Hoboken Lecture 2018 ©

Aad Hoogendoorn

Hoboken Lecture 2018 - Being a Beast

On Wednesday 12 December 2018, the British Council, in partnership with Natural History Museum RotterdamThe Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) and Codarts, presented the eighth Hoboken Lecture by renowned British writer, traveller, veterenarian, taxidermist, barrister and philosopher Professor Charles Foster 'Being a Beast'. 

Musical prelude (Haydn's Hoboken Verzeichnis) by students of Codarts - (Rotterdam) University of the Arts. The venue of the Hoboken Lecture was the auditorium of the Kunsthal, directly opposite the Natural History Museum. 

About the Lecture

In his lecture, Charles Foster looked at the extent to which it is possible for humans to enter the experiential worlds of non-human species, and hence the extent to which it is possible to know anything outside one’s own head. Charles Foster approached this question by an elaborate piece of zoological method-acting – by trying to live as nearly as possible as a badger (under the ground and in the dense woods of mid-Wales, as an urban fox (prowling around the dustbins of the East End of London), as an otter (in the rivers of Exmoor), as a red deer (on the mountains of the Scottish West Highlands and of upland Devon), and as a swift (in the air between Oxford and West Africa). His conclusions are strange, tentative, and aim to inform the age-old question: ‘How best can we thrive as human beings?’

The book that resulted from his experiment (‘Being a Beast ’ [’Leven als een beest’]) is a New York Times Bestseller, won an Ig Nobel Prize, and is the subject of a forthcoming feature film from Sovereign Films.

About Professor Charles Foster

Charles Foster is a Fellow of Green Templeton College, University of Oxford, and Visiting Professor at the Oxford Faculty of Law. He graduated in law and veterinary medicine at the University of Cambridge, and received his PhD in Medical Law and Ethics at Cambridge. As a barrister, he has been involved in many of the most influential cases in medical law in recent years, including the assisted suicide litigation in the House of Lords and the Supreme Court. Much of his life has been spent on expeditions: he has run a 150-mile race in the Sahara, skied to the North Pole, and suffered injuries in many desolate and beautiful landscapes. He has written on travel, evolutionary biology, natural history, anthropology and philosophy, and lives in Oxford with a large, anarchic family.

More information 

For more information go to the Hoboken Lecture website