2011 Shulman Lecture Series at Yale Traces Beauty to Its Source

Distinguished cultural historian Gary Tomlinson will deliver the opening 2011 Shulman Lecture in Science and the Humanities on February 3, at the Whitney Humanities Center, 53 Wall Street. His talk, “Paleolithic Formalism and the Emergence of Music,” will take place at 5 p.m. in Room 208 and is free and open to the public.

Tomlinson is a musicologist and cultural theorist known for his interdisciplinary breadth. His teaching, lecturing, and scholarship have ranged across a diverse set of interests, including the history of opera, early-modern European musical thought and practice, the musical cultures of indigenous American societies, jazz and popular music, and the philosophy of history and critical theory. His latest project concerns the evolutionary emergence of the human capacity for music; his Wort Lectures at the University of Cambridge in 2009, outlining this project, were titled “1,000,000 Years of Music.”

Tomlinson’s extensive bibliography includes: “Monteverdi and the End of the Renaissance,” “Music in Renaissance Magic,” “Metaphysical Song: An Essay on Opera,” “The Singing of the New World: Indigenous Voice in the Era of European Contact,” and “Music and Historical Critique.” He is the co-author of the music appreciation textbook “Listen,” now in its sixth edition. Tomlinson has garnered prizes from the American Musicological Society, the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers, the Modern Language Association, and the British Academy. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and a MacArthur “genius” award.

The 2011 Shulman Lectures are organized in conjunction with the Yale College seminar “Evolution of Beauty,” a wide-ranging philosophical and scientific inquiry into the evolution and role beauty plays in the human and natural worlds. The course is co-taught by Jonathan Gilmore, assistant professor of philosophy, and Richard Prum, the William Robertson Coe Professor of Ornithology, Ecology, and Evolutionary Biology. Other scheduled Shulman lectures include:

February 24: Michael J. Ryan, “Sexual Selection and the Brain: An Origin of Evolutionary Aesthetics.” Ryan, the Clark Hubbs Regents Professor in Zoology at the University of Texas Austin and Senior Research Associate at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, is a leading expert on the evolution and mechanisms of animal behavior, particularly sexual selection and communication. He has published extensively in journals including Science, Nature, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

March 3: Noel Carroll, “Art, Aesthetics, and Evolution.” Carroll is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the CUNY Graduate Center. His research largely focuses on the application of philosophy to a wide range of cultural topics, including film, literature, and the visual arts. He also writes on the theory of aesthetics, history, ethics, emotions, and the history of early modern philosophy. Carroll has published more than fifteen books, most recently, “Art in Three Dimensions” (2010) and “On Criticism”(2009).

April 14: Gregory Currie, “The Stones of Olduvai: Caring about Beautiful Things a Long Time Ago.” Curry has taught at universities in the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, and the UK. Currie’s research has centered on aesthetics, cognition, and the intersection of the two. His publications include “The Nature of Fiction,” “Arts and Minds,” “Image and Mind,” and, most recently, “Narratives and Narrators: A Philosophy of Stories.” He is currently working on a book about what we can learn from literature.

The lecture series is named after Robert Shulman, Sterling Professor Emeritus of Chemistry, Molecular Biophysics, and Biochemistry, and senior research scientist in diagnostic radiology, in recognition of his role as a Founding Fellow of the Whitney Humanities Center and for his unwavering support of the integration of science and the humanities.

For more information contact Susan Stout at (203) 432-6556 or email susan.stout@yale.edu.

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Dorie Baker: dorie.baker@yale.edu, 203-432-1345