250X: 004 Seminars in Social and Cultural Anthropology - Science and Power

Instructor: Laura Nader 

Time: M 10:00 am - 11:59 am 

Units: 4 

Course Number: 24535

This seminar is about science and power. The readings cover both ethno-science and tecbno­science in order to raise questions about the production of scientific knowledge. The key assumption is that science is not autonomous, rather linked to social and cultural organizations. It is also not bounded, e.g., the sole product of a geographic area. The complex threads of debates over science need a more global and historical context and in order to enrich our understanding a more inclusive approach. An anthropological contribution to these debates requires a relocation .and a future rethinking of the future of Western science. Traditions such as the myth of Western exceptionalism are shrinking as world historians lift the fog from constructed area boundaries. The growing recognition of the relevance of ''traditional knowledge" to modem society requires us to eschew provincialism. In this sense the anthropological study of science pioneered by Bronislaw Malinowski (trained in physics and math) has a long history, a global scope for understanding the worldwide varieties of knowledge production and use.