Thanks to everyone who attended the workshop and helped make it such a success!
Here are some pictures:
(Updated: Feb. 8, 2018)
Here is our workshop schedule, with session times and locations. Our workshop is free and open to the public, but if you plan to attend, please register so that we have a good sense of how many people to expect.
The workshop schedule is also available as a PDF.
Questioning Science in Uncertain Times: A Workshop
Thurs. Feb. 15
Location: Suzanne M. Scherer Room, 3146 Ohio Union
9:00-11am Contributed papers: The politics of data and democracy
Chair: Monamie Bhadra (Dept. of Comparative Studies, Ohio State)
Participating in Open Data Governance: Visions of Citizen and STS Engagement
Caitlin Wylie, Sean Ferguson, Sharon Ku, Tolu Odumosu (Virginia)
Mobilizing Data for Critical Environmental Impact Assessments: Civic Informatics for Questioning Science in Pennsylvania’s Anti-Pipeline Movement
Kirk Jalbert (FracTracker Alliance, Visiting Research Professor, Drexel)
Exploring the Politics of Sensing Through Participatory Methods
Jennifer Mokos (Ohio Wesleyan University)
Discussant: Tijs van Maasakkers (City and Regional Planning Section, Ohio State)
1-2:30pm Keynote Address: Rayvon Fouché, Purdue University
Rethinking STS and Culture
3:00-4:30pm Contributed papers: Valuing science
Chair: Nancy Jesser (Dept. of Comparative Studies, Ohio State)
A Pragmatic Approach to Intregrating Values and Science
Will Kidder (Albany)
Feminist Philosophy of Science: How can we benefit from science in uncertain times?
Sahar Heydari Fard (Cincinnati)
Discussant: Corey Katz (Center for Ethics and Human Values & Dept. of Philosophy, Ohio State)
5:30-7:30pm Art workshop with Adam Zaretsky, DNA plus Microsushi combo lab (Hopkins Hall, Lobby)
8pm Conference Dinner (for presenters, discussants and chairs)
Fri. Feb. 16
9:00-11am Contributed papers: How to question science?
Location: Maudine Cow Room, 0145D Ohio Union
Chair: Christopher Pincock (Dept. of Philosophy, Ohio State)
With Friends Like These: Trustworthy Science Criticism in Distrustful Times
Benjamin Almassi (Governors State University)
Questioning and inspiring science: The case of Richard Lewontin
Eric Martin (Baylor University)
Consensus Change on Acceptable Uncertainty and its Implications in Doing STS: Lessons from a case study of a conservative movement targeting drug regulation
Sungwoo Ahn (Virginia Tech)
Discussant: David Horn (Dept. of Comparative Studies, Ohio State)
11am-12pm Artist talk and discussion: Adam Zaretsky
Location: Cartoon Room 1, 3145 Ohio Union
1:30-2:45pm Contributed papers: Questioning expertise
Chair: Nic Flores (Dept. of Comparative Studies, Ohio State)
Active Ignorance and the Rhetoric of Biological Race Realism
Nora Berenstain (Tennesee-Knoxville)
Reasonable Doubt: Deliberation, Unreliable Experts, and the Problem of Public Ignorance
Elizabeth Chatterjee and Greg Lusk (Chicago)
Discussant: Becky Mansfield (Dept. of Geography, Ohio State)
3-4:30 Keynote Address: Shobita Parthasarathy (University of Michigan)
The Role of STS in the Post-Truth Era: Doubling Down on the Politics of Knowledge
4:30 Concluding remarks
Here are the titles and abstracts for our two keynote talks:
I. Rethinking STS and Culture
Rayvon Fouché, Purdue University
Though scholars in the field of Science and Technology Studies have spent decades exploring the relationships between science, technology, and the wider society and culture, we have reached a historical moment where it may be necessary to reconsider what these relationships mean for future scholarship. By asking how and why cultural communities consume, use and are subjugated by technoscience, we can garner a deeper understanding of how these communities, based on collective cultural needs, desires, aesthetics, and priorities, produce and redefine artifacts, practices, and knowledge that transform the architectured meanings of technoscience. By focusing on anime and hip hop, black history month and sneaker design, oil embargoes and limited-edition automobiles, and material science and athletics, this talk will prod us to collectively rethink these connections and build unfamiliar linkages between culture and technoscience.
II. The Role of STS in the Post-Truth Era: Doubling Down on the Politics of Knowledge
Shobita Parthasarathy, University of Michigan
Public trust in government, and specifically in science and technology policymaking, has been eroding for decades. In the 1960s, feminists and environmentalists began to question the evidence and expertise used in policymaking, arguing that it did not adequately reflect their concerns. These types of concerns have multiplied in recent years, as citizens worry about the racial bias built into big data and algorithms and the lack of regulatory oversight, and question the safety of vaccines and science of climate change. Science and technology studies (STS) scholars have responded to this citizen engagement by carefully identifying how these concerns are based in alternative forms of knowledge and expertise, and arguing that our governing institutions must consider these alternatives more seriously through more inclusive and deliberative democratic approaches. But what should we make of these efforts in an era of “alternative facts” and “fake news”? Some STS scholars suggest that we should step back from our analyses of the social construction of science, worrying that it will be misconstrued to catastrophic effect in a post-truth era. This talk argues the opposite. It will articulate an STS research agenda designed to develop a more nuanced understanding of the relationships between science, knowledge, politics, and policy. In particular, it will explore how STS can help us identify the structural limitations of democratization efforts, and ultimately help produce science and technology policies that are more socially just and democratically legitimate.
We are excited to post the list of the 10 contributed papers for the upcoming workshop. Be sure to check back soon for a workshop schedule and registration details:
Consensus Change on Acceptable Uncertainty and its Implications in Doing STS: Lessons from a case study of a conservative movement targeting drug regulation, Sungwoo Ahn (Virginia Tech)
With Friends Like These: Trustworthy Science Criticism in Distrustful Times, Benjamin Almassi (Governors State University)
Active Ignorance and the Rhetoric of Biological Race Realism, Nora Berenstain (University of Tennesee-Knoxville)
Reasonable Doubt: Deliberation, Unreliable Experts, and the Problem of Public Ignorance, Elizabeth Chatterjee and Greg Lusk (University of Chicago)
Feminist Philosophy of Science: How can we benefit from science in uncertain times?, Sahar Heydari Fard (University of Cincinnati)
Mobilizing Data for Critical Environmental Impact Assessments: Civic Informatics for Questioning Science in Pennsylvania’s Anti-Pipeline Movement (Kirk Jalbert, FracTracker Alliance and Drexel University)
A Pragmatic Approach to Intregrating Values and Science, Will Kidder (Albany)
Questioning and inspiring science: The case of Richard Lewontin, Eric Martin (Baylor University)
Exploring the Politics of Sensing Through Participatory Methods, Jennifer Mokos (Ohio Wesleyan University)
Charlottesville’s open data as an opportunity for STS-informed techno-democracy, Caitlin Wylie, Tolu Odumosu, Sean Ferguson, Sharon Ku (University of Virginia)
Science has a short interview with Bruno Latour where he discusses his current take on the so-called “science wars”:
Q: How do you look back at the “science wars”?
A: Nothing that happened during the ’90s deserves the name “war.” It was a dispute, caused by social scientists studying how science is done and being critical of this process. Our analyses triggered a reaction of people with an idealistic and unsustainable view of science who thought they were under attack. Some of the critique was indeed ridiculous, and I was associated with that postmodern relativist stuff, I was put into that crowd by others. I certainly was not antiscience, although I must admit it felt good to put scientists down a little. There was some juvenile enthusiasm in my style.
We’re in a totally different situation now. We are indeed at war. This war is run by a mix of big corporations and some scientists who deny climate change. They have a strong interest in the issue and a large influence on the population.
In addition to the two keynote speakers, our workshop will feature contributed papers that address the theme of the workshop: how should scholars working in STS and allied fields approach science and technology in these “uncertain” times? We encourage both submissions that interrogate the role of STS, but also submissions that consider questions of science and democratization (e.g. social movements, citizen science, populism, the politics of knowledge and ignorance, etc.), how values are formed in science, the role of art and design in scientific critique, and structural inequalities and the politics of science and technology. (See here additional details.)
To submit a paper for consideration, please submit an abstract of no more than 500 words, including references. Each speaker will have 30 minutes to present their paper during the workshop. The closing date for abstracts is November 1, 2017.
To submit an abstract, please email it as a PDF attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have any questions about this call, feel free to email either Chris Pincock (email@example.com) or Monamie Bhadra (firstname.lastname@example.org).
A limited amount of funds will be made available for presenters to cover some of the costs of attending the workshop. We plan to finalize the workshop schedule by the end of November.
Our workshop will address the following themes:
Critical reflection on scientific authority has been central to science and technology studies (STS) for some time. Interrogating science’s claim to universality, apoliticism and autonomy, scholars have highlighted the suffusion of values, interests and power inherent in the production, use and consumption of scientific knowledge. Yet, recent political developments have raised questions about the value and ultimate purpose of such critique, leading to concerns about living in a “post-truth” era of “alternative facts.” For example, in massive demonstrations such as the March for Science, protesters oppose what they perceive as a radically altered relationship between science and power.
Echoing the science wars of another era, current conversations question the value and legitimacy of STS scholarship, given its thoroughgoing skepticism of scientific authority, and generate concerns about ceding the public sphere to entrenched private interests and traditional prejudice. As such, this workshop will consider the prospects for sustained investigation and questioning of science and its social standing. What is the role of STS scholars in these times of uncertainty? Does an embattled scientific community require social constructivists to modify, soften or abandon critique? Or is critique necessary now more than ever, given science’s role in sustaining various social injustices?
We are very pleased to confirm our keynote speakers for the workshop:
Director and Associate Professor, American Studies, Purdue University
Prof. Fouché is the author of Black Inventors in the Age of Segregation: Granville T. Woods, Lewis H. Latimer, and Shelby J. Davidson (Johns Hopkins, 2004) and editor of the four-volume Technology Studies (Key Issues for the 21st Century) (SAGE, 2008). His current research project considers the interactions between technology and sport. See here for more details.
Associate Professor, Public Policy and Women’s Studies, University of Michigan
Prof. Parthasarathy is the author of Building Genetic Medicine: Breast Cancer, Technology, and the Comparative Politics of Health Care (MIT, 2012) and Patent Politics: Life Forms, Markets, and the Public Interest in the United States and Europe (University of Chicago Press, 2017). Her current research considers questions such as: How does social and political context shape the development and implications of science and technology? Why and how have citizens become more critical of scientific and technological development, and the institutions that govern it? How do scientific and other knowledge systems come into conflict in innovation and innovation policy, and what is the best way forward to maximize social benefit and ensure public legitimacy? How can our science and technology policy institutions better achieve the public interest, including social justice? See here for more details.
We are pleased to announce a workshop on the topic “Questioning Science in Uncertain Times”, to be held Feb. 15-16, 2018 at Ohio State. This workshop is sponsored by the Science and Technology Studies initiative, and is being co-organized by Monamie Bhadra and Chris Pincock.
Check back soon for more details, including our keynote speakers and call for abstracts.