The first in a series of Causeries, titled The Creation: on Cosmogony and Cosmology marks the grand kick-off for The Humans by visual artist and writer Alexandre Singh and its parallel program of discussion. The day focuses on the idea of creation, viewed through the lenses of religious and mythological narratives as well as through developments in present-day science. This variety of sources brings to the forefront a wealth of divergent traditions ranging from Greek and Indian mythologies to theories in astrophysics and archaeology, and explores the creation of the universe, the earth and our very own origins.

9:00am – Walk in with coffee and tea.
9:45am – Introduction by Defne Ayas & Alexandre Singh
10am – A conversation on Cosmology between Andrew Jaffe & Alexandre Singh
11am – A conversation on Spontaneous Generation between Francis Wolff & Donatien Grau
12pm – A conversation on Primitive Man between Alexander Verpoorte & Alexandre Singh
1pm – Lunch
2pm – A conversation on Hindu Cosmogony between Jessica Frazier & Alexandre Singh
3pm – A conversation on Biblical Creation between Bénédicte Lemmelijn& Defne Ayas
4pm – A conversation on Greek Civilization between Bernadette Leclercq-Neveu Donatien Grau
5pm – Break – drinks served!
5:15pm – Round Table Discussion with all participants.

Participants include:
Jessica Frazier – Hindu Cosmogony
Dr Jessica Frazier is a philosopher of religion. She holds positions as a Fellow of the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies and Lecturer in Religious Studies at the University of Kent. Having studied and later taught Indian and Western religious philosophy at Cambridge and Oxford, she is the author of Reality, Religion and Passion, The Continuum Companion to Hindu Studies, and the forthcoming Religion and Experience. She is the founding editor of the Journal of Hindu Studies.

Alexander Verpoorte – Primitive Man
Alexander Verpoorte (b. 1968, the Netherlands) is lecturer at the faculty of Archeology at the University of Leiden. He obtained his PhD in paleolithic archeology at the University of Leiden in 2000. Verpoorte specialized in the origins of modern humans, art from Central Europe during the early Ice Age , archeology of Neaderthals and their predecessors in Northwestern Europe.

Andrew Jaffe – Cosmology
Andrew Jaffe is Professor of Astrophysics and Cosmology at Imperial College in London. He studied at Yale and the University of Chicago and held postdoctoral fellowships at the University of Toronto and the University of California, Berkeley. His main scientific interests are in deciphering the history and evolution of the Universe by analysing observations of the faint echoes of the Big Bang and to that end is a co-Investigator on the European Space Agency’s Planck Surveyor satellite.

Bernadette Leclercq-Neveu – Greek Civilization
Bernadette Leclercq-Neveu (b. 1947, France) has been a lecturer and a professor in the Classics Department at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris since 1978. Her research focuses on the modalities of storytelling in ancient Greece, especially in epic, lyrics and tragedy; on theoretical approaches to myth, in the Greek area and elsewhere, with a special interest in Levi-Strauss’s view of mythology. She studied at the École Normale Supérieure and the Sorbonne, and holds a doctorate from the École Pratique des Hautes Études and the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales of Paris (1981) where she wrote an essay on the Homeric Hymn to Demeter.

Bénédicte Lemmelijn – Biblical Creation
Bénédicte Lemmelijn (1969) has been appointed Professor of Old Testament at the Research Unit of Biblical Studies at the Catholic University of Louvain (Belgium) in 2003, after having been Predoctoral and subsequently Postdoctoral Research Fellow of the Research Foundation – Flanders (FWO-V). Currently, she functions as director of the Louvain Centre for Septuagint Studies and Textual Criticism. Since 2008, she has equally been appointed Research Associate at the Faculty of Theology of the University of the Free State (South Africa) and was elected member of the executive committee of the International Organisation for Septuagint and Cognate Studies (IOSCS) in 2011.

Francis Wolff – Spontaneous Generation
Francis Wolff (b. 1950, France) is a specialist in ancient philosophy working as Full Professor of Philosophy at the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris. Previous to that, he worked as a Full Professor at University of Paris X, as Associate Professor at University of Reims, and at Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil, of which he remains a regular visiting Professor. He has published various books on ancient philosophy, among them: Socrate, Paris, PUF, 4th ed. (2000); Aristote et la politique, Paris, PUF, 4th ed. (2008); and L’être, l’homme, le disciple. Figures philosophiques empruntées aux Anciens, Paris, PUF (2000).

Upcoming Causeries:
12 July 2012 – Pictorial Satire: On Hogarth, Daumier and South Park;
16 August 2012 – Theatrical Costumes;
13 September 2012 – Aristophanes;
11 October 2012 – The Mountain in Art and Literature;
15 November 2012 – Literary Satire: on Pope, Lucian, and Wodehouse;
19 January 2013 – The Voice and The Chorus;
16 February 2013 – Woody Allen;
16 March 2013 – Scatology;
13 April 2013 – The Sculptor.

About the Causeries

Taking its title from the French verb causer – to converse or chat – the Causeries are set up as a series of discussions in which Alexandre Singh expands on his ambitious play The Humans’ key themes, ranging from cosmology and cosmogony to pictorial satire, dance, drama, and religion. Rather than discursive events in the well-known format of a conference or a symposium, the Causeries are conceived as informal conversations between the artist and an expert in a given field. It is not only the edification of the artist himself that is pivotal in this alternative kind of exchange, also the audience is offered an insight in the underlying themes of The Humans. The monthly Causeries are conceived by Defne Ayas and Alexandre Singh, and are organized in consultation with critic and writer Donatien Grau.

—Supported by

Institut Francais