The Centre from Modern Thought welcomes students interested in pursuing postgraduate work in the area of science studies, leading to a MLitt or PhD degree in Modern Thought or in collaboration with other Departments and Programmes. The cross-disciplinary nature and theoretical interests of the Centre and its staff provides an excellent environment for research and teaching in science studies—a field that analyses knowledge-making practices from historical, literary, ethnographic, philosophical, sociological, visual, and legal perspectives. Once a specialized, “niche” field, science studies has recently gained a key position within the academic landscape by engaging the sciences and their many practices, tools, roles, and institutions in ways that question the assumptions behind dichotomies between society and nature, human and machine, things and their representations. The innovative nature of its research questions strives to match the increasingly pervasive, powerful, and mutating role of the technosciences in our lives, thus attracting an increasing number of students from the humanities, sciences, and social sciences seeking interests and careers within and without the university.
At the Centre, students are encouraged to engage with a variety of science studies such as (but by no means limited to)
- the relationship between science and literature (in collaboration with literature Departments);
- the role of instruments and inscription devices and other dimensions of the material culture of science and medicine;
- sites and architecture of science (in collaboration with the Department of Art History and the Visual Culture Program);
- science in the media (in collaboration with the Visual Culture and Film Studies Programs);
- the politics of the environment (with a number of researchers in environmental and energy-related issues in various departments and schools);
- empirical and theoretical studies of scientific practices and collaborations (in collaboration with the Department of Anthropology);
- imaging and image-processing techniques in science and medicine (in collaboration with the Visual Culture and Film Studies Programs and the Departments of Art History and Anthropology);
- technoscience and intellectual property;
- science in the courtroom (in collaboration with the School of Law);
- history of science, technology, and medicine (in collaboration with the Departments of History and the Cultural History Program);
- science and traditional knowledge (in collaboration with the Department of Anthropology);
- science museums, displays, and archives (in collaboration with the Marischal Museum, the Anthropology Department, and the Cultural History Program).
The content of the Centre’s two annual seminars (EL5044 and EL5552) is routinely adjusted to address the various interests of our research community, with science studies featuring prominently in 2007-8. In the Fall, EL5044 (taught by Mario Biagioli) dealt with “Science Studies: Current Questions and Approaches,” and EL5552 (taught by Mario Biagioli and Kriss Ravetto in Spring 2008) focussed on “Science, Visual Technologies, and the Humanities”. Other courses pertinent to science studies topics are often offered by Ben Marsden (History), Elizabeth Hallam (Anthropology), James Leach (Anthropology), William Naphy (History), and Ralph O’Connor (History & Irish-Scottish Studies). Students interested in pursuing a degree in science studies should contact Professor Christopher Fynsk at the Centre for Modern Thought.