In our Ideas Matter segment we take time just about every week to check in with the state humanities councils in our 7-state region.

Today we are talking with Pleun Bouricius, director of Grants and Programs at Mass Humanities, about the art of and need for public discussion and conversation of topics we do not agree on, like immigration or the role of religion in public life, and Mass Humanities’ new Common Good Reads discussion grant program, funded by the Pulitzer Foundation.

  The Hannah Arendt Center for Politics and Humanities at Bard College is hosting its eighth annual international conference from Thursday, October 15 to Friday, October 16 on Bard’s Annandale-on-Hudson campus.

The two-day conference, “Why Privacy Matters,” asks: What do we lose when we lose our privacy? Reading on Kindles, searching Google, and using cell phones leave a data trail of intimate details. Governments and businesses track our comings, goings, and doings. The conference will include many knowledgeable speakers on the subject including (via satellite) NSA whistleblower, Edward Snowden. 

Here are some questions to be answered: Why do we willfully participate in the loss of our privacy? How is it that we rarely register its loss? Do we simply value privacy less? It is time to ask why privacy matters? How can a right to privacy and a meaningful private life exist today?

We are joined by Roger Berkowitz and David Brin.

Roger Berkowitz is Academic Director of the Hannah Arendt Center for Politics and Humanities at Bard College and Associate Professor of Politics, Philosophy, and Human Rights.

David Brin is an American scientist and award-winning author of science fiction. He has served as visiting scholar at NASA in Exobiology.

The Geva Theatre Center in Rochester, NY will present “Journey to the Son: A Celebration of Son House” from August 26 – August 29, 2015. The celebration is made possible in part through a grant from The New York Council for the Humanities.

The four-day festival weaves together music, theatre, film, audio recordings, storytelling and lectures to celebrate Rochester’s adopted son, Eddie “Son” House -- blues singer and guitarist who lived from 1902 to 1988.

Jenni Werner is the Literary Director and Resident Dramaturg at Geva Theatre Center and she joins us to tell us more.

It’s time for our weekly check-in with the humanities. In our Ideas Matter segment we learn about the work being done by the humanities councils in our seven state region.

Today we check in with MASS Humanities and learn about commemorating the 150th Anniversary of Juneteenth and the end of slavery in the United States.

Amilcar Shabazz is a Professor in the WEB DuBos Department of Afro-American Studies and Faculty Advisor for Diversity & Excellence in the Office of Chancellor at UMASS Amherst.


  Today in our Ideas Matter segment, we check in with the Vermont Humanities Council to talk about their program Standing Together: Veterans Book Groups. We are joined by Michael Heaney, a retired American History Professor, lawyer, and a wounded combat veteran of the Vietnam War. In 1965 and 1966, he served in Vietnam with the 1st Cavalry Division as an infantry platoon leader. Much of his post-war life has been devoted to working with combat veterans, and to writing, teaching, and leading discussions about war- and veteran-related matters. For 15 years, he led wilderness expedition courses for combat veterans, in a program jointly sponsored by Outward Bound and the Veterans Administration.

Today in our Ideas Matter segment, we are talking with John Sisko, Professor of Philosophy and Faculty Fellow in the Humanities and Social Sciences at The College of New Jersey, who has been co-directing a yearlong program exploring the topic of economic justice. The program is entitled Exploring Economic Justice: New Jersey, the Nation, and the World.

Dr. Sisko's project has been supported by a grant from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, which has allowed a number of political scientists, economists, philosophers, historians, and other humanities scholars, as well as local communities, to weigh in on the topic, leading to conversations, not only about our society's basic values, but also about the ways in which our norms and policies for determining the distribution of economic resources may impact and shape the long-term welfare of our society.


  Today in our Ideas Matter segment, we are talking with filmmaker Ian Cheney and Pleun Bouricius, Director of Grants and Programs for Mass Humanities, about this year's Massachusetts History Conference, which is called, “Chew on This: Presenting Food in Massachusetts Public History” and will take place on June 1 in Worcester, where Cheney s giving the keynote address.

With them, we will discuss Cheney's new documentary, The Search for General Tso, which was funded in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities. The film is about the importance and excitement of learning to understand where our food comes from and how it got to the shelf.

  It’s time now for our weekly feature – Ideas Matter: Checking in with the Public Humanities.

Today we’ll discuss active use and re-use of historical sites – specifically Great Camp Sagamore in the Adirondack Mountains. Joining us is Garet Livermore, executive director of Great Camp Sagamore, which simultaneously celebrates its historical heritage while remaining in active use. Balancing these two presents a unique challenge in the maintenance and conceptualizing of a historical site.

  We are very happy to continue our regular feature – Ideas Matter: Checking in with the Public Humanities.

One hundred fifty years ago this coming week was a ceremony that most Americans believe ended the Civil War - the surrender agreement at Appomattox Court House. What is wrong with the way we understand that event and the end of the war?

Greg Downs, Gregory Downs is an Associate Professor at the City College & Graduate Center, CUNY, and is the author of the just-published After Appomattox: Military Occupation and the Ends of War, is here to tell us.

  We are very happy to continue our regular feature – Ideas Matter: Checking in with the Public Humanities.

Today we check in with the Vermont Humanities Council and a speaker in their First Wednesdays lecture series. Dr. Edward Tick, director of the Soldier’s Heart Clinic, will be talking about "The Human face of War: Combat, Healing, and the Humanities" on Wednesday, April 1 at 7pm at the Goodrich Memorial Library in Newport, Vermont. Dr. Tick explores the inner world of combat, the universal dimensions of veterans’ wounding, and a philosophy of healing combat’s consequences—recognizing that while war most directly affects veterans, it wounds us all.

Dr. Edward Tick joins us now along with Sylvia Plumb, Director of Communications for Vermont Humanities.