Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas


  • Brian Boyd on Can Evolution Explain the Arts?
  • Lecture
  • 3/31/2011
  • 13:00-14:30
  • Spooner Hall
  • Host: The Commons
Event Description
Idea Café at The CommonsThe arguments in Brian Boyd’s latest book, On the Origin of Stories (2009), will serve to kick off a new program at The Commons, the Idea Café. What triggers our emotional engagement with stories? What patterns facilitate our responses? The need to hold an audience’s attention is the fundamental problem facing all storytellers, Boyd argues, and enduring artists are those that arrive at solutions that appeal to cognitive universals.

Idea Café at The Commons features one speaker making a short, 15-minute presentation on a provocative idea, structured to elicit a dialogue among audience members. The Idea Café is not a question and answer session. It is an opportunity for active participation of the university community-faculty, students, staff, and members of the public-in a discussion that challenges common assumptions about the relationship between the humanities, science, and art. Participants should come prepared to listen, reflect, and most importantly, engage in the dialogue. This event is free and open to the public. Lunch will be provided, but RSVP is required no later than March 25 to Emily Ryan at thecommons@ku.edu. Space is limited.

Brian Boyd, Distinguished Professor in the Department of English at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, is a foremost authority on the writer Vladimir Nabokov. He has also published widely on American, Brazilian, English, Greek, Irish, New Zealand and Russian literature, from Homer to today, from children’s to adult literature, and spanning genres from biography, to comics, drama, essays, fiction, film, literary theory, poetry, science, and translation. On the Origins of Stories has been praised in the Times Literary Supplement as having “an impact far beyond academic circles...No one thinks on this scale any more.”