Tuesday, April 23, 2013

SSiMS talk on Evolution in Middle Eastern Education Policy tomorrow at Noon

by Salman Hameed

The Center for the Study of Science in Muslim Societies (SSiMS) and the School of Cognitive Science at Hampshire College are hosting a lunch talk tomorrow (Wednesday) by Elise K. Burton. Join us if you are in the area. Here are the details of the talk:

Evolution in Middle Eastern Education Policy: The View from Iran, Israel, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia
by Elise K. Burton, PhD candidate at Harvard University

Abstract: To date, much research on the reception and teaching of evolutionary theory in Muslim societies has assumed that religious attitudes take precedence in determining whether and how evolution is publicly accepted, rejected, or taught in schools. A corollary of these assumptions has been that countries governed on Islamic theocracy models would be more averse than "secular democracies" to including evolution within their national curricula. But are Islam and secularism always the right categories of analysis? A comparative study of science education policy in Middle Eastern states found that neither Islam as a state religion, nor the level of state religiosity, was sufficient to predicting the treatment of evolution within national science curricula. These results call for a nuanced understanding of the position of science in Muslim-majority states today, and understanding that incorporates historical, political and sociological contexts alongside theology, belief, and culture.

Biographical statement: Elise K. Burton is a PhD candidate in Middle Eastern Studies & History at Harvard University. Her dissertation research examines the history of human biology research and its relationship to ethnic nationalist politics in 20th century Iran, Turkey, and Israel.

In the Adele Simmons Hall (ASH) Lobby at Hampshire College.      
A light lunch will be available at noon.


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