Samstag, 6.7.2024, 15:00h

Lorraine Daston

Diversity and Universalism

It is startling to realize how quickly and thoroughly the value of diversity, until a few decades ago a value largely confined to the aesthetic and organic realms, has acquired deep political and moral significance. Universities, corporations, and governments are now judged by the degree to which they achieve diversity among their leaders and recognize diversity among their publics. Older values of the liberal polity, for example that of honoring merit without regard to creed, race, sex, or ethnicity, have been increasingly eclipsed by values that closely attend to these and other differentiating traits (which traits matter is contentious). Universalism has become an object of suspicion, either as the interests of a particular privileged group masquerading as the interests of humanity, or as simply a failure to appreciate the riches of diversity. How did this sea change in value come about, and come about so swiftly? And what kind of value is diversity?

Lorraine Daston
is Director emerita of the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin, permanent fellow of the Wissenschaftskolleg in Berlin, and visit-ing professor at the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago. Her work focuses on the history of rationality, including writing on the history of wonder, objectivity, observation, the moral authority of nature, probability of theory, Cold War rationality, and scientific modernity. Her work has been recog-nized by the Pfizer Prize of the History of Science Society, the Dan David Prize in the history of science, the Gerda Henkel Foundation Prize in the Humanities, and the Heineken Prize in History. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a member of the American Philosophical Society and the German Na-tional Academy of Sciences, and a corresponding member of the British Academy. Her most recent books are Rules: A Short History of What We Live By (2022) and Rivals: How Scientists Learned to Co-operate (2023).

Veranstaltung in englischer Sprache