Music More than Human

What can music tells us about humans’ relations with the natural world? How do the arts advance our understanding of sustainability?

Lecture/Performance: Oct 28th, 2015 at 4:30pm –  Music More than Human –  David Rothenberg will be presenting a free lecture on his work at the Wexner Center for the Arts.

Workshop: Oct 29, 2015 from 2pm – 4pm – Making Music With Animal Recordings – David Rothenberg will teach us how to transform digitized animal vocalizations into electronic music for humans to enjoy. Meet us in the Department of Art computer lab in Hopkins Hall, room 180.

Philosopher, musician and long­time editor of the ecological journal T​erra Nova,​ David Rothenberg has, for many years now, been pursuing a project to play music with other living species: birds, whales, insects and others. He has written about the project in a series of award­ winning books, including W​hy Birds Sing​ (2006), T​housand ­Mile Song​(2010),​ rothenbergSurvival of the Beautiful: Art, Science and Evolution​(2013), and B​ug Music (2014). H​is latest CD featuring live performances with nightingales is​ B​erlin Bülbül,​made together with​ Korhan Erel,​ came out in June of 2015.

Rothenberg’s visit is sponsored by the Humanities Institute as part of the 2015­16 COMPAS discussion theme on Sustainability. It is co­sponsored by the Living Culture Initiative (Art), the School of Music, BioPresence ​(a project of Animal Worlds in the Arts, Sciences and the Humanities), and the Borror Laboratory of BioAcoustics.

Animal Metamorphoses in Greek Myth


Arachne, by Gustave Doré



November 6 in Hopkins Hall, room 362, 2-4 pm.

Sarah Iles JohnstonProfessor Sarah Iles Johnston (Classics) will present some of her work on animal metamorphoses that will figure prominently in her forthcoming book on mythology. In this session she will focus on the ancient Greek fascination with myths in which gods turn people into animals. Her discussion will lead into two broader issues about the location of human identity and the conceptualization of the relationship between animals and humans.

We are particularly grateful to Professor Merrill Kaplan (English) who has agreed to serve as a respondent to Professor Johnston and to help broaden our conversation in a variety of directions.

Tour of the Olentangy Wetlands

Announcing the first in a series of tours of the animal-rich spaces on campus.

Please join us on Friday, September 26th, at 4pm for a tour of the Wilma H. Schiermeier Olentangy River Wetland Research Park.Olentangy River Wetland Research Park

Kay Stefanik, a Postdoctoral Researcher at the School of Environment and Natural Resources, will lead us on a 45 minute tour of this urban aquatic ecosystem sited on the Northern end of campus.

Meet in the lobby of the Heffner Building. There is free public parking on site for visitors and it is also accessible by foot or bike via the Olentangy trail bike path. It is an 8 minute bike ride from the Oval.

Contact: Amy Youngs

Presentation on Extinction Cultures, Fall 2013

Current and new members of the Animal Worlds in the Arts, Sciences and Humanities gathered for a thoughtful and lively presentation by Rick Livingston, who discussed the concept of Extinction Cultures. How can we even begin to mourn the hourly loss of 3 species? How can we mobilize beyond the melancholic? How can biodiversity be made visible, smell-able and touch-able? We will continue to engage these questions as an interdisciplinary group.

Presentation slides can be downloaded from this link.

Thanks Rick!

Inspirations for the Extinction Cultures Proposal




AWASH: Animal Worlds in the Arts, Sciences, and Humanities

(a Focus Group sponsored by The Center for Ethics and Human Values at Ohio State University)

Encounters of a Domestic Nature, by Amy Youngs

Encounters of a Domestic Nature, by Amy Youngs

Tom Hawkins and Amy Youngs are now co-leaders of the AWASH Focus Group, which was originally convened by David Herman. The group seeks to promote inquiry into the nature, status, and experiences of nonhuman animals by bringing together scholars and practitioners working in multiple fields of study. Faculty members, staff members, and doctoral students from about 20 different departments and programs at Ohio State University are currently participating in this Focus Group, which held its inaugural meeting in October 2012.

A working assumption of the group is that nonhuman as well as human animals are located at the intersection of what Jerome Kagan, updating C.P. Snow, has described as the three cultures—the natural sciences, the social sciences, and the humanities. Thus, although research and practice in the arts and humanities cannot exhaustively characterize nonhuman animals or their relationship with humans, by the same token it will be impossible to engage fully with the domain of the nonhuman unless traditions of inquiry in philosophy, art and art history, comparative literature, narrative studies, and other relevant fields can be brought into dialogue with animal-related research in the biosciences and the social sciences.

Equally crucial is a consideration of how discoveries emerging from this “transdisciplinary” approach to animals might bear on questions about the legal rights, privileges, and protections that should be extended to nonhuman beings. AWASH aims to become a forum for discussing issues whose exploration will require the combined insights of all three of Kagan’s cultures. Among other topics the group will consider humans’ treatment of and attitudes toward animals, cultural and artistic representations of animals, the problem of how to relate biological understandings of animals to sociological and psychological understandings, and ethical and legal questions arising from these domains of practice and inquiry.

Members of the group are currently planning out future activities and events. Please contact Amy or Tom for more information.