How does this relate to your own research interests?

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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.

August 14, 2020

I am reviewing Nima Madjzubi's response to Sketch 6: STS Beyond Academia. I think Nima's response corresponds to how I think about my research. Nima points out a contention I sensed when also trying to think of my research "beyond academia," i.e. what is "beyond" when we study academicians who do research and practice and theory all at once. This relates to my research interests because it is also true for me that in working with dermatologists, the lines between academia and its beyond are blurry. I do think, however, that there may be a way to reconcile this discomfort and push oneself to think past deconstruction toward an answer. In Nima's work on primatologists, as in my own, scientists exist beyond science. I do think there might be a way to engage primatologists' practitioner side. For instance, if they do advocacy or other work for primates outside of their academic work, is there a way for our work to aid in how they do or think about that work? 

Megan Wiessner's picture
August 13, 2020

Aaron this is a really interesting list -  But limiting myself, I wanted to ask specifically about Chinese Medicine imports and commerce. I have a sort of side interest (semi-academic, semi-personal) in the politics of "alternative medicine" in the U.S. Lots to say there about appropriation, privilege, visibility, and supply chains. I'd be curious to hear your thoughts on how any of the products and medical practices you study are framed and positioned by different actors in relation to other healing systems like Ayurveda, Homeopathy, or North American herbalisms (which can be quite syncretic), or even the idea of being an "alternative" itself. 

(and a P.S.- thank you for your comments! To respond provisionally, I'm not sure if I see an overarching telos myself, but what I'm interested in might actually be that many practioners seem to, and that this has been a big part of their work. Although different telological frameworks seem to rise and fall over time, there are some common themes of being future-oriented, speculative, and utopian/dystopian. The last question about producing a new chronology in tracking these over time is an excellent one I'll have to think more about...) 

Julieta Arancio's picture
August 13, 2020

Reading the contribution from Cheri Johnson,

Indigenous knowledge is often characterized as if it is automatically positive

I found in my research in a global community the same idealization of "global south" people or in general "poor people". I find it's particularly hurtful when this conceptualization of under-represented groups leads to overlook how many heterogeneous positions exist within them and how power structures come into play. In the communities I study people try to overcome this by building internal governance structures that are as plural and diverse as possible, and guarantee the less powerful members can also say what they want to say. But of course the community you mention must have a governance already defined.

Could there be a way to calibrate the knowledge production system to the ends that are desired by the Native communities?  

You may find of interest the work of GOSH community-- basically people building tools for producing scientific knowledge they need. The manifesto is pretty explicit and points to exactly this idea of empowering communities so they can also influence the scientific agenda. A reference here is Max Liboiron and the CLEAR lab.

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