A curious feature of knowledge societies is that producing more data does not always result in less uncertainty, and the circulation of information may obscure some facts even as it reveals and amplifies others. Scientists, policy-makers, ethicists, laypersons, and advocacy groups alike attempt to manage the flow of facts, techniques, and materials by sequestering, containing, or merely highlighting certain facets. Yet despite their best efforts at controlling the distribution of knowledge, there are also unanticipated leaks, diversions, and revelations. Imperatives for transparency and the ‘right to know’ may also come into direct conflict with intended ‘protections,’ as demonstrated by controversies over the sequestering of knowledge through intellectual property regimes or governmental suppression of data for political purposes. We will use examples and case studies from research on the paradoxes of information flow in the life sciences to introduce and illustrate some of the key approaches in STS. These examples cases will span genetics, synthetic biology, newborn screening, bioinformatics, regenerative medicine and precision medicine. The Summer School is supported by the Holtz Center for Science and Technology Studies and its Disclosing/Enclosing knowledge research cluster.
As if that weren’t enough…
…There will be plenty of opportunities for interaction and participation, as well as enjoying artisanal beer and cheese on UW Madison’s lakefront.
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