November 05, 2012

Baratunde Thurston Bucknell University Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013.
Baratunde Thurston will speak at Bucknell on Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013. Photo Credit: Mindy Tucker

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By Kathryn Kopchik

LEWISBURG, Pa. — Baratunde Thurston, author of The New York Times' best-seller How to Be Black, will speak at Bucknell University Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013, at 7:30 p.m. in Trout Auditorium of the Vaughan Literature Building.

The talk, "The Future Is Connectivity! Connectivity Will Ruin Our Future!" is free and open to the public. It is part of the continuing Bucknell Forum series "tech/no," which focuses on the evolution of technology's role in society, and its potential to impact the world in both positive and negative ways.

Thurston calls himself "a technology-loving comedian from the future who cares enough about the world to engage with it politically." His ancestry includes a great-grandfather who taught himself to read, a grandmother who was the first black employee at the U.S. Supreme Court building and a mother who took over radio stations in the name of the black liberation struggle.

Co-founder of Jack and Jill Politics, a black political blog whose coverage of the 2008 Democratic National Convention has been archived by the Library of Congress, he served as director of digital for The Onion before launching the comedy/technology startup Cultivated Wit.

He has written for Vanity Fair and the UK Independent, hosted Popular Science's Future Of on Discovery Science and writes the monthly backpage column for Fast Company. Thurston appears regularly on WNYC radio, CNN, MSNBC, and This Week In Tech.

Thurston also is acclaimed for creative experimentation with new digital platforms. He was named Foursquare Mayor of the Year for holding a real-world rally to defend his virtual mayorship. Every year he live hate-tweets the Twilight movies to his 100,000+ Twitter followers, and in 2009, he embodied the swine flu with a Twitter account of that name.

The ACLU of Michigan honored him "for changing the political and social landscape one laugh at a time." He was nominated for the Bill Hicks Award for Thought Provoking Comedy. The Root added him to its list of 100 most influential African Americans. Fast Company listed him as one of the 100 Most Creative People In Business.

He has been a keynote speaker for events as wide ranging as South by Southwest Interactive, the ACLU Annual Dinner, and the presidential palace in Tbilisi, Georgia, and he advises the White House on digital strategy.

The Bucknell Forum
"tech/no" embraces technology and its perils and promises. The series, which will run through four semesters, aims to stir discussion about the pros and cons of technology, its benefits and damages, its legitimate promises and false panaceas, and its capacity to satisfy human need and desire even as it can bring risk and danger.

The series debuted on Oct. 23 with a talk by Twitter co-founder Biz Stone. Future forum events include: 

  • A discussion with Rebecca Skloot, author of the best-seller The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. This event will take place on Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013, at 7:30 p.m. in Trout Auditorium. Skloot also hold a book signing after the event.
  • "The Brave New World of the 'New Media,'" with Arianna Huffington, president and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group. The event will be held at the Weis Center for the Performing Arts on Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2013, at 7:30 p.m.

Speakers are being sought to explore how technology has affected a range of areas, which might include social change, human relationships, culture, politics, medicine, science, the environment, globalization, education, journalism, business and more. Suggestions for speakers can be sent to

Contact: Division of Communications