Whitney Podcasts

Our collection of podcasts is available for download on SoundCloud or iTunes U, under the Yale University Humanities section. You may listen to our featured podcasts in streaming mp3 format by following the links below:

Podcast Speaker(s) Date

“Slamlet” featuring Kate Tempest and Yale’s Teeth Slam Poets

Teeth Slam Poets, a spoken word poetry team at Yale University, present an evening of poems inspired by the works of William Shakespeare. The event features a guest performance by Kate Tempest, a London based spoken word artist. “Slamet” was presented as part of Shakespeare at Yale, a semester of events celebrating Shakespeare’s history and continued influence on contemporary culture. Ms. Tempest has performed extensively in Europe and the United States, and her work has received wide critical praise.

Kate Tempest


Adapted to a Symbolic Niche: How Less became more in Human Evolution

Terrence W. Deacon delivers a lecture on the neuroscience and development of the human capacity for language and musical perception. Prof. Deacon is the Chair of the Anthropology Department at the University of California at Berkeley. His research interests lie in the field of brain development and evolution, the origins of language, and bio-cultural evolution. Many of these interests are found in his book, The Symbolic Species: The Coevolution of Language and the Brain (1997). His lecture presented here, on the formation of human language and symbolic thought, is a part of the Shulman Lectures in Science and the Humanities delivered at the Whitney Humanities Center at Yale University.

Terrence William Deacon


For the Record: A Conversation Reflecting on Thirty Years of the Whitney Humanities Center

A conversation reflecting on thirty years of Yale’s Whitney Humanities Center with Peter Brooks, Founding Director, and Founding Fellows Kai Erikson, Geoffrey Hartman, and Robert Shulman is held as part of the Whitney’s 30th Anniversary celebration. In 1981, the Whitney Humanities Center began at Yale University under the new university presidency of A. Bartlett Giamatti. For this celebration of thirty year’s growth and activity at Yale, the WHC’s founding director and three of its founding fellows return to discuss and offer reflections on their experience both in the University at large and their place at the WHC within it, especially with regard to the role of the humanities in relation to the sciences in the undergraduate experience at Yale. Peter Brooks, Founding Director, is Sterling Professor Emeritus of Comparative Literature at Yale University and Andrew W. Mellon Scholar in the department of Comparative Literature and the Center for Human Values at Princeton. Kai Erikson is the William R. Kenen Jr. Professor Emeritus of Sociology and American Studies at Yale. Geoffrey Hartman is Sterling Professor Emeritus and Senior Research Scholar of English and Comparative Literature at Yale, and Robert Shulman is Professor Emeritus of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry and Senior Research Scientist in Diagnostic Radiology.

Peter Brooks, Kai Erikson, Geoffrey Hartman, Robert Shulman


The Alignment and Synchronization of Brain States Through Music

In this lecture, cognitive neuroscientist Jamshed Bharucha discusses the ways that music creates emotion and how these emotions work within human interactions and relationships. Professor Bharucha, who is also a classically trained violinist, has written extensively on the cognitive and neural underpinnings of music and has been awarded grants from the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health for his work. He began his academic career at Dartmouth College, where he was the John Wentworth Professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences. He also served as Associate Dean, Deputy Provost, and Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences; a signature accomplishment of his administrative work at Dartmouth was the creation of the nation’s first brain-imaging facility for the study of cognitive neuroscience outside a clinical setting. In July of 2011 he was named President of the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art.

Jamshed Bharucha


Galileo, Mathematics, and the Arts

Mark A. Peterson discusses Galileo’s study of mathematics in relation to the arts. Prof. Peterson argues that Galileo the mathematician, steeped in the art and literature of his day, needs to be better known, separate from his work as an astronomer. Dr. Peterson is Chair of Physics and Professor of both Mathematics and Physics at Mount Holyoke College. His research often explores the intersection of science and the humanities, history of science, as well as biophysical research. Professor Peterson has published on such varied topics as computer science, Galileo, models of microhydrodynamics in biophysical settings, and others.

Mark A. Peterson


A Translator's Confession

Jonathan Galassi, President and Publisher of Farrar, Straus and Giroux, delivers the Finzi-Contini Lecture in the Fall of 2011 on his experiences as a translator of Italian poetry into English. Focusing on his translations of Eugenio Montale and Giacomo Leopardi, Galassi shares his personal experiences as what he calls an “impassioned amateur” engaging in the words, poems, and literary output of others and writing in a language not one’s own. In addition to his work as a publisher and translator, Galassi is a poet in his own right, having published two collections of his own poems. He was also poetry editor for The Paris Review for ten years and an honorary chairman of the Academy of American Poets.

Jonathan Galassi


Public Life and Festivals in Eighteenth-Century Venice

Prof. William Barcham, Emeritus of the Fashion Institute of Technology, delivers a lecture on the production of paintings of public festivals and other civic events in Venice in the eighteenth century. Delivered as a part of the lecture series accompanying the Franke Seminar entitles, Art and Music in Venice, Prof. Barcham’s lecture treats the genre of painting social and civic events in the city of Venice, such as Carnivale, religious Feast Day celebrations, and other civic rituals. View painters, such as Canaletto and Francesco Guardi, painted numerous depictions of these distinctively Venetian festivities for purposes of sale and export and the fashioning of Venetian identity. Prof. Barcham is a specialist in Venetian art and culture and has published numerous works on Canaletto, Giambattista Tiepolo, Federico Cornaro, and the image of the Man of Sorrows in the later Middle Ages.

William Barcham


Painting Music in Renaissance Venice

Prof. David Rosand, Emeritus of Columbia University, delivers a lecture on representations of music and music making by Venetian painters in the Renaissance. As a guest speaker giving a public lecture to accompany the Franke Seminar on Art and Music in Venice in the Fall of 2011, Prof. Rosand’s presentation examines the depictions of music in Venetian Renaissance painting, including personifications of music itself, musicians, concerts, and instruments in the art of Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese, and their circle. Prof. Rosand also considers the metaphorical meaning of music as a signifier of harmony and order, and how those values were transferred to the image of Venice itself and Venetian culture. Prof. Rosand is the Meyer Schapiro Professor emeritus of Art History at Columbia University and has published numerous books on Venetian painting in the Renaissance.

David Rosand


Music and Architecture in Renaissance Venice

Prof. Howard’s lecture considers the acoustical needs of various composers and performers in the architectural spaces of Renaissance Venice. Her important research explores the performance possibilities in the various churches and concert venues of Venice and the way in which music written for those spaces may have sounded to different audiences. Prof. Howard is Professor of Architectural History in the Faculty of Architecture and History of Art and a Fellow of St. John”s College, Cambridge. She has published numerous books on the art and architecture of Venice and the Veneto.

Deborah Howard


The Power of Hospitality

Danny Meyer discusses the role and concept of hospitality in the context of the restaurant industry, and how hospitality contributes to an excellent dining experience and thus to a successful restaurant business. Mr. Meyer is the CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group, which includes Union Square Cafe, Gramercy Tavern, Eleven Madison Park, Tabla, Blue Smoke, Jazz Standard, Shake Shack, The Modern, the cafes at New York City’s Museum of Modern Art, Maialino, as well as Union Square Events, the company’s catering and events business, and Hospitality Quotient, a learning business empowering companies to transform their business through the power of hospitality. Mr. Meyer, his restaurants, and chefs have earned an unprecedented twenty-one James Beard Awards. Mr. Meyer coauthored the Union Square Cafe Cookbook (1994) and Second Helpings from Union Square Cafe (2001) with his partner, Chef Michael Romano. His first business book, Setting the Table (2006), was named a bestseller by the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and BusinessWeek. An active national leader in the fight against hunger, Mr. Meyer has long served on the boards of Share Our Strength and City Harvest. He is equally active in civic affairs, serving on the executive committees of NYC & Co, Union Square Partnership, and the Madison Square Park Conservancy.

Danny Meyer