course

Experts are a dominant force in our societies. In the last century, they even carved a place for themselves in transnational politics, a realm traditionally left to the power struggles of nation-states and empires. In this course, we will take experts, their epistemic cultures and their influence on both transnational policies and domestic societies as our focus. We will ask the following questions: How do experts construct facts? How do they distinguish themselves from non-experts? How do experts participate in democratic decision-making? How do they influence transnational policies? We will learn about different cultures of expertise in colonial times, the Cold War and the 'new globalization' era; topics will range from the role of experts in the management of colonial subjects, international security dilemas, the creation and regulation of financial markets, health policies, etc. Rather than privileging one perspective on cultures of expertise, the course will draw on theoretical works from sociology, history, anthropology, and science and technology studies. Students will be encouraged to develop an original approach to the topic and to illustrate their approach by researching a case of interest to them.