2012 Hixon Forum for Responsive Science and Engineering

Harvey Mudd College 2012 Hixon Forum: Engineers, Exact Scientists (Technocrats) and Political Processes: Global Perspectives

The 2012 Hixon-Riggs Forum for Responsive Science and Engineering was held on the campus of Harvey Mudd College, March 2–3, 2012. It was free and open to the public.

During the 1970s, social theorists led by Daniel Bell argued that because most future public issues would involve increasing technical content, engineers and other technical experts (technocrats) would play an increasing role in public decision making, for better or for worse. Subsequent events have led to a reduction of public influence by technocrats in the advanced industrialized West; but in the dynamic developing societies of China, Brazil and India, technocratic influences have greatly increased. The conference was an exploration of this global phenomena.

Events began Friday, March 2 at 1:30 p.m. with a talk by Richard Olson ’62, the 2012 Hixon-Riggs Professor of Science, Technology and Society, who discussed “Taylorism and the Global Rise of Technocratic Ideologies.” Talks from additional distinguished scholars continued until 5 p.m.

Saturday, March 3, the conference began at 9 a.m. and experts shared global perspectives until 5:30 p.m.

2012 Forum Schedule

Session 1

Friday, March 2
1:30–5 p.m.
Beckman Auditorium

Historical Technocratic Trends in the 20th Century
Chair and Commentator, Richard Worthington (Pomona College)

Richard Olson (HMC)
“Taylorism and the Global Rise of Technocratic Ideologies”

Elena Aronova (UC San Diego)
[read by Judy Augsburger, HMC]
“How ‘Big Science’ Changed the Perception of the Role of Science in Society: Discussions on the Phenomenon of Big Science in the USA and USSR in the 1960s and 1970s”

Coffee break

Mark Hagerott (U.S. Naval Academy)
“Rickover, Reactors and the Rise of a Technocratic Elite in the U.S. Navy, 1955-1975″

Jason Delborne (Colorado School of Mines)
“Navigating Controversy, Seeking Objectivity:
Goals and Practices of Public Think Tanks to Provide Expertise to Policymakers ”

Session 2

Saturday, March 3
9–11:30 a.m.

Green Room, Platt Campus Center
(Coffee and Danish available at 8:30 a.m.)

Containing Technocratic Trends in the Industrialized West
Chair and Commentator, Paul Steinberg (HMC)

Darin Barney (McGill University)
“Attempting the Impossible: Politics, Engineering and the Conceit of Technology”

Matthew Wisnioski (Virginia Tech)
“Technics Out of Control as a Theme in Engineering Thought”

Mark Brown (CSU Sacramento)
“Populism and Cosmopolitanism in the Politics
of Climate Science”

Lunch break

Session 3

1–-3 p.m.

Current Attempts to Reform Technocrats
Chair and Commentator, David Drew (Claremont Graduate University)

Juan Lucena (Colorado School of Mines)
“Technocrats of Development or Ideologues of Science? Engineer’s Troubling Relationship with Sustainable Development and Social  Justice”

Marianne de Laet (HMC)
“Teaching Anthropology to Engineers:
How and Why?”

Amy Slaton (Drexel University)
“Meritocracy, Technocracy, Democracy: Understandings of Racial and Gender Equity in American Engineering Education”

Coffee break

Session 4

3:30–5:30 p.m.

Technocratic Trends in 20th Century China
Chair and Commentator, Rudi Volti (Pitzer College)

Richard Suttmeier (University of Oregon)
“Scientists and Engineers in Chinese Politics and Policy Processes”

Zuyoue Wang (CSU Pomona)

“Chinese-American Exact Scientists as Advisors to the Chinese Government”

Sponsored by the Hixon Forum for Responsive Science and Engineering of Harvey Mudd College, and The Claremont Colleges Science, Technology, and Society Program.