Reading List for Science and Liberalism Conference 2023

March 19th, 2023

We are thrilled to be sharing a reading list in partnership with the Institute on the Formation of Knowledge’s upcoming Science and Liberalism Conference. The conference will take place on April 7-8, 2023 at the University of Chicago.

About the conference: Modern Science and modern liberalism grew up together, with shared genealogies in colonialism, racism, and capitalism. This conference centers the constitutive relationship between the two. Science and Liberalism brings together historically minded scholars from critical traditions that deconstruct both concepts. We will interrogate the ways ideas about science undergird many of the key features of liberalism. In doing so, we will attempt to make explicit the decidedly liberal contexts in which critical academic studies of science have taken shape. Our goal is to move past the idea that there is a single choice – either critique science rigorously but risk giving ammunition to illiberal forces or defend science as a part of liberal technocracy’s last gasping breaths.

Learn more about the conference and the schedule of events here

The following reading list is compiled based on books by presenters and panelists. 

Abstractions and Embodiments: New Histories of Computing and Society 
Janet Abbate and Stephanie Dick, eds.
(Johns Hopkins University Press)

Engineering the Revolution: Arms and Enlightenment in France, 1763-1815
Ken Alder
(University of Chicago Press)

Madness and Enterprise: Psychiatry, Economic Reason, and the Emergence of Pathological Value
Nima Bassiri
(University of Chicago Press, forthcoming)

Surroundings: A History of Environments and Environmentalisms
Etienne Benson
(University of Chicago Press)

Lorraine Daston and Peter Galison
(Princeton University Press)

Image and Logic: A Material Culture of Microphysics
Peter Galison
(University of Chicago Press)

Histories of the Transgender Child
Jules Gill-Peterson
(University of Minnesota Press)

Divine Variations
Terence Keel
(Stanford University Press) 

Critical Approaches to Science and Religion
Myrna Perez Sheldon, Ahmad Ragab, and Terence Keel eds.
(Columbia University Press)

Criticizing Science: Stephen Jay Gould and the Struggle for American Democracy
Myrna Perez Sheldon
(Johns Hopkins University Press, forthcoming)

Democracy and Truth: A Short History
Sophia Rosenfeld
(University of Pennsylvania Press) 

Common Sense: A Political History
Sophia Rosenfeld
(Harvard University Press)

Race, Rigor, and Selectivity in U.S. Engineering: the History of an Occupational Color Line
Amy Slaton
(Harvard University Press)

Mad Dogs and Other New Yorkers: Rabies, Medicine, and Society in an American Metropolis, 1840 - 1920
Jessica Wang
(Johns Hopkins University Press) 

Democracy, Justice, and the Welfare State: Reconstructing Public Care
Julie White
(Penn State)

Information Activism: A Queer History of Lesbian Media Technologies
Cait McKinney
(Duke University Press)

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