Jayde Martin, University of Birmingham, jxm428 (at) student.bham.ac.uk


Alternative Perspectives: Humanities Methodologies within Science and Technology Studies

It is well known that scientific and technological developments do not exist in a neutral vacuum.[1] Developments are produced and received through cultural and social discourses.[2] Many early career academics and student researchers are interested in the interdisciplinary intersection between cultural studies and science and technology studies. The purpose of this conference theme is to demonstrate that humanities material, methodology, and research practices can contribute towards a valuable perspective within science and technology studies.

This panel will demonstrate that disciplines such as the creative arts, cultural history, and the close interpretation of language, can add a previously hidden dimension to understanding the relationships that exist between artistic representations and receptions and contemporary scientific and technological knowledge. Through a combination of papers examining artistic forms of knowledge production, the masculine bias within Psy Sciences, and the relationship between Shakespeare’s drama and Early Modern medicine, this panel displays how humanities methodologies can transform our understanding of interpretation and re-interpretation of science within culture. As the first paper proposes, artistic means of producing knowledge are of equal interest when they are informed by scientific research. The second paper aims to demonstrate the importance of placing the written texts of scientific papers back into their social and cultural context to critique its methodological strengths and weaknesses. Finally, the last paper aims to demonstrate how literature communicates medical knowledge to lay audiences via the medium of drama. With its focus on Early Modern audiences and reception the paper demonstrates that combining a historical and literary approach towards both medical and literary texts can further enlighten contemporary

[1] Slavoj Zizeck, ‘Preface’, in Looking Awry: An Introduction to Jacques Lacan through Popular Culture, (Massachusetts: MIT Press, 1991), p. vii. Paul Rainbow, ‘Introduction’ in The Foucault reader, (London: Penguin, 1991), p.4.

[2] Rainbow, p. 4. Steven Pinker, ‘Chapter 1 The Official Theory’ in The Blank Slate, (London: Penguin, 2002), p.6