Nayanika Ghosh

Nayanika Ghosh

Graduate Tutor
Ph.D candidate, History of Science

Dissertation Topic: 
My dissertation examines the emergence of a political critique of science in the context of the US sociobiology debates of the 1970s and 1980s. The sociobiology debates were prompted by the publication of EO Wilson’s Sociobiology—that popularized gendered evolutionary theories of male dominance, xenophobia, hierarchy, and violence—in 1975. When critics in the life sciences mobilized their resources to oppose what they argued was a return to pre-war genetic determinism, what ensued was a larger conflict over science, politics, and justice. In documenting the opposition, I posit that a political critique of science emerged from the efforts of scholars and non-university actors embedded in feminist, antiwar, labor, and antiracist activism, who organized against sociobiology in the 1970s. I end my story in the late 1980s, when, from this critique, emerged reformulations of scientific objectivity and value neutrality. My work intervenes in historiographies of Cold War science, postwar biological determinism, science critique, and the nature-nurture debate. My research has been supported by the American Philosophical Society and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory's Center for Humanities and History of Modern Biology.

Research Methods:
Archival research, oral history, ethnography

Hindi, Bengali

Areas of Interest:
Cold War History, the American Family, 1970s US activism, history of biology and postwar social science, feminist philosophy of biology 

Additional Information:
Completed a Master's degree in Anthropology and a Bachelor's degree in Anthropology and Psychology, with a minor in Sociology.

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