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The Future of the Past organizers are very pleased to welcome the following keynote speakers for this event.

Alisa Bokulich (Boston University)

Alisa Bokulich is a Professor in the Philosophy Department at Boston University.  She received her Ph.D. in the History & Philosophy of Science from the University of Notre Dame.  Since 2010 she has been the Director of the Center for Philosophy & History of Science at Boston University, where she also organizes the Boston Colloquium for Philosophy of Science.  She is also an Associate Member of the History of Science Department at Harvard University.  She runs a research group at BU called Φ-Geo, which is dedicated to exploring topics in the philosophy of the geosciences, broadly understood.  Her first authored book is Reexamining the Quantum-Classical Relation (CUP 2008).  She is currently a Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study where she is working (at a seemingly geological pace) on a new book on the philosophy of the geosciences.


Derek Turner (Connecticut College)

Derek Turner is a Professor of Philosophy at Connecticut College. Turner’s research focuses on philosophical issues in historical science, especially paleontology and the earth sciences. He is interested in understanding how scientists come to know things about the deep past. Some of his recent work explores the big ideas of macroevolutionary theory: historical contingency, evolutionary stasis, species selection, and the study of large-scale evolutionary trends. He is the author of Making Prehistory: Historical Science and the Scientific Realism Debate (2007) and Paleontology: A Philosophical Introduction (2011).


Peter Vickers (Durham University)

Peter Vickers is Professor of Philosophy and Co-Director of the Centre for Humanities Engaging Science and Society (CHESS) at the University of Durham, UK. His research interests include philosophy of astrobiology, social epistemology, and the relationships between evidence, facts, and truth. Vickers’s first book, Understanding Inconsistent Science, was published by Oxford University Press in 2013. His new book, Identifying Future-Proof Science will be published with Oxford on 30th November 2022.


Alison Wylie (University of British Columbia)

Alison Wylie holds a Canada Research Chair in Philosophy of the Social and Historical Sciences at the University of British Columbia where she is a Professor of Philosophy. She has a long-standing interest in philosophical questions raised by archaeology and feminist social science: How do we know what (we think) we know about the past? In what sense are knowers and knowledge claims ‘objective’, given the ineliminable role of values and interests in all aspects of inquiry? And, how can research be held accountable, in its aims and practice, to the diverse communities it affects?

Recent publications in philosophy of archaeology are “Radiocarbon Dating in Archaeology: Triangulation and Traceability” (Data Journeys in the Sciences 2020); Material Evidence (2015) and Evidential Reasoning in Archaeology (2016), with Bob Chapman; and her work on collaborative practice include “A Plurality of Pluralisms: Collaborative Practice in Archaeology” (in Objectivity in Science 2015), “Collaborative Archaeology in Global Dialogue” (Archaeologies 2019), and “Bearing Witness: What can Archaeology Contribute in an Indian Residential School Context” with Eric Simons and Andrew Martindale (Working With and For the Ancestors 2021).


Caitlin Wylie (University of Virginia)

I’ve researched how science and society interact at the universities of Chicago and Cambridge, the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (Berlin), the New Jersey Institute of Technology, and now at UVA. I focus on the unwritten work and workers in research communities, such as technicians whose names and work are missing from publications and students whose contributions to laboratory work are often overlooked. This topic includes who works in laboratories and what they do, how people learn to conduct research, and how workers define skill, expertise, and social status. I use qualitative social research methods, including interviews and participant observation.

Since 2010 I’ve taught undergraduates majoring in science and engineering about the social and ethical importance of research, design, and technology. In my courses, students gain new insights into their majors and future careers. They become more well-rounded and socially-aware scientists and engineers, with enormous potential to improve society by applying their expertise to social problems.