As part of the Department of Information and Library Science's David Kaser Endowed Lecture, Dr. Paul N. Edwards will be visiting next week to deliver a lecture on maintaining environmental data systems in the current political climate.
Friday, January 25, 2019 from 1:15-2:45pm
Featuring Dr. Paul N. Edwards, Stanford University
Talk title: Truth under Siege: Making Climate Knowledge in an Age of Transparency, Skepticism, and Science Denial.
Location: Luddy Hall Auditorium (1106), 700 N. Woodlawn Ave., Bloomington, IN 47408. Reception to follow in the 2nd Floor hall (to the back of the stairs).
Bio: Paul N. Edwards is William J. Perry Fellow in International Security at Stanford University and Professor Emeritus of Information and History at the University of Michigan. He writes and teaches about the history, politics, and culture of information infrastructures, especially climate science and meteorology. Edwards is the author of A Vast Machine: Computer Models, Climate Data, and the Politics of Global Warming (MIT Press, 2010) and The Closed World: Computers and the Politics of Discourse in Cold War America (MIT Press, 1996), and co-editor of Changing the Atmosphere: Expert Knowledge and Environmental Governance (MIT Press, 2001), as well as numerous articles. He co-edits the MIT Press Infrastructures book series with Geoffrey C. Bowker.
Abstract: This talk examines the history of environmental data systems in the context of the current US administration’s assault on environmental science. Tracking and understanding environmental change requires scientific memory, aka “long data”: consistent, reliable sampling over long periods. Weather observations can become climate data, for example — but only if carefully curated and adjusted to account for changes in instrumentation and data analysis methods. Environmental knowledge institutions therefore depend on an ongoing truce among scientific and political actors. For at least 25 years, climate denialism and deregulatory movements have sought to destabilize this truce, which nevertheless has held until recently. Since 2017, however, climate change deniers and non-scientist ideologues have been appointed to lead key American knowledge institutions. These leaders, and the White House itself, view certain environmental data systems as targets, which they may yet succeed in crippling or completely dismantling. These developments threaten the continuity of the “long data” vital to tracking climate change and other environmental disruptions, with significant consequences for both domestic and international security.
The David Kaser Endowed Lecture is a speaker series on topics relevant to the field of library and information science. Established by colleagues and students to honor Distinguished Professor Emeritus David Kaser, the series regularly invites a scholar to campus to deliver a lecture and meet with students and faculty.
For more information about the Kaser Lecture, go to go.iu.edu/1Sqi