“We are Made by History”
Snapshots of Science from Liberia and the United States
Saturday, November 5th, 2016 from 8:00 to 9:30
The Commons at the First Congregational Church of Atlanta
Free and open to the public!
Science and technology dominate our lives, and the better we understand how they work, the more powerful our approach will be to the world’s challenges. Please join us as we explore the ways that a historical understanding of science can enrich our lives.
Historians of science Gregg Mitman and Evelynn Hammonds will explore how a historical and scientific understanding of Liberia and the United States can help us confront the questions we face today and tomorrow.
A Liberian Journey: Notes from the Field on the History of Science and Engagement
Gregg Mitman, PhD, is the Vilas Research and William Coleman Professor of History of Science, Medical History, and Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an award-winning author, filmmaker, and teacher, whose interests span the history of science, medicine, and the environment in the United States and the world, and reflect a commitment to environmental and social justice.
How might the earliest known surviving motion picture record of Liberia be put into the service of a country seeking to rewrite a more inclusive history of its past as it struggles for footing after a brutal fourteen-year civil war? I will share our experiences working on a documentary film and public history website that has sought to put the film and photographic record of a 1926 Harvard scientific expedition to Liberia into circulation once again, highlighting the possibility of generating a history of science and its meaning from the widest possible demographic base, by and for a people whose ancestors were much more than laboring bodies, reservoirs of biological specimens, or objects of a scientific gaze. For further information, click here.
The Race Workshop at MIT and Harvard (circa 1997-2007)
Evelynn Hammonds, PhD, Barbara Gutmann Rosenkrantz Professor of the History of Science, Professor of African and African American Studies at Harvard University, is an alumna of Spelman and Georgia Tech. Her research focuses on scientific, medical, and socio-political concepts of race in the United States.
For over a decade a group of graduate students, professors, and independent scholars from Brown, Cornell, Harvard, MIT, and Wellesley met monthly during the academic year to discuss work on “race” in the social studies of science, the histories of science, medicine, and technology and the then nascent field of the anthropology of science. We formed this workshop to create a community of scholars conversant with the literature in these fields but also with work in critical race theory and Ethnic and African American Studies. Our central question was: How do we explain the absence of studies of race in our fields of study? We explored different aspects of this question over the years we held the workshop. In the end we succeeded in creating a group of scholars who now use “race” as a central category of analysis in the research and teaching in the history of science and related fields. Her presentation will focus on the role of the workshop model in producing new scholarship in an understudied and perhaps controversial but certainly significant area in the history of science.
* Directions from the Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel: Right on to Peachtree Street, exiting out of the Westin entrance on Peachtree. Then a left onto Ellis. The Commons is the 2nd building on the left after crossing over Courtland St.