Global Governance Institute


Science/Technology/Security: Challenges to global governance? - two-day international conference

20 June 2016–21 June 2016, 9:00 am–6:00 pm

Science Technology event

Event Information

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Council Room, School of Public Policy, 29 Tavistock square, WC1H 9QU, London

UCL's Global Governance Institute  will host a two-day international conference on the interdisciplinary theme of science, technology and security on 20-21 June 2016. Limited tickets for non-speakers are available, please register.

We live, interact and research in a world rife with the demands, rhetoric, technologies and policies of security. Recent work across the social sciences and humanities has not only attempted to identify and describe the networks, norms, agendas, spaces and actors that constitute environments of security, but has also identified how manifold notions of security co-exist, compete and shift over time and from place to place. Scholars have studied experiences of living and feeling as notions of technologies of terrorism have changed; others have examined how ideas about the human body shape and are shaped by technologies of war, detection and prevention, such as drones. Still others have focused on the many issues associated with arms control and regulation, non-proliferation and secrecy - whether epistemological, political or sociological.

The roles that science and technology adopt in the realm of security present extensive areas for study: how, when and by whom is science used to justify, legitimise and procure security policies? Who negotiates what science is when it comes to security issues, when such knowledge is classified or secret? How are science and technology used to create 'solutions' to security problems, and how and when do they lead to security problems themselves? How are ethical concerns balanced with national security, and what constitutes legitimate regulation of norms? Are norms changing? Our conference will be an opportunity to create a dialogue around these questions and, more importantly, to shine light on emerging issues in the field.

The conference will feature two keynote speakers:

Prof. Brian Rappert: "Absence and the Displaying of Secreted Histories"

Prof. Jeanne Guillemin: "National Security vs. the Geneva Protocol: How the Cold War Overruled Justice at the Tokyo War Crimes Trial, 1946-1948"

Sessions have been organised on a range of topics:

  • Data and surveillance
  • Anticipation and surveillance
  • Knowledges and geopolitics
  • Borders
  • Biology and health
  • Non-lethal weapons
  • Military technologies

A closing panel will take an overview of the research presented and discuss its implications for the field.