How has science been predicated on erasures and untruths? How do our institutions contribute to exclusion and silencing, rather than trustful exchange or collaboration? Part of our 2021–2022 Institute’s Colloquium series Trusting Science, this event addresses these critical questions through a dialogue between science, technology, and society (STS) scholar Clapperton Chakanetsa Mavhunga, author of The Mobile Workshop: the Tsetse Fly and African Knowledge Production, and historian and legal scholar Helen Tilley, author of Africa as a Living Laboratory: Empire, Development, and the Problem of Scientific Knowledge. Considering personal experiences of mistrust and marginalization as integral to knowledge-making, we reflect on racism in science and its institutions, and ask the key question: what is to be done?
Chakanetsa Mavhunga is a full professor of Science, Technology, and Society at MIT. His latest book is entitled The Mobile Workshop: The Tsetse Fly and African Knowledge Production (MIT Press, 2018). His professional interests lie in the history, theory, and practice of science, technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship in the international context, with a focus on Africa. Prof. Mavhunga joined MIT as a tenure-track assistant professor in 2008 after completing his PhD at the University of Michigan. He is the author of Transient Workspaces: Technologies of Everyday Innovation in Zimbabwe (MIT Press, 2014), which received Honorable Mentions in the Turku Prize (European Society for Environmental History) and Herskovits Prize (African Studies Association) in 2015. His third book is an edited volume entitled What Do Science, Technology, and Innovation Mean from Africa? which explores STI in Africa from an archaeological, historical, philosophical, anthropological, STS, engineering, development, and policymaking perspective. His new book, Dare To Invent the Future: Knowledge in the Service of and through Problem-solving, comes out with MIT Press later this or early next year.
Helen Tilley is an associate professor of history at Northwestern University with a courtesy appointment in the Pritzker School of Law. She is author of Africa as a Living Laboratory: Empire, Development, and the Problem of Scientific Knowledge (2011) and several articles and edited collections including the most recent issue of Osiris,Therapeutic Properties: Global Medical Cultures, Knowledge, and Law (2021). Before completing her PhD she worked for nearly a decade in a global network of environmental and social justice organizations and helped train organizers in social movement strategies and history.
Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Boltzmannstraße 22, 14195 Berlin, Germany
This event is part of the MPIWG's Institute's Colloquium 2021–22 series "Trusting Science," which seeks to explore this topic from interdisciplinary, transnational, and longue durée perspectives. Learn more about the series here.