For the past several years, as my anti-intellectualism project simmered in the background of other work, I had been convinced that the Robert Proctor-Londa Schiebinger Agnotology volume, published in 2008, was the beginning of something new and different within the study of anti-intellectualism, broadly defined.
Even though the volume’s editors do not refer to Hofstadter’s 1963 tome, Anti-Intellectualism in American Life, my sense was that Agnotology indirectly added to that historiographic tradition. Because of my view of the Proctor-Schiebinger volume, I saw two other works as derivative: Erick Conway and Naomi Oreskes’ Merchants of Doubt (2010), and the edited collection, Miseducation: A History of Ignorance-Making in America and Abroad (edited by A.J. Angulo, 2016). In my recent post, wherein I cover some of the new terminology in the Agnotology volume, I conveyed aspects of Proctor’s seemingly novel framework. Again, I saw all of this as something exciting within the arena of Hofstadter’s work, as an important subset. But it isn’t, really. And even though agnotology is an exciting area of study, it’s also not novel. Continue reading