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Contemporary History Institute to host Baker Peace Conference ‘Technology and Freedom: A Brave New World’ Feb. 24-25

The College of Arts and Sciences’ Contemporary History Institute will host the 2022 Baker Peace Conference, themed “Technology and Freedom: A Brave New World,” on Feb. 24-25.

The conference, a spring staple at Ohio University since the 1980s, returns after a one-year hiatus and will be hosted via Teams.

"With our 2022 theme, ‘Technology and Freedom: A Brave New World,’ we aim to explore some of the challenges that new and emerging technologies pose to our freedom, as well as what opportunities technology may offer," Dr. Ingo Trauschweizer, professor of history and director of the institute, said.

A wide range of perspectives are grouped into three broad subject areas for the conference:

  • What are the concrete threats to security and democracy that have emerged over the past years?
  • In what ways has “big tech” reshaped society, and what opportunities that it may offer should be pursued?
  • In the field of medical technology, where society may see the most immediate benefits to new technology, what are the boundaries and inequalities, and what ethics should govern people's actions?

"This conference draws on contemporary and historical perspectives with a close eye to the future," Trauschweizer said. "We have a rare opportunity to engage with some of the keenest minds in fields and disciplines ranging from media studies to medicine, and we hope that conversations on and across our panels will invite you to think about the complexity of tools you may use in your daily life and how new and emerging technologies do and could affect our lives as nation and a global community."

Yaël Eisenstat
Yaël Eisenstat

The conference keynote speaker, Yaël Eisenstat, strives to bridge the divide between government and technology, to help foster a healthier information ecosystem. In that pursuit, she has been working around the globe on many hot-button issues surrounding democracy and security.

In the past 20 years, she has been a CIA officer, a White House advisor, the Global Head of Elections Integrity Operations for political advertising at Facebook, a diplomat, and the head of a global risk firm. Eisenstat is currently a Future of Democracy Fellow at the Berggruen Institute, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, an adjunct professor at New York University’s Center for Global Affairs, and a policy adviser to start ups, governments and investors looking for ways to align technology to serve the public.

She focuses on what the public square and open, democratic debate look like in the digital world and how people can change the current incentives to reconcile social media’s dominance of these public spaces with democratic principles.

Ohio University Press offers three volumes in the "Baker Series in Peace and Conflict Studies" series for sale on its website. Volumes in the Baker Series in Peace and Conflict Studies are edited collections of essays based on papers presented by conference participants.

The following is the Baker Peace Conference schedule:

Thursday, Feb. 24
Keynote: Yaël Eisenstat (5:30 to 7 p.m.) Join on Teams here.


Friday, Feb. 25
Panel I: Security and Democracy (10 to 11:45 a.m.) Join on Teams here.
Moderator: Matthew LeRiche (Global Leadership Center) or Yaël Eisenstat
Emerging Technologies and Security:
Audrey Kurth Cronin (American University; Director, Center for Security, Innovation, and New Technology)
Cyberwar and Security:
Nicholas Sambaluk (Associate Professor Cyber Warfare Studies, Air University Cyber Defense College)
Social Media and Democracy:
Tobias Rose-Stockwell (New York; independent journalist)

Panel II: Technology and Society (1 to 3:10 p.m.) Join on Teams here
Aimee Edmondson (OHIO professor in the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism)
Technology, Race and Inequality:
Charlton McIlwain (NYU, Vice Provost for Faculty Engagement and Development)
Surveillance and Society:
Torin Monahan (UNC; Media and Technology Studies)
Regulating Big Tech? Antitrust and competition law on innovation:
Urška Petrovčič (senior fellow at Hudson Institute)
Opportunities for Higher Education:
Mark Hagerott (North Dakota University System chancellor)

Panel III: Medical Technology and Ethics (3:15 to 5 p.m.) Join on Teams here
Jacqueline Wolf (professor in the Heritage College of Medicine at Ohio University)
Race and access to medical care:
Khiara M. Bridges (UC Berkeley Law; anthropologist)

Electronic Fetal Monitoring Today: Ethics, Malpractice Suits, and Cesareans: Thomas P. Sartwelle (Hicks Davis Wynn, Legal, Houston, TX)
21st century research and biomedical ethics: David Wendler (NIH; Director, Section on Research Ethics)



December 15, 2021
Staff reports