HNN #18: Salman Rushdie & Cultural Humanism

In HNN Audio Podcast #18, we interview acclaimed novelist and humanist Salman Rushdie about the organized humanist movement and the relationship between the novel and humanist thought. This show also contains live recordings of the April 20 ceremony hosted by the Humanist Chaplaincy at Harvard honoring Salman Rushdie with the Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award in Cultural Humanism. The ceremony , which took place in the Memorial Chapel at Harvard Yard, marked the beginning of The New Humanism conference.

Segment 1: Pinker & Goldstein on Salman Rushdie

Ceremony Recording: Renowned cognitive scientist Steven Pinker and philosopher Rebecca Goldstein speak about being humanists and introduce Salman Rushdie during the opening night of The New Humanism conference hosted by the Humanist Chaplaincy at Harvard University.*

End: 8:12

Segment 2: Salman Rushdie Accepts Cultural Humanism Award

Ceremony Recording: Salman Rushdie accepts the Outstanding Lifetime Achievement Award in Cultural Humanism given by the Humanist Chaplaincy at Harvard University. Rushdie speaks about humanism and his work as a writer.*

End: 23:37

Segment 3: Q & A With Salman Rushdie

Ceremony Recording: Salman Rushdie takes questions from the audience of The New Humanism conference. He shares his thoughts on the aggressive style of “The New Atheists,” The Satanic Verses fatwa controversy, and gives advice to aspiring writers.*

End: 42:37

Segment 4: HNN Interviews Salman Rushdie about Organized Humanism

Interview: Duncan Crary and Matt Cherry, both of the Institute for Humanist Studies, interview Salman Rushdie about his thoughts on organized humanism and the role of fiction in humanist thought. Rushdie asks a question for humanist advice columnist Molleen Matsumura, a.k.a. “Sweet Reason.”

End: 50:02

Segment 5: Coming up! E.O. Wilson, Dar Williams, Allan Dershowitz

Promo: During The New Humanism conference, the HNN Audio Podcast team recorded more than a dozen interviews with humanists from around the world. Here is an audio montage featuring sound bites from interviews to come on the HNN Audio Podcast.

End: 60:34


Live performances by the Turkish Troubadours*
“When I was a Boy”, by Dar Williams. (Live performance)*

I Ain’t Afraid (mp3)*
by Holly Near
from “Edge”
More about this song (HNN Theme Song).


Humanist Chaplaincy at Harvard UniversityThe New Humanism conference websitePhotos from The New Humanism conferencephotos by Hannah ThiemA Brief History of Disbelief

*Recordings provided courtesy of the Humanist Chaplaincy at Harvard University