How does this relate to your own research interests?


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Angela Okune's picture
April 26, 2022

Hey Tonya, I also love STS!

October 4, 2021

In my current research engagement, I am trying to study the watershed (basin) as an emergent infrastructure and I could explore the idea of a collaborative infrastructure from this sketch as I try to engage with the invisible infrastructural work around watersheds. 

October 4, 2021

I would also like to continue leveraging upon and contributing to the collaborative infrastructure as Joseph has discussed for himself through the virtual collaborative infrastructures. 

September 29, 2021

My own work is in science laboratories and how scientists communicate to build scientific theory. Certainly, repetition and "re-use with modifications" (Charles Goodwin 2018) are a key component of this process. The infrastructure scientists use (journals, email, University departments, banks of computers/servers) to achieve their goals are largely invisible to them and they often don't realize how the direction of their theory depends on the contingencies of infrastructure. Question: should the infrastructure be 'visible' or can it only do its work enabling productivity when it is invisible?

Anna-Lena Rüland's picture
September 27, 2021

Hi Misria,

Your research sounds very interesting. In my PhD, I am looking at the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), to which India contributes, as one of several case studies. I was wondering if you are also interested in ITER? Unfortunately, so far, I was only able to find European/American literature on the project, maybe you could point me to Indian references?

I hope we have the opportunity to chat about this during the workshop. I look forward to it.

Kind regards,


Tim Schütz's picture
August 17, 2020

Jessica, thank you for the three visuals you shared in regards to your very exciting field research in Mauritius. The first image of the converted sugar factory pulled me in right away and made me draw connections to my own research and teaching. In collaboration with the Whitney Plantation Museum in Southern Louisiana, I am currently working on a digital exhibit. The exhibit is designed for undergraduate students in the course Environmental Injustice, teaching students about the shift from domestic slave trade to petrochemical economy. Interestingly, the plantation was formerly owned by Formosa Plastics, with the aim to build the largest rayon factory in the United States. Due to activist pushback and shrinking global demand for frayon, Formosa eventually sold the property after 9 years. Having toured the Whitney last summer, I was struck by the image of the glitzy office stands, which stands in such a stark contrast to the violent history of plantation labor. That said, it would be fantastic to hear more about how you incorporate the history of sugar plantations in your own narration of biofuel and sustainability in Mauritius. And what do you make of the historic (?) picture printed on the office wall? How is sugarcane remembered by users of the office?

The political comic on resource extraction you selected is also sobering and visualizing "the point". Do you know more about the artist who drew it? Do you plan to include the visual in your dissertation, if yes why (or why not)?

I am not sure if the orientation of the electric car in your third picture was on purpose, but the world "upside-down" and out of joint seems spot-on, given the oil tanker disaster that is unfolding. I know you mentioned the disaster in your short bio and you must be following it very closely. It would be great to learn more from you how you think the disaster will impact sustainability efforts in Mauritius. I'm still relatively new to research on environmental injustice (and since moving to California, got socialized into learning a lot of US-cases). If not least to do a better job at teaching, this will be an important case that I'd like to understand better. Looking forward to what you'll have to share!

Not directly related to your selected visuals, but very interested to hear about your use of maps and sensory-multimodal methods (I'm also going through rounds of trial and error). What civic data, mapping and activism is currently prevalent in Mauritius? What more is needed? 

PS: thanks for review on my Formosa visuals and pointing to Max Liboirons' work -- great inspiration!

Jessica Caporusso's picture
August 16, 2020

Hi Kim,

Thanks for sharing your data collection and storage methods. One type of "data" that you've identified, Twitter conversations, has become increasingly important in my research as well. This brings up a question that I often grapple with: how "public" is public data and what steps must be undertaken to ensure that interlocutors are protected, especially in cases where this information may already be circulating on and through social media itself? In many cases, I've seen some interlocutors screenshot conversations from more "closed" social media forums, like WhatsApp and Facebook groups, and circulate these images on Twitter. This has been a hot topic in Mauritius (where I conduct research) as of late; there has been an escalation in attacks on freedom of the press and free speech, which comes hand-in-hand with a recent heavy fuel oil spill offshore and public critiques of government inaction. I wonder if, or to what extent, this may also be an issue for your research?

August 16, 2020

Sketch 6 _ response to Megh Marathe's and Angela Okune's posts, and Katie Ulrich's response _ Meredith Sattler

I'm thinking a lot about 'visual style,' and how it realtes to communication, in my work.  Megh and Angela, in both of your posts, this issue also seems to be foregrounded.  Megh, very explicitly in your research into the 'reading' of EEG data, and Angela [and Katie's response] in the 'flow diagram' arrows.

My visually based backgrounds in art and architecture have proven time and again, that content and form are difficult to tease apart [is this binary even exactly the right binary?], particularly in visual representations, where in many cases, the signified and signifier are collapsed, and they all have a 'look' or visual style to them.  Clearly, content and form are also present in text [and numbers, perhaps to a lesser extent], but I suspect that in western culture [particularly American], we have more background/training to 'read' texts within their standard forms/styles [I'm thinking of categories such as prose vs. technical, etc.] than visual images. Hence, we have more skill and experience teasing apart content and 'style' in text form.  This might contribute to some of our confusion between visual content/form. Perhaps as a culture, we just haven't been educated to 'read' images at a more nuanced level [very dangerous in a media saturated society[!] but that's another topic].

Both content and form, of course, communicate and are simultaneously imbued with norms, values, ethics, memory triggers, etc.  [While I haven't delved deep into the theory/philosophy of aesthetics, I suspect there's a depth of knowledge related to these topics developed there.]  Megh, initially this tension between visual form and content seems to be at the core of your interests...?  I love thinking about your identification of an 'ugly' EEG as both a constructed category, and for how the 'ugly' judgement the graph engenders might prove transferable, potentially with significant implications.

Angela and Katie, I've been thinking a lot about the form of the flow chart [with arrows].  For all the good the flow chart does, it is a sneaky form of representation because it appears to be relatively spatially and temporally explicit, but in fact, in many cases, despite its ordered, analytical, and maybe even quantitative appearance, it resists those attributes.  Flow representations show boundaries well [they require them, even where they might not be present], and put discreet entities in relationship with one another, often sequentially, and of course, they show a 'complete' system, somewhat like a map [BUT, they are NOT spatially explicit].  Ultimately, they often show a top-down idealized version of a situation.  Because of their form, they are largely not capable of representing 'on the ground' complications, surprises, and abnormalities...the 'reality' embedded within many of the situations they depict.  Here, 'style' stands-in for control:  clean boundaries around entities, clearly defined relationships and pathways of circulation; yet no real communication of duration or geospatial position.  If their form were to accomodate all of that information, the diagram would quickly become so visually complex, it would be illegible.

What they do do well, is COMMUNICATE a simplified, ordered, [highly biased] world.  I also increasingly think they are very useful visioning/worldmaking design tools...but very dangerous when not intimately coupled with other design processes and representations.

August 15, 2020

Hi Hannah!

Your work on open science has overlaps with my research on how biotechnology is being 'democratized', in that we're both interested in how scientific knowledge of various sorts can be made more available and accessible. It was especially interesting to read about the political economic dimensions of open science - this is also relevant to my own research, and it seems as though we both need to grapple with and consider the extent to which dominant existing norms, practices, and instititions with respect to science can be reconfigured to create new scientific-economic arrangements (e.g. 'commons'). 

Katie Ulrich's picture
August 14, 2020

Jonathan Wald's Sketch 2

Hi Jonathan! I was so interested to hear about the bureaucrats' bodies and their "generally depressed demeanor," since this seems like such a contrast with the scientists I work with who, while acknowledging the boring parts of lab work, still always love the nitty gritty science. So there are two groups of actors working on climate solutions/responses broadly speaking with quite different subjectivities perhaps. But one site where these two groups converge is the PowerPoint presentations! I have so many slidedecks in my data files. I'd love to think with you more about the work that PowerPoints do and how they're able to be so frequently mobilized by different kinds of actors.

Edited later to briefly reply to your comments on my sketch 2: Thanks so much for these thoughts, they are very helpful! Yes, it was cool to read through your sketch 2 and see similar and different takes on a closely related project topic too. I think you're spot on that the merging or separation of these different (subjectivity) realms is a great place from which to flesh out the stakes of my interlocutors' work. And as you say, there are surely other realms that are not even included here as well, and that exclusion is notable. 

I also very much agree that the issue of holistic versus particularist approaches is important and complicated. I find myself struggling with that a lot. I tend to get very wrapped up in small technical things and have a hard time bridging them with larger pictures. That's why I was interested in this sketch, because it seems so helpful to at least first identify all these different kinds of scales.