Science, Technology, and Society Seminar: STS Circle at Harvard (In Person)


Monday, November 28, 2022, 12:15pm to 2:00pm


CGIS South, 1730 Cambridge Street, Thomas Chan-Soo Kang Room (S050)

"Cooperative Extension, climate science, and the quest for the public good?"


Karl Dudman, PhD candidate, Institute for Science, Innovation and Society, University of Oxford.


Sam Evans

Cosponsored by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

Speaker Bio:

Karl Dudman is a PhD candidate at the University of Oxford’s Institute for Science, Innovation and Society. With a background in anthropology, global climate change politics, and science communication, Karl’s research explores the co-production of public climate ‘silence’ in the US. His recently completed fieldwork, hosted by the North Carolina State Climate Office, examined how actors within climate science, coastal management, and local politics navigate accelerating sea level rise in the context of widespread ambivalence towards the mainstream climate change narrative. Karl's research is supported by scholarships from US-UK Fulbright Commission and the Wenner Gren Foundation.


The Cooperative Extension System (CES) was founded in 1914 as a federal initiative to channel cutting-edge science into agriculture and industry, and radically modernize rural America. Despite its relative obscurity today, CES's national model of science as public service has, over time, grown far beyond agriculture and become increasingly centered on public needs and values. Nevertheless, the arrival of a climate crisis confronts CES with new challenges regarding how much of the controversy-tainted science of climate change to bring to its conservative rural audiences, and where its responsibilities lie. When scientific integrity, fiduciary duty, and public trust come into conflict, which should take precedence? What science do citizens need to know and whose definition of the public interest counts? Tracing diverse responses to these epistemic knots within CES, this talk discusses the conflicts that have come with democratizing agricultural science, and the ways in which climate change has both inflamed and illuminated them.

Lunch is provided if you RSVP via our online form by close of business on Thursday, November 24: