Beeld bij AA wetenschap en activisme
Beeld bij AA wetenschap en activisme

Science and Activism

Tuesday 8 October 2024, 12:30 pm - 1:15 pm
Academic Affairs for Radboud University staff and students | Radboud Reflects

Venu: to be announced shortly | This programme is for Radboud University staff and students

Where is the line between science and activism? Social and political developments can cause quite a stir at universities, which has happened time and time again over the years. How should the academic community relate to political developments? And how should we deal with different views on activism within science at the university? Come listen to religion scholar Heleen Murre-van den Berg, philosopher Mathijs van de Sande and historian Adriejan van Veen about whether science and activism can go together. 


Scientists conduct research to better understand the world. In doing so, they gather all kinds of knowledge that enables them to interpret the developments around them. But should a scientist also want to change the world? Does their expertise give scientists the responsibility to stand on the barricade? Or does this knowledge actually carry the risk of tunnel vision if deployed politically? 


There are also scientists who believe that their role as an expert requires them to be cautious when it comes to activism. If you commit yourself to one group or one goal, you may lose credibility and reliability in the eyes of other groups. This, in turn, can lead to more polarization and distrust in science. In addition, they argue there should always be room for doubt, where as an activist you tend to position yourself with more certainty. Do science and activism exclude one another, or is the scientist the ideal activist because of their knowledge?

Philosopher Mathijs van de Sande, religion scholar Heleen Murre-van den Berg and historian Adriejan van Veen discuss the relationship between science and activism. Come, bring your sandwiches and ask your own questions!

About the speakers

Mathijs van de Sande is a political philosopher at Radboud University. He researches democratic legitimacy and the role of protest and social movements. To do so, he draws on various philosophical movements and traditions, such as anarchism, feminism, and (post-)Marxism.

Heleen Murre-van den Berg is a religion scholar and dean of the Faculty of Philosophy, Theology and Religious Studies at Radboud University. She conducts research on Christians in and from the Middle East. 

Adriejan van Veen is a political historian at Radboud University. He specializes in the political history of the Netherlands and Western Europe in the modern era (c. 1780-now),  with a special interest in political and social organization formation, political representation and depoliticization.


This programme is for Radboud University staff and students. Admittance is free. Please register. 

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Tuesday 8 October 2024, 12:30 pm - 1:15 pm
Radboud Reflects