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John Sanford, News Service (650) 736-2151; e-mail:

Panel to discuss crossroads of technology, politics, culture

The intersections of technology, politics and culture highlighted by the events of Sept. 11 will be the topic of a teach-in scheduled from 4:15 to 5:45 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 9, in Room 370 of Building 370.

Organized by the Program in Science, Technology and Society (STS), the event will feature a diverse panel of faculty and staff: sociologist Aneesh Aneesh, a lecturer in the STS program; Henry Lowood, curator for the libraries' History of Science and Technology Collections and an STS lecturer; Ahmad Dallal, an associate professor of history who specializes in the Middle East; and Eric Roberts, a teaching professor of computer science and the Charles Simonyi Professor in the School of Engineering.

STS directors Paula Findlen and Robert McGinn will moderate the panel discussion, titled "September 11, 2001: STS Perspectives on Technology, Politics and Culture."

"In designing the panel, our goal was to bring together cultural, political and technical perspectives, as well as the perspectives of those who have knowledge of those parts of the world that are getting a lot of attention in the wake of the disaster," said Findlen, a professor of history. "We are certainly going to bring historical and contemporary perspectives to the discussion, as well."

A major focus of the teach-in probably will be the ambiguous place of technology in the execution of the terror attacks, and how technology may play a role in preparing the United States and other nations to prevent future attacks, Findlen said.

"One view of the attacks is that technology was not involved that is, we've prepared for something much more high-tech," she said. "This raises a lot of fundamental issues of the perverse use of everyday technologies; the tallest buildings and the machines we travel in have been turned into weapons. In light of this, we need to better understand a society whose entire infrastructure is built around technology at many different levels.

"Technology certainly doesn't explain political, religious or cultural differences in the world we inhabit, but it intersects with them and is informed by them."


By John Sanford

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