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Facts, Artifacts, and the Politics of Consensus

Facts, Artifacts, and the Politics of Consensus: A Midwest Conference for Science and Technology Studies

May 4-5, 2012 at Northwestern University

Keynote Speaker on May 4:

Naomi Oreskes, History Department, University of California, San Diego

”Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming”

Northwestern University's Science in Human Culture Program and the Interdisciplinary Graduate Cluster in Science Studies were pleased to host the first Midwest regional Science and Technology Studies conference, with participation from faculty and students from colleges and universities across the Midwest. The conference, organized by a multi-campus group, was designed to strengthen the Midwest STS community and promote STS-related scholarship in the region. The two-day event drew more than 100 attendees and panelists from more than a dozen colleges and universities across the Midwest.

"Facts, Artifacts, and the Politics of Consensus" was supported by the following Northwestern University funders and co-sponsors: the Klopsteg fund, the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, the Graduate School, the Department of Sociology, the Department of Communication Studies, the Department of History, the Institute for Policy Research, and the Environmental Policy and Culture Program.

The full program appears below and on the linked flyer.

Click here for an article about the conference written by graduate cluster fellow Adam Plaiss for the Newsletter of the History of Science Society (Vol. 41, No. 3, July 2012)



Friday, May 4, Harris Hall

4:30 pm

Keynote address: Naomi Oreskes (UCSD)
"Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming"
Harris 107

6:00 pm

Public reception in Harris 108

Saturday, May 5: Helmerich Auditorium, Annie May Swift Hall, 1920 Campus Drive

8:30 am

Continental breakfast


Panel 1: "Transnational Negotiations"

Gabrielle Hecht (University of Michigan)
"Infrastructures of Invisibility"

Joan Fujimura (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
"Confounded Categories: Contested Histories and Consequences of the HapMapping of DNA to Geographies"

Tom Waidzunas (Northwestern University)
"Autonomy and Evasion: Ugandan Mental Health Experts, Homosexuality, and the Anti-Homosexuality Bill"

Chair and commentator: Anna Weichselbraun (University of Chicago)


Coffee break


Panel 2: "Nature of Expertise"

Christopher Hamlin (University of Notre Dame)
"Experts and Anarchists in Victorian Sanitation"

Shobita Parthasarathy (University of Michigan)
"Battles over Expertise and the Public Interest in the Patent System: Comparing the United States and Europe"

Rachel Ponce (University of Chicago)
"Monomania on Trial: Medical Experts, Lay Witnesses, and Epistemology in the American Antebellum Period"

Chair and commentator: John Carson (University of Michigan)




Presentation by Kelly Moore, Program Director, STS Program at the National Science Foundation: 
"Writing a Winning NSF STS Proposal"


Panel 3: "Sensing the Unseen"

Lorraine Daston (University of Chicago/Max Planck Institute, Berlin)
"Schooling Sight and Taste in Early Modern Botany"

Fiona Greenland (University of Michigan)
"Seeing into the Soil: Images, Narratives, and Prospective Loading in Field Archaeology"

Tania Munz (Northwestern University)
"Of Noses and Bees: Odor and Olfaction in the Honeybee Experiments of Karl von Frisch"

Chair and commentator: Gregg Mitman (University of Wisconsin-Madison)


Coffee break


Panel 4: "Ecologies of (In)Security"

Paul Edwards (University of Michigan)
"Fallout Research, Carbon Knowledge, and the Politics of the Atmosphere, 1945-1989"

Alex Blanchette (University of Chicago)
"Ecologies of the Herd: Biosecurity and the Factory Farm"

Susan Lederer (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
"All that Remains: Technologies of Identification in Atomic Age America"

Chair and commentator: Joseph Masco (University of Chicago)

6:30 pm

Dinner for all conference attendees at Mt. Everest, 630 Church Street, Evanston (RSVPs required)