Knowledge is the lifeblood of the university. Its progression may be marked from the crucible of its creation to its dissemination to a larger public, and, finally, to the use to which it is put. A half-century after the campus teach-ins during the social unrest of the '60s, it seems entirely appropriate that we recreate a community dialogue on knowledge and the role of the Academy: how should the university engage with the community and the nation in the 21st century?
The official launch of the 2018 Teach-In at the University of Pennsylvania will feature a spirited and open discussion with three distinguished panelists who bring unique perspectives on these issues. Sarah Tishkoff has created the world's largest database of African diversity derived from genetic samples of more than 9,000 people from 200 distinct ethnic groups and brought it to bear in novel integrations of research in linguistics and anthropology. John Jackson, Jr. has drawn from the power of storytelling through image and sound to generate new perspectives across traditional categories: technology and religious studies, culture and economics, anthropology and new media, and Africana studies and linguistics. Dorothy Roberts's head-turning critique of race-based genomic science - an argument that racial identity is a social and political invention, not a biological fact coded in DNA - has helped change the national conversation and led to powerful insights at the intersection of law, social justice, science, and health. Together our panelists will bring into sharp focus, using anecdotes viewed through the prisms of their own wide-ranging investigations, the rigours of knowledge creation in this fluid century, the particular challenges of communicating it in an era of social media and fake news, and the dramatic and exaggerated impacts it can have in a time of instantaneous communication.
The conversation will be moderated by WHYY's award winning journalist, Tracey Matisak, who brings to bear wide-ranging experience as Anchor, Reporter, and Broadcaster through two decades of work in major market radio and television including Fox Philadelphia, PBS, NPR, and WHYY, and KYW Newsradio.
Ms. Matisak has more than 20 years of major market radio and television experience and spearheads special projects for WHYY throughout the year. These include anchoring election coverage and hosting live events on WHYY, PBS and National Public Radio. She has been an occasional contributor to PBS'S Nightly Business Report. Prior to WHYY, she served for 12 years at FOX Philadelphia. She hosted FOX's Good Day Philadelphia and served as an Anchor and Reporter for the FOX Ten O'Clock News. She has also appeared on the Home and Garden Network and has served as an anchor and reporter for several Philadelphia radio stations, including KYW Newsradio. Ms. Matisak serves as Member of Multicultural Advisory Board at Star Toplin. Ms. Matisak is a member of the adjunct faculty in Temple's department of Broadcasting, Telecommunications and Mass Media. Ms. Matisak is a Distinguished Alumni of Temple University. She has also won the Sarah Award for Excellence in Broadcasting and was named Communicator of the Year by the National Black MBA Association. Ms. Matisak is an award-winning journalist, a dynamic speaker and trainer and a member of WHYY's News and Public Affairs team. Ms. Matisak is a graduate of Temple University.
John Jackson, Jr.
A renowned cultural anthropologist, Professor John Jackson is Dean of the School of Social Policy & Practice and the Richard Perry University Professor of Communication, Anthropology, and Africana Studies with appointments in the Annenberg School for Communication, the School of Arts & Sciences, and the School of Social Policy & Practice. His research defies traditional categories, incorporating multiple fields in each inquiry: technology and religious studies; culture and economics; anthropology and new media; Africana studies and linguistics. Drawn to the power of storytelling through image and sound, Jackson is leading efforts to bring film into academia. He has produced numerous visual anthropologies: feature-length documentaries, fictional movies and short films that have won prestigious awards and screened around the world.
Professor Dorothy Roberts is the George A. Weiss Professor of Law & Sociology, the Raymond Pace & Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander Professor of Civil Rights, and Professor of Africana Studies. She is also the founding Director of the Program on Race, Science and Society. With appointments in Penn Law and the School of Arts & Sciences, Roberts works at the intersection of law, social justice, science and health to explore the role of race in scientific research, biotechnological innovations, and health services and outcomes. The program builds on her head-turning critique of race-based genomic science - an argument that racial identity is a social and political invention, not a biological fact coded in DNA. The program illustrates Roberts' ability to change national conversations, bring about positive social change and put research into practice in public service.
Professor Sarah A. Tishkoff is the David and Lyn Silfen University Professor in Genetics and Biology. She holds appointments in the Perelman School of Medicine and the School of Arts & Sciences, and works at the intersection of biomedicine, human genetics, evolutionary genetics and anthropology. Overcoming hazards in rural Africa, Sarah Tishkoff has created the world's largest database of African diversity derived from genetic samples from more than 9,000 people from 200 distinct ethnic groups. Tishkoff's scholarship expands understanding of ancestry and culture with data gleaned from genetics and metabolism, and may yield insights on causes and possible new treatments for disease. Tishkoff is known for her novel integration of field, lab and computational research with linguistics and anthropology. Through her studies of indigenous populations, Tishkoff hopes to identify genetic factors in resistance to diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis, and to glean insights to help prevent diabetes and heart disease.