Not offered in the academic year 2016-17.
This option aims to provide a critical overview of anthropological concepts and approaches to contemporary debates in the social study of science, medicine and society. The course will examine anthropology’s claim to a distinctive voice within the broad ‘science studies’ chorus, a claim which rests in part on anthropology’s own complex historical relationship to science. Is anthropology a part of the (itself multiple and disputed) euroamerican scientific project, a radical contestant of science, or – somehow – both?
The course has three intertwined strands. One asks what it means to study societal, institutional and epistemic conditions of science and scientific knowledge production through an explicitly comparative frame; namely, studying scientists at work across a range of social and regional settings, and across diverse traditions of thought. This provides a general framing by putting into relief the way that notions such as ‘reliability’, ‘evidence’ and ‘verification’ are described as particular social forms and moral action claims. Another strand, focusing on Medical Anthropology, will suggest some of the key assumptions of scientific biomedicine and how they differ from other modes of understanding illness and effecting remedy. Finally, a focus on different ways of knowing and engaging the environment and climate will shed light on another way of thinking through intersections between science and society.
Taken together, through these different strands, the course tracks the points at which multiple scientific knowledges intersect, clash or interface with other modes of encountering and affecting reality.
Further information including a list of lecture courses and background reading can be found in the Paper Guide in the Paper Resources section to the right of this page.