The sciences construct the societies we live in and our societies construct the scientific knowledge that informs some of the most consequential political decisions we take. This complicated relationship raises long-standing philosophical questions. But recent attempts on both the left and the right to democratize and politicize scientific expertise are making this relationship one of the most pressing issues of our day. The Science and Society subject area provides students with the conceptual and methodological toolkit they need to understand the knowledge societies we live in.
Nicolas Langlitz teaches the signature course of the Science & Society subject area introduces students to seminal texts in science & technology studies, but every year it also explores a particular area of scientific research in a workshop format. This provides an opportunity for students and faculty to collaboratively articulate questions and try out different research methods. In past semesters, we interviewed psychopharmacologists and cognitive scientists who study moral behavior and envisioned a moral and political psychopharmacology. In spring 2022, the tentative plan is to bring psychedelic researchers in the seminar as ethnographic interlocutors.
Nicolas Langlitz doing fieldwork in a Japanese chimpanzee laboratory.
COURSES WITHIN THE TRACK
In the academic year 2021/22, the following courses will also count toward the Science & Society subject area:
– Lawrence Hirschfeld: Becoming Social: Culture, Cognition and Early Development (GANT 6165; Fall 2021)
– Lys Alcayna Stevens: Epidemics & Pandemics (GANT 6135; Fall 2021)
– Nicolas Langlitz: Science and Society (GANT 6410; Spring 2022)
Students can take advantage of courses, faculty, facilities, and programming at universities participating in the Inter-University Consortium, particularly the Columbia University’s Science & Society program.