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Honoursmodule: Feeling Science

What role do bodies, feelings and affects play in scientific knowledge making?

In the common understandings of science, scientific practices are often seen as systematic activities (such as data collection and analysis) aimed to provide objective, factual and neutral representations of reality.

Similarly, in classical philosophy of science, the results of research activities are viewed as objective and disembodied. What is underrepresented in such views on science are the ways in which the body of the scientist plays a role in scientific practices. In this course we want to challenge these classical views on science and invite students to become aware of how their own bodies and feelings play a role in their scientific practice.

We will build on recent research in the field of science studies that highlight these underrepresented aspects of scientific practices. Scholars in this field ask questions such as: What role do the body, affects and emotions of microbiologists play when they generate computer simulations of protein models (Myers, 2015)? And what does it mean if the scientist’s body is a research instrument (also) actively involved in research practices?

Together we will explore how our bodies as scientists – whether practising economy, astronomy, anthropology or any other discipline - are involved in research practices in various ways. Guided by our own explorations as well as by literature on this topic, we will discuss and reflect on the questions that arise when we view scientific research practices as embodied. For example: What does it mean for scientific validity that different scientists have different modes of embodiment and embodied experiences? Or: what role do bodies, affects and emotions play when scientists (with different disciplinary backgrounds) collaborate? What implications does embodied scientific research practice have for research ethics or the way we communicate scientific results? Could we develop practices that help us engage with and include our embodiment productively in the different phases of our research practices so as to do good science?

In this course you will learn how to benefit from a sensitivity to and an awareness of how you use your body in your own research practices. This includes learning:

  • how to cultivate awareness of and sensitivity to one’s own physicality, presence, your relation to your surroundings and other (human and non-human) bodies;
  • how to employ ‘tools’ such as autoethnographic note-taking, reflection, drawing and writing to cultivate and describe one’s embodied involvement in research practices;
  • how to interpret, reflect on and communicate your research findings/experiences with regard to your embodied research practices.

Schedule

You can find the timetable on Datanose

Registration

Registration is possible for bachelor students participating in an Honours programme. Registration for the Honours courses will start on 6 June at 10 am and end on 11 June at 11 pm. You can register through the online registration form that will appear on Honoursmodules IIS (registration is NOT through SIS). Placement is random and students will hear within two weeks for which course(s) they are registered. There is no guarantee for placement if you register after 11 June, so make sure you register on time! 

For questions about registration please email to: Honours-iis@uva.nl 

More information

Facts & Figures
Mode
Honours programme
Credits
6 ECTS,
Language of instruction
English
Starts in
September