[UPDATE] [ACLA] Uncertain Understanding: Capital in Science and Medicine Before the 20th Century (March 20-23, 2014 at NYU)

full name / name of organization: 
Cornell University
contact email: 

New deadline: November 15th

In his influential work The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Thomas Kuhn explains "the reception of a new paradigm often necessitates a redefinition of the corresponding science. Some old problems may be relegated to another science or declared entirely 'unscientific'." This process of drastic redefinition is exacerbated not only due to scientific discoveries and technological advances, but also the professionalization of the field, a process that not only consolidated knowledge, but created new social capital. Critics like Kuhn, Bruno Latour, and Michel Foucault, among others, demonstrate the inherent upheaval that such restructuring of scientific knowledge causes. Significant paradigm shifts blur distinctions between the sciences and pseudo-sciences, professionals and laymen, and the self and other, complicating notions of bodily and intellectual understanding. Our panel seeks to explore the impact of these changes on the capital, broadly defined, of science prior to the 20th century.

Some potential questions that may be engaged in this seminar: How can medical and scientific knowledge serve as a form of social capital and what are the means of exchanging such capital? Does scientific knowledge of the body complicate and change existing paradigms of gendered knowledge? How is science's narrative of progress contradicted by its concurrent development with scientific racism and its ongoing legacy? Who are the authorities of such knowledge? How are these shifts in knowledge represented or challenged in literature? What is the relationship between textual bodies and physical bodies in how their signs and symptoms are represented and read?

To propose a paper, please follow this link: http://www.acla.org/submit/ and choose "Uncertain Understanding: Capital in Science and Medicine Before the 20th Century" in the drop-down seminar menu.

Deadline: Nov 15, 2013.

CfP online:

Further information on the ACLA conference:

Please contact Christine Yao (cy295@cornell.edu) or Kristie Schlauruff (kas465@cornell.edu) with any questions regarding this seminar.