Expertise in medicine and the human sciences during the 20th century in Europe and beyond
Prague 16-18 May 2024
Expertise shapes modern societies, and the issues of health and normalcy form their core. That is why analyzing the disciplines of medicine and the human sciences – such as psychology, sociology, demography, and pedagogy – is helpful in understanding how modern societies function and change. There has been increasing interest in socialist expertise in recent years, and our research project, ExpertTurn, is part of that growing scholarly community. We focus on the human science expertise in East-Central Europe from comparative and transnational perspectives. We want to broaden our scope spatially and temporally during our conference. Thus, we call for papers analyzing human science expertise that circulated in Europe, whether it originated there or elsewhere, during the short 20th century (approximately from the interwar period to post-socialism, the 1920s-1990s). We encourage papers seeking connections across the borders of disciplines, countries, and time periods.
We are interested in papers focusing on:
• Expert-to-expert exchanges. How did various forms of expertise communicate with each other? How did experts form alliances or create new (sub)disciplines? How did the topics they studied change in the process? How did experts communicate across the borders of nations and disciplines?
• Expert-to-state exchanges. How did experts communicate with the state? How did expertise forge new policies? How did the position of experts vis-a-vis the state change over time? How did expertise travel between national and supranational levels? How were scientific and policy bodies, such as the United Nations and international professional organizations, involved in creating new expertise? How else did knowledge circulate?
• Expert-to-people exchanges. How did expertise inform the everyday practices of people? How did forms of communication evolve? How did people pass their ideas on to experts? Under what circumstances could “lay” people become experts? What roles did non-governmental, grassroots, and unofficial spheres play in creating or changing expertise?
• Knowledge from the margins: of disciplines, of a given country, of Europe and beyond
• Gender, class, and race in expertise