Us and Them: the Neuroscience of Morality at Kitabkhana
How do we identify who is part of 'us' and who is the 'other'? What does biology have to tell us about this process? And how does it help us to imagine social worlds?
Across the globe we are increasingly seeing mass migrations of people for various reasons. This is coming in direct conflict with a shrinking sense of identity that is threatened by the nearness of 'difference'. It is a time when 'us' and 'them' have become powerful politics for those in power or seeking power. For many of us, this is also a confusing time, when the world is churning but we cannot see where it is going. One of the most powerful actions we can take at moments like this is to come together for collective contemplation - an effort to understand combined with an effort to imagine possibilities.
We on behalf of Junoon are delighted to invite Vidita Vaidya - neuroscientist and professor - to Mumbai Local once again. This time, she will share what neuroscience has to say about behaviour, morality, and their relationship to the social constructs we live with. Neuroscience is a fascinating field of enquiry that, amongst other things, explores how different combinations of our biology and environment make us behave. It is a field that gives us insight into why we do what we do, and also, crucially, how we can do differently.
Look forward to an eye-opening evening with science, filled with illustrations from lab experiments, surprising findings, and fascinating insights. Expect to be filled with questions and contemplations, and to engage in a thought-provoking collective conversation.
See you on Friday, 15th September, 5:30 pm at Kitab Khana. And a gentle reminder - do please share this event with at least 5 of your friends who would be interested - the more people who join us the merrier!
About the Artist:
Vidita Vaidya was fascinated by the natural world as a kid through interactions with foxes, snakes and the occasional panther (at a safe distance!) that wandered into the green campus of Ciba-Geigy in Goregaon where she lived in the 70-80's. That interest soon morphed into a desire to understand the complexities of behavior and she found herself pursuing a degree in Life-Science and Biochemistry at St Xavier's College. She then moved to Yale to study Neuroscience for her PhD with Professor Ronald Duman and it was during this time that her love for studying neurocircuits that regulate emotion evolved. Her return to India was one continent at a time with a couple of years at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden and at the University of Oxford, UK thrown in on her homeward journey. Since 2000, She has run her laboratory at TIFR with a focus towards understanding the neurocircuits that regulate emotion and how they are shaped by life-experiences, in particular those that occur during the early periods of life. Vidita has received funding from TIFR, the Wellcome Trust, DBT, DST, NIH-USA as well as industrial partnerships with Pfizer and Unilever. Experimental science is a social, collaborative process and the she humbly acknowledges that she has been immensely lucky to work with highly motivated graduate students and postdoctoral scientists over the years. The work of her team has been recognized by a National Bioscientist Award from the Department of Biotechnology in 2012 and a fellowship of the Indian National Science Academy.
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