Invisible Labour in Modern Science is about the people who are concealed, eclipsed, or anonymised in accounts of scientific research. Many scientific workers—including translators, activists, archivists, technicians, curators, and ethics review boards—are absent in publications and omitted from stories of discovery. Scientific reports are often held to ideals of transparency, yet they are the result of careful judgments about what (and what not) to reveal. Professional scientists are often celebrated, yet they are expected to uphold principles of ‘objective’ self-denial. The emerging and leading scholars writing in this book negotiate such silences and omissions to reveal how invisibilitieshave shaped twentieth and twenty-first century science.
Invisibility can be unjust; it can also be powerful. What is invisible to whom, and when does this matter? How do power structures built on hierarchies of race, gender, class and nation frame what can be seen? And for those observing science: When does the recovery of the ‘invisible’ serve social justice and when does it invade privacy? Tackling head-on the silences and dilemmas that can haunt historians, this book transforms invisibility into a guide for exploring the moral sensibilities and politics of science and its history.