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“Do you know who I am?: Being human in a technological age"

Giovedì, 6 Settembre 2018
Venerdì, 7 Settembre 2018

The South African Science and Religion Forum, in collaboration with the International Society for Science and Religion, invites proposals for the upcoming seminar on the question of human identity (personal and communal) in an age where technology forms an ever-greater part of our lives.

Through the ages, the enigma of human identity has elicited responses on what it means to be human from, amongst others, religion, philosophy, psychology, sociology and the natural sciences. Similarly, culture and language have had a profound subliminal impact on our personal and communal identities. As technologies advanced, its contribution to human self-understanding cannot be ignored. From the role industrialisation played in human understanding of work (and purpose), to the use of technology in self-communication through social media, the question of human place, purpose and identity undergirds our interaction with technology (and each other). The question posed in the seminar theme is deliberate. Rather than focusing on the question “Who am I?” – which refers to matters of self, consciousness and individualism – the question “Do you know who I am?” points to the possibility that personal and communal identities can be garnered from our external relationships, communicatively mediated through the use of technology.

The seminar aims to provide an interdisciplinary platform from where the role technology plays in our understanding of what it means to be human can be deliberated on.

Paper proposals focusing on the following subthemes will be considered:

  • The impact of technology on our understanding of self and/or community
  • Trends in psychology with reference to the use of social media
  • Sociological changes as a result of the use of technology
  • Technology as aid or obstacle in the decoloniality project
  • The use of technology in religious settings
  • The present and future role of artificial intelligence in shaping human identity

Paper or presentation proposals based or related to one or more of the above themes are invited from the interested public: scholars, religious or spiritual communities and organisations, policy makers and FBOs or NGOs. Interested panellists are invited to submit a paper or abstract proposal (maximum 200 words) stating institutional affiliation, on or before 30 June 2018. Abstract proposals and all correspondences regarding the seminar should be e-mailed to Prof Wessel Bentley at bentlw1@unisa.ac.za.

Applicants will be informed by 15 July 2018 on the outcome of their submissions. Papers presented will be considered for a book or journal publication through a peer review process.

University of South Africa