Taking different worlds seriously

Our special guest this week will be Andy Pickering, with whom we will continue our ongoing conversation about the analytical and political implications of holding different worlds together. We’ll meet at 6pm on the 4th July, in the soc. kitchen area (PEG 3G 204) to discuss one of Andy’s recent papers on the ontological turn. (Do let Endre know if you can’t access the PDF.)

See many of you soon!

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Generative Collectives

Related to our previous conversation on the composition of collectives, the special guests of the next kitchen meeting will be Sonja Jerak-Zuiderent and Teun Zuiderent-Jerak, who will tell us about their recent fieldwork on trans care in Argentina. The session will take place between 18.00 and 20.00 on the 29th June, in the soc. kitchen area (PEG 3G 204). Please send Endre an email for the PDF.

See many of you soon!

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Composing a common world

Last time we talked quite a bit about the possible roles of STS in post-truth politics. In light of current political developments (e.g. the US leaving the Paris Accord) it’s difficult to see things in a productive way, but current discussions about science and politics might open up new possibilities for STS to make itself politically relevant. Bruno Latour’s ‘compositionist manifesto outlines one such possibility…

We’ll meet to discuss Latour’s manifesto (and a more recent writing of his in Harper’s Magazine) on the 8th June, at 18.00, in the soc. kitchen area. See you soon!

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Post-truth politics and STS

Our next kitchen STS meeting will be held at 18.00 on the 11th May in the soc. kitchen area (PEG 3G 204). The topic for this week’s discussion is post-truth politics and the ways in which STS is implicated in this story. Please have a look at Sergio Sismondo’s editorial to the previous issue of SSS and the latest issue of the EASST review, particularly Steve Fuller’s contribution.

Looking forward to seeing many of you on Thursday!

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Teaching STS

The first meeting of the summer term will take place on the 20th April, between 18.00 and 20.00 in the soc. kitchen area (PEG 3G 204). As many of you know already, the cultural anthropology department, the human geography department, and the sociology department are working together to launch a new STS masters programme – the accreditation process is well under way. This raises a new intellectual and practical question for us: how to teach STS? This is what we’ll be discussing on Thursday, and quite possibly in the next couple of sessions.

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Does STS mean business?

In his opening lecture at last month’s ‘Values of Critique’ symposium, which almost exactly coincided with Donald Trump’s inauguration, Bruno Latour suggested that the mandate of STS has radically changed. ‘Forty years ago the main enemy was positivism; today no one believes in science any more.’ We’re in the era of ruins, all the iconic institutions of modernity have been deconstructed. In this new setting, what is STS going to be about?

In our next meeting we’ll discuss this rather heavy question with the help of Steve Woolgar and his colleagues’ paper titled ‘Does STS mean business?‘. The meeting will be held on the 9th February, starting at 6pm in the soc. kitchen area (PEG 3G 204). Steve has kindly agreed to respond to our questions and comments, if any.

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Values of Critique

We’ll start the New Year with a fascinating symposium on the Values of Critique, organised by the Normative Orders excellence cluster. The event will take place on the 19th and 20th January in the Städelschule, and include talks by Luc Boltanski, Rahel Jaeggi, Bruno Latour, among  others. No registration is necessary, but make sure you arrive early, since the hall is likely to be packed.

 

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Upon opening the black box…

Our next kitchen session will address a methodological problem that was articulated during our discussion with Louise Amoore, namely the problem of black boxes. Louise has argued that in the era of algorithms opening black boxes – the default methodological strategy in STS – will no longer do: many research objects in the field are not boxes, they are not black, and opening them is not necessarily the best way of engaging with them. So, what do we do?

The problem seems new, but versions of it have already been addressed in STS. In our next session, we’ll discuss a classic text: ‘Upon opening the black box and finding it empty‘ by Langdon Winner. The session will take place at the usual place (PEG 3G 204) at the usual time (18.00-20.00) on the 8th December.

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Distributive Numbers

Many of us are still recovering from the recent US presidential election campaign. Arguably, the election results mark not only the crisis of American politics, but an entire epistemo-political paradigm that includes politicians, journalists, and opinion polling companies alike. It is in this context that we’ll discuss Adrian Mackenzie‘s chapter in Modes of Knowing: Resources from the Baroque titled ‘Distributive Numbers: A Post-demographic Perspective on Probability’. The meeting will take place on the 24th November, at the usual time and place (18.00, PEG 3G 204). Looking forward to seeing many of you there.

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Baroque and digital dis/orders

On the 4th November we’ll continue our collective exploration of baroque modes of knowing by going on a field trip to Mannheim, to theNur schöner schein? exhibition.

Between the 17th and the 19th November we’ll then perform a digital switch and attend the Digital <dis>Orders conference at the Normative Orders cluster. Before the conference starts, we’ll have a kitchen meeting with Louise Amoore – we’ll be discussing her recent paper on Cloud Geographies. (The meeting will take place in Sturm & Drang at 11am – please let Till know in advance if you’re coming.) 

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