A major university and community event, the annual Distinguished Lecture program brings to campus a prominent humanities scholar whose work highlights the importance of humanities research.

While on campus, speakers discuss humanities trends and participate in informal sessions, allowing ASU colleagues and students to share related research interests.

HI 2024 Distinguished Lecture with Ted Chiang

Portrait photos of authors Ted Chiang and Matt Bell

On February 15, 2024, the leading science fiction writer Ted Chiang visited the Humanities Institute as the inaugural HI Distinguished Lecturer, in conversation with Matt Bell, Director of The ASU Worldbuilding Initiative.

Chiang's lecture, entitled "Thoughts on Being a Cyborg," engaged with salient questions: How do we understand nature? How do we understand ourselves? How do we create a better future in a world that is ever-changing?

Chiang has won every major science fiction award multiple times — four Hugo’s, four Nebula’s, four Locus Awards. Like such eclectic predecessors as Philip K. Dick, Jorge Luis Borges, Ursula K. Le Guin, Haruki Murakami, China Miéville, and Kazuo Ishiguro, Chiang explores complex relationships between science, technologies, religions, and philosophy in highly unconventional and insightful ways. Ted Chiang works with big ideas handled with nuance, craft and care.   

For a good introduction to Chiang's work and thinking, consider listening to this episode of The Ezra Klein Show podcast, from The New York Times.

To read more about Chiang's visit to ASU as the 2024 HI Distinguished Lecturer, read this ASU News story by ASU News senior reporter Scott Bodrow.