AES Panel

The science of being exposed

Meeting of the American Ethnological Society (AES) , Theme: Exposure

Stanford University • Palo Alto, CA March 30–April 1, 2017


Science relies on exposures to construct experimental measures. Without these measures, science as we know it would not be possible. In this sense, exposures make contemporary science possible. Yet, there is significant variation in the ways exposures function within scientific measures, how evidence is produced about exposures, and how exposures solicit responses. To be exposed to an infectious disease, for example, is a medical and epidemiological concern. Exposure to a hazardous material may necessitate environmental remediation. Meanwhile, to be exposed to an experimental and potentially toxic substance is a basic component of early stage clinical research. While regulators have established guidelines about the appropriate use of experimental technologies or otherwise hazardous substances, and continue to craft ethical and statistical protocols to balance the harms and benefits of such exposures, exposure itself remains a key tool and central problem for science.

This panel invites papers that document how exposures function within scientific measures and explore the consequences of conducting experiments through exposures. These papers will engage theoretical debates in anthropology, science studies, and related disciplines. By interrogating issues in diverse fields, including public health, climate science, and clinical research, we expect this panel will continue important conversations about bioethics and experimental design. We also hope the panel will spark new conversations about pressing issues in the regulation of emerging technology, such as gene editing and nanotechnology. Scholars conducting research about these emerging technologies are especially encouraged to submit papers.

To submit a paper proposal to this panel, please fill out the form below.