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What on Earth is Going on? is a podcast for the curious, where small talk is banned and tangents are prized. Strap yourself in for genuine dialogues with people who think deeply and are ready to tackle the big questions, such as broadcaster Terry O'Reilly, economist Miles Corak and journalist Jessica Vomiero.

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May 10, 2019

What does it mean to be human? Is the world a mirror or a window? Should our experience of reality be mediated, and if so, who should be the mediators? We ask these questions earnestly today, but they were tackled in revolutionary ways during the European Renaissance, an extraordinary period of progress and creativity.

Ben's has a powerful and spirited conversation with a world-renowned historian of culture and the Renaissance, Professor Kenneth Bartlett of the University of Toronto.

About the Guest

Kenneth Bartlett is a Professor of History and of Renaissance Studies, a program he helped establish in 1979, at Victoria College in the University of Toronto. He teaches courses ranging from first year to graduate levels, with his research interests in the fields of Anglo-Italian relations in the sixteenth century and Italian humanism. Professor Bartlett was also the founding director of the Office of Teaching Advancement (now CTSI), and founder and director of the Faculty of Arts and Science's undergraduate experience programs, which include the First-Year Seminars, the Research Opportunities Program and the Independent Experiential Study Program, which won the Northrop Frye Award for excellence and innovation in linking teacher and research. Professor Bartlett was also the founding director of U of T's Art Centre, and currently serves as a trustee for the Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art.

During his career at the university, which spans over 30 years, he has been the recipient of the Victoria University Excellence in Teaching Award, the Students Administrative Council and Association of Part-Time Students Undergraduate Teaching Award (on two occasions), and the Faculty of Arts and Science Outstanding Teaching Award. In 2005, Professor Bartlett was awarded both the prestigious 3M National Teaching Fellowship and a University of TorontoArbor Award. In 2007 he was awarded an inaugural LIFT Award by the Province of Ontario and was a finalist in the TVO Best Lecturer Competition.

In addition to teaching, he has published over 35 scholarly articles and contributions to books, and several editions and translations of Renaissance texts. He has served as the editor of Renaissance and Reformation/Renaissance et Réforme, and President of the Canadian Society for Renaissance Studies. He has produced four video series on various aspects of Italian Renaissance culture and European civilization, and has also appeared in televisions series such as Museum Secrets.

Some of his publications include The Experience of History, A Short History of the Italian Renaissance, The English in Italy 1525-1558: A Study in Culture and Politics, The Civilization of the Italian Renaissance and The Northern Renaissance and the Reformation.

Learn more about Ken.

The Quote of the Week

"Learning never exhausts the mind."
- Leonardo da Vinci