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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

  Robot Malalai Joya Poster for "Making Waves, Saving Lives: A Film" Youth CAN May 2009 Caytie Campbell-0rrock ID Fair Wired for War bookcover American and Chinese Flag Radical Abundance - a theology of sustainability

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Forums 2009-2010

Youth Summit on Global Climate Change 2010

Saturday, May 22
The Stata Center, Building 32 — click here for map

4th 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 2009 summit.

Privacy Reconsidered in the Age of Facebook

Tuesday, April 27
5:30-7:00pm (with light supper)
E14-674 — click here for map

PLEASE RSVP! A light dinner will be served. Reserve your seat by clicking here.

Betsy Masiello, Policy Analyst, Google Public Policy Team
Flourish Klink, Graduate Student, MIT Comparative Media Studies
Jesse Sowell, Graduate Student, MIT Engineering Systems Division
Hal Abelson, Professor of Computer Science and Engineering, MIT
Moderator: Robert Ellis Smith, Publisher, Privacy Journal

How much of our private lives are we willing to entrust to the collective, distributed action of a million well-meaning individuals?

As people use social networking sites, such as Facebook and MySpace, to communicate with each other about their daily lives and personal interests, as a side effect they are contributing to the development of massive collections of personal information and spontaneous images -- including information about people who are not users of such sites.

*Is this aggregation of personal information a bad thing, or a good thing?

* Is it dangerous or is it freeing? Is it frightening, or only to be expected?

*What personal responsibility do individual users of social networking sites have in posting about themselves and others?

* What responsibility do social networking sites themselves have to make privacy controls easy to find and use?

* Is society's very notion of public and private changing as a  result of social networking? If so, is it changing for better or  worse?

Sponsored by Technology and Culture Forum at MIT, the ACLU of Massachusetts, and the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council.

Read this NY Times article on social networking and privacy

Read this NY Times article about a broad coalition of technology companies and advocacy groups seeking stronger privacy laws.

Read this abstract on “How Different are Young Adults from Older Adults When it Comes to Information Privacy Attitudes and Policies?” from the Social Science Research Network

International Development Night @ MIT

Friday, April 9
MIT Museum — click here for map

Please join us for a fascinating expo and reception hosted by the International Development Network at MIT. This event is being held in conjunction with the 2010 Harvard International Development Conference. Refreshments will be served.

Democracy's Endgame?

A Conversation with Arundhati Roy
and Noam Chomsky
Moderator: Amy Goodman
Friday, April 2
26-100 — click here for map

Please join us for a conversation with Arundhati Roy, author of The God of Small Things and Field Notes on Democracy, and MIT professor of Linguistics and Philosophy Noam Chomsky, author of Hegemony or Survival and the forthcoming book, Hopes and Prospects, as they discuss the threats to democracy in the United States, India, and worldwide.

A book signing will take place immediately following the program in MIT Lobby 13

Co-Sponsored with the MIT Program in Women's and Gender Studies

CLICK HERE to watch the program live.
This webcast will use Flash media format. Please note:

  1. FlashPlayer version 10 or newer is needed – the viewer can determine her/his player type by visiting this URL: http://kb2.adobe.com/cps/155/tn_15507.html
  2. If the viewer's browser does not have FlashPlayer installed, they may visit this download page: http://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/

We will have a "raw" on-demand video of the event available about 45-60 minutes after the event concludes. About 24 hour laters, the initial on-demand file will be replaced by a more refined version


Are YOU interested in meeting others who care about violence against women? Do YOU want to connect with local leaders who are making a difference? Then we want YOU!

When: March 30, 2010 7-9pm
NW35 Ashdown House, Hulsizer Room; 235 Albany Street — click here for map
Refreshments provided
Open to: MIT Community Members and Friends

Co-Sponsored by: The End Violence Against Women Program and the Office of the Dean of Graduate Education (ODGE)

Violence Against Women in Pakistan

A talk by Humaira Awais Shahid, journalist, activist, and former legislator, Provincial Assembly of the Punjab, Pakistan; 2009-2010 Fellow, Radcliffe Institute

Tuesday, March 16
Location:1-190 — click here for map

Recent TAC speaker featured in the Daily Free Press

Humaira Awais Shahid is the first parliamentarian in the history of Pakistan to make successful legislations as an individual member. She prohibited private usury in her law which exploited the down trodden and was a source of an exploited tool to force women into brothels and forced marriages, her law was adopted and replicated by N.W.F.P Parliament (the most conservative, tribal Parliament). As a legislator, she successfully grounded resolutions against Acid Attacks and Forced Marriages (customary practice VANI), which became the basis of The Criminal Law(Amendment) Act, 2005. During her 5 year strenuous struggle she succeeded despite extreme opposition from criminal mafia, cabinet and administrative departments.

Ms. Shahid as a journalist exposed the oppression and discrimination facing women and children. She highlighted countless stories of stove burnings, child prostitution, rapes, acid attacks etc. She was editor of The Post, an English Daily, from 2007-2009, and from 2000-2007 was editor of the women’s section of Daily Khabrain. Currently a scholar at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, Ms. Shahid is researching violence against women in the context of political Islam and tribal culture

This program is co-sponsored with the MIT Program in Human Rights and Justice and MIT Program in Women's and Gender Studies

Read about this program in the Daily Free Press

What is the Question You Think is Most Important for the World | Dropping Knowlege

February 15 - March 8th
Click here for information



Chan Short

Dargan Short

Wartman Short

Building an Ethical Economy: Theology and the Marketplace

Hosted by Trinity Institute, New York

February 5, 5pm-9pm
February 6, 9am-4pm
$30 Registration fee includes dinner on Friday, morning coffee and lunch on Saturday
Stata 32-123 — click here for map

Archbishop Rowan Williams, 104th Archbishop of Canterbury
Sir Partha Dasgupta, Frank Ramsey Professor of Economics at the University of Cambridge
Kathryn Tanner, Dorothy Grant Maclear Professor of Theology at the University of Chicago Divinity School

We will serve as the Boston gathering site for this national conference, using video of the conference and speakers, reflecting in small groups on the presentations. THe following luminaries will serve as respondents and discussion group leaders:

Catherine Mann, Professor of Economics, Brandeis University
Joan Martin, Associate Professor of Christian Social Ethics, Episcopal Divinity School, Cambridge
Anthony Zuba, Lead Organizer, Massachusetts Interfaith Coalition for Worker Justice

Co-sponsored with the Episcopal Divinity School, Cambridge, MA, Boston Faith and Justice Network, the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, Life Together: The Young Adult Internship Programs of the Diocese of MA, and Mass. Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice

The Social Responsibility of the Scientist

Thursday, December 3
Building 10, Room 250 — click here for map

Click here to see a video of this program

Dr. George Daley, Director of Stem Cell Transplantation Program, Children's Hospital Boston; Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute; and Associate Professor of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, Harvard Medical School

The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church (United States and 15 other nations) and Ph.D. in oceanography

Dr. David Urion, Associate Professor of Neurology and Director of the Division of Service Learning, Harvard Medical School

Join us for a fascinating panel discussion on the social responsibility of the scientist as we celebrate TAC's 45th anniversary.

Film Screening: SKID ROW

Monday, November 30
Building 1, Room 150 — click here for map

Come see Skid Row, a film that documents one man's experience living on the streets for nine days.

Following the film screening, there will be a discussion lead by a student who lived homeless in Cambridge for three months.

Refreshments will be served. Bring a can for the Boston Food Bank

Co-sponsored with the Lutheran Episcopal Ministry at MIT

Wired For War:
The Prospects and Perils of Robotic Warfare

Tuesday, November 10
Building 6, Room 120 — click here for map

Listen to this program

Peter Singer, Senior Fellow and Director of the 21st Century Defense Initiative, Brookings Institution

Moderator and Respondent: Missy Cummings, Associate Professor, CSAIL

Respondents to be announced

This program is co-sponsored with the MIT Security Studies Program and CSAIL

Hear recent TAC speaker Peter Singer, on WBUR's On Point, talk about robotic warfare.

EXAMINED LIFE: Philosophy in the Street

A free film screening
Thursday, November 5
Building 32, Room 141— click here for map

Socrates said "The unexamined life is not worth living". Do you agree?

Discussion, led by Prof. Rae Langton, will follow the film. Light refreshments will be served.

Co-sponsored by the MIT Philosophy Section and the Technology and Culture Forum at MIT

Malalai Joya

Thursday, October 29
Room 10-250 — click here for map

Called "the bravest woman in Afghanistan", Joya is a member of the Afghan parliament who has repeatedly stood up to the warlords, for women's rights and democracy. Despite having had four assassination attempts against her, she refuses to remain silent and continues to fight for women's rights. Malalai Joya comes to MIT to talk about women's rights, her work, and the struggle for women's rights in Afghanistan.

Although this program is free, donations for the costs of bringing Joya here and for the Defense Committee for Malalai Joya are encouraged and appreciated.

For more information and updates please go to http://web.mit.edu/end_violence.

Co-sponsored with MIT Amnesty International.

This program is part of a year-long series on Violence Against Women sponsored by TAC.

Click here to see the video of this program

A Walk to Beautiful: Film Screening

Wednesday, October 28
6-120 — click here for map

The award winning feature-length documentary A Walk to Beautiful tells the stories of five Ethiopian women who suffer from devastating childbirth injuries and embark on a journey to reclaim their lost dignity. Rejected by their husbands and ostracized by their communities, these women are left to spend the rest of their lives in loneliness and shame. They make the choice to take the long and arduous journey to the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital in search of a cure and a new life.

For more information and updates please go to http://web.mit.edu/end_violence.

Co-sponsored with MIT Amnesty International

This program is part of a year-long series on Violence Against Women sponsored by TAC.

Making Waves, Saving Lives: Film Screening

Tuesday, October 27
MIT Room 6-120 — click here for map

Making Waves, Saving Lives tells the story of Dolphin Anti-Rape, an organization that teaches Kenyan women and girls rape awareness and self-defense. With no government funding, a 1985 Toyota that's constantly in the shop, and unreliable public transportation, four dedicated volunteers find a way to overcome adversity to get into the classrooms of Nairobi to empower young women. These girls learn that they have the right to say no to unwanted advances and they gain the courage to fight back and run away. Ten years since the founding of Dolphin Anti-Rape, its volunteers are affecting not only students but also a whole generation of young Kenyans, giving them confidence filling them with empowerment, and helping them preserve their innocence. Witness how the dedicated volunteers of Dolphin Anti-Rape enable young women to walk the streets of Nairobi with pride instead of fear.

Filmmaker Golzar Selbe (from Dolphin Anti-Rape, VDay) will be in attendance for a discussion afterwards.

Although this program is free, donations for Dolphin Anti-Rape are encouraged and appreciated.

For more information and updates please go to http://web.mit.edu/end_violence.

This program is part of a year-long series on Violence Against Women sponsored by TAC.

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind:
Elegant Design Out of Junk and Spare Parts

William Kamkwamba
Read about William on CNN's World

See William on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart-October 7th!

Wednesday, October 21
Room 6-120 — click here for map

Introduced by Amy Smith, founder of D-Lab, MIT

William Kamkwamba, is a senior at the African Leadership Academy, a pan-African high school in Johannesburg, South Africa. A 2007 and 2009 TEDGlobal Fellow, Kamkwamba has been profiled on the front page of the Wall Street Journal and his inventions have been displayed at Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry. He's often invited to tell his story at such venues as the World Economic Forum in Africa, CES, Aspen Ideas Festival, Maker Faire Africa and the African Economic Forum.

William Kamkwamba will share his story of how he achieved his dream of bringing electricity, light, and the promise of a better life to his family and his village. It started with a bicycle dynamo—simply a pedal-powered wheel that generated light. This taste of electricity (a luxury enjoyed by just two percent of Malawians) filled William with a desire to create. Before long, his scientific curiosity sent him on a quest to build a windmill. Besides dealing with financial obstacles and technical difficulties, William became a self-taught physicist, overcame local superstitions, and withstood being mocked for his “crazy” ideas.

For a full biography of William, please click here.

Click here to see a video of this program.

This program is co-sponsored with the Edgerton Center.

Race and Politics in the Media

Oct. 8th
Bartos Theater (MIT building E15, 20 Ames Street) — click here for map

Juan Williams, National Public Radio and Fox News in conversation with
David Thorburn, Director, MIT Communications Forum
Philip Thompson, Associate Professor, Urban Studies and Planning, MIT

The election of an African-American president in Nov. 2008 has been hailed as a transforming event. But has Obama's ascension transformed anything? Many people?s answer to that question changed this summer when a famous Harvard professor was arrested at his home in Cambridge. Are the harsh realities of race and class in the U.S. clearer now or murkier, following the media tsunami of Gatesgate? And has this polarizing event given greater visibility to racial minorities in the media's coverage of politics? How are race issues and racial politics covered in our national media, and what are the implications of the demise of major city newspapers for the coverage of race and politics?

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

International Development Fair

Friday, October 2
Lobby Building 13 — click here for map

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 annual Fair is organized by the MIT International Development Network, of which TAC is a founding member. This MIT community network was developed to promote and share information about activities, programs, events and formal academic offerings related to international development.

What Matters to Me and Why:
A Personal Look at Ethical Issues

Thursday, September 10
Time: 5 pm -6 pm
Building 4, Room 145 — click here for map

Four scholars explain why they care deeply about a particular issue, followed by open conversation about the responsibilities of engineers and scientists to society. Discover how the Technology and Culture Forum will address these issues in the year ahead and how to get involved.

The panel will consist of TAC Steering Committee members Christopher Csikszentmihalyi, MIT Media Lab, Sally Haslanger, Philosophy, Megan Palmer, G, Biology, and Yoda Patta, Materials Science and Engineering. Hors d'oeuvres will be served.