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The Technology and Culture Forum is a ministry of the Episcopal Chaplain at MIT, and grows out of the church’s commitment to peace, justice, and upholding human dignity. Our programs challenge participants to consider how their work as scientists, engineers, managers, and citizens furthers these ideals.

During the academic year, TAC hosted programs on international development, the media and the presidential campaign, nuclear proliferation, the theology of sustainability, politics and popular culture, Chinese reform and US-Chinese relations, food locavorism and global climate change. TAC also began offering, in co-sponsorship with the MIT Philosophy Department, an undergraduate seminar on ethics: Being, Thinking, Doing (or not): Ethics and Your Life. This lively and popular seminar will be offered for the 3rd year in the spring of 2011.

Kids from Youth Can Session

  The Wisdom of Whores Obama/McCain Missile Youth Summit Kids Dr. Strangelove movie poster Windmills People

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Forums 2008-2009

Read our 2008-2009 Annual Report


Youth Summit on Global Climate Change

Saturday, May 9
The Stata Center, Building 32

3nd Annual Youth Summit on Global Warming hosted by T&C and the Boston Latin School's Youth Climate Action Network! The day will be filled with informative and fun workshops, free food and prizes. Last year's summit was a big success and this year's promises to be even better. Click here for a video montage of the summit.

Click here for a video of the 3rd Annual Youth Summit on Global Climate Change produced by BLS senior Saul Slezas

Click here for a video of the Summit produced by Pixelwiremedia.

D-Lab Class Projects Showcase

Saturday, May 9
MIT Museum (265 Massachusetts Avenue)
When D-Lab students showcased their work last fall, the audience was wowed! Join us and take a look at some radical innovations that will help people in developing countries.

IDEAS Competition Finale

Monday, May 4
Come celebrate the work of ingenious MIT students as they develop innovative solutions to community needs.

Boston’s first “simul-café": Life as We Don't Know It

Technology and Culture Forum, along with NOVA scienceNOW and Harvard's Science in the News, invite you to a join us this Sunday night for Boston’s first “simul-café.”

Pick from three science cafe events starting at the same time, each based on the same theme: “Life as we don’t know it.” We’ve made it easy to enjoy your Sunday night. No lectures or technical jargon, only great venues, great food and drink, and great conversations. The only hard part is choosing!


Synthetic Biology: Recoding Life.
If you could use living cells to build anything, what would you build? We can read the language of DNA. And we've gotten pretty good at writing it if only we knew WHAT to write, and how to get new designs to actually work. Peter Carr will give some examples of how this is rapidly changing, from his own work and others in the field of Synthetic Biology.

Starts at 7:30pm, Sunday, April 26
Cambridge Brewing Company (www.cambrew.com)
1 Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA 02138

Hosted by MIT’s Technology and Culture Forum: http://web.mit.edu/tac/
Get started by watching this video online: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/sciencenow/3410/03.html

Café Sci is Digging for Martians.
Sam Kounaves has spent a lot of time on Mars recently, whether it’s scratching the surface with the robotic Phoenix Lander or experimenting in simulated environments. All of this time is starting to pay off, as he uncovers evidence that increases the chance that we will find signs of life there soon. What could this life look like? How would it change our world back on Earth?

Starts at 7:30pm, Sunday, April 26
Tommy Doyle’s Kendall Square (www.tommydoyles.com)
1 Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA 02138
Validated parking in Kendal Square garage (by cinema on Binney Street)

Hosted by the public television science series NOVA scienceNOW, produced by WGBH. Watch online at: www.pbs.org/nova/sciencenow
Get started by watching this video online: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/sciencenow/0306/01.html

At Sea with Symbiotic Outlaws: exploring the mysteries of a marine ménage à trois.
Much of modern biology is based on intense study of “model” organisms: lab rats, E. coli, fruit flies, and the like. But millions of other species live on our planet—some right here in our neighborhood—that have not read the textbooks and happily go about their lives without obeying the rules we’ve created for them. We’ll discuss the value of these unique life forms asprovocateurs that encourage us to re-think the way that life can be organized.

Starts at 7:30pm, Sunday, April 26
Atwoods Tavern (www.atwoodstavern.com)
877 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02138

Hosted by Harvard’s Science in the News: www.hms.harvard.edu/sitn/
Get started by watching this video online: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/sciencenow/0305/04.html

International Development Night @ MIT

Friday, April 3
MIT Museum

Please join us for a fascinating expo and reception featuring the Development Network at MIT. This event is being held in conjunction with the International Development Conference at Harvard. Refreshments will be served.

Food Locavorism

Thursday, March 26
Location: MIT Student Center, 20 Chimneys
(Room 306; 84 Massachusetts Avenue)

"Eat locally" has become the new moral mantra for citizen gastronomes concerned about global warming, corporate agriculture, and the dissolution of community. So quickly and broadly has the movement spread that even Wal-Mart touts locally-grown produce on its enormous shelves. But how much do food miles matter? And what does this cavalcade to the farmers' market say about our fears and hopes as a culture faced with overlapping crises? Is buying "local" necessarily ethical, or is it more complicated than that? Join us for a lively conversation — and some low-food-mile nibblies! — on this hot topic.

David Pimentel, Cornell University
Susanne Freidberg, Associate Professor of Geography, Dartmouth College
Steve Johnson, Owner and Executive Chef, Rendezvous Restaurant

Moderator: Steven Shapin, Franklin L. Ford Professor of the History of Science, Harvard University

Snacks provided by City Feed, Costa Foods and Bon Appetit.

Click here to listen to the program (MP3 file).

City Feed and Supply
Costa Foods

Chinese Reform and US-Chinese Relations in the Age of Obama:
A conversation with delegates from the Chinese People's Association for Peace and Disarmament.

Friday, March 13

With a new administration in Washington and the upcoming Nuclear Proliferation Treaty review conference, much hangs in the balance of US-Chinese relations. Join us for this timely visit to MIT by a group of distinguished Chinese scholars and activists. Bring your questions and hopes for a peaceful, nuclear weapons-free future. The delegation includes Mao Rubai, Former Chairman of the Energy Committee of the People's Congress, and Niu Qiang, who spent nearly two decades working on issues of disarmament, nonproliferation, and on anti-nuclear issues with the UN, the Committee for Science and World Affairs, and elsewhere.

Cosponsored by the MIT Working Group on Science, Technology, and Global Security at STS and the American Friends Service Committee.

Click here for an article about this program

Politics and Popular Culture

Thursday, February 26
Bartos Theater

Johanna Blakley is deputy director of the Norman Lear Center, where she performs research on celebrity culture, global entertainment, and digital technology.

David Carr is a culture reporter and media columnist at the New York Times.

Stephen Duncombe teaches the history and politics of media and culture at NYU and is the author, most recently, of Dream: Re-Imagining Progressive Politics in an Age of Fantasy He blogs at Reality Sandwich.

Moderator: Henry Jenkins is co-director of Comparative Media Studies and the Peter de Florez Professor of Humanities at MIT. His most recent book isConvergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide.

Co-sponsorsed with the MIT Communications Forum and the Center for Future Civic Media

For an archived audio presentation of this event, please go to http://web.mit.edu/comm-forum/forums/politics_pop_culture.html#audio.

Radical Abundance: A Theology of Sustainability
A video conference hosted by the Trinity Institute

Friday, January 30
Saturday, January 31
Stata Center

Re-imagine an abundant world measured not by personal consumption but by just and sustainable relations with nature and communities.

Video presentations featuring:

Majora Carter, founder of Sustainable South Bronx & MacArthur "Genius" Fellow.

Timothy Gorringe, author of "A Theology of the Built Environment: Justice, Empowerment, Redemption."

David Korten author of "When Corporations Rule the World" and "The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community"

Nestor Miguez, Professor at Instituto Universitario ISEDT, Buenos Aired, Argentina.

As we rethink how to grow, build, supply, consume, dispose, and recycle everything in our lives, we often fail at partnering with the marginalized and powerless, and thus adversely affect them. Building sustainable communities goes hand-in-hand with thoughtful building of infrastructures and physical spaces. Is there a theological basis for living abundantly while striving for justice and sustainability?

Drawing on video presentations by a panel of leading theologians and community organizers, conference participants will explore sustainability through the lens of liberation theology, which views Jesus not only a s a redeemer but also liberator of the oppressed. Interactive reflection groups throughout will enable you to share your own experiences and solutions with fellow attendees. A light dinner on Friday and lunch on Saturday are included.

You must register for this event by January 21st by contacting Christina English at cenglish@mit.edu. Registration fee is $30. This event is offered in partnership with Trinity Institute and the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts.

AIDS: When Will it End?
A talk by Elizabeth Pisani, author of "The Wisdom of Whores: Bureaucrats, Brothels, and the Business of AIDS"

Monday, December 1
MIT Museum

Elizabeth Pisani, author of "The Wisdom of Whores"

Elizabeth Pisani is an epidemiologist who has spent over a decade working on the defining epidemic of our age - HIV. She's done research and worked as an advisor for the Ministries of Health of China, Indonesia, East Timor and the Philippines, and has also provided analysis and policy advice to the World Bank, the World Health Organisation, UNAIDS, US Centres for Disease Control and many others. She is especially interested in trying to ensure that HIV prevention programmes are guided by sensible analysis of high quality information.

Respondent: Dr. Galit Alter, Instructor, Partners in AIDS Research Center, Mass General Hospital

Co-sponsored with the MIT Museum

This program is the final program of the day for MIT World AIDS Day. Please click here for a PDF of the day's activities

Massachusetts Climate Action Network Conference

Sunday, November 16
Stata Center

Please go to the MCAN website for details during the summer months.

The Campaign & the Media: Part 2

November 13
Bartos Theater

Ian Rowe, Vice President of Strategic Partnerships and Public Affairs for MTV
Moderator: Henry Jenkins, Director of the MIT Comparative Media Studies Program and the Peter de Florez Professor of Humanities
Marc Ambinder, The Atlantic magazine
Cyrus Krohn, Republican National Committee

Ian V. Rowe is the vice president of Strategic Partnerships and Public Affairs for MTV. His department oversees MTV's campaigns that build awareness of issues important to MTV's audience. He now oversees MTV's new pro-social platform, Think MTV, which informs and engages viewers to take action on the domestic and global issues that matter most and affect their lives. Prior to MTV, Rowe was the director of Strategy and Performance Measurement for USA Freedom Corps at the White House, the president's initiative on volunteer service.

Henry Jenkins is the author and/or editor of eleven books on various aspects of media and popular culture, including Textual Poachers: Television Fans and Participatory Culture, Hop on Pop: The Politics and Pleasures of Popular Culture, Democracy and New Media, and From Barbie to Mortal Kombat: Gender and Computer Games. His most recent books include Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide and Fans, Bloggers and Gamers: Exploring Participatory Culture. He is one of the principal investigators for The Education Arcade, a consortium of educators and business leaders working to promote the educational use of computer and video games.

Marc Ambinder spent a year and a half at the Hotline, an Atlantic sister publication that's known as the daily bible for anyone IN politics. He was the editor of "Hotline On Call," a pathbreaking political news blog. He was one of the founders of ABC's "The Note," which, for a time, achieved co-biblical status with the Hotline. Marc is an associate editor at the Atlantic and a contributing editor to both the Hotline and National Journal. His latest writings can be found on the Marc Ambinder blog.

Cyrus Krohn is executive producer of MSN Video and Director of the Republican National Committee's eCampaign. He was formerly publisher and co-founder of Slate Magazine. Prior to joining Microsoft, Krohn produced programs for CNN including Larry King Live and Crossfire.

Co-Sponsored with MIT Communications Forum and the Center for Future Civic Media

US Nuclear Policy: Critical Choices:
A Conservative and Progressive View

Wednesday, October 22
32-141 (Stata Center)

Joseph Cirincione, President of Ploughshares Fund

Joseph Cirincione joined Ploughshares Fund as president in March 2008. He is author of Bomb Scare: The History and Future of Nuclear Weapons and served previously as senior vice president for national security and international policy at the Center for American Progress and as director for nonproliferation at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace for eight years. He worked for nine years in the U.S. House of Representatives as a professional staff member of the Committee on Armed Services and the Committee on Government Operations, and served as staff director of the bipartisan Military Reform Caucus. He teaches at the Georgetown University Graduate School of Foreign Service and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Mark Esper, Executive Vice President, Global Intellectual Property Center, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Prior to this position with the US Chamber of Commerce, Mark Esper was a Senior Scholar at the National Institute for Public Policy and an Independent Consultant. Until February 2008, Dr. Esper served as the National Policy Director for the Fred Thompson 2008 Presidential Campaign. Before joining the Thompson Campaign, Dr. Esper was Executive Vice President of the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) of America, the premier trade organization representing the nation's aerospace and defense industry. In addition to his duties as COO, Mr. Esper was also responsible for AIA's defense and international policy offices. From 2002 until 2004, Dr. Esper served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Negotiations Policy at the Pentagon. In this capacity he was responsible for all arms control, nonproliferation, international agreements, UN matters, and related issues for the Defense Department. He led teams of negotiators in Geneva, assisted in delegations to allied capitals, and represented the department on Capitol Hill, in the interagency, and in the media. For his service at the Pentagon he was awarded the Department of Defense Distinguished Public Service Medal. Earlier in his career Dr. Esper served as the Legislative Director and Senior Policy Advisor for Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE), and was Chief of Staff at The Heritage Foundation, a renowned Washington-based think tank.

Co-sponsored with the Center for International Studies and the MIT Nuclear Weapons Abolition Initiative

7th Annual International Development Fair

Friday, October 3
Lobby 13

MIT's Annual International Development Fair (IDF) is an event designed to showcase the many groups, projects and activities at MIT that provide students with an opportunity to work on issues related to international development. The Fair brings students and organizations together, to promote awareness and encourage the exchange of ideas.

The Campaign & the Media: Part 1

Thursday, September 25
Bartos Theater

Tom Rosenstiel, Director, Project for Excellence in Journalism
Moderator: Ellen Hume, Research Director, MIT Center for Future Civic Media
John Carroll, Boston University, WGBH-TV
Ellen Goodman, Boston Globe

Tom Rosenstiel designed the Project for Excellence in Journalism and directs its activities. He also serves as vice chairman of the Committee of Concerned Journalists, an initiative engaged in conducting a national conversation among journalists about standards and values. From 1997 to 2006, he also functioned as executive director in charge of the daily operation of CCJ, which was then also administered by PEJ. A journalist for more than 20 years, he is a former media critic for the Los Angeles Times and chief congressional correspondent for Newsweek magazine.

Ellen Hume, was most recently founding director of the Center on Media and Society at the University of Massachusetts Boston, where she created the New England Ethnic Newswire. Previously, she served as executive director and senior fellow at Harvard University's Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy, and as executive director of PBS's Democracy Project, where she developed special news programs that encouraged citizen involvement in public affairs. She was a White House and political correspondent for the Wall Street Journal, national reporter with the Los Angeles Times and regular commentator on PBS's Washington Week in Review and CNN's Reliable Sources program.

John Carroll is Assistant Professor of Communication at BU. For five years he was executive producer of news programs at WGBH-TV in Boston, where he continues as producer/panelist on the weekly program Beat the Press. Over the past 20 years he has also written extensively on advertising and the media as a regular columnist for the Boston Globe and Adweek magazine, and as a commentator on WBUR-FM and National Public Radio.

Ellen Goodman is a Pulitzer Prize-winning weekly columnist for the Boston Globe. In 2007, she was a Shorenstein Fellow at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, where she studied gender and the news. She is the recipient of many other awards for excellence in journalism, including the National Women's Political Caucus President's Award and the Ernie Pyle Award for Lifetime Achievement from the National Society of Newspaper columnists.

Co-Sponsored with MIT Communications Forum and the Center for Future Civic Media

A screening of Dr. Strangelove

Friday, September 12th

The film will be followed by conversation, led by MIT Prof. Jonathan King, about the issues raised and the current nuclear threat.

Co-Sponsored with the MIT Nuclear Weapons Abolition Initiative and LSC

Think Outside the Bomb
A National Youth Conference

August 14-17

Join the Think Outside the Bomb network for four days of learning, sharing, and activism, August 14-17 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston, MA. The conference will provide a backdrop for nuclear abolitionists, peace activists, ecologists, and other advocates of social justice and a livable planet to learn in-depth about the threat of nuclear weapons, the destruction caused by the nuclear fuel chain, and current political opportunities to move toward nuclear disarmament.

Speakers for this conference include Arjun Makhijani of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, Zia Mian from Princeton University, Joe Gerson, author of Empire and the Bomb, Subrata Ghoshroy from MIT, Jackie Cabasso of the Western States Legal Foundation, and of course, youth activists representing various nuclear abolition organizations and communities from around the country.

For more information and to apply, visit http://thinkoutsidethebomb.org.

Organized by Think Outside the Bomb.org and co-sponsored with the Technology and Culture Forum at MIT