Author of bestseller 'The Shallows' part of 'Slowing' symposium events

Clark University’s long-running Difficult Dialogues initiative presents a fall symposium titled  “Slowing in a Wired World” that offers opportunities to slow down, examine, and perhaps try going “unplugged” in a culture of information overload, constant connectivity and work and personal pressures.

“The Internet and related technologies are in the process of changing the way we relate to ourselves and each other; they actually are in the process of altering our brains,” wrote Sarah Buie, director of Clark’s Higgins School of Humanities, which presents the Difficult Dialogues series.

"Day of Slowing" in the news:

Day of Slowing - Higgins School of Humanities Director Sarah Buie, right, appeared live on "Broadside with Jim Braude" (New England Cable News 10/7)

School’s call to unplug welcomed by some, unanswered by others (Boston Globe 10/7)

No-tech day not so easy (Worcester Telegram & Gazette)

The fall symposium includes a film series, exhibitions, talks and panels, and a number of community conversations. The campus community is encouraged to engage in a “Day of Slowing” from sunrise to sunset on Oct. 6, a voluntary fast from use of the Internet, email, cell phones, iPods, iPads, and MP3 players.

Among the many symposium events are public lectures and dialogues by two renowned authors.

First, will be “The Sabbath Advantage,” by Judith Shulevitz, at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 5, in Dana Commons, second floor lounge.  Shulevitz is author of “The Sabbath World: Glimpses of a Different Order of Time” (Random House 2010) and a columnist for Slate and The New Republic. She considers the necessity and benefits of rituals of time, asking participants to share their own experiences of Sabbath.

A President’s Lecture, “The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains,” will feature Nicholas Carr, one of the hottest writers in the news today, at 4:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 18, in Tilton Hall, Higgins University Center. In an Atlantic article, Carr posed the provocative question: Is Google Making Us Stupid? He expanded that popular piece into the recent bestseller “The Shallows,” which considers how the technologies we use to think with - to gather, store, share, and analyze information - influence the way that we think. He traces the course of this influence back throughout humankind's intellectual history, revealing how the Internet is reshaping our minds, perhaps leading to erosion in the depth of our intellectual lives and even our culture.

There are many more stellar events planned for the Difficult Dialogues “Slowing in a Wired World” symposium. Please check out the complete schedule online. All events are free and open to the public. For more information, call 508-793-7479 or visit

Clark University’s Difficult Dialogues program is part of the National Difficult Dialogues Initiative to create a culture of dialogue on college campuses. In 2006, Clark was one of twenty-seven independent programs nationwide, selected from over 700 colleges and universities to have their original dialogue initiative program funded by the Ford Foundation.

Co-sponsored by the Higgins School of Humanities and the International Development, Community and Environment Department, Clark continues to offer symposiums, lectures and classes focused around dialogue with the intent to deepen experiences of learning and engagement across the community.  

* Watch a series of Difficult Dialogues video interviews at Clark Voices.  *

Since its founding in 1887, Clark University in Worcester, Mass., has a history of challenging convention. As an innovative liberal arts college and research university, Clark’s world-class faculty lead a community of creative thinkers and passionate doers and offer a range of expertise, particularly in the areas of psychology, geography, urban education, Holocaust and genocide studies, environmental studies, and international development and social change. Clark’s students, faculty and alumni embody the Clark motto: Challenge convention. Change our world.