James Miller, co-director of the Humanities Research Center, has been appointed as a distinguished visiting scholar at The John W. Kluge Center of the LIbrary of Congress and will take up a four month residency there starting on September 5, 2023.
The Kluge Center annually brings top scholars and researchers into residence at the Library to distill wisdom from the library’s rich resources and to interact with policymakers and the public. Scholars conduct research in the library and participate in informal meetings with Members of Congress and Congressional staff on topics of mutual interest.
The topic of Professor Miller’s research is “Planetary Responsibility and the Spirit of Chinese Innovation.” It aims to draw on Chinese philosophical, religious and ethical thinking to develop a planetary ethic to guide responsible scientific and technological innovation with respect to space exploration and astrobiology.
“Carl Sagan famously asked whether we have the right to interfere in life on Mars, even if it is only microbial life,” noted Professor Miller. “I want to consider these questions of astrobiological ethics from a Chinese philosophical perspective. What can we learn from Chinese wisdom that may fruitfully guide the world as it explores space and searches for extraterrestrial life within our solar system and beyond?”
Professor Miller’s research will contribute to a forthcoming international conference that will be held at DKU in Spring 2024 on the topic of Religious and Cultural Perspectives on Outer Space. The conference, co-organized with DKU professor Ben Van Overmeire aims to bring Chinese and foreign scholars and scientists together to discuss the culture, ethics and values of space exploration and extraterrestrial life.