History Seminar Series
In the popular imagination, scientists are intrepid explorers whose work extends "the endless frontier." The term was originally used by presidential advisor, Vannevar Bush, in his 1945 proposal for a post-WWII science policy, which reappeared in the headlines last year as the name for a new bill to "advance and solidify" US leadership in "scientific and technological innovation," especially in its competition with China. More than a territorial boundary, the border manifests as the confines of state power, contours of collective identity, and limits of moral and political imagination. This talk examines science's relationship with the border through its development in China and role in US-China relations: how scientific research has been shaped by and in turn reinforces the border, and whether the ideal of a borderless science is a worthy aspiration or beguiling excuse to uphold the status quo.