[Marxism] Agnotology: The Cultural Production of Ignorance

Mark Lause MLause at cinci.rr.com
Fri Aug 5 06:09:13 MDT 2005

As far as social theory goes, this one looks like it has it has some
potential for actually explaining something in the real world.  It seems
very much to me that there is a link between the deregulation of
business, the budgetary butchering of education, the ascendancy of the
Christian Right, and the stupification of American politics....

It explains why and how a shrewd ivy league slacker like George W. Bush
can win votes by pretending to be an ignorant shitkicker with a pickup
truck who can't pronounce anything or speak coherently.  

Mark L.

-----Original Message-----
From: H-NET Intellectual History List [mailto:H-IDEAS at H-NET.MSU.EDU] On
Behalf Of Costica Bradatan
Sent: Tuesday, August 02, 2005 5:57 AM
Subject: Call for papers: The Cultural Production of Ignorance

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
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
delayed or neglected at different points in history. Examples include
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 -
as these pertain to scientific inquiries and outcomes. The idea is that
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
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 schiebinger at stanford.edu by August
30, 2005.

Paper proposals should include a working title plus a 300 word abstract.
Please send to Londa Schiebinger at schiebinger at stanford.edu by August
30, 2005.

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