Episode 52 - Bob Walter

Robert Walter is an editor and an executive with several not-for-profit organizations. Most notably, he is the executive director and board president of the Joseph Campbell Foundation (JCF), an organization that he helped found in 1990 with choreographer Jean Erdman, Joseph Campbell's widow.

In 1979, Bob began to work on several projects with Campbell, who subsequently named him editorial director of his Historical Atlas of World Mythology. Following Campbell's death in 1987, Bob served as literary executor of Campbell's estate, completing Volumes I and II of the Atlas and supervising its posthumous publication. 

With JCF publishing director David Kudler, he continues to oversee the publication of Campbell's oeuvre, including the video series Joseph Campbell's Mythos and the other works in the Collected Works of Joseph Campbell series, including the 2008 edition of The Hero with a Thousand Faces.

Prior to his work in publishing, Walter was a founding faculty fellow at the California Institute of the Arts; lectured widely on experiential education; and pursued a professional theater career, working for a decade as a director, production manager, and playwright. 

He has taken the Joseph Campbell Foundation to some wonderful places since Campbell's death in 1987. Here, we talk about what it's like to be responsible for the legacy of an intellectual titan, how recent discoveries in fields ranging from anthropology to neuropsychology have filled the gaps in the foundation laid by Campbell and how myth can be seen as living story, both individually and collectively. 

Episode 44 - Barbara J. King

Barbara J. King is Chancellor Professor of Anthropology at the College of William & Mary. In addition to her new book on animal grief, she has authored Being With Animals (Doubleday 2010), Evolving God (Doubleday 2007), The Dynamic Dance (Harvard University Press 2004), and a number of other books. A reissue of Evolving God is due out in 2017. 

Dr. King has studied monkeys in Kenya and great apes in various captive settings in Africa and the US. Her research has advanced the thesis that humans and animals have deeper emotional relationships than previously thought. She takes the work of our friend and colleague Dr. Chris Ryan in the other direction, examining the ways our anthropomorphic tendencies have robbed our non-human relatives of their dignity, emotional complexity and moral agency. 

Barbara is a popular guest on interview programs and recently appeared on the Diane Rehm Show and National Geographic Radio. Previously, she has been interviewed on radio programs in Canada, Austria, Germany, and Australia.

She is the recipient of numerous teaching awards from William & Mary and the state of Virginia. She is also associated with the Teaching Company which produces course material taught by America’s leading professors.

Together with her husband, she cares for and arranges to spay and neuter homeless cats in Virginia. 

In this episode, we discuss the danger of films like Finding Dory, the notion that the human religious experience is rooted in a primate sense of belonging, and how there are no Bonobo women. 

Episode 39 - Bryan Rill

Bryan Rill is many things. He is the president of the Society for the Anthropology of Consciousness: a group of academics that study the nature of consciousness from an anthropological perspective. He is a leader in the field of conscious design. He also has ties in the worlds of robotics, biomimicry, quantum physics, shamanism, electronica and cultural anthropology. But this is not the primary reason we brought him on the show.

Several years ago, Bryan suffered a horrible accident that left him without the ability to use most of his brain. He has, quite literally, rebuilt himself from the ground up. A walking model of physical, intellectual and psychic transformation, we thought his story would be perfect for the show. He credits a lot of things for his remarkable recovery, including his commitment to walking the path of Shugendo Buddhism that he learned under some pretty intense Japanese masters. It is a wide-ranging conversation that we hope you will enjoy!