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Academy in Context - Schedule information: 2008-2009

The Position: Everything You Need to Know About Theory and Practice
Monday, November 3, 6 p.m., Faculty Club

The Graduate School welcomed Stanley Fish, a public intellectual known for his New York Times blog, “Think Again.” He is the Davidson-Kahn Distinguished University Professor and a Professor of Law at Florida International University. He is dean emeritus at the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, University of Illinois, Chicago, and has taught at the University of California at Berkeley, Johns Hopkins University, and Duke University. Author of 10 books, his most recent one, “Save the World on Your Own Time,” is hot off the press, published by Oxford University Press.

In his Academy in Context talk, Mr. Fish explored the relationship between theoretical perspectives, especially postmodern ones, and questions of truth, fact and evidence.

Earlier in the day, he gave a public lecture on what teachers should and shouldn’t do on campuses, drawing from his new book, "Save the World on Your Own Time." This Kathryn O. Greenberg Lecture took place at 4 p.m. in Salomon Center for Teaching, De Ciccio Family Auditorium. The lecture was co-sponsored by the Graduate School and the Office of the Provost, and was open to the public. 


The Ethics of Biotech in a Globalized Society: Splitting Hairs vs. Splitting Genes
Tuesday, September 23, 6:00 p.m., Faculty Club

Dr. Moira Gunn is the host of “Tech Nation” and “BioTech Nation” on NPR Talk, as well as the program director for Information Systems Programs at the University of San Francisco. A former NASA scientist and engineer, she was the first woman to earn a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering at Purdue University. Gunn is the author of “Welcome to BioTech Nation: My Unexpected Odyssey into the Land of Small Molecules, Lean Genes, and Big Ideas.”

Dr. Moira Gunn discussed a variety of ethical dilemmas presented by emerging biotech. These issues present themselves when society must choose between difficult choices: between hunger and genetically-modified food, between food on the table and bio-fuel in the tank, between traditional agriculture and environmentally less-demanding GM crops, between genetically-based medical treatments for the living and the rights of embryos, between large DNA databases and the rights of the individual. Gunn presented these dilemmas in terms of the actual biotechnology and the political, economic and social aspects which must be considered, while taking into consideration the nature of innovation and the present-day speed of technological change.