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Conversations from the Cullman Center: Whalesong: Past and Future, New York and the World (Part 1)

April 19, 2008

Whalesong: Past and Future, New York and the World (Part 1 of 2):

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A symposium on the history, science and perennial romance of the leviathan in America

Presented in conjuction with the New York Institute for the Humanities and the Humanities Initiative at NYU

Session Schedule:

11 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Part I: Cetology and the City: Studying the Whale in Nineteenth-Century New York

Session Participants:

Tom Bender, University Professor of the Humanities and Professor of History, New York University. Professor Bender was a Fellow of the Cullman Center in 2002 and is author of numerous books on New York and American history, including, most recently, The Unfinished City: New York and the Metropolitan Idea.

D. Graham Burnett (session curator), Associate Professor of History, Princeton University and author, most recently, of Trying Leviathan: The Ninteenth Century Court Case that Put the Whale on Trial and Challenged the Order of Nature. He was a Fellow of the Cullman Center in 1999.

Joyce Chaplin, James Duncan Philips Professor of Early American History, Harvard University. Professor Chaplin's most recent book is The First Scientific American: Benjamin Franklin and the Pursuit of Genius.

Stuart Frank, Curator, New Bedford Whaling Museum.

Cyrus Patel, Associate Professor of English, New York University, and author of Negative Liberties: Morrison, Pynchon, and the Problem of Liberal Ideology.

Music Performance: "Sing the Whale" -- a performance of the great whaling chanteys of the 19th century, by Ellen Cohn, Editor in Chief, The Papers of Benjamin Franklin, and Senior Research Fellow in History, Yale University


Moderated by Elizabeth Bradley, Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers, The New York Public Library

1 p.m. - 2 p.m. - Break; Speaker books available for purchase courtesy of McNally Robinson.

2 p.m. - 4 p.m. Part II: The Song of the Humpback Whale

Sal Cerchio, Associate Scientist, Cetacean Conservation and Research Program (CCRP) Marine Program, Wildlife Conservation Society

Scott McVay, founding director (retired), Robert Sterling Clark Foundation and Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation.

Roger Payne, founder and president of the Ocean Alliance. Dr. Payne is best known for his discovery (with Scott McVay) that humpback whales sing songs, and for his theory that the sounds of fin and blue whales can be heard across oceans. His publications include the book, Among Whales, and three recordings: "Songs of the Humpback Whale", "Deep Voices", and (with musician Paul Winter) "Whales Alive."

David Rothenberg (session curator), composer, jazz clarinetist, professor of philosophy and music, New Jersey Institute of Technology and author, most recently, of Thousand Mile Song: Whale Music in a Sea of Sound.

Music Performance:Lukas Ligeti, percussion; Michelle Makarski, violin; David Rothenberg, clarinet.

Moderated by Lawrence Weschler, Director, New York Institute for the Humanities at New York University