Confronting the Crisis of Expertise: Historical Roots and Current Challenges - Summer University Course

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Summer Program
February 14, 2021
Subject Fields: 
Anthropology, Social Sciences, Environmental History / Studies, Political Science, Contemporary History

Course date: 26 July - 30 July, 2021

In the post-Covid-19 world, the problems already experienced by democracies with regards to social divisions and diminishing trust in public institutions are exacerbated by a growing epistemic crisis concerning the simultaneous need and contestation of expertise for public policy purposes. The existence of uncertain statistical data, the search for past models in dealing with hidden enemies, the public attempts to translate scientific knowledge and to make sense of decision-making processes, all point to a persistent need for advanced skills for working with governance data and discourses.    

Our course enhances participants’ skills in analyzing the incorporation of techno and scientific knowledge into public governance and discourses. The summer school seeks to provide the tools and categories to critically assess systemic responses in times of both contested expertise and scientificization of politics.    

The course will make connections between historical and current issues related to expertise by analyzing the genealogy of interventionist techniques and social inquiries. We will study the emergence of hybrid, policy sciences during the Cold War by analyzing the cases of sociology, (macro)economy, statistics, environmental sciences, and design. We analytically investigate the differences as well as convergences between East and West with regards to their data cultures and truth regimes in order to analyze the validity, intelligibility, and portability of scientific facts/ phenomena when being tested, communicated, appropriated across time and space.  

Last but not least, we shall connect the past problems of communicating science along ideological divides with current concerns of conveying valid scientific claims in a post-truth era. 

The summer school is offered to advanced-level undergraduate students, graduate students, junior faculty in humanities and social sciences, journalists and artists interested in writing articles or creating projects which might go beyond an academic context.   

The course will consist of lectures, seminars and practical workshops with archival documents and scientific datasets. 

Application deadline: 14 February, 2021

How to apply


Contact Info: 

Ioana Macrea-Toma 
Course Director
Blinken Open Society Archives at Central European University, Budapest, Hungary

Contact Email: