September 19, 2018 Kluge Center Presents Astrobiology Symposium and Book Talk in September

Press Contact: Deanna McCray-James, 202-707-9322
Public Contact: Travis Hensley, (202) 707-8807
Request ADA accommodations five business days in advance at (202) 707-6362 or

Kluge Center Presents Astrobiology Symposium and Book Talk in September

The John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress in September will host a renowned social psychologist and the Baruch S. Blumberg NASA/Library of Congress Astrobiology Chair for events in September. Both events will be held in the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C.  The events are free and open to the public. Tickets are not needed.

Wednesday, September 26

4 p.m.; Members Room (1st Floor)

A Book Talk with Jonathan Haidt

Kluge Center Director John Haskell will interview Dr. Jonathan Haidt to examine the trends he identifies in his new book, “The Coddling of the American Mind”, and their larger implications for the current political culture.  Haidt, a nationally-renowned social psychologist at New York University, teamed up with First Amendment expert Greg Lukianoff to look at disturbing trends on college campuses and in society as a whole, including rising reports of self-censorship, anxiety, and depression. They explore changes in childhood such as the rise of fearful parenting, the decline of unsupervised, child-directed play, and the new world of social media that has engulfed teenagers in the last decade. The authors also examine changes on campus, including the corporatization of universities and the emergence of new ideas about identity and justice. A book signing and reception will follow.

Thursday, September 27

9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.; John W. Kluge Center (LJ – 119)

“Becoming Interplanetary” – An Astrobiology Symposium

Lucianne Walkowicz, the current Baruch S. Blumberg NASA/Library of Congress Chair in Astrobiology will host “Becoming Interplanetary.”  The symposium will feature panel discussions punctuated by artistic performances. The central themes of the symposium will explore how current narratives, policies, and laws frame human exploration and presence in space. Panels will feature interdisciplinary discussion and multi-media performances by a diverse group of thought leaders including astrobiologists, anthropologists, policy experts, artists, and journalists whose work has relevance to the human exploration of Mars. For a complete schedule and further information, visit The symposium is part of the Kluge Center’s ongoing Baruch S. Blumberg NASA/Library of Congress Astrobiology Program. 

Walkowicz is concluding her appointment as the fifth Baruch S. Blumberg NASA/Library of Congress Chair and holds a BS in Physics and Astronomy from Johns Hopkins University, and a MS and Ph.D. in Astronomy from the University of Washington. At the Library, Walkowicz has worked on a project titled “Fear of a Green Planet: Inclusive Systems of Thought for Human Exploration of Mars.”

Friday, September 28

6 p.m., Coolidge Auditorium

Panel Discussion – “The Politics of a Galaxy, Far, Far Away”:

Henry Jenkins, a Kluge Center Scholar, will participate in a panel discussion on how American politics and culture relate to themes within the Star Wars universe as well as what they can teach us.

The Kluge Center’s mission, as established in 2000, is to “reinvigorate the interconnection between thought and action,” bridging the gap between scholarship and policymaking. To that end, the Center brings some of the world’s great thinkers to the Library to make use of the Library collections and engage in conversations addressing the challenges facing democracies in the 21st century.

The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States – and extensive materials from around the world – both on-site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office. Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at; access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at; and register creative works of authorship at




PR 18-115
ISSN 0731-3527