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Science Popularization as Cultural Diplomacy: UNESCO (1946-1958)

International workshop

Programme603.22 KB
Chercheur(s) associé(s) Andrée Bergeron
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The international workshop Science Popularization as Cultural Diplomacy: UNESCO (1946-1958) will take place online on 13-14 December 2021.

From its creation after World War II, UNESCO became a political battleground in which different visions of science and world order fought for hegemony. As it is well known, Julian Huxley (1887-1975) and Joseph Needham (1900-1995) were the first General Director and the first Director of the Natural Sciences Division. Their administration stressed the "social implications of science" -through the influence of Bernalist Marxism- and the "periphery principle" in international relations. They also included science popularization in its priorities. However, UNESCO's popularization program would only start once the Cold War increased in intensity, and Huxley and Needham's policies were substituted by the leadership of the physicist Pierre Auger (1899-1993) as new head of the Natural Sciences Division.

The goal of the workshop is to explore the history of international science popularization policies and practices at UNESCO as tools for governance and cultural diplomacy, from the Huxley-Needham administration to the end of Auger's leadership in 1958. Who were the main actors behind the global science popularization program at UNESCO? What were their political agendas? What were their specific approaches to science, internationalism, diplomacy and popularization? How were UNESCO's popularization policies actually implemented around the world in different national and local contexts? What was the role of science popularization in the global reconfiguration of international relations?

 Schedule and the detailed program in the attached document.


Practical informations

- Workshop open to anyone who wishes to participate

- Link to the sessions provided upon request (please write to: jaume.sastre@uab.cat and agusti.nieto@uab.cat)



Institut d’Història de la Ciència (iHC) of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona & Centre Alexandre-Koyré

- Jaume Sastre-Juan (iHC)    

- Andrée Bergeron (CAK)   

- Agustí Nieto-Galan (iHC)