Space Settlement Symposium examines generational ships, colonization

Posted by Jayme Blaschke
Office of Media Relations
October 12, 2017

Author and anthropologist Jerry Barkow will deliver the keynote address during Texas State University’s Second Annual Space Settlement Symposium October 20.

The symposium, themed “The Nature of a Space-Going Social Structure,” will take place from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. in the LBJ Student Center Ballroom. The event is free and open to the public.

Barkow will speak at 2 p.m. on "Stable Cultures for Generation Ships and Deep Space Settlements Are Impossible: Overcoming the Challenge." He is an emeritus professor of social anthropology at Dalhousie University, Canada, and an honorary professor at the Institute of Cognition and Culture, Queen’s University Belfast. He is the author of Darwin, Sex, and Status and co-edited The Adapted Mind, which helped launch the field of evolutionary psychology. In recent years his interests have turned to space travel and to the possible evolutionary psychologies of extraterrestrial intelligence. He is on the board of directors of Messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence (METI).

Other scheduled speakers include Joseph Gottlieb, who will open the symposium with a discussion on “In Search of a Bias-Free Reason for Space Colonization.” At 11:40 a.m., Eric Chelstrom will discuss “The Unpredictability of Social Systems in Space Exploration and Colonization: Avoiding the Phantom Menace or Treating Humans Like Clones.” At 1:20 p.m., William Duffy will discuss “Art in Space: Preservation and Loss of Culture in Multi-Generation Space Travel.”

The symposium will also feature two breakout sessions. At 10:50 a.m., Maximillen Vis III, will lead the session, “An Examination of Artificial Intelligence, Mega- and/or Social-Structures in Halo: Contact Harvest,” while Minakshi Das and Robert Robinson lead the session, “Let's Build a Space Colony: Brain Storming Exercise.” The second breakout session at 12:30 p.m. has John Manning leading, “Teaching Star Trek: An Analysis of the Themes of Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine for Practical Pedagogies,” while Vanessa Johnson leads, “What Does It Take to be a Space Colonist: Creative Writing Exercise.”

The symposium will be hosted by Department of Philosophy and supported by the Departments of Political Science, Anthropology, Sociology, English, Geography and Psychology.

For more information, visit or contact Elizabeth Kanon at