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Wanneer: Donderdag 2 juni 2016
Waar: Hoofdgebouw VU, zaal 2A-24
Hoe laat: 15.30-17.00u
Raf de Bont’s Stations in the Field (University of Chicago Press, 2015) focuses on the early history of biological field stations and the role these played in the rise of zoological place-based research. Beginning in the 1870s, a growing number of biological field stations were founded—first in Europe and later elsewhere around the world—and thousands of zoologists received their training and performed their research at these sites. Through case studies, De Bont examines the material and social context in which field stations arose, the actual research that was produced in these places, the scientific claims that were developed there, and the rhetorical strategies that were deployed to convince others that these claims made sense. From the life of parasitic invertebrates in northern France and freshwater plankton in Schleswig-Holstein, to migratory birds in East Prussia and pest insects in Belgium, De Bont’s book is fascinating tour through the history of studying nature in nature.
Marcel Boumans’ Science Outside the Laboratory (Oxford University Press, 2015) discusses measurement in terms of social science rather than laboratory science, and defends the need for expert judgment in the sciences. The conduct of most of social science occurs outside the laboratory. Such studies in field science explore phenomena that cannot for practical, technical, or ethical reasons be explored under controlled conditions. These phenomena cannot be fully isolated from their environment or investigated by manipulation or intervention. Yet a methodology that accounts for expert judgment does provide analysts with a sound basis for discerning what occurs under field conditions, and why.
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Speaker: Benjamin Schmidt (University of Washington, Seattle)
STEVIN SEMINAR #10
Dr. David Ludwig on Race and Science
Wis- & Natuurkundegebouw: WN C 161
14 October 16.00-17.15h
Afterwards drinks in The Basket
Race and Conceptual Change. Reconsidering the History and Future of Racial Classifications
"Race" is widely considered a discredited scientific concept that was established by Enlightenment taxonomists but lost credibility over the course of the 20th century and became thoroughly debunked by post-war population biology and genetics. While it remains a consensus view that biological differences between human populations have no cognitive or behavioral implications, the concept of race has reemerged in debates about 21st-century genomics and biomedicine. Recent scholarship in the science studies discusses these developments by claiming that biological races are again “gaining in reality” and by questioning whether race is "still socially constructed".
The aim of this talk is to argue that recent controversies about the status of race have to be understood in a broader context of conceptual change in science. "Race" is a historically variable term that is without stable referent but has been used to express vastly different biological, cultural, metaphysical, and political ideas. We therefore need to understand the history of race in terms of a historical ontology that acknowledges its referential instability. Finally, I argue that this perspective has relevant implications for the current state and the future of racial classifications. Instead of asking what races really are, we need to address the epistemic and social implications of different conceptual strategies in contemporary genomics and biomedicine.
Dr. David Ludwig is a researcher and Veni-laureate at the Faculty of Humanities, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam