LSC to help host Politics and the Life Sciences conference

The Department of Life Sciences Communication, housed in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, is excited to be partnering with the Association for Politics and the Life Sciences to put on its annual conference Oct. 23-24.

10255729_10152365743822140_1435178686891009219_nThe association is a diverse group of scholars, scientists, and policymakers who work in the intersections of politics and the life sciences. For example, many use evolutionary, genetic, and ecological knowledge to further work related to political behavior, public policy, and ethics.

“UW-Madison and LSC bring tremendous energy and expertise to the study of biopolitics, as suggested by the large number of UW–Madison scholars who are participating,” said Gregg Murray, APLS executive director. “And we at APLS are excited about the possibilities for collaboration and further advances in research that this conference brings with such an intellectually rich venue and hosts.”

The conference will take place in Union South on the UW-Madison campus. This year’s conference theme is “New Media, Politicized Science, and the Life Sciences.” There are two public keynotes during the conference that are open to all UW–Madison faculty, staff, and students, as well as the general public. The keynotes will take place in the Northwoods Room in Union South.

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Professor Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania.

Professor Kathleen Hall Jamieson, a UW–Madison alum and the director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania, will give a keynote on Friday, Oct. 23 at 12:30 p.m. Her talk is titled “Sidestepping Rhetorical Quicksand in Debates in the Life Sciences.” She will discuss how words and images chosen to illustrate issues such as “mad cow” disease, Ebola, and genetically modified organisms led to public confusion and suggest criteria for future language choices in science communication.

LSC professor and director of graduate studies Dietram Scheufele will give a keynote on Saturday, Oct. 24 at 3:30 p.m. titled “(New) Public Interfaces in the Life Sciences.”

Dietram Scheufele
Dietram Scheufele, professor and director of graduate studies in the Department of Life Sciences Communication.

“Recent debates surrounding controversial scientific topics have highlighted the fact that many questions raised by recent scientific breakthroughs do not have scientific answers, but instead ethical, political or societal ones,” said Scheufele. “What do we know about how these issues are likely to play out in media and in the political sphere? My talk will be an exploration of this idea.”

According to Professor and LSC Chair Dominique Brossard, the conference’s theme is in line with many areas of research in LSC and several graduate students had papers accepted for presentation at the conference. “We are very excited to combine the resources and expertise of CALS and LSC with the Association for Politics and the Life Sciences, and hope people will enjoy attending the public keynotes to learn about these important issues,” she said.