2021 Walter A. Strauss Lecture Series - "The Racial History of Capital and the Digital Future of Humanity": Lessons for the Ethical Governance of Technology

Color head shot of african american man (Sylvester Johnson) in a library wearing suit and tie
November 4, 2021 - 5:00 PM

Tinkham Veale University Center Ballroom A
11038 Bellflower Road

The 2021 Strauss lectures are presented by Sylvester A. Johnson, founding director of the Virginia Tech Center for Humanities and a nationally recognized humanities scholar specializing in the study of technology, race, religion, and national security. He is assistant vice provost for the humanities at Virginia Tech and executive director of the university’s Tech for Humanity initiative. This lecture series, in memory of Walter A. Strauss (1923-2008), who was the Elizabeth and William T. Treuhaft Professor of Humanities, is generously supported by funds provided by the Paul Wurzburger Endowment.

In this lecture, Johnson interprets the history of objectifying people as fungible things of value (viz., the African slave trade) and juxtaposes this with the contemporary cybernetic turn that is endowing machines with the signs and capacities of personhood and that is combining people with machines. He proffers lessons from the global history of race that might guide a possible future for ethical governance of technology.

Registration requested.  Register HERE.

This lecture will also be live-streamed at www.case.edu/livestream/s2.

Increasing COVID-19 cases within Northeast Ohio have prompted Case Western Reserve to resume its requirement that masks be worn indoors. In addition, only those who are fully vaccinated (two weeks past their final dose) should attend any campus event. Leaders continue to monitor pandemic developments and may need to adjust health protocols further as circumstances warrant. In-person is subject to change based on COVID-19 guidelines.