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Let’s Talk. Remember How?

  • Sherry Turkle, an MIT professor who has studied digital culture for over 30 years, will speak on reclaiming conversation i...
    Sherry Turkle, an MIT professor who has studied digital culture for over 30 years, will speak on reclaiming conversation in the digital age.
    Peter Urban
February 25, 2016
Sherry Turkle, an MIT professor who has been studying digital culture for 30 years, examines the troubling consequences of a digital society and how we can reclaim the essential human act of face-to-face conversation.

As we communicate more and more through electronic devices, are we losing our ability to communicate face-to-face? That’s the question that Sherry Turkle, the Abby Rockefeller Maize Professor at MIT, will pose in her talk on March 9 about her book, Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age. The presentation in Decker Theatre at the Gibson Center for the Arts is free and open to the public.

Turkle has been studying digital culture for over 30 years. Long an enthusiast for its possibilities, in Reclaiming Conversation she investigates a troubling consequence: at work, at home, in politics, and in love, we find ways around conversation, tempted by the possibilities of a text or an email in which we don’t have to look, listen, or reveal ourselves. Based on five years of research and interviews in homes, schools, and the workplace, Turkle’s work argues that we have come to a better understanding of where our technology can and cannot take us, and that the time is right to reclaim conversation, the most human—and humanizing—thing that we do. 

“What Turkle brings to the topic that is new is more than a decade of interviews with teens and college students in which she plumbs the psychological effect of our brave new devices on the generation that seems most comfortable with them,” says the Wall Street Journal. The New York Times has called her “a singular voice in the discourse about technology.”

The March 9 event begins at with a reception and chance to meet Turkle in the Underwood lobby at 4:00 p.m. Free hardcover copies of Reclaiming Conversation will be available—first-come, first-served—to Washington College students, staff, faculty, and alumni who attend. The talk will start at 5:00 p.m., followed by a book sale and signing.

Turkle will host two informal sit-down conversations for faculty, staff, and students on the morning of Thursday, March 10. The discussion will center on how to “reclaim conversation” and manage new social media/technologies at an individual and institutional level, in an academic community that has committed itself to “unhurried conversation” as a core value. Sessions are at 9:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. in Hynson Lounge (late arrivals are fine) and will run about 45 minutes each.

The Cromwell Center for Teaching and Learning, the C.V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience, Miller Library and Academic Technology, and the Washington College chapter of Phi Beta Kappa joined forces to sponsor this event. 


Last modified on Mar. 4th, 2016 at 2:52pm by .