Conference program: How Science Became Popular: Epistemic Governance and Scientific Citizenship in the Twentieth Century

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Conference Program

How Science Became Popular:

Epistemic Governance and Scientific Citizenship in the Twentieth Century

University of Houston, Agnes Arnold Hall 210 (3553 Cullen Blvd).


9-9.15 am: Welcome address

9.15-11.00 am: Panel 1

The Public and the Institutions of Scientific Knowledge Production: Antagonistic Relations

Chair: Samantha De Leon (U of Houston)   Discussant: Anastasia Rogova (U of Houston

Lyubomir Pozharliev (Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography)—Vaccination Campaigns in the People’s Republic of Bulgaria (1945–55): Elites, Coercion, and Mistrust.

Alexandra Arkhipova (Wilson Center, DC)—“I Am Throwing Away My Shot:” Vaccine Hesitancy and Resistance in the Former Soviet Union.

Mary Neuburger & Kiril Avramov (UT Austin)—Imagining Baba Vanga: A Bulgarian Seer, Suggestology, and the Outer Limits of Scientific Knowledge.

11:15 am – 1 pm: Panel 2

The Public and the Institutions of Scientific Knowledge Production: Cooperative Relations

Chair: Isabella Rumbough (U of Houston)   Discussant: Andrew Jewett (U of Houston)

Zachary Barr (Chicago)—Indeterminism and ISOTYPE: Popular Science in Interwar Austria.

Yulia Chernyavskaya (Rutgers)—“We Were Making Better People”: All-Union ‘Knowledge’ Society Activists and the Late-Soviet Ideal of a Well-Rounded Person.

Dmitrii Blyshko (U of Houston)—Trespassing the Borders of Science: Archaeologist Anatoly Zhuravlev and His Move from Academia to Alternative Knowledge.

1-2.30 pm: Lunch Break

2.30-4.15 pm: Panel 3

Professionalization of Sciences in Empire

Chair: Allison Anderson (U of Houston)   Discussant: Jimmy Schafer (U of Houston)

Said Sultan Al-Hashmi (U of Houston)—Science and the Paradox of Colonialism: Arabian Peninsula 1920–1940

Jack Seitz (Tennessee Wesleyan U)—Agricultural science Popularization & Environmental and Social Change on the Kazakh Steppe in Late Imperial Russia

John Lisle (Louisiana Tech)—Public Relations and the American Science Attaché Program

5–7 pm: Keynote lecture

Nasser Zakariya (UC Berkeley)Anthroperiphery and the Public Representation of Science



9.15-11 am: Panel 4

Science and Human Ontology

Chair: Nancy Katz (U of Houston)   Discussant: Nandini Bhattacharya (U of Houston)

Gabriela Radulescu (Technical University of Berlin)—Extraterrestrial Intelligence’s Regime of Epistemic Governance During the Cold War

Alexei Kojevnikov (U of British Columbia)—When Space-Time Met World Revolution

Erica Augenstein (U of Houston)—Technological State-building in Diaspora: Palestinian Labor in the Arab Gulf

11:15 am – 1 pm: Panel 5

Science as Pedagogy

Chair: Nella Sakic (U of Houston)   Discussant: Michael Gordin (Princeton)

Michael Coates (Kennan Institute, DC)—Encyclopedic Knowledge and Post-War Technological Society in the Soviet Union and United States

Jonathan MacDonald (Brown)—Teaching Emotional Self-Control to the Adolescent Citizen

Valeria Muts (Yale)—Capturing Time: Social Conservatism and Popular Science in Early 20th‑century Russia

1-2.30 pm: Lunch break

2.30-4.15 pm: Panel 6

Cold War and Better Governance

Chair: Christian Moore (U of Houston)   Discussant: Pratik Chakrabarty (U of Houston)

Sanchia deSouza (U of Toronto)—Homogenizing Consent for Modern Milk: Dairy Science and Public Communication in 20th-century Bombay.

Doubravka Olshakova (Czech Academy of Sciences)—Popularizing Societal Taboos: Disabled persons, children and popularization of psychology and pedagogy in the 1970s and 1980s.

Elena Trubina (UNC Chapel Hill)—School Teaching after the Cold War in the Urals: Myth, Knowledge, and Ideology.

4.30-5 pm: Closing discussion


  • Department of History, University of Houston
  • Department of English, University of Houston
  • Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies, University of Texas at Austin