2018-19 Colloquium Series

The Science Studies Colloquium Series takes place every Monday of the quarter from 4:00p-5:30p in Room 3027, Humanities & Social Sciences Building, Muir College campus, unless noted otherwise.

A reception for the colloquium speaker takes place before the talk from 3:30p-4:00p in Room 3005, Humanities & Social Sciences Building.

Fall Quarter 2018

October 1, 2018

Science Studies Program Meeting

SSP faculty and students only

October 8, 2018

Shelley Streeby

Professor, Department of Literature and Ethnic Studies
UC San Diego

Climate Refugees in the Greenhouse World: Archiving Global Warming with Octavia E Butler

When it comes to people of color’s leadership in imagining the future of climate change, the work of the great science fiction writer Octavia E. Butler is a great place to start. Butler was a working-class Black girl from Pasadena, California whose mother worked as a maid and by taking in lodgers after her husband died young of a heart attack. In thinking about climate change, I find especially useful her two Parable novels, particularly Parable of the Sower, a “cautionary tale” Butler wrote in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Butler once said that “Global Warming is a character in POS” and while writing the sequel, Parable of the Talents, she often reminded herself in research notes to “show the ‘Greenhouse World.’”  Drawing on the vast collection of 350 boxes of material Butler left to the Huntington Library in San Marino, California, next to her hometown of Pasadena, upon her untimely death in 2006, I use Butler’s research on the greenhouse effect and global warming and on the disasters of these eras and emerging environmental movements to tell the story of emerging scientific research on climate change in the eighties and nineties and how politicians, the fossil fuel industry, and activists responded to that research. I argue that this working-class Black woman genius’s memory work helpfully illuminates this history even as it models an interdisciplinary engagement with the sciences through Butler’s study and research.

October 15, 2018

Kelly Gates

Associate Professor, Department of Communication and Science Studies
UC San Diego

Automating Vision for Prediction, Prosecution, and Profit

This talk aims to make sense of the broad sociotechnical program of computer vision by focusing on the automation of video processing, or video analytics, in the overlapping domains of security, policing, and forensics. The development of automated vision in these domains is taking shape along with its commercialization, creating technical systems for video analytics that are deeply entangled with data monetization and the drive to build platforms and create network effects. I argue that we cannot understand 21st century, real-world applications of “computer vision,” “machine learning,” or “artificial intelligence” without attention to how these technologies are being imagined and physically built by companies laser-focused on scale, growth, and market dominance. 

October 22, 2018

Jesse Goldstein

Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology
Virginia Commonwealth University

Innovation as enclosure: Environmental Crisis and the Cleantech Surround 

In this talk I explore investments in cleantech innovation as a means of addressing the unfolding climate crisis. As both a market and an imaginary, cleantech offers a range of possible and potential responses to environmental crisis within an enclosed space (confined and narrowed to responses that support value production in capital's narrow sense), or what we can think, along with Michelle Murphy, as the cleantech surround. Cleantech’s legitimizing discourse, which I term planetary improvement, rests upon a view of 'saving the planet.' However, the planet being hailed is always already the product of capitalist and colonial violence. Examples from my ethnographic work with cleantech entrepreneurs and investors help demonstrate how this surround is erected, supported and defended as the only terrain upon which one can realistically work to ‘save the planet’. How might we re-orient the horizons of sociotechnical possibility otherwise? And how might this ‘we’ constitute itself as a pluripotent intellect, an undercommons where fugitive planners move us through and beyond, not just against, the sociotechnical assemblages of fossil-capitalism?

October 29, 2018

Saiba Varma

Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology  
UC San Diego

The Shock Network: The Politics of Care in Occupied Kashmir

In this talk, I examine the use(s) of electric shock in both military and humanitarian spaces in
occupied Kashmir, namely, the interrogation center and clinic. Shock, as a technology that cuts
across military and humanitarian spaces, makes visible the intentional and unintentional
entanglements of military and humanitarian practices and logics in spaces of occupation such as
Kashmir. In both settings, shock is understood and valorized as a crisis technology performed in
the name of care. In psychiatric settings, global and national mental health imperatives towards
"deinstitutionalization" and promoting "community-based" mental health approaches are
heralded as humanitarian and cost-effective responses to histories of violence and abuse in the
asylum. As psychiatrists try to discharge patients quickly, and to promote outpatient,
pharmaceutical care rather than inpatient care, shock becomes a pragmatic way of achieving
these humanitarian outcomes. In conclusion, this talk thinks about the remainders of care and the
ways military and humanitarian care are felt and experienced at the level of the body and kin

November 5, 2018

Sabine Arnaud

Senior Researcher
Centre Alexandre Koyré Histoire des Sciences et des Techniques


The Oral Method and the Specter of Abnormality: Deaf Education and the Poetics of Contestation at the Turn of Twentieth-Century France

When, during the Revolution, the French government committed to supporting the education of Deaf people, they left it to teachers to determine the methods and contents of this education. Less than a century later, before the conclusions of the Milan Congress (which advocated the exclusive teaching of speech rather than an approach based on sign language, pantomime, writing and articulation), the Ministry of the Interior believed it to be its task to reform the teaching in use in most institutions in the direction of methods of pure speech. While Deaf writers did not oppose the teaching of speech, they soon questioned the legitimacy of this reform, and exposed the threats it posed for the development of deaf pupils. In the meantime, the capacity to articulate verbally was being reconsidered through theategories of abnormality and backwardness, which led to a further rethinking of Deaf education. In addition to examining the stakes and the impacts of the political decision, this paper will analyze the development of a poetics of contestation throughout Deaf writing, as manifested in the adoption of a variety of rhetorical strategies, ranging from irony to analytical examination, in the rewriting of the category of abnormality.

November 12, 2018

No Colloquium

Veterans Day Holiday


November 19, 2018

Klaus Lackner

Director, Center for Negative Carbon Emissions and Professor, School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering
Arizona State University 

November 26, 2018

Charles Kennel

Emeritus Professor, Department of Climate, Atmospheric Science & Physical Oceanography
Scripps Institution of Oceanography
UC San Diego

Adventures in the Land of Space Science and Climate policy

Professor Kennel will share his experiences as a member of almost too many panels to count related to the space program and our climate future.

December 3, 2018

Ben Hurlbut

Associate Professor, School of Life Sciences
Arizona State University  

December 10, 2018

No Colloquium

Finals Week

Winter Quarter 2019

January 7, 2019

Science Studies Program Meeting

SSP faculty and students only

January 14, 2019

Chris Henke'00

Associate Professor of Sociology, Department of Sociology & Anthropology
Colgate University


Ben Sims'00

Scientist, Statistical Sciences Group
Los Alamos National Laboratory


January 21, 2019

No Colloquium

Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday


January 28, 2019

Alison Wylie

Professor, Department of Philosophy
University of British Columbia

Witnessing and Translating: The Indigenous/Science Project

The Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission (2015) calls on non-Indigenous Canadians to build equitable, respectful and transparent partnerships with Indigenous Peoples as the primary means for advancing reconciliation. In this spirit a UBC-based research cluster, Indigenous/Science, is building collaborative partnerships designed to bring the tools of archaeological science to bear on Indigenous-led research questions in a way that embodies a “practice of reconciliation.” The projects taking shape under the rubric of Indigenous/Science raise pointed questions about how researchers committed to collaborative practice can best to navigate differences in ethical/epistemic commitments and the asymmetries of power and hierarchies of expertise that underpin them. These will be the focus of my talk, as well as the question of what we philosophers can contribute to such ventures: what is required of us when called upon to bear witness to the real-world conflicts and consequences of scientific inquiry?

February 4, 2019

Fernando Domínguez Rubio

Assistant Professor, Department of Communication
UC San Diego

February 11 & 12, 2019

Student Choice Speaker: Lorraine Daston

Visiting Professor of Social Thought and History
University of Chicago

February 18, 2019 

No Colloquium

Presidents' Day Holiday


February 25, 2019

Moon Duchin

Associate Professor, Department of Mathematics & Director, Program in Science, Technology, & Society 
Tufts University

March 4, 2019

Stephanie Dick

Assistant Professor, Department of History and Sociology of Science
University of Pennsylvania 

March 11, 2019

Kieran Durkin

Marie Skłodowska-Curie Global Fellow
University of York

March 18, 2019 

Monika Sengul-Jones (Finals Week)

PhD Candidate, Communication & Science Studies
UC San Diego



March 25, 2019

Spring Break

Spring Quarter 2019

April 1, 2019

Science Studies Program Meeting

SSP faculty and students only

April 8, 2019

Sarah Vaughn

Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology 
University of California, Berkeley 


April 15, 2019

Sarah Fox



April 22, 2019

Theodora Dryer

PhD Candidate, History & Science Studies
UC San Diego


April 29, 2019

Megan Delehanty

Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy
University of Calgary


May 6, 2019 

Marion Fourcade

Professor, Department of Sociology, UC Berkeley and Associate Fellow of the Max Planck-Sciences Po Center on Coping with Instability in Market Societies (Maxpo)


May 13, 2019 

Florence C. Hsia

Professor of History of Science, Department of History
University of Wisconsin-Madison

May 20, 2019 

Cristina Visperas'17

Assistant Professor, School of Communication
USC Annenberg


May 27, 2019

No Colloquium 

Memorial Day Observance


June 3, 2019

Dwaipayan Banerjee

Assistant Professor of Science, Technology, and Society (STS)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

June 10, 2019

No Colloquium

Finals Week