Kies de Nederlandse taal
Course module: FI-MHPSDM
Science and the dilemmas of modernity
Course info
Course codeFI-MHPSDM
Course goals
Students will gain insight in the main questions surrounding the relation between science, society and politics in the twentieth century, and in the debates surrounding them. Students are trained to formulate research questions, locate and interpret sources, to write their own original paper, and to assess the significance of their own research within the framework of current scholarly debate. Students will also learn to critically comment on each other’s work and on scholarly publications.
In this course we will study the role of science and of scientists in modern society. At the beginning of the twentieth century, this role became a topic of intense discussion. The development of science and technology in the previous century had been impressive, but what were the –intended or unintended – effects of that progress? How could the results of scientific research be incorporated in modern society and culture? We will especially look at the political side of these questions. Could the scientific method be applied to social and political problems? What role should scientific ‘experts’ play in governance, and if so, how did that role relate to democratic values? How did international politics and government policy influence scientific practice?
We will study these issues in several periods throughout the twentieth century, including the World Wars, the economic crisis of the 1930s, the Cold War and the counterculture of the 1960s and ‘70s. We will study and discuss a body of literature, and all students will prepare a paper based on literature study. They will present their findings at the end of the course, both by oral presentation and a written paper. Throughout the research process, students will critically discuss each other's work.
Kies de Nederlandse taal