Ever found yourself wondering how to patrol the borderline between science and politics? How to handle technical innovations? How to understand the shifting nature of the natural world? How to become a citizen in the public life of science and technology? You may be experiencing a need for scientific humanities, and Bruno Latour is here to help.
Latour, author most recently of An Inquiry into Modes of Existence: An Anthropology of the Moderns, will be leading a MOOC this spring on the extension of interpretative skills to scientific discoveries and technical innovations. The course equips students to:
- learn the basics of the field called “science and technology studies,” a vast corpus of literature developed over the last forty years to give a realistic description of knowledge production
- handle the flood of different opinions about contentious issues and order the various positions by using the tools now available through digital media
- comment on those different pieces of news in a more articulated way through a specifically designed blog.
The course, like scientific humanities itself, aims to help modern citizens overcome the distinctions between science, morality, politics, and society, and in so doing to regain some confidence in the authority of science. To understand, for example, why the scientific documentation of global warming can be overruled by politics.
As Latour warns in the course introduction video below, “Today no one can afford the luxury of ignoring how science and society collaborate to mold our common world.”