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STS Events

Details of upcoming events involving the Department of Science and Technology Studies. PLEASE NOTE: All seminars will be held online until further notice. Details of the platform with links to join will be published at a later date.

21 October 2020

40 minute talk live, followed by Q&A.

Platform: Zoom

4.30pm-6pm (GMT)

Dr Carla Almeida,  
Science Communication Research Centre
Museum of Life, Fiocruz, Brazil
(Prof Phyllis Illari to chair)

Science theatre: the public in the spotlight

This seminar will address the interactions between science and theatre and present recent research that seeks to understand them in the context of science communication. Although science and theatre have an old relationship, we have seen a recent proliferation of initiatives linking these areas with science engagement intentions. If, on the one hand, we can list hundreds of science theatre initiatives nowadays, there is still scarce academic literature on the subject. Carla Almeida will share results of studies she has been conducting at the Museum of Life (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) with the museum's theatre productions as the main object of research. In line with current studies in the field of science communication, which dedicate more attention to the public, the ongoing investigations focus on the figure of the spectators.

Please email sts@ucl.ac.uk to receive the details of the Zoom meeting.

4 November

 

40 minute talk live, followed by Q&A.

Platform: Zoom

4.30pm-6pm (GMT)

Dr Katie Kendig, Michigan State University
(Prof Emma Tobin to chair)

‘Ontology as ecology: kind-making in ethnobiology'

Kind-making activities are important because they shape the way people explore their environment, how they value those things within it, and how these are understood within the context of their culture(s) of practice. Knowing how something came to be a kind for a particular culture provides a means by which we might begin to understand how it furnishes grounds for knowledge claims and normative evaluations. That is, it provides a way to understand what it means to ‘make a kind’ or ‘name a kind’ within a particular culture.

These kinds might be named by the culture by relying on formalized conventions like the International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants; vernacular names or informed by a particular way of life, like the regional naming practices of the Scots of the Outer Hebrides or the detailed lichen nomenclature of the indigenous Sàmi of Northern Finnmark. 

The Sàmi language reflects specialized knowledge of the environment and of their relationship with the animals that they herd, trap, and fish. The Sàmi have specialized names for the lands on which they graze their reindeer as well as for the various lichen species that can be found within these lands. These names allow them to differentiate between lichens that grow at different times during the season and between those that the reindeer eat, which they prefer, which they avoid, and which they are willing to eat in times of scarcity.

I argue that naming practices can be understood as different ways of reaching out into the world to linguistically grasp that to which is of interest for a particular purpose. The notion of linguistically grasping implies a sort of ecologically extended kind-making interaction where interactionism involves both the object of interest as well as the ontological commitments of kind-makers, namers and kind-users.

Please email sts@ucl.ac.uk to receive the details of the Zoom meeting.

18 November 2020

Pre-circulated paper (10th November), and live Q&A.

Platform: Zoom

4.30pm-6pm (GMT)

Dr Jessica Ratcliff, Cornell University
(Prof Simon Werrett to chair)

Natural Monopoly: The East India Company and Britain's Second Scientific Revolution

Focusing on the library and museum at India House, this book explores the place of the East India Company, and its version of colonial capitalism, within the changing world of knowledge production and consumption in nineteenth-century London.

Please email sts@ucl.ac.uk to receive the details of the Zoom meeting.

25 November 2020

Platform: Zoom

4.00pm-6pm (GMT)

Kanta Dihal, Centre for the Future of Intelligence, University of Cambridge on ‘Narratives of AI’

London PUS Seminar: Narratives of AI

Kanta Dihal from the Centre for the Future of Intelligence at the University of Cambridge will be talking on the topic of ‘Global Narratives of AI’. To join the seminar, please register via this link.

2 December 2020

 

40 minute talk live, followed by Q&A.

Platform: Zoom

4.30pm-6pm (GMT)

Subhadra Das
(Dr Chiara Ambrosio to chair)

Eugenics & Other Stories, histories and further arguments against a scientifically run state

Science used to be racist. Some scientific ideas remain racist, ableist and sexist in ways that continue to be harmful to people, often in ways of which we are completely unaware. In this talk, historian and Curator of UCL Science Collections Subhadra Das untangles ideas about marginalization in society today and traces the threads back to their origins in the work of Francis Galton – the most influential Victorian scientist most people have never heard of. She considers how the hidden history of Charles Darwin’s cousin – and his invention of eugenics – can turn our ideas about science on their head, and why it’s so important, now more than ever, that we acknowledge this history.

Please email sts@ucl.ac.uk to receive the details of the Zoom meeting.

9 December 2020

Platform: Zoom

4.00pm-6pm (GMT)Dr. Maria Kiladi, UCL The popular and academic version of Eugenics in Britain between 1900 and 1933London PUS SeminarDr. Maria Kiladi from UCL’s Department of Science and Technology Studies (STS) will be talking about ‘'Propagandistic Efforts' and 'Eugenics of the Study': The popular and academic version of Eugenics in Britain between 1900 and 1933’.  To join the seminar, please register via this link.

16 December 2020

 

40 minute talk live, followed by Q&A.

Platform: Zoom

4.30pm-6pm (GMT)

Projit Mukharji, University of Pennsylvania (Dr Noémi Tousignant to chair)

The Bitter Taste for Race: A Sensory History of Race Science in Twentieth-century India

Histories of race science in South Asia have mostly focused on the period before the First World War. This has meant race science has generally been understood within the binaries of the ‘colonial rule of difference’ and as being engendered in relatively superficial bodily traits and cranial measurements. From the Inter-War decades however, a much more technically and politically complex version of race science began to emerge in South Asia. This raciology continued to evolve after formal decolonization in 1947 and laid the groundwork for much of contemporary population genomic research in India. In this talk I will focus on one particular strand of this twentieth-century Indian raciology. This strand was devoted to mapping inheritable and racialized differences in people’s ability to perceive the bitter taste. Exploring this sensory history of race science allows us to glimpse with particular acuity mid-twentieth-century Indian attempts to distinguish the ‘biological’ and the ‘cultural’.

Please email sts@ucl.ac.uk to receive the details of the Zoom meeting.