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James, "Collecting Evolution: The Galapagos Expedition that Vindicated Darwin"

Dec 06, 2018
from 04:10 PM to 06:00 PM

SSH 1246

Abstract: In 1905, eight sailor-scientists from the California Academy of Sciences set out on an 89-foot schooner from San Francisco for a scientific collecting expedition in the Galapagos Islands. By the time they finished in 1906, they had completed one of the most important expeditions in the history of both evolutionary and conservation science. They brought back over 78,000 specimens, validating the ideas of Charles Darwin and laid the groundwork for foundational evolution texts such as David Lack's landmark 1947 book Darwin's Finches. Despite the significance of this expedition, almost nothing was written on this voyage, lost amongst broader discussions of Darwin's trip on HMS Beagle and its aftermath. In Collecting Evolution, Matthew James tells the story of the 1905-06 Galapagos expedition and its implications. James follows these eight young men aboard the schooner Academy to the Galapagos and back, and reveals the stories that occurred before, during, and after their groundbreaking success.

Matthew James is a Fellow of the California Academy of Sciences, and Professor of Geology at Sonoma State University. He has a Ph.D. in Paleontology from the University of California at Berkeley. Professor James is originally from Hawaii, having attended school on Oahu from kindergarten through college. He has been writing about the Galapagos in historical, scientific, and conservation capacities for over thirty-five years.

duskin drum, "served or served?"

“served or served?” is a participatory modeling of parallel structures of servers, and inherent limits in the restricting protocols of the operations and architecture of the network. It is a participatory performance that mimics some aspects of servers and data centers while discussing their material life. The performance or game makes a human allegorical interpretation of the structure and materiality of our dispersed everyday digital knowing. http://undeveloping.info

Dec 04, 2018
from 12:10 PM to 01:10 PM

SSH 1246

“served or served?” is a participatory modeling of parallel structures of servers, and inherent limits in the restricting protocols of the operations and architecture of the network. It is a participatory performance that mimics some aspects of servers and data centers while discussing their material life. The performance or game makes a human allegorical interpretation of the structure and materiality of our dispersed everyday digital knowing. http://undeveloping.info
duskin drum is a founding professor of the School of Advanced Studies of University of Tyumen. He is an interdisciplinary scholar, artist, performer, and woodsman. In 2017, he completed a doctorate in Performance Studies with designated emphases in Native American Studies, and Science and Technology Studies at University of California, Davis. In 2005, he earned a Bachelors of Arts studying interdisciplinary theatre and performance at Evergreen State College. For 20 years, duskin has been making art and performance in Asia, Europe and the Americas. At School of Advanced Studies, his interdisciplinary research group, Material Relations, is devising a new theory of love for studying ecologically substantiating human-nonhuman relations including technological relations.

Food for Thought with Britt Winthereik

Nov 13, 2018
from 04:00 PM to 06:00 PM

SSH 1246

Creating ethnographic effects: Sound recording as analytical technique

This work focuses on relations between 'fieldwork' and 'desk work' by calling attention to analysis as a highly infrastructured and situated set of practices, the constitution of which we can observe, reflect upon and play with. By exploring the production phase of a podcast in-the-making, it describes how we work with and through sound recordings as a mode of intimate, yet public, analysis. 

Register for this event by clicking here.  Material for discussion will be circulated among registered participants on November 6.

 

This event is co-sponsored by the Science and Technology Studies Program and the Department of Anthropology.

The NO!!!BOT: A Performance by Praba Pilar

Oct 31, 2018
from 05:30 PM to 07:30 PM

Arena Theater, Wright Hall

The NO!!!BOT visits the unnerving world of Exoskeletons to glitch 21st century technocolonialism: wordless, breathless, sexual and grotesque. Not an acquiescent programmed Robot nor a despicable malicious Bot, instead it is part of a series hurtling into our collective imaginaries to hack destructive code makers and generate our own deviant electric dreams.

 
First shared as a work in progress at the 2017 National Queer Arts Festival, the work premiered as a full performance at the LIVE BIENALE 2017 in Vancouver, and has since then been presented it at Toronto's Marshall McLuhan Centre and Brooklyn's Grace Performance Place among other places.
 

The performance will be followed by a discussion with the scholar/artist. You can find her recent essay here: Situating the Web of the Necro-Techno Complex: The Church of Nano Bio Info Congo.


This performance is presented as part of HATCH: FASS' Speculative Futures event featuring Ruha Benjamin, Aimee Bahng, and Lisa Ikemoto. More info at: http://hatch.ucdavis.edu/schedule/

STS Fall Welcome Party

Oct 05, 2018
from 04:00 PM to 06:00 PM

Come meet STS students and faculty and enjoy free Chipotle! Please RSVP here.

June 4th: Nicolas Rasmussen, "Measuring Fatness and its Hazards: Precision Adiposometry vs. a 1950s Public Health Campaign against Obesity"

Jun 04, 2018
from 12:10 PM to 02:00 PM

STS Conference Room (1246 SSH Bldg)

"Measuring Fatness and its Hazards: Precision Adiposometry vs. a 1950s Public Health Campaign against Obesity"

Professor Nicolas Rasmussen

History & Philosophy of Science, University of New South Wales

Please RSVP HERE for the event, as lunch will be served. 

Abstract: Systems of measurement and the units implicated in them can be used not only for consensus and collaboration, but as weapons against alternative systems and the facts of nature built upon them. Here I discuss one such offensive use of metrology intended to sow doubt around epidemiological findings about the dangers of obesity, and to block a public health campaign to counter these dangers, in the 1950s United States. I retrace the program of physiologist Ancel Keys to replace the measure of obesity established by the insurance industry through half a century of extensive statistical research, body weight relative to height, with an alternate measure purportedly more reflective of body fat content and heart disease mortality risk. His elaborate program of precision adiposometry based on calliper measures of subcutaneous fat never was shown superior to relative weight for its predictive power, as he often claimed it would, but nevertheless served to undermine the medical community’s confidence in high body weight as a heart disease risk factor, helped advance the status of Key’s favored risk factor (serum cholesterol), and ultimately led to the establishment of Body Mass Index (BMI) as the standard measure of obesity. This shift in anthropometric measurement systems and units played an important role in decline of public health concern about obesity between the 1960s and 1990s.

Nicolas Rasmussen is Professor of History & Philosophy of Science at the University of New South Wales, in Sydney Australia. Nic is a historian of medicine and the life sciences, with higher degrees in History & Philosophy of Science (MPhil, Cambridge, 1987), Biological Sciences (PhD, Stanford, 1992), and Public Health (MPH, Sydney University Medical School, 2007). He is the author of Gene Jockeys: Life Science and the Rise of Biotech Enterprise (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014), On Speed: The Many Lives of Amphetamine (New York University Press, 2008), and Picture Control:  The Electron Microscope and the Transformation of Biology in America, 1940-1960 (Stanford University Press, 1997). 

May 29th: Dusan Bjelic, "Molecular Colonialism: the Case of Cocaine"

May 29, 2018
from 12:10 PM to 02:00 PM

STS Conference Room (1246 SSH Bldg)

"Molecular Colonialism: the Case of Cocaine"

Professor Dušan Bjelić 

Criminology and Science Studies, University of Southern Maine

As usual, we will pre-circulate a text which will be briefly introduced at the start of the session. The introduction will be followed by an hour or so of lively discussion about the text, so please come having read the paper in advance. Food and refreshments will be provided! If you are interested in attending, please RSVP using the google form. We will send a copy of the text a week before the event to those who register.
 
Abstract: Colonialism has been studied primarily as historical phenomenon pertaining to the planetary surface, or to what Carl Schmitt termed, the Nomos of the earth. Yet little attention has been paid to the ferocious colonization of psycho-somatic space, or to the molecular. When Karl Marx identified science and technology as ‘means of production,’ he intended to emphasize their conquistador-like character vis-à-vis human and natural actuality directed by the “cunning of reason of history.”  The “cunning of reason of history” was a form of political trickery of the Master race, which migrated via the scientific revolution of recent centuries from ancient battlefields to scientific laboratories where the political character of the former also migrated into molecular space of the modified colonial plants. In this regard, scientific technology’s conquest of molecular, psycho-somatic space may be regarded as the extension of Nomos colonialism’s planetary surface into the molecular and nervous interiors. Colonial conquest was imposed upon populations by superior might, but also by the subtle, scientific management and manipulation of both natural and industrially produced materials now functioning as molecular schemes for capturing productive desire. Cocaine, one such industrial material, proves to be a significant marker, and colonial political history can be divided into three symbiotic orders of abstract synthesis of permanent debt, the social-political, the molecular-political and psycho-political. The first was achieved by Spain's conquest of Peru, the second by German organic chemistry’s conversion of Cocoa leaf into cocaine, and the third by psychoanalytic conquest of desire.

Dušan I. Bjelić received both his B.A. (1976) and M.A. (1981) in Sociology from the University of Belgrade.  He earned his PhD in Sociology from Boston University in 1989, joining the University of Southern Maine faculty in 1990. His areas of interest are ethnomethodology of science, Balkan Studies, and critical studies of psychoanalysis and psychiatry. His books include, Balkan as Metaphor: Between Globalization and Fragmentation, co-edited with Obrad Savić (The MIT Press 2002); Galileo's Pendulum: Science, Sexuality and the Body-Instrument Link (SUNY Press 2003); Normalizing the Balkans: Geopolitics of Psychiatry and Psychoanalysis  (Ashgate in 2011; Routledge in 2016); Intoxication, Modernity, and Colonialism: Freud's Industrial Unconscious, Benjamin's Hashish Mimesis (Palgrave in 2017).

Talk by Natasha Myers

Public lecture presented by the Anthropology Department Colloquium, co-sponsored by STS.

May 07, 2018
from 04:00 PM to 06:00 PM

Andrews Conference Room

April 18th: STS Event Featuring Whitney Phillips and Ryan Milner

Apr 18, 2018
from 04:00 PM to 06:00 PM

STS Conference Room (1246 SSH Building)

"The Vernacular Vortex: Analyzing the Endless Churn of Trump's Twitter Orbit"

with Ryan M. Milner and Whitney Phillips

A talk hosted by the STS Program in partnership with the UC Davis ModLab.

This talk explores how digitally-mediated folkloric and institutional expressions influence one other and memetically shape public conversations. It will focus in particular on the deluge of antagonistic and ambivalent folkloric expression surrounding the quasi-official Twitter persona of U.S. President Donald J. Trump, which amplifies and is amplified by a variety of institutional forces, including emerging journalism practices, algorithmic docenting, and content moderation policies. In so doing, this talk will show that it is critical to consider this intertwine of folkloric and institutional expressions when responding to unfolding public controversies or mediated narratives.  
Ryan M. Milner is an Assistant Professor of Communication at the College of Charleston. His work includes The World Made Meme: Public Conversations and Participatory Media. Whitney Phillips is an Assistant Professor of Literary Studies and Writing at the Penfield College of Mercer University. She is the author of This is Why We Can't Have Nice Things: Mapping the Relationship between Online Trolling and Mainstream Culture. Milner and Phillips are the co-authors of The Ambivalent Internet: Mischief, Oddity, and Antagonism Online.

April 18th: Food For Thought with Professor Dame Marilyn Strathern

An event co-hosted by STS, CSIS, and Anthropology.

Apr 18, 2018
from 12:00 PM to 02:00 PM

STS Conference Room (SSH Building 1246)

April 10th: Bruce Clarke, "Bruno Latour's Gaia Theory"

Please RSVP: https://bit.ly/2I98lvE

Apr 10, 2018
from 12:10 PM to 02:00 PM

STS Conference Room (1246 SSH Bldg)

"Bruno Latour's Gaia Theory”
Food for Thought, Tuesday, April 10, 12:10pm in the STS Conference Room, SSH 1246
Because this is a Food for Thought Event, we will pre-circulate a text which will be briefly introduced at the start of the session. The introduction will be followed by an hour or so of lively discussion about the text, so please come having read the paper in advance. Food and refreshments will be provided! If you are interested in attending, please RSVP using the google form. We will send a copy of the text a week before the event to those who register.
Abstract: The diverse disciplinary and cultural uptake of the Gaia hypothesis is a textbook case of science in action, Bruno Latour’s long-held stock in trade. More importantly, in the full accounting of its theory in process, the complex of Gaian ideas developed by Lovelock and Margulis aligns with Latour’s own philosophy of nonmodernity and its redistribution of natural and social agencies, its worldly sociology of quasi-objects and quasi-subjects. Latour’s explicit treatments of Gaia go back to the 1990s. His success in moving informed Gaia discussion into new precincts of scholarly conversation has certainly been a welcome development for Gaian thought. One could still ask, however, what Gaia becomes when Latour narrates its modes of existence through the flattened ontology of actor-network theory? How does that description align with Gaia theory in Lovelock’s and Margulis’s own presentations, the fullness of which makes manifest a wide range of systems theory discourse? Are the separate conceptual goods of actor-network theory and systems theory mutually exclusive, positively supplementary, or what, precisely?
Bruce Clarke is Paul Whitfield Horn Professor of Literature and Science in the Department of English at Texas Tech University. His research focuses on 19th- and 20th-century literature and science, with special interests in systems theory, narrative theory, evolution, and ecology. He is the author of Energy Forms: Allegory and Science in the Era of Classical Thermodynamics (University of Michigan Press, 2001), Posthuman Metamorphosis: Narrative and Systems (Fordham University Press, 2008), and Neocybernetics and Narrative (University of Minnesota Press, 2014), among many other publications. He edits the book series Meaning Systems, published by Fordham University Press. 

April 9th: Bruce Clarke, "Adventures in the Systems Counterculture: From the Whole Earth Network to Autopoietic Gaia"

Apr 09, 2018
from 04:00 PM to 06:00 PM

STS Conference Room (SSH Building 1246)

"Adventures in the Systems Counterculture: From the Whole Earth Network to Autopoietic Gaia"

This talk will address the emergence and development of the systems counterculture in the milieu of the Whole Earth network, exploring the parallel unfoldings of both second-order or neocybernetic systems theory and the Gaia concept. Considering the larger context of the Whole Earth network, the emerging bifurcation between first- and second-order cybernetics can be tracked in the Whole Earth Catalogue of the 1970s, followed in the 1980’s with the eventual eclipse of Co-Evolution Quarterly’s bio-ecological orientation by the discourse of cyberculture. This talk aims to bring back into contemporary currency the accomplishments of “organic cybernetics” and the co-evolutionary imperative that coalesced in the decade of the 1970s.

 

Bruce Clarke is Paul Whitfield Horn Professor of Literature and Science in the Department of English at Texas Tech University. His research focuses on 19th- and 20th-century literature and science, with special interests in systems theory, narrative theory, evolution, and ecology. He is the author of Energy Forms: Allegory and Science in the Era of Classical Thermodynamics (University of Michigan Press, 2001), Posthuman Metamorphosis: Narrative and Systems (Fordham University Press, 2008), and Neocybernetics and Narrative (University of Minnesota Press, 2014), among many other publications. He edits the book series Meaning Systems, published by Fordham University Press. 

 

April 4th: STS Colloquium with Gwen Ottinger, "From Sensing to Sense-Making: the Next Frontier in Citizen Science"

Please rsvp: goo.gl/forms/IWDgzqHFRs4T5IqX2

Apr 04, 2018
from 12:10 PM to 01:40 PM

STS Conference Room (SSH Bldg. #1246)

Light lunch will be served; please RSVP.

Abstract: Advances in low-cost air sensors appear to be a boon for communities concerned about air quality.  But their real value depends on citizen scientists’ ability to interpret and mobilize the data they produce. Departing from many innovators’ and scholars’ focus on sensing technology, I examine the interpretive work that goes into making air quality data meaningful in communities overburdened by pollution. Environmental justice activists, I show, face two contradictory challenges: inventing new modes of interpretation that better represent local experience, and aligning their data with potential political leverage points, often structured by technocratic frames. To be most useful for grassroots groups, citizen sensing programs should be designed with both goals in mind. 
 
Gwen Ottinger is Associate Professor in the Department of Politics and the Center for Science, Technology, and Society at Drexel University, where she directs the Fair Tech Collective, a research group dedicated to using social science theory and methods to inform the development of technology that fosters environmental justice.  She is author of Refining Expertise: How Responsible Engineers Subvert Environmental Justice Challenges, which was awarded the 2015 Rachel Carson Prize by the Society for Social Studies of Science.
Presented by the UC Davis Program in Science and Technology Studies, the School of Education, and the Center for Community and Citizen Science.

March 6: Luis Campos, "Neanderthals in Space"

George Church’s Modest Steps Toward Possible Futures

Mar 06, 2018
from 12:00 PM to 05:00 PM

STS Conference Room (SSH Bldg. #1246)

​“Neanderthals in Space: George Church’s Modest Steps Toward Possible Futures”
Luis
Campos (University of New Mexico)

Tuesday March 6th, 12:10-2:00pm
STS/CSIS Conference Room (SSH 1246)
RSVP HERE


Abstract: This talk will address George Church’s emergence as a prominent biologist, from his technological discoveries in synthetic biology to some of the more remarkable “dreams” he has had for the field. Yet his scientific dreams have also provoked debate and controversy. The talk will consider Church’s status as a scientific visionary in light of the critical responses his work has engendered.

Luis Campos is Associate Professor of History at the University of New Mexico. He currently holds the Baruch S. Blumberg NASA/Library of Congress Chair in Astrobiology. He is the author of Radium and the Secret of Life (2015, University of Chicago Press), as well as numerous other publications on the history of biology. He is Secretary of the History of Science Society and Senior Fellow at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Center for Health Policy.
 
 

Jan 30: Sherryl Vint, "Living in Post-Vital Times"

A Food for Thought Event: RSVP requested

Jan 30, 2018
from 12:10 PM to 02:00 PM

STS Conference Room (SSH Bldg. #1246)

"Living in Post-Vital Times"

Professor Sherryl Vint

Media and Cultural Studies and English, UC Riverside

Tuesday January 30th, 12:10-2:00pm
STS/CSIS Conference Room (SSH 1246)
 
As usual, we will pre-circulate a text which will be briefly introduced at the start of the session. The introduction will be followed by an hour or so of lively discussion about the text, so please come having read the paper in advance. Food and refreshments will be provided!

Abstract: "Living in Post-Vital Times" seeks to theorize the consequences of recent biological research that require we require that we rethink the boundary between living and non-living, from the organisms created by synthetic biology to the "living cadavers" of transplant medicine. Exploring in particular ways that bioeconomics challenges the liberal separation of the subject and the thing by commodifying aspects of the human body, it will outline a theory of the post-vital that begins from such conflations of biological organism and tool or thing. I will use examples from speculative fiction to interrogate these shifts, drawing on Sheila Jasanoff's work on the sociotechnical imaginary to understand such cultural texts as not merely reflecting technological change but also participating in the ongoing construction of what futures we should seek to construct.


Sherryl Vint is Professor of Media and Cultural Studies and English at the University of California, Riverside, where she directs the Speculative Fictions and Cultures of Science program. Her research focuses on speculative fiction and social change. She is an author of Bodies of Tomorrow, Animal Alterity, The Wire, and Science Fiction: A Guide to the Perplexed. She is an editor of the journals Science Fiction Studies and Science Fiction Film and Television, and of the book series Science and Popular Culture. She has edited several books, most recently Science Fiction and Cultural Theory: A Reader. Her current research project, The Promissory Imagination: Speculative Futures and Biopolitics, explores the exchanges between speculative imagination and material practice in personalized medicine, epigenetics, agribusiness and other genomic research.

Andrew Mathews, "Sensing Disaster and Transformation: Modeling the Dramas of Italian Forest Futures"

Public Lecture presented by the Anthropology Department Colloquium, co-sponsored by STS.

Nov 20, 2017
from 04:00 PM to 06:00 PM

SS&H 2203 (Andrews Conference Room)

"Shibboleths in the Studio: On Boundary Objects for Boundary-Work" with Dr. Owen Marshall

Please RSVP to receive the pre-circulated text for this Food For Thought with STS Postdoc Owen Marshall. Refreshments will be provided.

Nov 14, 2017
from 12:15 PM to 02:15 PM

STS Conference Room (SSH Bldg. #1246)

"Shibboleths in the Studio: On Boundary Objects for Boundary-Work"

Dr. Owen Marshall, Postdoc, UC Davis STS

If you are interested in attending, please RSVP using the google form. We will send a copy of the text a week before the event to those who register.

This is an STS Food For Thought event: as usual, we will pre-circulate a text which will be briefly introduced at the start of the session. The introduction will be followed by an hour or so of lively discussion about the text, so please come having read the paper in advance. Food and refreshments will be provided!

Abstract: The concepts "boundary object" and "boundary-work" have been widely used in science and technology studies. They have also been frequently conflated with one another despite their distinct meanings and genealogies. Drawing on an ethnography of recording and signal processing engineers, for whom questions of professional identity must be routinely negotiated, I develop the concept of the "shibboleth" as a complementary term that disentangles "-work" and "object" and re-articulates the relation between them. Shibboleths, I propose, are usefully understood as boundary objects for boundary-work: things and practices at the intersections of social worlds that serve to carve out new distinctions and deepen existing ones. Where boundary objects are marked by their flexibility and ability to facilitate "collaboration without consensus," shibboleths are brittle and - like Deleuze and Guattari's desiring machines - work by breaking-down. I specifically examine the role of symbolic and practical action in this mode of productive breaking, and the possible counterstrategies of repair it occasions.

Owen Marshall is a postdoctoral scholar in Science & Technology Studies at UC Davis, with a PhD in S&TS from Cornell University. He works at the intersection of sound studies, the sociology of technology, and the anthropology of the body. His NSF-supported dissertation, Tuning In Situ: Articulations of Voice, Affect, and Artifact in the Recording Studio, is an ethnography of vocal tuning work among LA-based recording engineers. Prior to his graduate studies, he worked with Chicago Public Radio, The Consortium for Science Policy and Outcomes, and the Triple Helix Science and Society Review. He co-founded the long-running “Naked Noise” improvised music series in Ithaca, NY, and is currently organizing the Davis Infrastructural Listening Initiative’s “Music For Concrete” site-specific performance series in affiliation with the UCD ModLab.

Racial Reconciliation, Institutional Morality, and the Social Life of DNA with Dr. Alondra Nelson

Please RSVP for this Feminist Seminar, as lunch will be served. Presented by Gender, Sexuality & Womens' Studies, co-sponsored by STS.

Nov 01, 2017
from 12:00 PM to 02:00 PM

MPR, Student Community Center

Racial Reconciliation, Institutional Morality, and the Social Life of DNA:

Feminist Seminar with Dr. Alondra Nelson

Please RSVP for this event! Lunch will be served.

Nov. 1, 2017 | 12-2pm | MPR, Student Community Center

 

Presented by Gender, Sexuality & Women’s Studies

Co-sponsors: Science and Technology Studies, Feminist Research Institute, African American and African Studies, Performance Studies, Cultural Studies, American Studies, Women’s and Gender History Research Cluster, Community and Regional Development

Fictionalizing Anthropology: The Inescapable Creativity of Research and Writing with Stuart McLean

RSVP for a Food For Thought event presented by STS and the Anthropology Colloquium Series, including a poetry and video session, with Stuart McLean.

Oct 30, 2017
from 04:00 PM to 04:00 PM

1246 SSH (STS Conference room)

RSVP here to participate and receive the pre-circulated reading for this event. 

Please join STS and the Anthropology Colloquium series for a poetry and video session and Food for Thought* discussing Professor McLean's book:

In his new book Fictionalizing Anthropology, Stuart McLean claims that anthropology stands to learn most from art and literature. He insists that experiments with language and form are a performative means of exploring alternative possibilities of collective existence, new ways of being human and other than human, and that such experiments must therefore be indispensable to anthropology’s engagement with the contemporary world. 

Environments and Societies Colloquium with Professor Gregg Mitman

Oct 27, 2017
from 12:00 PM to 02:00 PM

STS Conference Room (SSH Building 1246)

This two-part event is presented by the Environments and Societies Colloquium and co-sponsored by STS. To receive a copy of the pre-circulated readings, contact Katherine Buse at kebuse@ucdavis.edu.

Gregg Mitman is an environmental historian, a historian of science and film, and also a filmmaker. After watching his documentary The Land Beneath Our Feet on Thursday, this Friday colloquium will follow a Food-for-Thought-style format. The film screening and the colloquium both explore themes related to Mitman's forthcoming book, The World that Firestone Built: Capitalism, American Empire, and the Forgotten Promise of Liberia. Mitman develops a plantationocene framework that links the history of American capitalism in Liberia to contemporary land conflicts in the country.

  • Thursday 10/26, 4-6 pm, Wright Hall Lab A: film screening of "The Land Beneath Our Feet," dir. Greg Mitman and Sarita Siegel.
  • Friday 10/27, 12-2 pm, STS Conference Room: Food-for-Thought-style discussion of two short proposals (one for Mitman's book and the other for a Mellon Sawyer Seminar) that discuss the theoretical and historical significance of his research about American capitalism in Liberia.

Dr. Mitman will present two short proposals based on his research about American capitalism in Liberia. In a Mellon Sawyer seminar proposal titled, "Interrogating the Plantationocene," Mitman suggests that rather than calling our current era the anthropocene–"a new geological epoch defined by homo sapiens influence upon the biological systems of the entire planet"–a more apt designation would be the plantationocene, a term that centers plantations and their ecological relations to the rise and growth of global capitalism. In shifting our attention from the concept of the anthropocene to that of the plantationocene, Mitman asks us to reconsider our fundamental ideas about the relationship of human corporeality to nature, labor, capital, and the state.

This short seminar proposal sets the context for Dr. Mitman's second short paper, which is the proposal for his forthcoming book, The World that Firestone Built: Capitalism, American Empire, and the Forgotten Promise of Liberia. The World that Firestone Built tells the story of American capitalism in Liberia within the plantationocene framework. It is also a sweeping story of ecology and disease, of commerce and science, of racial politics and political maneuvering. Turning a bright light on the intimate ties between American science, medicine, and business, it is the story of how American capitalism and corporate empire–driven by the demand for resources and profits enshrouded in a facade of benevolence–extracted enormous value for American interests from a struggling black republic in Africa while leaving the Liberian people to pay the price. Click here to explore Mitman's interactive website about capitalism in Liberia. 

You can read Dr. Mitman's full bio here.

  • Papers: "Interrogating the Plantationocene" and "The World that Firestone Built: Capitalism, American Empire, and the Forgotten Promise of Liberia."
  • Faculty Commentator: Dr. Corrie Decker, History, UC Davis
  • Graduate Student Commentator: Sean Gallagher, History, UC Davis

Screening of The Land Beneath Our Feet, Dir. Sarita Siegel & Gregg Mitman (Environments and Societies Colloquium)

Oct 26, 2017
from 04:00 PM to 06:00 PM

Wright Hall Lab A

This two-part event is presented by the Environments and Societies Colloquium and co-sponsored by STS. Gregg Mitman is an environmental historian, a historian of science and film, and also a filmmaker. His remarkable documentary, The Land Beneath Our Feet, weaves together rare archival footage from a 1926 Harvard expedition to Liberia, with the journey of a young Liberian man, uprooted by war, seeking to understand how the past has shaped land conflicts in his country today. The film is an explosive reminder of how large-scale land grabs are transforming livelihoods across the planet. (2016, 60 min. Directed by Sarita Siegel and Gregg Mitman).

The colloquium, which follows a Food-for-Thought-style format, will be taking place on Friday in the STS Conference Room (SSH 1246).

The film screening and the colloquium both explore themes related to Mitman's forthcoming book, The World that Firestone Built: Capitalism, American Empire, and the Forgotten Promise of Liberia. Mitman develops a plantationocene framework that links the history of American capitalism in Liberia to contemporary land conflicts in the country.

  • Thursday 10/26, 4-6 pm, Wright Hall Lab A: film screening of "The Land Beneath Our Feet," dir. Greg Mitman and Sarita Siegel.
  • Friday 10/27, 12-2 pm, STS Conference Room: Food-for-Thought-style discussion of two short proposals (one for Mitman's book and the other for a Mellon Sawyer Seminar) that discuss the theoretical and historical significance of his research about American capitalism in Liberia.
To receive a copy of the pre-circulated readings, contact Katherine Buse at kebuse@ucdavis.edu.

"Figuring Opacity"

Asbjørn Grønstad (University of Bergen) presents his research on the subject of opacity in visual culture, tracing the predilection for low definition from classical film theory to the digital era.

Oct 26, 2017
from 11:10 AM to 01:10 PM

STS Conference Room (SSH Building 1246)

Asbjørn Grønstad (University of Bergen)
"Figuring Opacity"
 
11:10 am, October 26 (Thursday)
STS Conference Room (SSH Building 1246)
"In this talk I will introduce my ongoing research project on the subject of opacity in visual culture. Comprising a set of case studies from Ernie Gehr to John Akomfrah, Matt Saunders, Zach Blas and Trevor Paglen, the study attempts to provide a theory of the opaque image anchored in ethics and sensitive to its historical and aesthetic contexts. The part presented here traces the predilection for low definition from classical film theory to the digital era."
Asbjørn Grønstad is Professor of Visual Culture in the Department of Information Science and Media Studies, University of Bergen, where he is also founding director of The Nomadikon Center for Visual Culture. The author/editor of nine books, his most recent publications are Film and the Ethical Imagination (Palgrave, 2016) and Gestures of Seeing in Film, Video and Drawing (Routledge, 2016, co-edited with Henrik Gustafsson & Øyvind Vågnes). He is currently a Fulbright Fellow and visiting professor in the Film and Media Department at UC Berkeley. His current work-in-progress book project is tentatively entitled For an Ethics of the Opaque Image.

War, Security, and Digital Media Symposium

Oct 14, 2017 12:00 PM to
Oct 15, 2017 05:00 PM

Hart Hall Conference Room 3201 (Sat), ModLab in Cruess Hall (Sun)

The first meeting of the UCHRI Working Group on "War, Security, and Digital Media" will take place on the weekend of October 14-15 to be held in the Hart Hall Conference Room 3201 on Saturday the 14th and in ModLab in Cruess Hall on Sunday the 15th
 

This two-day symposium, co-sponsored by the UC Humanities Research Institute, the UC Davis Science and Technology Studies program, ModLab, and the Mellon Initiative in Digital Cultures, will bring together graduate students and faculty from across the UC system to critically investigate the interrelations of war, security, and digital technologies. Across these forms of knowledge production and circulation, we hope this symposium will begin to analyze how contemporary instantiations of violence and targeting are manifesting domestically and globally. Our approach will broadly conceptualize the mediations of warfare and security as dynamic, contingent processes that occur between vectors such as institutions, topographies, architectures, and bodies. Consequently, our multifaceted approach and array of community and campus engagements will strive to address the corporeal, affective, political, and spatial ramifications of these unfolding enactments. We will also think about digital technologies that are simultaneously deployed as weapons of militarization and surveillance, and as instruments of tactical resistance and social critique.

 
In service of these goals, we have brought together a range of academics, thinkers, doers, activists, and artists to engage in a series of interdisciplinary events, from tinkering with digital technologies with ModLab, to playing with and creating robust theoretical concepts during a graduate student writing session. We hope this symposium will put pressure on the often strict boundaries drawn between activism and academic work, while simultaneously opening up space for those across disciplines to engage one another in ways that are often foreclosed within the university system. 

Society for the Social Studies of Science

Upcoming Event

Aug 30, 2017 12:00 AM to
Sep 02, 2017 12:05 PM

STS faculty, post doctoral fellows, and graduate students will deliver several papers at the annual meeting of the Society for the Social Studies of Science (4S) in Boston. 4S is the global association for STS scholars.

Congratulations to our graduates!

Congratulations to the class of 2017! For more information, visit the official commencement website.

Jun 17, 2017
from 02:00 PM to 02:00 PM

Congratulations to the class of 2017! For more information, visit the official commencement website. 

ModLab video game on STEAM

"Play the Knave," a video game developed at the UC Davis ModLab by Prof. Gina Bloom and her team of researchers, is now on Steam Greenlight!

Jun 10, 2017 12:00 AM to
Sep 01, 2017 12:00 AM

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