STS: "Of Science and Scientism: Framing Science in the Postwar American Humanities"


Monday, November 2, 2015, 12:15pm to 2:00pm


Pierce 100F, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, 29 Oxford Street

STS Circle at Harvard

Andrew Jewett

Harvard, History

Of Science and Scientism: Framing Science in the Postwar American Humanities

Lunch is provided if you RSVP.
Please RSVP via our online form before Thursday afternoon, October 29.
Abstract: It is not simply expert knowledge claims that are co-produced with social and political visions. In any given context, one also finds in circulation a set of generalized images of science as a cultural practice: claims about science’s character and boundaries, its interactions with other practices (religion, art, the humanities, politics, morality), its past trajectories, and its present-day influence. In this domain, co-production is the work of all kinds of actors, ranging far beyond the circle of scientific experts. Focusing especially on the literary critic Joseph Wood Krutch and the cultural historian Jacques Barzun, this talk will explore how leading figures in the American humanities framed science’s cultural character, history, and effects as they worked to knit their professional authority into emerging forms of sociopolitical order in the early Cold War years. 

Biography: Andrew Jewett is Associate Professor of History and of Social Studies at Harvard. He has published Science, Democracy, and the American University: From the Civil War to the Cold War (Cambridge, 2012) and is currently writing a book that traces the history of critiques of science’s cultural implications in the United States since the 1920s. 

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