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The Athens Dialogues - An International Conference on Culture and Civilization

Academic Events

Michael Herzfeld was educated at the Universities of Cambridge (B.A. in Archaeology and Anthropology, 1969), Athens (non-degree program in Greek Folklore, 1969-70), Birmingham (M.A., Modern Greek Studies, 1972; D.Litt., 1989); and Oxford (Social Anthropology, D.Phil., 1976). Before moving to Harvard, he taught at Vassar College (1978-80) and Indiana University (1980-91)
(where he served as Associate Chair of the Research Center for Language and Semiotic Studies, 1980-85, and as Chair of the Department of Anthropology, 1987-90). Lord Simon Visiting Professor at the University of Manchester in 1994, he has also taught at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (1995), Paris, at the Università di Padova (1992), the Università di Roma “La Sapienza” (1999-2000), and the University of Melbourne (intermittently since 2004), and has held a visiting research appointments at the Australian National University and the University of Sydney (1985), at the University of Adelaide, and at the Université de Paris-X (Nanterre) (1991).

Constantinos Daskalakis
is an Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the MIT, a member of the Computer Science and Artifi cial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), and an affi liate of the Laboratory for Information and Decision Systems (LIDS) and the Operations Research Center (ORC). He completed his undergraduate studies in Greece, at the National Technical University of Athens, and obtained a PhD in Computer Science from UC Berkeley. Aſt er Berkeley he was a postdoctoral researcher in Microsoſt Research New England, and has been at the faculty of MIT since 2009. Costis is interested in Algorithmic Game Theory and Applied Probability, particularly in computational aspects of markets and the Internet, in social networks, and in computational problems in Biology. Costis and his collaborators, Paul Goldberg and Christos Papadimitriou, were honored by the Game Theory Society with the first Game Theory and Computer Science Prize for their work on the Computational Complexity of Nash equilibria.

Their same work was honored with the 2011 SIAM Outstanding Paper Prize. Costis was also the recipient of the 2006 Best Student Paper Award at the ACM Conference on Electronic Commerce, a 2007 Microsoſt Graduate Research Fellowship, the 2008 ACM Doctoral Dissertation Award, a 2010 Sloan Foundation fellowship in Computer Science, and the 2011 MIT Ruth and Joel Spira Award for Distinguished Teaching.

Sean Kelly earned a Sc.B. in Mathematics and Computer Science and an M.S. in Cognitive and Linguistic Sciences from Brown University in 1989. Aſt er several years as a graduate student in Logic
and Methodology of Science, he fi nally received his Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of California at Berkeley in 1998. He taught in Philosophy and the Humanities at Stanford and in Philosophy and Neuroscience at Princeton before joining the Harvard Faculty in 2006. His work focuses on various aspects of the philosophical, phenomenological, and cognitive neuroscientific nature of human experience. This gives him a broad forum: recent work has addressed, for example, the experience of time, the possibility of demonstrating that monkeys have blind sighted experience, and the understanding of the sacred in Homer. He has taught courses on 20th century French and German Philosophy, Philosophy of Mind, Philosophy of Cognitive Science, Philosophy of Perception, Imagination and Memory, Aesthetics, and Philosophy of Literature.

Albert Borgmann has an MA in literature from the University of Illinois (Urbana) and a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Munich (Germany). Since 1970 he has taught at the University of Montana. His special area is the philosophy of society and culture with particular emphasis on technology. Among his publications are Technology and the Character of Contemporary Life (University of Chicago Press, 1984), Crossing the Postmodern Divide (University of Chicago Press, 1992), and Holding on to Reality: the Nature of Information at the Turn of the Millennium (University of Chicago Press, 1999).

George Khushf initially was trained as a civil engineer, receiving his B.S., summa cum laude from Texas A&M in 1984. His graduate studies were in religion and philosophy, with an M.A. thesis on Kierkegaard and Hegel in 1990, and a Ph.D. dissertation on hermeneutics in 1993, both from Rice University. While pursuing his graduate studies, he worked with the Center for Ethics, Medicine, and Health Policy at Baylor College of Medicine. In a two year postdoctoral position at Baylor College of Medicine he gained experience addressing ethical issues that arise in health care settings. In 1995 he moved to his current position at the University of South Carolina, where he is a Professor in the Department of Philosophy and Director of a Center for Bioethics that works with their medical school and teaching hospital. His research focuses on topics in bioethics and the philosophy of engineering and medicine. He regularly consults with state agencies, hospital systems, and engineering research teams to help address ethical and policy challenges that arise in their practices. He has published on topics ranging from concepts of health and disease, clinical reasoning and decision-making, administrative and organizational ethics, determination of death, human-machine interfaces, and nanobiotechnology.

Dr. Joseph Brain’s
research emphasizes responses to inhaled gases, particulates, and microbes. His studies extend from the deposition of inhaled particles in the respiratory tract to their clearance by respiratory defence mechanisms. Of particular interest is the role of lung macrophages; this resident cell keeps lung surfaces clean and sterile. Moreover, the lung macrophage is also a critical regulator of infl ammatory and immune responses. The context of these studies on macrophages is the prevention and pathogenesis of environmental lung disease as well as respiratory infection.

Suzanne Anker is a visual artist and theorist working at the intersection of art and the biological sciences. She works in a variety of mediums ranging from digital sculpture and installation to largescale photography to plants grown by LED lights. Her work has been shown both nationally and internationally in museums and galleries including the Walker Art Center, the Smithsonian Institute, the Phillips Collection, P.S.1 Museum, the JP Getty Museum, the Medizinhistorisches Museum der Charite in Berlin, the Center for Cultural Inquiry in Berlin, the Pera Museum in Istanbul and the Museum of Modern Art in Japan. Her books include The Molecular Gaze: Art in the Genetic Age, co-authored with the late sociologist Dorothy Nelkin, published in 2004 by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, Visual Culture and Bioscience, co-published by University of Maryland and the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C. Her writings have appeared in Art and America, Seed Magazine, Nature Reviews Genetics, Art Journal, Tema Celeste and M/E/A/N/I/N/G.

John Durant received his BA in Natural Sciences from Queens’ College, Cambridge in 1972 and went on to take a PhD in History and Philosophy of Science, also at Cambridge, in 1977. Aſt er more than a decade in University Continuing Education (first, at the University of Swansea in Wales, and then at the University of Oxford), in 1989 he was appointed Assistant Director and Head of Science Communication at the Science Museum, London and Professor of Public Understanding of Science at Imperial College, London. In 2000, he was appointed Chief Executive of At-Bristol, a new independent science centre in the West of England. He came to MIT in July 2005, to take up a joint appointment as an Adjunct Professor in the STS Program and Director of the MIT Museum.