107: Rhetoric of Scientific Discourse
Instructor(s) Helene MialetSpring 2012
Instructor(s) Spring 2013
Instructor(s) Helene Mialet
Anthropologists have studied tribes from all over the world, classified the most exotic customs, taken pictures of and documented familial relationships and the most complex cults, they have described art, rituals and popular traditions, but what about what we believe to be our most reliable and efficacious source of knowledge: Science? In this class, we will question what constitutes the basis of “our modernity” by trying to understand how science is done, —its dynamics, its organization, and how it penetrates our social fabric and transforms it. We will begin by briefly studying the philosophers of science upon which much of the sociology and anthropology of science is based. Then, we will analyze what sociologists of science say about the functioning of scientific institutions. Afterwards, we will examine how historians and sociologists (through the study of scientific controversies) and anthropologists (through the ethnographic study of laboratories) have analyzed the processes by which “scientific truth” is produced. From here we will turn our attention to the representational practices —as well as the skills, gestures, instruments and gender of those —that make science. We will also explore in detail Actor Network Theory. We will end up by questioning the distinctions between science and society, and human and non-humans. Indeed, are these ways of partitioning the world still tenable? And if not, so what? What kinds of questions, ideas, theories and methodologies are then made possible?
Students don’'t need to have a special background in Science.
The readings will be on b-space.