Skip directly to content

‘Designing The Future’ 2017-2018 Public Lecture Series

on August 16, 2017 - 7:22am
SAR News:
SANTA FE  The School for Advanced Research (SAR) announces its Public Lecture Series, titled Designing the Future.
The events, free for SAR members and $10 for nonmembers unless otherwise noted, begins at 6:30 p.m. at the James A. Little Theatre on the campus of the New Mexico School for the Deaf, 1060 Cerrillos Road in Santa Fe.
The Public Lecture Series kicks off SAR’s exciting initiative, the Creative Thought Forum. This program, which will bring to Santa Fe engaging and original thinkers whose work addresses issues of broad public concern, will offer lectures, small-group discussions, and residencies on SAR’s Garcia Street campus.
The theme of the first year of SAR’s Creative Thought Forum is Designing the Future. To the best of our knowledge, humans are unique among Earth’s creatures in their compulsion to imagine a better future and then put that vision into action. Things don’t always work as planned, of course. Innovations often produce unintended consequences.
This year’s talks will focus on new technologies and their possible effects on the world, both positive and negative, followed by a discussion with SAR members in a salon-style setting. These conversations will be held in SAR’s Dobkin Boardroom on the morning after the lecture and will be limited to twenty-five members who are at the Chaco level or above.
The series kicks off on Sept. 14, 2017, with Melissa Cefkin, principal scientist, Nissan Research Center, Silicon Valley, and her talk Walk, Don’t Walk: Everyday Interactions With Self-Driving Cars. Images of a future world with driverless cars have fueled popular imagination for decades. Think “The Jetsons” or Minority Report. Hopes for positive transformative effects abound on safety, on the environment, on providing access to transportation for those whose social lives are hampered by limited mobility. But what might the future hold for the everyday experience any one of us has as we move about from place to place? Join anthropologist Cefkin to learn how what we are learning about the nature of roadway interactions and street life is helping shape the development of autonomous vehicles.
Oct. 26, 2017, Robert L. Kelly, professor of archaeology at the University of Wyoming, will draw on his recently published book, The Fifth Beginning: What Six Million Years of Human History Can Tell Us About Our Future (University of California Press, 2016). In the book, Kelly identifies four pivot points in the history of human development, then looks ahead, giving us evidence for what he calls a fifth beginning during which he foresees the end of war, capitalism, and nation-states.
Robert Kelly was an SAR resident scholar in 1988-1989 and a past president of the Society for American Archaeology. He has studied the archaeology of foraging peoples since 1973.
Jan. 25, 2018, Gabriella (Biella) Coleman, Wolfe Professor of Scientific and Technological Literacy, McGill University, discusses How Anonymous Dodged the Cyberterrorism Frame: Masking, Timing and the Guy Fawkes Icon. An anthropologist educated at Columbia University and the University of Chicago, Biella Coleman studied the hacking group Anonymous and how they dodged government efforts to dismantle their political power. Among her publications are the books Coding Freedom: The Ethics and Aesthetics of Hacking (Princeton University Press, 2012) and Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Many Faces of Anonymous (Verso, 2014). Her popular articles on the intersection of hacking and politics have appeared in such publications as the New York Times, Huffington Post, Slate, and the Atlantic Monthly.
March 22, 2018, Natasha Dow Schüll, associate professor, Department of Media, Culture, and Communication, NYU, explores Data for Life: Wearable Technology and Design of Self-Care. Dow Schüll is a cultural anthropologist and former Weatherhead Resident Scholar at SAR (2002-2003). Her current research concerns the rise of digital self-tracking technologies and the new modes of introspection and self-governance they promote. Drawing on ethnographic field research, Dow Schüll will explore the vision of technologically assisted self-regulation that drives the design of wearable tracking devices. She will discuss how such products exemplify and short-circuit cultural ideals for individual responsibility and self-regulation.
The series concludes June 1, 2018, with SAR’s annual President’s Lecture at the Lensic Performing Arts Center. Journalist Elizabeth Kolbert, staff writer at The New Yorker, will speak on The Fate of the Earth. Kolbert is best known for her Pulitzer Prize-winning book The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History (Holt, 2014), in which she presents evidence for her belief that humans may be bringing about a sixth mass extinction. She asks: Can we arrest this process? What does the future look like on a biologically impoverished planet?
Her three-part series on global warming, “The Climate of Man,” won the 2006 National Magazine Award for Public Interest, the 2005 American Association for the Advancement of Science Journalism Award, and the 2006 National Academies Communication Award. She received a Lannan Literary Fellowship in 2006 and a Heinz Award in 2010, and won the 2010 National Magazine Award for Reviews and Criticism.
Note that there will be special pricing for this event, co-presented by The Nature Conservancy of New Mexico, to be announced.
This series is sponsored by Adobo Catering, PSC – Pajarito Scientific Corporation, Thornburg Investment Management, Betty and Luke Vortman Endowment Fund, Flora Crichton Lecture Fund, Dan Merians & Tamara Bates and UBS Financial Services, Santa Fe Dining, Inc., Nissan, First National 1870, KUNM and KSFR 101.1 Radio. Thanks also to Newman’s Own Foundation for their support.
For more information or interviews about the Creative Thought Forum, the Designing the Future Public Lecture Series, or any of the speakers, contact Laura Sullivan at 505.954.7238 or