Thesis ID: CBB377150568

Reliable Witnesses, Crackpot Science: UFO Investigations in Cold War America, 1947-1977 (2019)

unapi

Dorsch, Kate (Author)
Lindee, Mary Susan (Advisor)


University of Pennsylvania
Lindee, Mary Susan
Publication date: 2019
Language: English


Publication Date: 2019
Physical Details: 243 pp.

This dissertation explores efforts to design and execute scientific studies of unidentified flying objects (UFOs) in the United States in the midst of the Cold War as a means of examining knowledge creation and the construction of scientific authority and credibility around controversial subjects. I begin by placing officially-sanctioned, federally-funded UFO studies in their appropriate context as a Cold War national security project, specifically a project of surveillance and observation, built on traditional arrangements within the military-industrial-academic complex. I then show how non-traditional elements of the investigations–the reliance on non-expert witnesses to report transient phenomena–created space for dissent, both within the scientific establishment and among the broader American public. By placing this dissent within the larger social and political instability of the mid-20th century, this dissertation highlights the deep ties between scientific knowledge production and the social value and valence of professional expertise, as well as the power of experiential expertise in challenging formal, hegemonic institutions.

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Authors & Contributors
Hecht, David K.
Bayer, Ronald
Billings, Linda
Cunningham-Burley, Sarah
González, Roberto J.
Greene, Benjamin Patrick
Journals
Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences
Social Studies of Science
Agricultural History
Gender and History
Scientia Canadensis: Journal of the History of Canadian Science, Technology, and Medicine
Publishers
Indiana University
Columbia University
Cornell University Press
Johns Hopkins University Press
LIT Verlag
Polity Press
Concepts
Authority of science
Authorities; experts
National security
Science and politics
Cold War
Military technology
People
Carson, Rachel Louise
Mack, John Edward
Boyd, John Richard
Time Periods
20th century, late
21st century
20th century
19th century
Modern
Places
United States
Brazil
Canada
Institutions
Harvard University
United States Air Force (USAF)
United States. President's Science Advisory Committee
United States. Department of Defense
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