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Jennifer Jacquet, photo courtesy of the author
Jennifer Jacquet


NYS Writers Institute, February 24, 2015
4:15 p.m. Seminar | Standish Room, Science Library, Uptown Campus
8:00 p.m. Reading | Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center, Uptown Campus


Jennifer Jacquet, pioneering scholar in the new field of “environmental social science” will present her acclaimed new book, Is Shame Necessary? New Uses for an Old Tool (2015), about mobilizing societies to address large-scale environmental crises, at 8:00 p.m., Tuesday, February 24, 2015 in the Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center on the University at Albany uptown campus, 1400 Washington Ave., Albany. Earlier that same day at 4:15 p.m., the author will present an informal seminar in the Standish Room, Science Library on the uptown campus. The events are free and open to the public, and are sponsored by the New York State Writers Institute and UAlbany’s Office of Environmental Sustainability.


Jennifer Jacquet
is a pioneering scholar in the emerging field of “environmental social science,” the study of how societies manage large-scale environmental crises such as climate change and overfishing. The former author of Scientific American’s “Guilty Planet” blog, Jacquet is a regular contributor to the online think tank, edge.org.

In her new book, Is Shame Necessary? New Uses for an Old Tool (2015), she argues that shame, used judiciously, is a powerful force of political change and social reform. Her recommendations go far beyond traditional collective and consumer action (eating sustainable seafood, for example). Rather, she advocates a broader strategy of shaming corporations and governments into embracing more responsible behavior.

Is Shame Necessary?Publishers Weekly called the book “An astute how-to and defense of shame,” and Gawker said, “Where the book lands is as unexpected as it is revelatory.” Musician and activist Brian Eno said, “This is a wonderful, important and timely book. It shows us that the glue that really holds society together is not laws and diktats but honor and shame. Among (many) other things, Jennifer Jacquet has identified and articulated the social tools by which it might just be possible to encourage better long term behavior from those big players—like corporations—who are otherwise able to find their way round the law.” Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, bestselling author of Flow, said, “This book describes, in sparkling prose, how important a sense of shame is to civilized life, and provides some fascinating insights as to the role of social media in providing a new tool to moderate shameless behavior.”

Assistant Professor in the Department of Environmental Studies at NYU, Jacquet specializes in the intersections of conservation, marine ecology, evolutionary biology, human sociobiology, cooperation, and technology— with an emphasis on the evolution, function, and future of shame. She holds a Ph.D. in Resource Management and Environmental Studies, an M.S. in Environmental Economics, and a B.A. in Economics and Environmental Studies. In 2012, she completed Postdoctoral research in the Fisheries and Mathematics Departments at the University of British Columbia. Her work has been published in Nature, Science, and Conservation Biology, among other journals.

In 2011, Jacquet collaborated with London art curator Hans Ulrich Obrist, musician Brian Eno, and evolutionary biologist Mark Pagel on a performance piece at London’s Serpentine Gallery, “Information Gardens,” about the creative encounter between the man-made and the natural.

For additional information, contact the Writers Institute at 518-442-5620 or online at https://www.albany.edu/writers-inst.