Monthly Archives: April 2013

Job Announcement: Visiting Assistant Professor, Arizona State

by Lyn


Job #10380

The School of Social Transformation (SST) and the Consortium for Science, Policy, and Outcomes (CSPO) at Arizona State University (ASU) seek to fill one position of Visiting Assistant Professor in the field of science, technology, and social transformation, for the 2013-2014 academic year.  The successful candidate will teach two undergraduate courses for SST and one graduate course for CSPO, perform research and publish in areas of expertise, and participate in university, professional and community service activities.  Required: Doctorate in related area; demonstrated research/teaching interests at the intersection of scientific and technological advance and social transformation, including but not limited to issues of social equity, social movements, race, ethnicity, gender, and public values and outcomes; and evidence of performance in both research and teaching appropriate to rank.  Desired: experience with policy, public engagement, technology assessment or other applied areas.

To apply, e-mail a single PDF file with a detailed letter of application stating qualifications, experience, research plans, and teaching interests; detailed curriculum vitae; and names and addresses of three references to:

Application deadline is May 3, 2013; if not filled, every Friday thereafter until search closed.

Background check is required for employment. Arizona State University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer committed to excellence through diversity, Women and minorities are encouraged to apply:

Fall Course Announcement: Science in Daily Life

by Lyn

Science in Daily Life: Literacy, Understanding and Engagement

C&I 733

Noah Feinstein

Wednesdays, 3:30-6:00

Is it safe to use cell phones? How much do you need to know about climate change? Does research matter to parents of chronically ill children? How is “organic” food really different? When does knowing science become important to some people and what do they do when it does?
When Paul Hurd popularized the term “science literacy” in 1958, he was simply putting a new name on the old idea that scientific knowledge is essential preparation for modern life. This idea has hardly faded away.  Since the 1950s, many people have offered their own visions of science literacy. Such visions can border on the absurd: the journalist Neil Ryder was only exaggerating slightly when he wrote that some proponents of science literacy think “thermodynamics is pressed into action to choose between one garment and another… polymer chemistry is used to decide what to spread on toast.”
This course draws on research and theory from across the social sciences to examine the many roles of science in everyday life. It is intended to give you both academic context (research and theory) and a firsthand look at how science matters to people who are not themselves scientists. By the end of the course, if you complete the course readings and invest a reasonable amount of time and energy in the assignments, you should:
• understand several important research perspectives and emergent concerns in the study of science literacy (SL), public understanding of science (PUoS) and public engagement with science (PEwS)
• be familiar with the different claims that are made about the value of SL/PUoS/PEwS, and the theoretical and empirical bases on which such claims are made
• be capable of evaluating claims about SL/PUoS/PEwS in light of their practical implications and political purposes
• be able to describe and discuss the complex relevance of science in one particular public setting


Contact Noah Feinstein for more information:

Academic Freedom and Innovation: A Changing Relationship? April 11

by Lyn

Thursday, April 11, 2013 | 4–8 p.m. | Union South

The “Sifting and Winnowing” plaque on Bascom Hall expresses the key role that academic freedom has played at UW–Madison and throughout U.S. higher education.

As part of the university’s Year of Innovation, UW–Madison experts and guest scholars from Stanford, Vanderbilt and New York University discuss the changing relationship between traditional notions of academic freedom and emerging trends in higher education, globalization, research and technology.

Register at

by 3 pm April 4 for this free event.

Presentations | 4–6 p.m.

Moderated by Adam Nelson, professor of educational policy studies and history

Christopher Loss, Vanderbilt University assistant professor of public policy and higher education
History of Federal-Academic-Industry Partnerships in the post-1945 United States

Mitchell Stevens, Stanford University associate professor of sociology and education
Academic Freedom in the Digital Era

Cynthia Miller-Idriss, New York University associate professor of international education and educational sociology
Academic Freedom and the New Global University

Dinner, Panel Discussion and Q&A
with UW–Madison Experts & Guest
Scholars | 6–8 p.m.

Moderated by Dominique Brossard, professor of life sciences communication

John Booske, professor and chair of electrical and computer engineering

Aaron Brower, provost of UW-Extension and professor of social work

Tim Donohue, professor of bacteriology and director of the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center

View agenda at,
or contact Kirsten Annen at or 608 316-4382.

Call for Abstracts: Science & its Publics, June 15th 2013, Toronto

by Lyn

The debates and outcomes of scientific research have often had consequences for the wider public, both in terms of the way that scientific ideas interact with lay beliefs and the way that technological development changes different forms of social living.  The interaction between science and the public is by no means unidirectional either, as funding, institutional support, and direction for many research endeavors is integrated with wider social structures.  Shifting public sentiments and modes of social living, therefore, will often affect the character of scientific research as much as scientific development will affect society as a whole.  Far from being an abstract philosophical point about the place of intellectual endeavours in human society, the relations between modern science and society can be studied historically.  Looking at Darwin’s ideas on speciation and their relation to Victorian society, the political impetus behind the Moon Landing, and the way that biotechnology has changed human narratives about the self, scientific endeavors and public interests can be seen to be importantly intertwined yet fairly well distinguishable.  

Scientific research, more or less by necessity, is something carried out mainly by a specific community of researchers.  Although the scientific community is larger than ever before, the boundary between experts and active researchers and the wider public remains quite clear and distinct.  The roles of science in public life, and public life in scientific research, present many questions for historians and philosophers of science.  How have public attitudes towards and influence upon scientific research shifted over time?  How can the social and intellectual lines between scientists and non-scientists be best delineated throughout history?  Is there a proper role for science in public life?  Is there a proper role for public interests in influencing scientific research?

The conference keynote will be given by Dr. John Durant from MIT’s STS department.  His earlier research was in the history of evolutionary and behavioral biology, with special reference to debates about animal nature and human nature in the late-19th and 20th centuries. More recently, however, he has undertaken sociological research on the public dimensions of science and technology. He is especially interested in public perceptions of the life sciences and biotechnology, in the role of public consultation in science and technology policy-making, and in the role of informal media (especially museums) in facilitating public engagement with science and technology. He is the founder editor of the quarterly peer review journal, Public Understanding of Science, and the author and editor of numerous books, essay collections and scholarly articles in the history and the public understanding of science. (from his MIT website –

We welcome submissions on any historical or philosophical topic related to this theme of “Science and its Publics.”  To submit please send an abstract of no more than 300 words to by April 15th 2013, with the subject line “Science and its Publics – Conference Submission.”  Notifications of acceptance will be sent out within two weeks.