The Charles Perkins Centre Annual Lecture 2023 – Law School: Events The Charles Perkins Centre Annual Lecture 2023 – Law School: Events

The Charles Perkins Centre Annual Lecture 2023

The Charles Perkins Centre Annual Lecture 2023
Public health sovereignty and public reason: A comparative perspective

In-person event

You are warmly invited to the Charles Perkins Centre Annual Lecture 2023 presented by visiting scholar Professor Sheila Jasanoff, the Pforzheimer Professor of Science and Technology Studies at the Harvard Kennedy School.

Drawing on varied policy responses to the Covid-19 pandemic, Professor Jasanoff argues that national health policies reflect underlying social compacts regarding the mutual obligations of citizens, experts, and the state. This approach helps make sense of wide divergences in measures taken by states worldwide to combat Covid-19 and ensure recovery.

This talk challenges conventional understandings of modernity as the product of two trajectories that sustain each other and improve human futures: one of advances in science and technology and the other of social progress. Progress is here imagined as always in-the-making, riding on the wings of scientific enlightenment. There is no room for backsliding in this view, only the horizon of greater emancipation.

But what if this idea of modernity is itself an imaginary overlaid on less tidy epistemic and political commitments? What if, instead of perfection through knowledge and reason, modernity is a patchwork of opaque delegations whereby control over minds, bodies, and nature’s workings is handed over to experts with quasi-sovereign power to regulate their respective domains? Empirically exploring these questions provides insights into contemporary debates on populism and loss of trust in science.


Wednesday 2 August, 2023

Time: 5.30-7pm AEST

Location: University of Sydney Camperdown campus: Venue to be confirmed


This event is proudly co-presented by Sydney Law School and the Charles Perkins Centre.



Aug 02 2023


5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

More Info



Camperdown Campus - venue to be confirmed


Professional Learning and Community Engagement

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