The Fiction of Fact: Science as Storytelling

What is a fact? Not unlike the discipline of the humanities, the sciences practice interpretation as analysis. Scientists observe behaviors--of subjects and objects--and provide an interpretive assessment of them. Historically, art and science were practiced together as the same knowledge-making project. If today we think of science and the humanities as different, even incompatible enterprises, we miss lessons in how knowledge works and how politics often dictate the forms it takes. This course challenges students to live in the uncomfortable reality that science needs fiction in pursuit of its facts. Even more uncomfortable is how politically potent the fiction of scientific fact has been. This class will debate the fictions of science and how much artistic culture has been an effective conduit of its stories. And through a range of cultural materials--fiction, film, visual arts--students will explore one of science's most potent stories: race.

Sister Courses: HNUH228A, HNUH228B, HNUH228O, HNUH228R, HNUH228U, HNUH228V, HNUH228W, HNUH228Y, HNUH228Z

Fall 2024

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