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SOCIAL DANCES / Networks, Power, and Meaning

PUSH 2006: A New Life, Session 2

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The extraordinary rate of innovation and change has been incredibly disruptive as well as stimulating, challenging the way people mediate community, power, and meaning. As social connections become both more personal and transitory, their power to move markets, movements, and social mores is being amplified at warped speed around the globe. What is the impact on globalization, and on us? How do we now define our "world" and place ourselves among these intersecting networks of values, politics, and personal meaning?


Dr. Kwame Anthony Appiah earned his Ph.D. in philosophy at Oxford University and is currently both a Professor of Afro–American Studies and Professor of Philosophy at Harvard University.

A native of Ghana whose family stretches around the globe, Dr. Appiah draws on his rich cultural roots to address issues of diversity, community building, and cultural identity. His writings range from linguistics to philosophy, metaphysics, anthropology, sociology, and history; his works discuss African, American and European ideas.

Besides publishing numerous journal articles, Dr. Appiah has also authored several books. In My Father’s House: Africa in the Philosophy of Culture (1992), a collection of essays on race and culture, was a 1992 New York Times Notable Book of the Year and won the African Studies Association’s Herskovits Award for 1993. Additionally, with Henry Louis Gates, Jr., he has co–edited numerous volumes of critical perspectives on prestigious African–American writers such as Toni Morrison and Langston Hughes.

In speaking about culture, Dr. Appiah says that “one is bound to be formed—morally, aesthetically, politically, religiously—by the range of lives one has known.” He draws upon African American and African thinkers to “explore the possibilities and pitfalls of an African identity in the late twentieth century.”


The Kids Philosophy Slam is a philosophy contest designed to make philosophy fun and accessible for kids of all ages and abilities. Each year a philosophical topic is chosen and students from 1st grade through 12th grade express their views on the philosophical topic posed.

The Philosophy Slam is non–profit and relies on donations and sponsors to support its programming. The community of Lanesboro is the host of the event for 2003. For information about sponsorship opportunities contact us at: info@philosophyslam

The idea behind the Kids Philosophy Slam came from John P. Davis, who created The Great American Think–Off in 1993. The Great American Think–Off was designed to make philosophy accessible to the everyday person, in a fun sports type format. The Think–Off posed a philosophical question each year and contestants would answer the question in a 750 word essay. 4 finalists were selected to then debate the question in front of a live audience who voted on the winner. The Think–Off has received national press, including The Today Show, CNN, NPR, USA Today and the NY Times. Davis selected the question “Is honesty always the best policy?” in 1998, and C-SPAN covered the Think–Off live.

There have been two finalists for the Think–Off that have been teenagers, and hundreds of entries from kids of all ages. John Davis wanted to expand upon the idea and create a new forum just to showcase kids philosophy. Thus, the Kids Philosophy Slam was started.


Howard Rheingold is a leading authority on the social implications of technology who takes audiences on a journey through the human side of the technology–shaped future. He is an internationally syndicated author of the weekly Tomorrow column, author of best-sellers Virtual RealityVirtual Community, and Smart Mobs, and served as editor of the The Whole Earth ReviewThe Millennium Whole Earth Catalog, and on-line host for The Well.

Howard’s been in on the Web since the beginning, and long before. He’s studied Internet enterprises and started them. Rheingold was the founding Executive Editor of Hot Wired, the pioneering online publication launched on the World Wide Web by Wired magazine. He was the founder of Electric Minds, named by Time Magazine one of the ten best websites of 1996. He’s a participant–observer in the design of new technologies, a pioneer, critic and forecaster of technology’s impacts, and a speaker who involves his audience in an adventure in group futurism.

In addition to writing and speaking around the world, Howard also teaches at Stanford University (Toward a Literacy of Cooperation) and at UC Berkeley (Participatory Media and Collective Action).

Virtual Reality and Virtual Community are published in French, German, Italian, Spanish, and Japanese language editions, in addition to distribution in the United Kingdom, and the United States.


Caroline Bradley, professor of law, began her academic career in 1986, serving as a lecturer in law at the London School of Economics and Political Science. She obtained her LL.M. (first class) from Jesus College, Cambridge, in 1984, and qualified as a solicitor before joining the LSE faculty. Professor Bradley, who joined the Law School faculty in 1992, has written widely on matters of British and European financial law. At the University of Miami, she teaches courses in European Community law, United States securities regulation, international finance, and business associations.