Talks and Lectures This Week in NYC—Updated November 8th, 2019

For the best talks and lectures in NYC this week we’ve got our sites set on three straight nights of neuroscientists plus appearances by Wendy Whelan, Nikki Haley, and Mary Gaitskill.

Monday, November 11

Wendy Whelan by David Michalek.

Stay on “pointe” at this conversation between New York City Ballet’s new artistic directors, Jonathan Stafford and Wendy Whelan, and ballet dancer Edward Villella. Symphony Space.

Psychoanalyst Dr. Gail Saltz leads a noon-time “psychobiography” session on Adolph Hitler. Saltz’s guest is history professor Dr. Benjamin Carter Hett. They’ll talk about Hett’s book The Death of Democracy: Hitler’s Rise to Power and the Downfall of the Weimar Republic and the exploitation of populist insurgencies. 92nd Street Y.

Tuesday, November 12

Use your noodle to understand early brain development and how it impacts later life with neuroscientist Nim Tottenham and the Secret Science Club. The Bell House.

The quote “Capitalism has generated massive wealth for some, but it’s devastated the planet and has failed to improve human well-being at scale” comes from, of all places, Forbes. Skepticism about capitalism seems to be growing, as does the intensity of anti-socialist viewpoints. Join Intelligence Squared for a debate on the proposition Capitalism Is a Blessing. John Mackey, Co-Founder & CEO of Whole Foods Market, joins Katherine Mangu-Ward, Editor-in-Chief of Reason, to front for free enterprise. They’ll square up against Bhaskar Sunkara, Founding Editor of Jacobin, and Marxian economist Richard D. Wolff. Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College.

Salon/Sanctuary Concerts heads to the Bernie Wohl Center to kick off a new season of early music. This week’s session wonders why the field tends to only look to Europe and rectifies it with the program In the Beginning: Early Music of Western Africa.

Former US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley was that rare Trump appointee who left with her dignity intact. Her new book, With All Due Respect: Defending America with Grit and Grace, provides a behind-the-scenes look at the Trump administration and the current challenges we face in foreign affairs. 92nd Street Y.

Author, professor, and working architect Kiel Moe looks at the climate emergency and the radical changes it will demand. The “basic theoretical and practical assumptions about what architecture design is and does” will be addressed on a night of dilemmas and solutions. Scholastic Auditorium.

The Grand Central Library is the perfect setting for a talk by author Eric K. Washington, whose new book Boss of the Grips: The Life of James H. Williams and the Red Caps of Grand Central Terminal uncovers the nearly forgotten life of Chief Porter James H. Williams (1878–1948). (Washington appears again on Thursday night to talk race, class, and labor at the New York City Department of Records and Information Services.

Wednesday, November 13

Find neuroscientist and Zuckerman Institute Principal Investigator Daniel Wolpert, PhD, in conversation about the brain and the complexity of movement. To wit: “computers can now beat grandmasters at chess, no computer can yet control a robot to manipulate a chess piece with the dexterity of a six-year-old child.” Columbia University.

Ride over to this talk shedding light on Paul Revere’s famous ride and the man behind it. New-York Historical Society.

Catch the inaugural meeting of The New Republic’s “Salon at the Strand.” This month, author Mary Gaitskill talks about her work, including her latest novel This Is Pleasure. She’s joined by literary editor Laura Marsh. The Strand.

Venture capitalist Bijan Sabet’s early investments in Twitter and Tumblr were prescient. But is success always a marker for happiness? Himalayan spiritual master Yogishri joins Sabet to “search for what happiness we can hope to find beyond cashing in.” Rubin Museum of Art.

Thursday, November 14

The Brennan Center tackles women’s reproductive rights at NYU School of Law. Rebecca Traister moderates a panel looking at policy, legal issues, and the extent that abortion bans are a form of social control.

Think & Drink brings in neuroscientist Dr. David Rock to answer all your questions about the brain. Rock will draw on his book Your Brain at Work: Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus, and Working Smarter All Day Long and share his understanding about the ways brain knowledge can work similarly to mindfulness practices. 1803 NYC.

Philosopher of knowledge and former Dean of Arts and Sciences at NYU Richard Foley explains the arguments in his recent book, The Geography of Insight: The Sciences, the Humanities, How They Differ, Why They Matter. Foley will delineate the distinctions between fields and offer a defense of the academy in the face of this era’s often hostile approach to intelligence. NYU (Other).

Find our picks for the weekend here.

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