Inaugural Penn Lightbulb Café to Focus on JFK’s Secret Cuban Missile Crisis Tapes

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Media Contact:Jacquie Posey | | 215-898-6460October 20, 2011

WHO:             David Gibson, assistant professor of sociology at the University of Pennsylvania

WHAT:           Penn Lightbulb Café lecture on “Conversational Syntax, Turn-Taking and the Fate of the World During the Cuban Missile Crisis

 WHEN:           Wednesday, Oct. 26, 6 p.m.

 WHERE:         Peppermill Café, 2nd Floor, Penn Museum

                        3260 South St., Philadelphia

                        (Kress Entrance on the east side of the Museum closest to Convention Avenue)                   

 The Penn Lightbulb Café is a new lecture series illuminating the arts, humanities and social sciences. Leading professors and luminaries in Penn’s School of Arts and Sciences will shed light on their research, and attendees can engage Penn’s best and brightest in stimulating conversation in a lively question-and-answer session.

Gibson kicks off the inaugural talk of the lecture series.  He examines hours of secretly taped meetings between President John F. Kennedy and his top advisers during the Cuban missile crisis. The meetings provide a rare inside look at high-level political deliberation in a moment of crisis and the role of talk in shaping the perception of options.

Gibson shows how Kennedy’s decisions arose from the intersection of distant events unfolding in Cuba, in Moscow and on the high seas with the immediate conversational minutia of turn taking, storytelling, argument and justification.

The Penn Lightbulb Café is free and open to the public.  Seating is limited. RSVPs are encouraged and can be made by contacting Gina Bryan at 215-898-8721 or

A special menu of Cuban food and beverages and American comfort food will be available for purchase.