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IDSEMUG 2066 - Politics of Science and Technology

The results of scientific inquiry are conventionally understood as established facts, not questions of belief. However, as issues like climate change and mandated vaccinations have become increasingly divisive, we might wonder about the status of science. How does it function in the production of knowledge and as a kind of social practice? Why should people believe scientists when they make claims about the results of their research? What tools are available for understanding the inter-relations between science and the social? Can social science theories help us understand how claims from the scientific community come to be contested in the broader culture? In this course, we explore the Enlightenment origins of scientific objectivity and its claim to dominion over nature before discussing its feminist and ecological critiques. We then turn to major theorists of science and technology to understand their claims to truth. Much of this course is dedicated to critical research by Asian scholars of technology and science in an effort to provincialize European claims to objectivity. The final weeks of the seminar will return us to the theme of domination over nature in order to address toxic ecologies, nuclear weapons technologies and the datafication of climate risk. Readings will include works by Bruno Latour, Donna Haraway, JPS Uberoi and Wen-Hua Kuo. Add Consent: Department Consent Required.
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