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Month: February 2015

Why a historian of science needs to remain a tiger outside of the zoo

From Hans Schouwenburg’s ’emotional call to arms’ for a more activist history of science, on the Shells and Pebbles blog:

I think that we, PhD candidates in the history of science, should help our colleagues in the labs. For too long we have passively described science in action, without answering the climate scientist’s call for practical action. Even worse, as Latour observed, our critical apparatus of cultural deconstruction is now being used by the ‘worst possible fellows’ to deny global warming. We are scholars who try to describe the political, ideological and social aspects of science, but we are also humans who care about the future of our planet and humanity. Because of climate change, and because of ‘bad guys’ who refer to us to trivialize the problem, our very future is at stake! We can no longer observe these developments from a distance. It is about time to draw a firm line and come into action.

I can hardly express how much I believe we should remain passive. Or at least, if we choose to get active as concerned citizens, we should seriously doubt whether we can still function as historians.