21

Socrates Café

Date: Mon, November 21, 2016
Time: 6:30 PM

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.