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Lunch Lectures

Lunch LecturesThe FRIAS Lunch Lectures Series are dedicated to reflecting on knowledge, science and technology in the broadest sense. Each semester introduces an overarching guiding question, addressed Thursdays between 12:15 and 13:00 by current FRIAS Fellows from the point of view of their disciplines.
The aim of this lecture series is to offer both undergraduate and graduate students and, essentially, everyone interested in public and open exchange on knowledge and science, a first-hand up-to-date account of the research projects at FRIAS, with the opportunity to engage in critical debate. In summer term 2018, the lecture is taking place at HS 1009 in KG I.


As of summer term 2018, students can receive 2 ECTS in their “Ergänzungsbereich / Individuelle Studiengestaltung” (see more information and the list of applicable B.A. programmes here).

Thursday 12.15 - 13.00 pm, Freiburg University, KG I, Lecture Hall 1015

Podcasts of all Lunch Lectures at the FRIAS Media Library



FRIAS Lunch Lectures Winter term 2018/19: Shifting perspectives - when the margins become the center

In scholarly work, what is the "center", and what is on the "margins"? Who decides? How are such distinctions enforced? How pronounced is this dichotomy, which is deliberately put in inverted commas, in different disciplines? What does the world of science and scholarship miss by neglecting the so-called "margins"? How can the issue of lacking resources for "outsiders" be addressed, especially in the experimental sciences? And what role do geographical imbalances in knowledge production and sharing play, be it between the global north and south, or between west and east?

The task of this new lunch lecture series is to invite leading scholars to (1) reflect on the ways in which, in their respective fields, some approaches, sources, methods, questions, stakeholders and areas of the world are judged to be central / mainstream and others judged to be marginal and (2) to ask what could happen if their respective fields were to engage in a process of strategic "decentering"? How might science and scholarship become more innovative, more global, more equitable, and conceptually richer if their so-called "margins" were no longer dismissed as marginal?

FRIAS Lunch Lectures summer term 2018: Ignorance - what we don't know

This lunch lecture series leads us to the frontiers of research, its greatest challenge and, some may say, its greatest enemy: what it is that we don't know, and that maybe we will never know! Or: that we don't know yet! Or: that we don't even know yet that we don't know! Or: that we don't want, or should not want, to know! Or: that we are not supposed to know! And in the latter case: who then is it who doesn't want us (academics, ultimately society) to know?
From the different perspectives of a highly diverse set of academic disciplines and research cultures, FRIAS Fellows will address these and other questions relevant for shedding light on ignorance. With the introductory lecture by Matthias Groß, co-editor of the “Routledge Handbook of Ignorance Studies”, the lecture series will also build on recent research in the fields of „ignorance studies“ and „agnotology“. The latter tackles the production of ignorance, for example ignorance about the dangers of climate change, smoking, nuclear power, fracking, or sugar in soft drinks.

Ignorance is nothing to be ignored! It has many fascinating dimensions, as we shall see and explore, in science as much as in society.

Some literature recommendations:

  • Groß, Matthias/McGoey, Linsey eds. (2015), Routledge International Handbook of Ignorance Studies. Routledge.
  • the first 80 pages from: Groß, Matthias (2010), Ignorance and Surprise. MIT Press.
  • Proctor, Robert/Schiebinger, Londa eds. (2008), Agnotology. The Making and Unmaking of Ignorance. Stanford University Press.
  • Böschen, Stefan/Wehling, Peter (2010): Scientific Nonknowledge and Its Political Dynamics: The Cases of Agri-Biotechnology and Mobile Phoning. in: Science, Technology, & Human Values 35(6), 783-811.
  • Firestein, Stuart (2012), Ignorance: How it Drives Science. Oxford University Press.



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