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2014-15 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 2014

October 6, 2014

Science Studies Program Meeting

SSP faculty and students only

October 13, 2014

Tal Golan

Associate Professor, Department of History, UC San Diego

Science, Technology and the Jewish Question

October 20, 2014

Lynn Nyhart

Vilas-Bablitch-Kelch Distinguished Achievement Professor, History of Science, University of Madison-Wisconsin

Zoology, Botany, and the History of Biology (as seen through Alternation of Generations)

When we speak of the history of “biology,” most historians actually refer to the history of investigations on animals. History of the plant sciences is not only less cultivated by historians of science but also not very well integrated into a larger picture. Why is this? Under what circumstances does it make sense to talk about a history of biology that actually treats scientific investigations of animals and plants together? In this talk, I approach these questions through the problem of the alternation of generations in the mid-nineteenth century. This problem, which concerned the nature of complex life-cycles involving both sexual and asexual reproduction, engaged both botanists and zoologists beginning in the 1840s. But the histories written about it make no mention of the plentiful cross-talk about animals and plants appearing in the primary literature. My talk seeks to explain why, in relation to the larger historiographic fractures in the history of biology.

October 27, 2014

Stefanos Geroulanos

Associate Professor, History, New York University

Wound Shock during World War I


November 3, 2014

Monica Hoffman

PhD Candidate, Communication and Science Studies, UC San Diego

One mosquito, two mosquito: Dr. Seuss, pin-up girls, and maps in the history of malaria control

November 10, 2014

Tara Nummedal

Associate Professor, Department of HIstory, Brown University

November 17, 2014


November 24, 2014

Kristina Lyons

Postdoctoral Fellow, Anthropology, UC Santa Cruz

December 1, 2014

Joan Fujimura

Professor, Sociology, University of Wisconsin-Madison

December 8, 2014

Vinay Gidwani

Professor, Geography, Environment, and Society Institute for Global Studies, University of Minnesota

The Work of Waste: Inside Urban India's Infra-Economy

The poorly compensated and willfully invisible infrastructural work of repair and resurrection performed in India’s poorly understood waste processing hubs underwrite the urban economy’s conditions of production. Such hubs are toxic sinks, where the waste generated as part and parcel of a growing capitalist space-economy is reprocessed and repurposed by workers and petty entrepreneurs numbering in the thousands, often drawn from historically stigmatized social groups. Even as they perform the double function of supplying recycled raw materials for capital accumulation while inoculating cities from the injurious effects of their own detritus, the people whose livelihoods are connected to these places are continuously abjected by the establishment, which views them with anxiety and loathing, as a nuisance, even danger, to the proper order of things. The waste infra-economy, in this respect, exemplifies the subaltern geographies of ur ban India.

Winter Quarter 2015

January 5, 2015

Science Studies Program Meeting

SSP faculty and students only

January 12, 2015

Amit Prasad

Associate Professor, Sociology, University of Missouri

January 19, 2015

No Colloquium

February 2, 2015

Olga Kuchinskaya

Assistant Professor, Communication, University of Pittsburg


February 9, 2015

Martha Kenney

Assistant Professor, Women and Gender Studies, San Francisco State University

February 16, 2015

No Colloquium

February 23, 2015

Natasha Myers

Associate Professor, Anthropology, York University

March 9, 2015

Stefan Helmreich, 

Professor, Anthropology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

The Water Next Time: Changing Wavescapes in the Anthropocene

Do ocean waves have a history? The question may sound odd: surely waves are simple facts of nature, matters of the substance of the sea. Waves may have diverse manifestations in marine and maritime lore, a variety of effects on economic and political enterprise, and a range of meanings for fishers, surfers, and swimmers. But as formal and material entities, the standard view might say, they are best known by a science arriving at ever-improving models of oscillation, undulation, and movement. Historians of oceanography have complicated such a view, documenting the changing systems through which scientists and seafarers have known waves. This presentation will go further, looking toward a future in which waves are not only known differently (though new kinds of computer modeling, for example) but also become differently composed material phenomena than once they were. Today's wave scientists and modelers are predicting that climate change may not only transform the global distribution of significant wave heights, but also may also (though the claim is controversial) amplify the frequency of rogue or freak waves, changing the world's wavescape in novel ways. This presentation will deliver a history of ocean wave modeling in order to anchor an ethnographic report on how scientists think about whether waves (canonically imagined as not evolving, not decaying, but repeating, periodic — cyclical avatars of the ceaseless sea) may be transforming in synchrony with the political, economic, and social scene of the Anthropocene.

Spring Quarter 2015

March 30, 2015

Science Studies Program Meeting

SSP faculty and students only

April 6, 2015

Samer Alatout

Associate Professor, Community and Environmental Sociology, University of Wisconsin-Madison


April 13, 2015

Lucy Suchman (Student Choice Speaker 2014-15)

Professor, Sociology, Lancaster University

April 20, 2015

Catherine Waldby

Professor, Sociology, University of Sydney

April 27, 2015

Natalie Aviles

PhD Candidate, Sociology and Science Studies, UC San Diego

May 4, 2015

Marion Fourcade

Professor, Sociology, UC Berkeley

The Type and the Grade: On the Institutional Scaffolding of the Judgment of Taste


May 11, 2015

Dana Simmons

Assistant Professor, History, UC Riverside


May 18, 2015

Jamie Cohen-Cole

Assistant Professor, American Studies, George Washington University

May 25, 2015

No Colloquium

June 1, 2015

Kara Wentworth

PhD Cabdidate, Communication and Science Studies, UC San Diego