Society and Culture | Wilson Center

Society and Culture

The Fully-Automated Human: How Is Technology Augmenting Our Identities?

What if you could detect cancer years before the visible signs? What if you could analyze your genome to predict your longevity? What if your parents could edit your DNA long before you were born? What if your computer could think, feel and reason better than you?

Personalized Medicine: A Faustian Bargain?

Kannapolis, North Carolina, is a desolate town, plagued by unemployment since the main employer, a textile mill, suddenly closed its doors eleven years ago. In the aftermath of this shutdown, an elderly billionaire, David Murdock, who is curious about longevity and its genetic secrets, turned an enormous piece of land into a lucrative biotech complex. Not so bad, you might think, to revive the local economy, but the new campus mostly employed highly skilled scientists from renowned universities, not Kannapolis.

Purifying the Land of the Pure: A History of Pakistan’s Religious Minorities

When Pakistan became an independent state in 1947, it sought to provide a new homeland and safe harbor for South Asia's Muslims, the largest religious minority in the subcontinent at the time. Pakistan at first welcomed all of its new citizens, Muslim and non-Muslim alike. Non-Muslims comprised 23 percent of the total population, and non-Sunni Muslims comprised a quarter of the Muslim population. Today, however, Pakistan’s non-Muslims comprise a mere 3 percent of the nation’s population, and in recent years non-Sunnis have been subjected to high levels of persecution and violence.

Finding Babel: Film Screening and Reception

Isaac Babel's writings are subversive masterpieces, challenging the ideology of the early Soviet Union, and resulting in his arrest and execution in 1940. On the 75th anniversary of Babel's execution, Finding Babel, from 7th Art Releasing, follows Andrei Malaev-Babel, his grandson, on a journey to come closer to some sense of truth. This was a special sneak-peak premier for the Washington, DC area. For more information about the film, please visit

The Muse of Urban Delirium: How the Performing Arts Paradoxically Transform Conflict-Ridden Cities Into Centers of Cultural Innovation

This collection of essays seeks answers to the challenges of urban diversity, conflict, and creativity by examining the emergence of musical and theatrical originality in a series of specific cities at particular times. It does so by using various performing arts - opera, dance, theater, music - as windows onto the creativity of urban life. These were urban societies in which the socio-economic and political transformations were taking place at such rapid speed as to force consideration of their meaning and identity.

Back to the Future: How the Past is Russia's New Ideology

Kennan Institute Distinguished Speaker Series
Why are Moscow residents more concerned about Ivan the Terrible than bombings in Aleppo? How can one explain the conservative trend in Russian public sensibility that has emerged in recent years? Maria Stepanova examined the political exploitation of historical memory as the Russian public delves deeper and deeper into its own past.

Putin Will Pay a High Price for Trump’s Friendship

Successful politicians usually enjoy their fair share of luck along the way. With the election of Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin received the luckiest break of all. Instead of continued isolation, the Russian president will get yet another reset, with several long-term goals – a recognized zone of influence, non-interference in domestic affairs, an equal relationship with the United States – within his grasp.