[act-ma] 7/31 @e5 Outside the Textbook: Science & Social Change - A Conversation w/Abha Sur (next Wednesday)

Suren Moodliar suren at fairjobs.org
Tue Jul 23 16:32:35 PDT 2013

*Wednesday, July 31, 2013, 7:00 p.m. @ encuentro5 - 9 Hamilton Place, Suite
2A, Boston, MA 02108

Join an MIT historian of science, Abha Sur, as she takes us beyond the
textbook account of science. Drawing on her own research and analyses,
insights from Richard Levins and others, Abha untangles two critical
approaches to the traditional story of science via a participatory
conversation. e5 is excited to host this conversation which takes science
as an ally in social change while subjecting its history to rigorous
scrutiny: "Textbook versions of the history of modern science as a
triumphant victory of the European Man over nature have been challenged
simultaneously by two related yet different impulses. A number of recent
studies have shown the ways in which race, gender, caste, and class
influence scientific knowledge, while others have illustrated the extensive
influence of Afroasiatic knowledge systems in the development of modern
science. The attendant abnegation of modern science in the former impulse
coexists with the possibility of an alternative vision in the latter
impulse, which implicitly affirms and identifies with certain aspects of
science by proclaiming its own past past and present participation in it.
Together the two bring to the fore the essential contradiction in
science--science as imperialism and science as knowledge--where, according
to Richard Levins, class mediated science can still produce some "real
truths about the world." This conversation will be accessible to everyone
and does not require any specialist knowledge.

Abha Sur is a scientist turned historian of science. She received her Ph.D.
in Physical Chemistry from Vanderbilt University and post-graduate training
in the field of mutli-photon ionization spectroscopy at SUNY, Stony Brook
and at Yale University. She has published several articles in chemistry.
Her more recent research focuses on the history of modern science in India
from a subaltern perspective. Her book Dispersed Radiance: Caste, Gender,
and Modern Science in
Delhi: Navayana, 2011) examines the confluence of caste, nationalism,
and gender in science and unpacks the colonial context in which science was
organized. Reviews and information about the book are available at
navayana.org. Abha Sur was a fellow at the Bunting Institute at Harvard
University and at the Dibner Institute for the History of Science and
Technology at MIT. She is presently a lecturer in the Program in Women's
and Gender Studies and a research associate in the Program in Science,
Technology, and Society at MIT.

<<suggested reading - "Class Science & Scientific Truth" by Richard Levins
- see attached>>
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