2016-17 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 2016

September 26, 2016

Science Studies Program Meeting

SSP faculty and students only

October 3, 2016

Emma Frow

Assistant Professor, School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering, and the Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes, Arizona State University

Making big promises come true? Negotiating standards and value in synthetic biology

My research focuses on the relationship between biology and engineering in the 21st century, looking specifically at the emerging field of synthetic biology. Synthetic biologists are striving to make biology easier, cheaper and more reliable to engineer. Coming from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds, they share a vision that engineering principles and practices like standardization, modularization and abstraction will prove as useful for ‘building with biology’ as they do for designing non-living systems. This talk will explore how ideas, promises and practices from biology and engineering are being negotiated in synthetic biology. In particular, I will focus on early efforts to define standards for the field. BioBrickTM standard biological parts were initially presented as tools to make genetic engineering more efficient and reliable, and have been accompanied by a particular imagination of innovation and value creation in synthetic biology. However, exploring the practices of synthetic biology reveals multiple sites of ambivalence and contestation over the design and use of standardized biological parts. I show how early negotiations over the promises and practices surrounding BioBricks have helped to configure the epistemic foundations and design space of the field, and are contributing to the making of value in synthetic biology.


October 10, 2016

OPEN

TBD


October 17, 2016

Anthropology Faculty

Anthropology of Science: a discussion

"Laboratory Ethnography." "The Anthropology of Reason." "Science in Action." These phrases characterize approaches in Science Studies, signaling our deep intellectual and methodological debts to the discipline of anthropology. In its turn, anthropology has, in recent decades, turned its analytical gaze on the institutions and cultures of science, medicine, and technology. For this session of the Science Studies Colloquium, we have invited our colleagues from the UCSD Anthropology Department to come and talk with us about the relationship between our fields, and to discuss the possibility of deepening and strengthening the ties between our programs. 

What are the connections between our fieldwork practices? How might we learn from one another? Should anthropology graduate students get training in science studies, and should science studies students learn methods and approaches from anthropology? What is the role of political advocacy in both disciplines? This session will be in the form of an open discussion of these and many other questions, and should be of interest to anyone with a stake in the past, present, and future of either field. 


October 24, 2016

Sharon Crasnow 

Distinguished Professor Emerita, Philosophy, Norco College

Standpoint theory: epistemology from methodology?

Feminist standpoint methodology as practiced by feminist social scientists has informed feminist epistemology. The approach admonishes social scientists to “start from the lives of women” in order to produce knowledge that is for, by, and about them. A motivation for the approach is as members of a subordinated social group women have access to evidence in their everyday experiences that is not available through other, more traditional, scientific methods and is relevant to liberatory knowledge projects. One of the key tenets of standpoint theories is that those who are oppressed, marginalized, or otherwise outside of the dominant power structure have access to knowledge of that power structure in ways that the dominant members of society do not.  They are epistemically privileged in this respect. But the admonition to start from the “lives of women” is problematic. Women are not a homogeneous group – their experiences vary both as individuals and as members of different social groups and so the transition to epistemology from standpoint methodology becomes problematic since it is difficult to identify the knower(s).  Looking at how feminist standpoint works as a method – how feminist social scientists produce knowledge in practice – emphasizes the socio-political aspects of knowledge communities: how they are formed, for what purposes, and the extent to which they are stable. To turn standpoint approaches from methodology to epistemology requires giving an account of the socio-political aspects of knowledge communities and their formation. I sketch such and account and in doing so argue that it requires an account of identity. Consequently I also consider the extent to which different currently available accounts of identity – individual, group identities, and their intersections – can work for a standpoint epistemology.


October 31, 2016

Yelena Gluzman

PhD Candidate, Communications and Science Studies, UC San Diego
&

Sarah Klein

PhD Candidate, Communications and Science Studies, UC San Diego

Skeletons in the Archive: A Feminist Theory Theater reading of the Science Studies Program

Texts happen. A text never exists until it is performed, whether alone in your office, in a seminar, or on a stage. Each situation makes a difference in the way that a text’s effects congeal. This special Halloween edition of the Science Studies Colloquium introduces Feminist Theory Theater (FTT), an experimental reading practice that foregrounds the embodied and social conditions of interpreting theoretical and archival texts. FTT follows feminist theory in its emphasis on collective, situated meaning-making, that is to say, what we call theater.

In FTT, small groups of participants work together to devise provisional stagings of a text as a way to make emerging interpretations available to the group. Putting the text “on its feet” is not done to create a finished show, but rather as a mode of working, thinking, and taking on an argument with our bodies. There is no audience in Feminist Theory Theater; readers are performers, and spectatorship is a mode of attuning to each other.

Taking up the seasonal theme of hauntings, together we will read an archival document from the history of UCSD’s Science Studies Program. The reflexive orientation is not meant to to be salacious or confessional, but is rather an opening into a distributed exploration of our institutional history. Because talking about FTT is best done by participating in FTT, this colloquium will be in a workshop format. To invite the participation of SSP specters, ghosts, and ghouls, the workshop will be held at the Mandeville Suite, on the top floor of Tioga Hall. Costumes are welcome but not required.


November 7, 2016

Martine Lappe

Post Doctoral Fellow, Center for Research on Ethical, Legal & Social Implications of Pyschiatric, Neurologic & Behavioral Genetics, Columbia University

Constructing Early-Life in the Lab: Maternal Care and the Production of Adversity in Environmental Epigenetics

Environmental epigenetics focuses on how social forces – including pollution, nutrition, stress, trauma, and care – become molecularly embodied, affect gene expression without changing DNA sequence, and produce durable changes that may influence the health and behavior of individuals, their offspring, and future generations. In recent years, this area of molecular biology has captured the attention of life and social scientists, physicians, policymakers, and the public. In this talk, I describe how maternal care has become a central epistemic object in research on the epigenetic effects of early-life adversity. My analysis draws on two years of ethnographic research in an epigenetics laboratory in the United States. Building on work in feminist science studies, I examine the politics of care as it is enacted with research samples, experimental protocols, and behavioral endpoints in experiments on model organisms. My findings point to tensi ons between researchers’ care for the data and their measurement of adversity as a discrete variable in the form of maternal interaction, neglect, and abuse. I argue that these tensions suggest a complex assemblage of allowed and invisible environments that are actively shaping understandings of the biological and social, including expectations of women as mothers. This study suggests that the holistic explanations of health and development promised by environmental epigenetics are simultaneously constructed and constrained by its practices. In conclusion, I consider what these findings signal for social scientists’ engagement with environmental epigenetics and postgenomic science today.


November 14, 2016

Matt Wisnioski

Associate Professor, Department of Science and Technology in Society, Virginia Tech

Every American an Innovator: How Innovation Became a Way of Life

To innovate is the 21st century’s defining imperative. Nation states develop innovation systems to compete in a fast-moving global economy. Companies vie for market share and talent by claiming their cultures are the most innovative. Universities seek to turn discovery into intellectual property. Aid workers utilize smartphone apps to improve global health. Whatever our chosen avocation each of us is compelled to survive in a world of “continuous change.” From where do these ideas about innovation and innovators come? What does their history reveal about the ambitions and realities of our society? How are they embodied in images of self and in daily practices? Finally, how can awareness of this history shape current and future approaches to socio-technical change?

This talk shows how innovation became a “way of life” in the United States from the 1960s to today. I highlight two crucial dimensions of this process. First, the rise of innovation expertise—the methods and practices designed to enhance innovative activity. And second, the composite images of innovators that such expertise creates. I chart the growth of a network of entrepreneurial scientists, inventors, artists, government bureaucrats, venture capitalists, US presidents, and thousands of everyday people. In this nexus of expertise and imagination, I identify cross-cutting themes that characterize how visions and practices of innovation shape aspirations at the societal, but also the personal, level. I conclude with a call for critical participation that bridges the gap between the “how can we?” questions of innovation practitioners with the “why” questions of science studies scholars.


November 21, 2016

Rebecca Hardesty

PhD Candidate, Communication and Science Studies, UC San Diego
&

Ben Sheredos

Post-Doctoral Researcher, Center for Circadian Biology, UC San Diego
PhD '16, Philosophy and Cognitive Science , UC San Diego

A Cross-Disciplinary Exploration of Interdisciplinarity in Science Studies

Interdisciplinarity is a common goal in humanistic and social scientific studies of science. However, operating within multiple disciplines, each with their own distinct theoretical and methodological traditions, presents problems of legibility. This is especially true when a social scientist does philosophically informed work, and when a philosopher does empirically-informed work. Outsiders in other fields can overlook the work's novelty, viewing it as mainstream. Insiders doing more traditional work within a field can misunderstand the purpose of interdisciplinary research, and may view it as failing to meet traditional standards. In these two talks, Rebecca Hardesty and Dr. Ben Sheredos will demonstrate how it is productive, but difficult, to take unabashedly interdisciplinary approaches to examine practices within the biological sciences.


November 28, 2016

Julie Hartman Rogers

PhD Candidate, Sociology and Science Studies, UC San Diego

December 5, 2015

No Colloquium

Finals Week

Winter Quarter 2017

January 9, 2017

Science Studies Program Meeting

SSP faculty and students only

January 16, 2017

No Colloquium

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day


January 23, 2017

Hal Pashler

Distinguished Professor
Department of Psychology, UC San Diego

January 30, 2017

Hannah Landecker

Associate Professor
Department of Sociology, UCLA

February 6, 2017

Matt Brown

Associate Professor
Department of Philosophy and History of Ideas, UT Dallas

February 13, 2017

Sarah Milov

Assistant Professor
Corcoran Department of History, University of Virginia

February 20, 2017 (President's Day Holiday)

Audrey Lackner 

PhD Candidate, History and Science Studies, UC San Diego

February 27, 2017

Joyce Havstad

Assistant Professor
Department of Philosophy, Oakland University 

March 6, 2017

Martha Lampland

Associate Professor
Department of Sociology, UC San Diego

March 13, 2017

Reuven Brandt

Postdoctoral Scholar
Department of Philosophy, UC San Diego

March 20, 2017 (Finals Week)

John Dupre

Director of Egenis, Professor (Philosophy of Science)
University of Exeter

March 27, 2017

Spring Break

Spring Quarter 2017

April 3, 2017

Science Studies Program Meeting

SSP faculty and students only


April 10, 2017

Richard Keller

Professor
Department of Medical History and Bioethics, University of Wisconsin-Madison

April 17, 2017

Sindhuja Bhakthavatsalam 

Assistant Professor
Liberal Studies, California State University Northridge

Nancy Cartwright

UC Distinguished Professor
Department of Philosophy and Science Studies, UC San Diego
&

Bas Van Fraassen

McCosh Professor of Philosophy, Emeritus
Princeton University

April 24, 2017

Max Liboiron

Assistant Professor
Department of Sociology, Memorial University

May 1, 2017

Ari Heinrich

Associate Professor of Modern Chinese Literature, Comparative Literature, and Cultural Studies
Department of Literature, UC San Diego

May 8, 2017

Rebecca Herzig

Christian A. Johnson Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies
Women and Gender Studies, Bates College
&

Banu Subramaniam

Professor
Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies People, UMass Amherst

May 15, 2017

John Alaniz

Visiting Lecturer
Department of History, UC Berkeley

May 22, 2017

Katja Guenther

Assistant Professor of History
Department of History, Princeton University

May 29, 2017

Memorial Day


June 5, 2017

Christina Payne

PhD Candidate, Sociology and Science Studies, UC San Diego  

June 12, 2017

No Colloquium

Finals Week