The Bat of Minerva

The Bat of Minerva: On Thoughtful Lives

The Bat of Minerva is a regional cable and online interview show produced and directed by Peter Shea, who received his Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Minnesota and has worked as an instructor at Gustavus Adolphus College and Minnesota State University in Mankato. The Bat of Minerva has been supported by the Institute for Advanced Study in partnership with Peter Shea. 

For over two decades, the Bat of Minerva has featured thoughtful people—scholars, activists, artists, farmers—talking about their life journeys, trajectories, stumblings. From these conversations, hints emerge about the landscape of the academy and the world outside, the varieties of scholarly and thoughtful lives. The interviews also communicate a strong sense of the energy or passion—or even annoyance—which keeps creative people thinking and working, year after year.

Bat of Minerva recordings from 2006 onward are currently available through the University of Minnesota Libraries Video Archive and, in a slightly smaller collection, on the Institute for Advanced Study’s Bat of Minerva YouTube playlist.

We encourage you to use the University Libraries Archives to browse the collection. The Bat of Minerva spans over 500 interviews; the Archive is a permanent and easily searchable home for the entire series.

You can browse the complete collection here. To watch a video, click on the thumbnail in the top left corner to expand and play.

To search for a specific interview:

  • Go to the main Archive page and click “Expert Search” just below the search field at the top of the page
  • Start by entering “Peter Shea,” creator of the Bat of Minerva, in the top field (since he is listed in the archive as the creator of each video, it will guarantee the most results)
  • Click the farthest search button on the top line and select “and”
  • Refine the search by entering your preferred speaker or subject (i.e., “Balluch” or “electronic music”) on the next line
  • When you find your preferred entry, click on the video thumbnail in the top left corner to expand and play

If you are unable to find an interview, please email us at [email protected] with as much information as you have (names, dates, subjects) and we'll do our best to locate it.