Professor Sheila Jasanoff: STS in a Post-Truth Age
In a time of growing skepticism toward expert rationality, some have been tempted to suggest that STS’s intellectual direction needs to be altered, moving away from deconstruction of science’s authority toward more exposés of corrupt practices within the sciences that, in effect, betray science’s search for truth. Drawing on my own experiences in building STS in the US, and also internationally, I will suggest that this is not the time to abandon skepticism. Rather, we should refocus our field’s critical energies on the links between power and knowledge that account for the problematic texture of modernity. This means widening the lens of STS to include more domains of knowledge-making and adopting a stance of symmetry that is unafraid to question the epistemic foundations of authority in all its guises. I will propose some neglected avenues of research that could prove especially valuable in this time of technological as well as political upheaval.
Sheila Jasanoff is Pforzheimer Professor of Science and Technology Studies at the Harvard Kennedy School. A pioneer in her field, she has authored more than 120 articles and chapters and is author or editor of more than 15 books, including The Fifth Branch, Science at the Bar, Designs on Nature, and The Ethics of Invention. Her work explores the role of science and technology in the law, politics, and policy of modern democracies. She founded and directs the STS Program at Harvard; previously, she was founding chair of the STS Department at Cornell. She has held distinguished visiting appointments at leading universities in Europe, Asia, Australia, and the US. Jasanoff served on the AAAS Board of Directors and as President of the Society for Social Studies of Science. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Her honors include a Guggenheim Fellowship, the University of Ghent Sarton Chair, an Ehrenkreuz from the Government of Austria, and membership in the Royal Danish Academy. She holds AB, JD, and PhD degrees from Harvard, and an honorary doctorate from the University of Twente.
For more information on Professor Jasanoff, please visit sheilajasanoff.org.
For more information, please contact reetta.muhonen [at] tuni.fi (Reetta Muhonen)