Truth or Dare? Science, Facts, and the Role of a Public Land Grant University in the 21st Century

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Date(s) - February 11, 2019
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

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CSU’s Office of Engagement and Department of Sociology proudly welcome to campus Dr. Doug Jackson-Smith, Professor and Assistant Director, School of Environment and Natural Resources, The Ohio State University.

Growing public skepticism about the value of science and expert knowledge has been a defining characteristic of the early 21st century. Political discourse and populist movements have increasingly questioned the objectivity of scientists and criticized the perceived liberal bias of academic elites. As the distinction between ‘facts’ and ‘values’ has become increasingly blurred, the evidence-base that informs policy is increasingly contested. In response, many researchers have rallied in defense of science, reasserting the idea that scientific knowledge is the only objective source of truth. However, in the rush to protect science from external critics, scholars often ignore the very real ways in which scientific research is always shaped and constrained by society. In this talk, Dr. Jackson-Smith will argue that scientific research done in public land grant universities will be critical to our society’s ability to address pressing problems in the 21st century. However, to transcend the current social and political impasse over the use of science, a new understanding of what science is (and is not) will be essential.

Dr. Jackson-Smith works on interdisciplinary teams to highlight human dimensions of complex social, economic, and environmental  problems. Throughout his career, his work has explored the drivers and consequences of technological and economic change in rural landscapes and the agrifood system, with particular attention to the coupled human-natural system dynamics of urban and rural water systems. He is an unapologetic defender of the use of rigorous empirical research to shed light on the causes, consequences, and solutions to important social and environmental problems. He received a BS in Rural Sociology from Cornell University, an MA in Agricultural Economics, and an MS and PhD in Sociology, all from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Our annual Sociology-in-Progress (SIP) Colloquia are free and do not require registration. Questions? (970) 491-6044

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