You are invited to submit paper proposals for the session “Ad hominem arguments, personal attacks and group-focused enmities – infringements against scientists and their work” at the 17th Annual STS Conference Graz 2018 which will be held from 7th to 8th May 2018 in Graz, Austria.
To put one’s own scientific work up for critical discussion is an essential part of scientific knowledge production. Academic publications aim for attention by peers in the discipline, but also beyond academia by an interested public or by policy and decision makers. They generate discussions and debates. In some instances however, these debates and discussions derail into hostility and incorporate insulting and destructive statements, ad hominem arguments and group-focused enmities (sexism, racism, etc.).
A wide variety of reports on this kind of destructive experiences can be found in academic literature and (more regularly) in small-talk on the fringes of academic events. There have been reports of sexist practices in peer review processes, both on the structural and the individual level. Historical but also recent feuds on a personal level have been documented within the field of genetics. Other studies offer examples of public attacks on the credibility of individual scientists in order to discredit unwanted (critical) research on politically disputed topics. There have been reports on measures taken against individual scientists when their research clashed with corporate interests. And certain research topics like gender relations, sexuality or racism are regularly accompanied by hateful comments when publicly debated e.g. in newspapers or on blogs and social media. Often, not only individual researchers are attacked but whole research traditions and research fields are deemed worthless. Further issues include politically or religiously motivated negations of scientific debates (e.g. with regard to climate research or evolution).
The deadline for submissions is January 19, 2018.
For more information, check the full list of sessions of the track “General STS Topics”.