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Home / STS/CSIS Food For Thought With Brit Ross Winthereik: "Conversions"

STS/CSIS Food For Thought With Brit Ross Winthereik: "Conversions"

When May 05, 2016
from 12:00 PM to 01:30 PM
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Please join us for a STS/CSIS "Food for Thought" event:
Thursday, May 5th - 12:00 - 1:30
@ the STS/CSIS room (SS # 1246) 
with Prof Brit Ross Winthereik 

As usual, we will pre-circulate a text which will be briefly introduced, followed by an extensive discussion of the work. Food and refreshments will be provided!  Please RSVP with Josh ( to receive a copy of the text! 
Abstract: "Conversions"
      New sources of energy production are being experimented with in Europe. In Denmark, decision-makers and managers in the energy sector are speaking of a 'green transition' that converts energy production from fossils into renewable energy sources, including biomass, wind, solar, and wave power. While technologies for the harnessing of wind and solar energy are increasingly integrated into the energy infrastructure, the potential of wave energy remains uncertain. Half a dozen wave energy devices have been developed and tested in Denmark since the early 1970s. However, technology developers and scientists are still struggling to establish the potentials of specific devices. 
      The text that will be discussed at this workshop is work-in-progress and drafty. It focuses on a particular group of people, which is at the heart of the 'green transition', but whose struggles are seldom spoken about in the innovation discourse. These people are inventors, who have devoted their lives to struggle with waves, metal, hydraulics and anchoring. The text has the format of a book chapter and is based on material generated through ethnographic fieldwork by two students and me between 2012-2015. The paper revolves around the notion of conversions and I seek to discuss different kinds of conversions that emerge from the material. Moreover, the text explores risks and potentials of a kind of conversion that expresses one set of values and practices by means of another, thus using concepts as converting that which is not convertible.
Inline image 1Brit Ross Winthereik is Associate Professor at the IT University of Copenhagen in the Technologies in Practice faculty group. She has published on ethnographic methods, accountability, information infrastructures, ontology, and critique at the intersection of Science and Technology Studies and Anthropology and is the author of Monitoring Movements in Development Aid with Casper Bruun Jensen (2013, MIT). She is lead investigator of Marine Renewable Energy as Alien: Social Studies of an Emerging Industry with Laura Watts and co-founder of the ETHOS Lab, which is an experimental space for ethnographies of/through the digital at the IT-University ( 

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