Science

Science and Literature in North and South Korea

coverimageThe most recent issue of the Journal of Korean Studies, “Science and Literature in North and South Korea,” edited by Christopher P. Hanscom and Dafna Zur, is now available.

This issue offers a groundbreaking framework for approaching the multilayered relations between literature and science both in Korea and in other sites in the modern world. Paying particular attention to the ways in which literature and science share a linguistic medium, the nine articles that comprise this special issue show how literature and science interconnect as modes of understanding and perceiving the world. This issue is a must-read not only for specialists in modern Korean literature but also for scholars of modern Korea working across all disciplines in the humanities and social sciences.

Browse the table-of-contents and read the introduction, made freely available.

Research Misconduct in East Asia

The most recent special issue of East Asian Science, Technology and Society (EASTS), “Research Misconduct in East Asia,” edited by Hee-Je Bak, is now available.

m_coverimageInstead of attributing research misconduct to an individual researcher’s lack of ethical integrity, recent scholarship in Science and Technology Studies has tended to link scientific fraud closely with the characteristics of specific fields, institutional and cultural systems of science (including the reward structure), and national politics concerning science. By analyzing the Hwang scandal in South Korea, the Obokata scandal in Japan, and the BMC retraction scandal in China, this issue also highlights aspects of the unique social and cultural environment of scientific research in East Asia, such as the strong state power over academic research, the weak culture of self-regulation in research organizations, and the emphasis on international journal articles in research evaluation. In this way, each article demonstrates that research misconduct can be a valuable window for understanding the characteristics of institutional and cultural systems of science in each society. This issue also suggests that we should not only focus on traditional misconduct, which concerns fraudulent ways of producing scholarly publications, but also address new types of research misconduct: those that involve the rapid commercialization of science and/or target the publication system itself.

Read the introduction to the issue, made freely available.

Familiarizing the Extraterrestrial / Making Our Planet Alien

The most recent issue of Environmental Humanities featuring the special section, “Familiarizing the Extraterrestrial / Making Our Planet Alien,” edited by Istvan Praet Juan Francisco Salazar, is now available.

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This special section brings together research on outer space by means of ethnographic explorations of astrobiology, planetary science, and physical cosmology. A growing number of researchers in the social sciences and the environmental humanities have begun to focus on the wider universe and how it is apprehended by modern cosmology. Today the extraterrestrial has become part of the remit of anthropologists, philosophers, historians, geographers, scholars in science and technology studies, and artistic researchers, among others.

This section also explores how Earth is being transformed into a “natural laboratory” of sorts, allowing scientists to experiment with and theorize about alien life. There is an emerging consensus that astronomers and other natural scientists—contrary to a common prejudice—are never simply depicting or describing the cosmos “just as it is.”  Scientific knowledge of the universe is based on skilled judgments rather than on direct, unmediated perception. It is science, but it is also an art.

Explore the table-of-contents and read the introduction, freely available.

Exciting Work from Cultural Politics

We are pleased to share two works this month from Cultural Politics: a special section on “Mediated Geologies,” edited by Jussi Parikka, in the most recent issue of the journal, and the first book in the Cultural Politics books series, Finite Media, by Sean Cubitt.

ddcup_12_3The most recent issue of Cultural Politics includes a special section on “Mediated Geologies.” The special section approaches topics such as cultural politics of the environment, ecological contexts of contemporary media, and debates concerning the Anthropocene from the angle of media studies. Contributors argue for new ways to understand media culture as read through a materials focus: from waste to building materials and from temperature control to more conceptual developments concerning new materialism.

From the introduction:

Cultural politics of geology sounds rather oxymoronic, considering the distance geology seems to have from concerns of reproduction of cultural inequalities, power struggles, formations of identity, and issues of governance. Geological investigations of the earth and its layers, resources, dynamics, and histories occupy a timespan that is assumed to speak to  an altogether different set of questions than what we consider as the task — or even the capacity — of the humanities. Yet the past years have seen a rather dramatic increase in debates about geology, although often through the term Anthropocene. The concept refers to the impact of human agriculture,science, and technology on a planetary scale; it could be said to function as nothing less than a modern “design brief” (Bratton 2016) for how the earth has been reformed and, as many would argue, catastrophically pushed to a point of no return when it comes to the amount of toxic content in the air and soil, to global temperatures, to sea-level rise and polar ice melt, and to many other interconnected chemical reactions and consequences. These debates have also led to intense discussions in the humanities and the arts, including the Haus der Kulturen der Welt’s (Berlin) significant long-term project, the Anthropocene Observatory, involving artists, curators, theorists, and other participants. Although that project concluded, similar projects continue, with an abundance of art works and theoretical writings starting to address a set of interrelated questions: What are the political stakes in the nonhuman context of the human impact on the geological scale? In which particular territories, case studies, concepts, and questions are the entanglement of the scales most visible, most prescient?

Read the full introduction to the section, made freely available.

978-0-8223-6292-0Finite Media by Sean Cubitt is the first book in the Cultural Politics series, which examines the political aspects of culture and the cultural aspects of the political.

While digital media give us the ability to communicate with and know the world, their use comes at the expense of an immense ecological footprint and environmental degradation. In Finite Media, Cubitt offers a large-scale rethinking of theories of mediation by examining the environmental and human toll exacted by mining and the manufacture, use, and disposal of millions of phones, computers, and other devices. The way out is through an eco-political media aesthetics, in which people use media to shift their relationship to the environment and where public goods and spaces are available to all.

Cubitt demonstrates this through case studies ranging from the 1906 film The Story of the Kelly Gang to an image of Saturn taken during NASA’s Cassini-Huygens mission, suggesting that affective responses to images may generate a populist environmental politics that demands better ways of living and being. Only by reorienting our use of media, Cubitt contends, can we overcome the failures of political elites and the ravages of capital.

Watch Sean Cubitt discuss his research:

Read the introduction to Finite Media free online, and use coupon code E16CUBIT to save 30% when you order the paperback edition through our website.

Call for Papers: The Political Beliefs and Civic Engagement of Physicians in an Era of Polarization

ddjhppl_41_6To what extent do doctors’ political beliefs, identities, and ideologies influence their professional decisions in the medical exam room? How do these political views shape what doctors do in their role as citizens, including their political participation on contested issues, such as abortion, gun control, and Obamacare? We invite papers for a conference at Tufts University in fall 2017 to explore the political beliefs and civic engagement of physicians in an era of partisan polarization. The Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law will accept five to seven papers from the conference to run in a special issue after undergoing peer review.

Background

Physicians have substantial autonomy in treating patients according to their best judgment. To be sure, doctors must uphold standards of professional conduct. They are also subject to the incentives and constraints of insurance plans, payment systems, and malpractice rules. Yet the role of a physician is defined loosely enough that doctors can bring to their work predispositions about how their jobs ought to be done. These predispositions can come from many sources, including medical school training, prior experiences, peer effects, individual personality and—the subject of this call for papers—politics.

A recent study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (Hersh and Goldenberg 2016) demonstrates that physicians allow their political worldviews to influence their professional decisions on certain politically salient issues. For example, doctors who identify with the Democratic Party are more likely to urge patients against storing firearms in the home, while Republican physicians are more likely to counsel patients on the mental health risks of abortion and to urge patients to cut down on marijuana use. Yet many questions remain unanswered:  How important and far-reaching is the influence of physicians’ political beliefs? What factors shape the emergence and development of these beliefs? Does the influence of physicians’ political beliefs on their professional behavior benefit or harm patients? Does it significantly affect variation in medical spending and health outcomes? In addition to these questions about how physicians’ political views affect medical practice, there are a range of questions about how physicians engage in politics, such as the level and variety of political activism among physicians and their professional associations.

Possible Paper Topics and Target Audience

We seek to cast a broad net and are open to studies by political scientists, economists, sociologists, health services researchers, and others. Papers could examine how doctors form their political ideologies and identities, whether there are significant differences in beliefs or belief formation across variables such as gender, age, region, training, residency, practice type, or medical specialization, as well as the implications for health outcomes. We are also interested in papers that examine the political participation of doctors in areas including but not limited to voting, testifying, letter writing, participation in agency rulemaking, contributing money to candidates or PACs, bundling donations, running for office, making public speeches and media appearances, and formal or informal lobbying. We are primarily interested in the political views and behavior of U.S. physicians, but papers that offer a comparative perspective are welcome.

The target audiences for these papers include academic researchers; health policy makers at the local, state, and federal levels; and health legal practitioners. Papers should be written so as to be accessible to all of these audiences.

Submission Guidelines

Interested authors should submit a 1-3 page proposal by March 3, 2017 by email to Jennifer Costanza, Managing Editor of JHPPL, at jhppl[at]brown[dot]edu. Please put “Physicians and Politics Submission” in the subject line of the message. JHPPL will respond to the proposals by April 21, 2017. Accepted authors will present completed papers at the conference in October/November 2017, at Tufts University in Boston. The papers will then undergo peer review for a special issue of the journal.

The Anthropocene in the Humanities

Anthropocene
\ˈan(t)-thrə-pə-ˌsēn, noun
the Anthropocene, a proposed term for the present geological epoch (from the time of the Industrial Revolution onwards), during which humanity has begun to have a significant impact on the environment

The Anthropocene has recently become the subject of scholarship not only in the sciences, but in the humanities, as well. The following special issues and special sections of Public Culture, the minnesota review, and Cultural Politics address the ever-growing presence of the Anthropocene in the humanities.

ddpcult_26_2_webIn “Visualizing the Environment,” guest editors Allison Carruth and Robert P. Marzec write, “This special issue of Public Culture explores forms of environmental image making and visualization in the context of the Anthropocene.” Contributors to this issue “aim to spark dialogue about how visual technologies and media—from satellite imaging and military simulation to animation and infographics—are shaping contemporary perceptions of both ecological risks and environmental movements.”

For a sense of environmental visualization and the Anthropocene, sample “Visualizing the Anthropocene” by Nicholas Mirzoeff. In this article, Mirzoeff claims that visual representation of the Anthropocene obscures rather than reveals environmental and social injustices.

ddmnr_83_webThe most recent issue of the minnesota review addresses the Anthropocene through the lens of literary meditation. Section editors Tobias Boes and Kate Marshall note that the ultimate goal of this project was to “describe, narrate, and imagine this moment in geologic time.” “These consequences can be aesthetic, political, or ecological or some combination thereof,” they argue, “but they often involve a reorganization and rearticulation of otherwise familiar concepts whose linguistic and cultural environment has changed along with their physical counterpart.”

Read more from “Writing the Anthropocene: An Introduction” by Tobias Boes and Kate Marshall here.

ddcup_10_3_webThe most recent issue of Cultural Politics features an article by John Beck entitled “The Call of the Anthropocene,” which addresses timekeeping.

In this article, Beck addresses the Anthropocene in relation to time-capsule projects, specifically the EchoStar XVI communications satellite launched in late 2012 and currently in geostationary orbit around Earth. He argues that this time capsule and others are a manifestation “of progressive modernity’s commitment to timekeeping—to the successful capture and command, interpretation and anticipation, of past and future times.” It is, he writes, “the futureless call of the Anthropocene.”

Duke Breaks Ground on New Marine Lab Honoring Orrin Pilkey

On July 30, Duke University broke ground on a new 20,000 square foot research facility at the Beaufort, NC campus. The facility will be named the Orrin Pilkey Marine Science & Conservation Genetics Center in honor of the retired geologist. Pilkey has taught at Duke since 1965. He is the author or editor of dozens of books, most recently Global Climate Change: A Primer, which he co-wrote with his son Keith Pilkey and artist Mary Edna Fraser. Pilkey's former editor at Duke Press, Reynolds Smith, attended the groundbreaking ceremony as did Duke University President Richard Brodhead. Pilkey told News 14 Carolina that is important the center be located in Beaufort: "Marine labs must be near the marine environment. You understand, you get an intuition for the environment. You watch the tides, you smell the smells, you see the waves, you see the storms."

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Pilkey and Smith at the ceremony.

Free Chapter on Thomas J. Sargent from “The Mangle in Practice”

978-0-8223-4373-8_prEarlier this month the Nobel Prize in Economics was awarded to Thomas J. Sargent and Christopher A. Sims. Sargent, Professor of Economics at New York University, was cited by the Nobel committee for his work on "how structural macroeconometrics can be used to analyze permanent changes in economic policy." To learn more about Sargent, we invite you to read a free chapter from the recent book The Mangle in Practice: Science, Society, and Becoming, edited by Andrew Pickering and Keith Guzik. The chapter is called "Resisting and Accomodating Thomas Sargent," by Esther-Mirjam Sent. Sent argues that "Thomas Sargent was faced with the emergence of different interpretations of rational expectations in different periods as a result of the dance of human and disciplinary agency."

Bipartisan Policy Center Urges Research Into Geoengineering

PilkeyCoverSmall Today the Bipartisan Policy Center's Task Force on Climate Remediation Research issued a report that urges the United States to step up research into geoengineering techniques that might help slow or stop the progress of global climate change. In interviews with the New York Times, "some of the panel members said they hoped that the mere discussion of such drastic steps would jolt the public and policy makers into meaningful action in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, which they called the highest priority." Climate change expert Orrin H. Pilkey believes "the potential for adverse side effects" in any geoengineering project is "high and unpredictable." His new book, Global Climate Change: A Primer, written with his son Keith C. Pilkey, features a chapter on geoengineering that lays out some of the potential technologies, such as seeding the oceans to provide cloud cover, carbon sequestration machines, and the pumping of aerosols into the stratosphere. Pilkey ultimately comes down against geoengineering, writing: "that climate change is so dire a challenge as to propel some in the scientific community to seriously consider geoengineering should scare us all the more. The anthropogenic climate change criss that we face requires a political rather than a geoengineering solution."

EASTS Contributor Wins 2011 Zhu Kezhen Award

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Congratulations to Li Cho-ying, the recipient of the 2011 Zhu Kezhen award for the article “Contending Strategies, Collaboration among Local Specialists and Officials, and Hydrological Reform in the Late-Fifteenth-Century Lower Yangzi Delta,” published in the June 2010 issue of EASTS: East Asian Science, Technology and Society.  The Zhu Kezhen award is the highest honor given by the society of East Asian History of Science,Technology, and Medicine for an essay of original scholarship in the history of science, technology and medicine in East Asia.

 

Read the award-winning article here.