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Ethics, Settler Colonialism, and Indigeneity in the History of the Human Sciences

WHEN: Sunday, Nov. 4, 2018, 8:30 a.m. – 7 p.m.

CAMPUS LOCATION: Communications Building (CMU) 202

EVENT SPONSORS: Organized by Julia Rodríguez (University of New Hampshire) and Adam Warren (University of Washington).

Co-sponsored by History, Comparative History of Ideas, Latin American & Caribbean Studies, the Simpson Center for the Humanities, and by Clarkson University.


This workshop explores long-running historical questions of whether, and how, scholars should judge the historical actors they study, whose behaviors often fell short of what we consider ethical by today’s standards. We draw on the recent work of historian Jan Goldstein, who has called for an “empirical history of moral thinking.”

8:30 am - Breakfast

9:30 - Welcome and Introductions: Adam Warren (UW) and Julia Rodríguez (New Hampshire)

10 am - Contentious Encounters
Karin Rosemblatt (Maryland, College Park), “Between Cuauhtémoc and Cortés: Eulalia Guzmán, Masculinity and Politics in Cold War Mexico”
Micah Oelze (Florida International), “The Dangers of a Novel Science: Ethnography as Fictional Adventure in 1930s Brazil and its Ethical Implications”
Chair: Sebastián Gil-Riaño (Pennsylvania)
Discussants: José Antonio Lucero (UW), Josh Reid (UW), and Laura Stark (Vanderbilt)

11:45 am - Lunch

12:45 pm - Refashioning the Other
Maile Arvin (Utah), “The Science of Settling Wayward Girls in Territorial Hawai’I”
Sarah Walsh (Washington State), “The Problem of Brazilian Anthropology: Gilberto Freyre and the Legacy of Racial Hierarchy”
Chair: Stephen Casper (Clarkson)
Discussants: Sara González (UW), Dian Million (UW), and Hans Pols (Sydney)

2:30 pm - Coffee

2:45 pm - States, Science, and Sovereignty
Eve Buckley (Delaware), “Overpopulation or Overconsumption? A Brazilian Scientist’s Critique of Early Cold War Overpopulation Discourse”
Rosanna Dent (New Jersey Institute of Technology), “Bureaucratic Vulnerability: Indigenous Sovereignty, State Interests, and Research Regulation in Brazil”
Chair: Ileana Rodríguez-Silva (UW)
Discussants: María Elena García (UW), Ben Silverstein (Australian National), and Jonathan Warren (UW)

4:40 pm - Synthesis and Counterpoints
Warwick Anderson (Sydney), Jean Dennison (UW), and Gabriela Soto-Laveaga (Harvard)

5:30 - Reception

Earlier Event: November 3
Taiwan Philharmonic
Later Event: November 6
Study Abroad Week