Call for Papers
Patrick Suppes Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Science and Technology, Stanford University
“Agnotology: The Cultural Production of Ignorance”
Professors Londa Schiebinger and Robert Proctor seek papers for the preparation of a volume introducing a new theoretical perspective and methodology – agnotology, the cultural production of ignorance-into interdisciplinary science studies. Papers should explore how ignorance is produced or maintained in diverse settings, through (for example) deliberate or inadvertent neglect, secrecy and suppression, document destruction, and myriad forms of inherent or avoidable culturopolitical selectivity and forgetfulness. The point is to develop a taxonomy of understandings and uses of ignorance, but also tools for understanding how and why diverse forms of knowledge do not or did not “come to be” or are delayed or neglected at different points in history. Examples include the ignorance of cancer hazards caused by the “doubt” peddled by trade associations (Brown and Williamson’s “doubt is our product”), the non-transfer of birth control technologies from colonial outposts to imperial centers (by virtue of successive chains of disinterest and suppression), the non-development of certain technologies by virtue of structural apathies or disinterest, impacts of disciplinarity on agnotogenesis, etc. The proposed volume is exploratory and open-ended, with the purpose of coming to grips with how ignorance has been understood, created, and ignored, linking this also to allied creations of secrecy, uncertainty, confusion, silence, forgetfulness, etc – especially as these pertain to scientific inquiries and outcomes. The idea is that a great deal of attention has been given to epistemology (the study of how we know), when “how or why we don’t know” is often at least as interesting-and remarkably undertheorized by comparison.
While the volume will focus on science, the general approach will also be taken up in other disciplines, including cultural studies, history, literary studies, anthropology, and sociology. Paper proposals should include a working title plus a 300 word abstract. Please send to Londa Schiebinger at [email protected] by August 30, 2005.
Paper proposals should include a working title plus a 300 word abstract. Please send to Londa Schiebinger at [email protected] by August 30, 2005.