Through her work of science fiction, Shelley has sparked the imaginations of generations who question the balance of human creativity, societal responsibility, and scientific ethics. Montshire Talks: Frankenstein200 surveys the philosophy of science, artificial intelligence, how popular culture evolves a modern myth, and Mary Shelley’s lasting influence on the questions: What is life? Why do we create? and What are our responsibilities as creators, scientists, and engineers?
This year's Montshire Talks are sponsored by Ledyard National Bank.
Frankenstein and the Philosophy of Science
Featuring Dr. Michael Ashooh
Tuesday, March 6, 6:30pm
From a philosopher’s perspective, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein operates on several levels: A philosophical exploration of what it means to be human, the nature of science and scientific knowledge—at a pivotal and transitional moment in the history of science—and the role of the scientist in society. Contextualizing these philosophical and scientific issues helps us see Frankenstein as a fascinating and provocative exploration of questions about human nature and the human condition, the quest for knowledge, and the nature of moral responsibility. Dr. Michael Ashooh specializes in the philosophy of science and explores the context in which Frankenstein was written, as well as the lasting scientific and moral questions raised by this modern myth.
Finding Frankenstein: In Search of Mary Shelley
Tuesday, March 13, 6:30pm
Featuring Amanda Rafuse
Who was Mary Shelley, and how did she compose a myth that would inspire the ages? Finding Frankenstein: In Search of Mary Shelley, a play written by Dawn Brodey and Tim Barrett for the Bakkan Museum, explores the complicated past and legacy of Mary Shelley and the questions her work has sparked for generations. Northern Stage’s Associate Director Amanda Rafuse presents a dramatic reading of this museum theater piece that delves into the life and times of Mary Shelley.
Frankenstein in Text and Image
Featuring Morgan Swan
Tuesday, March 20, 2pm & 6:30pm
Rauner Library *RESERVATION REQUIRED*
Dr. Frankenstein's creation wasn’t always the big, green monster our imaginations conjure. How did Mary Shelley’s text inspire artists and writers throughout time? Take a field trip to Dartmouth's Rauner Library to explore the first illustrated edition of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and the works that inspired it. See how the image and text of Frankenstein changed over the last 200 years with Morgan Swan, Special Collections Education & Outreach Librarian.
Artificial Intelligence and Responsible Design
Featuring Eugene Santos
Tuesday, March 27, 6:30pm
In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, a creature comes to life to terrorize his creator’s family. What happens when the creature is no longer flesh and bone, but an algorithm? Artificial intelligence is a technology that is advancing at a rapid rate and is helping to speed up innovations around the world. What happens when humans are no longer at the helm of complicated decision making processes? Dr. Eugene Santos explores what exactly artificial intelligence is and can do, and the implications of this technology on society.
Montshire Talks: Frankenstein 200 was inspired by Frankenstein200, a national research project led by Arizona State University and funded by the National Science Foundation that uses Mary Shelley’s enduring tale of creation and responsibility to foster interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) in informal settings. Frankenstein200 is an integrated transmedia experience designed to inspire deeper understanding, ability, and engagement with science-in-society topics. Learn more at Frankenstein200.org.
About Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein
Through classic movies, a Halloween costumes, comic book adaptations, or breakfast cereals, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein; or the Modern Prometheus has endured in the popular imagination for two hundred years. The idea for the novel was sparked by a ghost story competition among famous authors in 1816, when Shelley was just 18 years old. Published on January 1, 1818, the thrilling tale of Victor Frankenstein and his stitched-together creature has never been out of print, and is currently the most-assigned novel in university courses. Its themes of innovation and its consequences remain relevant in our technological age, as we grapple with the effects of stunning advances in medicine, computing, and engineering.