Who counts as an expert? This course will examine expertise as a cultural category through an exploration of the processes by which certain individuals and groups are accorded intellectual authority, while the knowledge claims of others are simultaneously delegitimized. What forms of training and socialization make it possible for a person to speak, act, write, and think as an expert? By considering the historical and cultural contexts of various forms of expertise, students will be encouraged to analyze intersections between authoritative knowledge and modern political power. Course readings in science and technology studies and anthropology will help students to develop theoretical frameworks and methodological skills appropriate to the challenges of “studying up,” or conducting ethnographic research with elite and powerful actors. Throughout the course, students will be given opportunities to reflect analytically on their own experiences with increasingly specialized education as they develop their “professional vision” in their chosen fields.
Professor Alison Cool
See the University Catalog for specifics, recommendations, and prerequisites.