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Media, Film and Communication Seminar: “Public Understanding of Ignorance as Critical Science Literacy”

A seminar presented by Dr Fabien Medvecky

We are largely ignorant. At least, there are many more things we are ignorant of than knowledgeable of. Yet, the common perception of ignorance as a negative trait has left it rather unloved in debates around making knowledge public, including science communication in its various guises. But ignorance is a complex and essential part of science; it performs a number of legitimate roles, and is performed in a range of legitimate ways within science.

In this paper, I argue that an understanding of when ignorance is a legitimate part of the scientific process and its communication, and when ignorance is misused or abused in science and its communication, is a central aspect of understanding science in terms of traditional public understanding of science, but especially in terms critical science literacy.

Critical science literacy argues that more than simply an understanding of scientific facts and processes, an understanding of the tacit knowledge of science is a key component of what scientific literacy should aim for. I present a typology of ignorance and argue that fostering a greater public understanding of ignorance is a rarely acknowledged, yet essential, aspect of making science public, and is a challenge that those engaged in and committed to better public understanding of science should take very seriously.

Date Tuesday, 10 August 2021
Time 10:00am - 11:00am
Audience Public,Undergraduate students,Postgraduate students,Staff,Alumni
Event Category Humanities
Event Type Seminar
Campus Dunedin
Department Media, Film and Communication
Location Arts Building, BURN4, University of Otago, Dunedin
Cost Free
Contact Name Kevin Fisher
Contact Email

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