Monday, September 19, 2011

Between Science and Citizens: Assessing Expertise in Policy Controversies

Between Scientists & Citizens:
Assessing Expertise in Policy Controversies
June 1-2, 2012
Iowa State University, Ames, IA

Keynote speakers

   Sally Jackson
   Department of Communication
   University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana

   Massimo Pigliucci
   Department of Philosophy
   Lehman College, CUNY

We are increasingly dependent on advice from experts in making
decisions in our personal, professional, and civic lives. But as our
dependence on experts has grown, new media have broken down the
institutional barriers between the technical, personal and civic
realms, and we are inundated with purported science from all sides.
Many share a sense that science has lost its "rightful place" in our
deliberations. Grappling with this cluster of problems will require
collaboration across disciplines: among rhetorical and communication
theorists studying the practices and norms of public discourse,
philosophers interested in the informal logic of everyday reasoning
and in the theory of deliberative democracy, and science studies
scholars examining the intersections between the social worlds of
scientists and citizens.

For this conference, we invite work from across the disciplines
focused on argumentation, reasoning, rhetoric, communication and
deliberation, with special emphasis on:

* lay assessment of expertise and expert testimony
* detection of and response to distorted science and "manufactured
* pedagogies for developing critical thinking about science in
* roles scientists and scientific information play in civic
deliberations and policy-making
* transformation of arguments as they travel between technical,
personal and civic spheres
* expert testimony as a source of knowledge
* roles of traditional journalism, new media, "boundary organizations"
and "trading zones" in constructing public knowledge of science
* design of institutions for providing trustworthy advice on
controversial issues
* special problems of communicating scientific information in health,
organizational, legal, crisis, risk and other contexts

We expect to publish proceedings in an electronic format.

For consideration, submit a 250 word abstract with an additional 5-10
item bibliography, and a separate cover page with complete contact
information, to by October 31, 2011.  For further
information, consult the conference website at,
or contact Jean Goodwin (

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