Science and Scientists

Spring 2013 – Eugene Lang College, New York

Course description

Science and Scientists: Anthropological and Historical Perspectives (LANT 3031)

Science has become one of the institutions defining modern societies. This course examines the work and lives of scientists and introduces students to the anthropology of science as one of the most dynamic subfields of anthropology today. Ethnographies of neuroscience laboratories or of pedological fieldwork in the Amazon rainforest have helped to replace a conception of science as a realm of abstract theory by the investigation of science in action. We will not only look at the philosophical consequences of this focus on practice, but also at how the asceticism underlying methodical research constitutes a way of life. At a time when the British government cut funding to social science courses by 100%, we will revisit the Science Wars of the 1990s and discuss past, present, and future of the relationship between the natural sciences and the humanities in political context.