Genomic data and “big science”
Tousignant looks at the materiality of the main toxicology lab (apparatus, reagents, gas taps, benches, signs, and reports) to consider how these carry and convey traces of former analytical activity and future horizons into the present to reflect on who makes and moves capacity, and for whom.
For Tousignant’s context, “data” is (largely quantitative) data on exposure to toxic poisons (e.g. snake bites, unknown diseases, etc.) generated about Senegal.
Studying a synthetic-chemistry-based company, specifically the perspectives of iThemba’s drug discovery scientists, who comprise two groups: members of the company’s management and scientific advisory board, who are internationally trained and based in the United States, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, and South Africa, and bench scientists, who are trained in South Africa and working in Johannesburg (850).
In spite of Tilley’s 2010 piece calling for the study of the construction of “vernacular science,” this work largely traces British archives and thus centers the British empire as the main actor (although she works to complicate this to demonstrate the complexities of the production of scientific knowledge). She is limited methodologically with the archives that are available.
Tilley argues that historians need to pay much closer attention to the changing and porous boundaries that have existed between science and non-science during rapid and extended moments of cross-cultural interpenetration given that philosophers of science have shown that “there is no singular knowledge system that can be grouped under the label “science” and that within the myriad sciences there are often competing and incommensurable epistemologies” (117)
Biruk hones in on quantitative demographic health data in Malawi as the "science" she chooses to study. Throughout the book she draws on her experience as an anthropologist and compares the epistemic cultures of demographers and anthropologists.
The "science" that Alev Coban looks at are the socio-material practices of prototyping, making and innovating within engineering and hardware projects, specifically in the context of Nairobi's makerspaces and tech scene (Source: response to survey for STS across Borders exhibit created by Okune).