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Science and Democracy in India: Tracing Genealogies

Thu, August 30, 9:00am to 5:30pm, ICC, Level 5 concourse


Science, Technology and Society Studies (STS) in India, since its inception in the 1970s, had the political project of democratization of science as its core, and the proposed exhibit intends to trace its history. The proposed exhibit will explore the multiple genealogies of the democracy question in Indian STS. The development of People’s Science Movements and a wide range of ecological and anti-development social movements all over the country since the 1960s has been a major site of unfolding of the democratic concern. There is also a long history of public controversies over S&T evolved around the question of technological risks and disruption of people’s livelihoods, and erosion of people’s rights over the commons. Emergence of mass media generated scientific public spheres (including Social Media) which deliberated science and democracy related issues is another important site to be explored. The history of disasters and the resultant formation of a public culture of skepticism on S&T propelled developmentalism will also be traced. The exhibit will also take note of the civil society and governmental initiatives in making the debate on democratization of science lively. There is also a long but largely under-explored history of the production of popular cultural texts which present the science and democracy question such as science fiction literature and cinema. The proposed exhibit will situate the gradual emergence of Indian STS against the backdrop of these diverse genealogies that placed science and democracy as its core concern.