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Critical Intersections: Conversations on History, Race, and Science

Friday, February 18, 2022
2:00pm to 4:00pm
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Online Event
The Sciences and Humanities in Crisis
Elizabeth Popp Berman, Associate Professor of Organizational Studies and Sociology, University of Michigan,
Chad Wellmon, Professor of German Studies, History, and Media Studies, University of Virginia,

We often read that the university is in crisis. Undergraduate students are abandoning the humanities for majors with better financial prospects; humanities PhDs graduate into a jobless job market. The sciences face a different set of problems. Though the sciences are often celebrated as critical to a nation's economic growth and international competitiveness, many worry about the long-term consequences of commercialization and instrumentalization. This sense of crisis raises questions about the future of the university, and its past. Where do these crises come from? Are they in fact new? How have the sciences and humanities responded historically to perceived crises, within and outside of the university? What is the use of so-called useless knowledge? What, ultimately, is the purpose of the modern research university?

Join Professor Elizabeth Popp Berman from University of Michigan and Professor Chad Wellmon of the University of Virginia for a conversation on the role of crisis in the making of the modern university.

Speaker bios:

  • Elizabeth Popp Berman is a sociologist whose work is at the intersection of organizations, economic sociology, and the sociology of science and knowledge. Much of her work focuses on recent U.S. history and emphasizes the role of public policy. Her first book, Creating the Market University: How Academic Science Became an Economic Engine, won awards from the Social Science History Association and the American Sociological Association. Her newest book, Thinking Like an Economist: How Efficiency Replaced Equality in U.S. Public Policy, will be published by Princeton University Press in March 2022.
  • Chad Wellmon teaches and writes about the history of knowledge and information, the history of technology and universities, and media and social theory. He has written or edited books on the history of anthropology, the modern research university, the history of reading and print, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Max Weber. His latest book is, Permanent Crisis: The Humanities in a Disenchanted Age.

To RSVP for this event, please click here.

The theme of the "Critical Intersections: Conversations on Race, History, and Science" seminar series for the 20212022 academic year is "Putting the University in its Place." It invites conversation about the histories, places, and people that make up the modern university. The events are jointly organized by faculty in the Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences [Maura Dykstra (Assistant Professor of History), Jennifer Jahner (Professor of English), and Hillary Mushkin (Research Professor of Art and Design)] and University Archivist Peter Collopy.

For more information, please contact Cecilia Lu by phone at 626-395-1724 or by email at [email protected].