Upcoming Event: Bahá’í Chair for World Peace Annual Lecture 2019

Baha’i Chair for World Peace Annual Lecture 2019

Professor Alondra Nelson

Even a Moon Shot Needs a Flight Plan: Genetics and Ethics in the Obama Administration

October 10, 2019

8:00PM

Colony Ballroom, Stamp Student Union, University of Maryland College Park 

In May 27, 2016, Barack Obama became the first sitting American president to visit the site of the world’s first atomic bombing. In a speech that day at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park, Obama proclaimed that the “scientific revolution that led to the splitting of an atom requires a moral revolution as well.” In this lecture, Dr. Alondra Nelson considers the “politics of ethics” that was a signature of the Obama administration’s approach to science and technology. This politics of ethics endeavored to place temporal distance between scientific research of the past and present, enabling claims about the importance of federal science to national wellbeing, broadly conceived. In particular, she will examine the roll-out of the Precision Medicine Initiative that incorporated plainspoken acknowledgement of prior discrimination in government-backed scientific research as a necessary predicate to the successful enrollment of research subjects—especially those from minority populations–into the program.

Alondra Nelson, President of the Social Science Research Council and Harold F. Linder Professor at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, is an acclaimed researcher and author, who explores questions of science, technology, and social inequality. Nelson’s books include, Body and Soul: The Black Panther Party and the Fight Against Medical Discrimination and The Social Life of DNA: Race, Reparations, and Reconciliation after the Genome. She is coeditor of Genetics and the Unsettled Past: The Collision of DNA, Race and History (with Keith Wailoo and Catherine Lee) and Technicolor: Race, Technology and Everyday Life (with Thuy Linh Tu). Nelson serves on the board of directors of the Teagle Foundation and the Data & Society Research Institute. She is an elected Fellow of the American Academy of Political and Social Science and of the Hastings Center, and is an elected Member of the Sociological Research Association.

After the discussion, the speaker will take questions from the audience.

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Reflection: Do Ethics have a Place in Capitalism?

Do Ethics have a Place in Capitalism?

Is capitalism the best ideology for society? As the income gap between the rich and poor grows nationally and global inequality persists, it would be beneficial to reflect on what values drive the system.

Both critiques and advocates of the capitalist system—an economic model driven by the free market and operates outside of state control— rely on the field of economics to shape their arguments. This field of study has always played an important role in understanding human behavior and specifically the interaction between humans and their society. Continue reading

Upcoming Event: Finding Justice in the Cambodian Genocide

The Department of Government and Politics, College Park Scholars, International Studies,

and The Bahá’í Chair for World Peace

Present a Lecture

Finding Justice in the Cambodian Genocide: Mistakes, Consequences, and Questionable Ethics

Youk Chhang, Executive Director of the Documentation Center of Cambodia (DC-Cam), founder of Sleuk Rith Institute 

   2.00PM, May 9, 2017, Special Events Room, McKeldin Library, University of Maryland, College Park
Continue reading

Book Review: Ethics by Baruch Spinoza

Sometimes you finally get to read that book that makes things fall into place. No matter how much modern philosophy you read, without tracing those thoughts back to their place of origin, you will miss a lot. And who would have thought that this little book by Spinoza (1632-1677), who was ostracized for thinking outside of the limits the religious community he grew up in had put on him, would be such an eye-opener? Nowadays Spinoza’s work is an inspiration not only for philosophers, but also across different religious communities. In 1929 Einstein wrote “I believe in Spinoza’s God.” [Source] So why is Spinoza’s legacy still such an inspiration today? Continue reading