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List of previous lectures and recordings


Wednesday October 12, 2022, 7 pm Palestine time

Prof. Nancy Kanwisher  (MIT)

Title: Functional Imaging of the Human Brain: A Window into the Architecture of the Mind

Register here!

Abstract: The last 20 years of brain imaging research has revealed the functional organization of the human brain in glorious detail. This work has identified a set of regions of the cortex, each of which is specifically engaged in a particular mental task, like the recognition of faces and places, perceiving speech sounds, understanding the meaning of a sentence, and thinking about another person’s thoughts. Other brain regions play a more general role in intelligence, getting engaged when we perform nearly any difficult mental task at all. Each of these regions is present, in approximately the same location, in every normal person. I like to think of this initial rough sketch of the functional organization of the brain as a diagram of the major components of the human mind, a kind of picture of who we are as perceivers and thinkers. But at the same time this new map is just the barest beginning, revealing a vast landscape of unanswered questions. What other specialized regions exist in the cortex, and what are they specialized for? What exactly is computed and represented in each region? What are the structural connections of each region, and how does information flow among them? How do these regions arise in development, and how much of the organization of the brain is specified at birth?  How did brain regions specialized for uniquely human mental abilities evolve? Perhaps most fundamentally, why, from a computational point of view, is the brain organized the way it is, with this combination of highly specialized brain regions, along with very general-purpose systems? These open questions are much harder to answer, but I will mention a few tantalizing glimmers that are beginning to emerge from labs around the world.

Register here for the webinar by Prof. Nancy Kanwisher!

Wednesday November 9, 2022, 6 pm or 7 pm Palestine time 

Prof. Esther Duflo (MIT, Nobel laureate in Economic Sciences in 2019)

Title: TBA

Abstract: TBA

Wednesday December 14, 2022, 7 pm Palestine time 

Prof. Daniel Pauly (University of British Columbia)

Title: TBA

Abstract: TBA

Wednesday January 11, 2023, 7 pm Palestine time 

Prof. Mahmood Mamdani (Columbia University)

To be confirmed

Wednesday March 8, 2023, 7 pm Palestine time

Marina Warner (Mythographer, novelist and independent scholar)

Title: TBA

Abstract: TBA

Wednesday April 12, 2023, 7 pm Palestine time

Prof. Mark Smith (University of Missouri)

Title: TBA

Abstract: TBA


In concert with Scientists for Palestine and the Bisan Center for Research and Development, and in keeping with their joint commitment to full integration of Palestine in the global community of learning, the Bisan Lecture Series sponsors discourses on subjects of cultural, scientific, and societal importance by leading research experts and public intellectuals of varied heritage and viewpoint. The interactive webinars are free and open to the public, and recordings of each will be posted soon afterward.

Bisan Center for Research and Development

The Bisan Center is a non-governmental, nonprofit, democratic and progressive Civil Society Organization (CSO) that seeks to enhance Palestinian abilities and potentials for building an active civil and democratic community. The Bisan Center was established in 1989 and officially registered with the Palestinian Ministry of Interior in 2004.

The Bisan Center aligns itself with the poor and marginalized in Palestinian society, as it works to support their struggle in advancing their socioeconomic rights and builds partnerships with other progressive institutions. Among other activities, the Bisan Center regularly produces research reports centered on various problems of development, gender, youth, and social justice. These reports are published (in Arabic) in its annual journal Al-Taqadomi, which is peer-reviewed and focused on issues of development.

Steering Committee