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Relations between the science teaching projects innovation and the scientific and educational policies in 1950s USA

Grant number: 22/02236-0
Support Opportunities:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Doctorate (Direct)
Effective date (Start): September 01, 2022
Effective date (End): August 31, 2023
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Education
Principal Investigator:Cristiano Rodrigues de Mattos
Grantee:Felipe Sanches Lopez
Supervisor: Annalisa Sannino
Host Institution: Instituto de Física (IF). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Research place: Tampere University, Finland  
Associated to the scholarship:19/27054-0 - Relations between the science teaching projects innovation and the scientific and educational policies in 1950s USA, BP.DD


At the end of World War II, the United States had domain over state-of-the-art military technology and its potential was made clear to the world. The country needed to invest in both science and technology research, and in the training of new scientists so that its technological development would not be stuck in the 1940s. The first occurred without grave issues given the creation of the National Science Foundation, but the latter failed. The country only resumed worrying about the training of new scientists over ten years later, when the situation in the Soviet workforce was brought to light and the population realized the country was falling behind both in quality and quantity. The attempts were many from that moment on, from the building of new schools to courses for acting science teachers, and even reform on science curriculum. In this latter situation, a committee stood out, the Physical Science Studies Committee (PSSC) had the participation of physicists, educators, psychologists, and filmmakers to assemble a teaching project that would instigate student's curiosity and encourage them to pursue a scientific career. However, a question still needs to be answered: if the country knew already in 1945 that they needed to promote the training of new scientists, why did they take over ten years to act? To accomplish this investigation, we will make use of Cultural-Historical Activity Theory and the concept of Transformative Agency by Double Stimulation (TADS), as we understand that a conflict of motives might have happened and stopped the science curricular changes from happening beforehand. In utilizing this concept for public policies, other questions need to be addressed, such as the discussion on institutional consciousness and the development of the concept's application to broader activities. For that, we count on the supervision of professors Annalisa Sannino and Yrjö Engeström, that have a substantial experience with Activity Theory being, respectively, a specialist in the application of TADS and one of the main references on CHAT. As a base for our studies, we will make use of sources available on the internet about economic, cultural, and social aspects of the period. Beyond that, as we are dealing with a State related problem, it will also be necessary to consider existing power relations. For which we will use Gramsci as an auxiliar reference, especially his concepts on subordinate classes, hegemony, and intellectuals. (AU)

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