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Through public lectures, the Technology and Culture Forum presents speakers of diverse viewpoints who come from a wide variety of academic and professional backgrounds. In planning programs, the Technology and Culture Steering Committee, made up of MIT faculty, students and alumni, seek to address critical issues and raise important questions.

Moral Tribes Book Cover

Our February program, "Getting Beyond Us and Them: Our Brains and the Possibility of Peace" hosted Emile Bruneau and Josh Greene who discussed new opportunities for compromise, co-existence and peace.
Watch a video of this program.



Miss Representation: A Sundance Film

Barbed Wire Image

Youth CAN May 2009

bullying image

Women without Men

Gene Patenting

Malalai Joya

Caytie Campbell-0rrock

ID Fair

Wired for War bookcover

American and Chinese Flag

Radical Abundance - a theology of sustainability

Recent Forums - Spring 2014

Nothing to Hide?
Illusions of Privacy and Security

Friday, June 13
MIT Museum; 265 Massachusetts Avenue

When was the last time you emptied your pockets and stepped through a security scanner? What were the last words you entered into an internet search engine?

Security procedures are more and more common, and with each year they ask us to reveal more about our bodies and our possessions. Data mining programs collect more and more information about our activities and our preferences. How much of ourselves are we sharing with government agencies and with corporations? Is the safety and convenience worth the cost to our privacy?

In this interactive evening, we will explore the questions of privacy and security raised by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer's installation Please Empty Your Pockets alongside digital art, documentary footage, short live performances by the Underground Railway Theater, and an opportunity for in-depth discussion with Catherine D'Iganzio and Sara M Watson, moderated by John Durant, Director of the MIT Museum.

John Durant, Director, MIT Museum; MIT's Program in Science, Technology and Society

Catherine D'Ignazio, The Media Lab, Center for Civic Media, MIT
Sara M. Watson, Berkman Center for Internet and Society, Harvard University

"Second Fridays" is a monthly event sponsored by the MIT Museum.  Refreshments will be served. Free with Museum admission and for all MIT community members.

8th Annual Youth Summit on Global Climate Change

Saturday, May 10
The Stata Center, Building 32 - click here for map


Come to the 8th Annual Youth Summit on Global Warming hosted by The Technology and Culture Forum and organized by the Boston Latin School's Youth Climate Action Network (YouthCAN) and ACE (Alliance for Climate Education)! 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!

The Nuclear Agreement with Iran and Its Ramifications for the Regional Politics of the Middle East

Tuesday, April 15
E51-057 - click here for map

Professor Ali Banuazizi, Professor of Political Science and Director of the Program in Islamic Civilization and Societies, Boston College

After receiving his Ph. D. from Yale University in 1968, Ali Banuazizi taught at Yale and the University of Southern California before joining the Boston College Faculty in 1971. Since then, he has held visiting appointments and fellowships at the University of Tehran, Princeton, Harvard, and Oxford University, and MIT. He served as the founding editor of the journal of Iranian Studies, from 1968 to 1982. He is a past President of the International Society for Iranian Studies (ISIS) and the Middle East Studies Association (MESA).

Ali Banuazizi is the author of numerous articles on society, culture, and politics in Iran and the Middle East, and the coauthor (with A. Ashraf) of Social Classes, the State and Revolution in Iran (2008, in Persian) and coeditor (with Myron Weiner) of three books on politics, religion and society in Southwest and Central Asia. He is currently associate editor of the Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World.

Persia: The Pertinent History of the Islamic Republic of Iran

Wednesday, April 2
3-133 - click here for map

John Tirman, Executive Director; MIT Center for International Studies

Read a recent interview with Professor Tirman about US-Iran misperceptions.

Click here for a timeline of Iran's nuclear program.

The Ides of April: The Presidential Succession Crisis and the Dilemmas of the Algerian Oligarchy

Edward Keller, Professor, North African and Middle Eastern History and Director, Middle Eastern Studies Program at Tufts University

Tuesday, April 1
E51-057 - click here for map

Co-sponsored with the Emile Bustani Middle East Seminar

The Cold War Hangover: Nuclear Risks and Political Realities in the 21st Century

Thursday, February 20
Speaker: James Acton, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Refreshments at 3:30pm in 4-349

PLEASE NOTE: You are invited to an informal conversation with James Acton prior to his main talk in 10-250 at 4pm. We will be hosting a discussion at 2:00 - 3:15 PM in the LNS conference Room 26-528. Please email Aron Bernstein to RSVP.

Sponsored by MIT's Laboratory for Nuclear Science and Global Zero.

Getting Beyond Us and Them: Our Brains and the Possibility of Peace

Tuesday, February 4
Click here to watch a video of this program.

Emile Bruneau, Researcher, Social Cognitive Neuroscience, Saxelab, MIT

Joshua Greene, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, Harvard University and author of "Moral Tribes"

New brain imaging studies show us that our instincts and assumptions can set us up to experience greater conflict, especially between groups that have differing moral codes or unequal access to power. Dr. Joshua Greene and Dr. Emile Bruneau will share insights from their research into why we encounter conflict and the strategies we can use to overcome our brains' automatic responses and create new opportunities for compromise, coexistence and peace.

Emile Bruneau is interested in the psychology of human conflict. He is working with Saxe to figure out why empathy - the ability to feel compassion for another person's suffering - often fails between members of opposing conflict groups. Bruneau is also trying to locate patterns of brain activity that correlate with empathy, in hopes of eventually using such measures to determine how well people respond to reconciliation programs aimed at boosting empathy between groups in conflict.

Joshua Greene's research focuses on moral judgment and decision-making, primarily using behavioral experiments and functional neuroimaging (fMRI). The goal of the research is to understand how moral judgments are shaped by automatic processes (such as emotional "gut reactions") and controlled cognitive processes (such as reasoning and self-control). Much of the research is aimed at understanding these automatic and controlled processes in more detailed functional terms. Recent work examines related phenomena such as cooperation, punishment, and belief in God.

Click here to read a recent book review of "Moral Tribes".

Click here to listen to a recent radio program, "Emotion, Reason, and the Gap Between Us and Them", on WYNC featuring Professor Joshua Greene.

Click here to listen to a BBC panel discussion, "Why Do We Tell Stories?", featuring Dr. Emile Bruneau.

Click here to read an MITnews story featuring the research of Dr. Emile Bruneau.

The Origins of Freedom
The Continuing Debate Over Equality
Lincoln and Darwin @ 204

Wednesday, February 12
Check back here for a video of this program.

David E. Housman, "Human Evolution and Human Disease"; Biology, MIT
Jonathan King, "Darwin's Contribution to Views of Human Equality"; Biology, MIT
Helen Elaine Lee, "Voices from Slavery and Abolition"; School of Humanities, Arts and Social Science, MIT
John Stauffer, "Lincoln, Douglas and Emancipation"; Program in the History of American Civilization, Harvard University

Abraham Lincoln and Charles Darwin were born hours apart on the same day, in the same year: February 12, 1809. Although born to differing circumstance, both men played a huge role in the struggle for human equality. Our panel of speakers will offer insights ranging from the voices from slavery and abolition; Lincoln, Douglas and Emancipation; and Darwin's contribution to human equality.

To learn more about Darwin and Lincoln, their similarities and differences, and how they shaped the world, read this Smithsonian article.

UNCOVERING IRAN: A Lunch Discussion on the World's Most Talked About Nuclear Program

Wednesday, January 22: Persia: The Pertinent History of the Islamic Republic of Iran; John Tirman, Executive Director, Center for International Studies:

Friday, January 24: Diplomacy in Danger: The Nuclear Build-up and Interim Deal with Iran; Jim Walsh, Research Associate, Security Studies Program

Please Note: Professor Tirman's postponed program will be re-scheduled as soon as possible. Please check back soon.

Check out the MIT Global Zero website for additional IAP programming.