Accounting for Indeterminacy: provocations and possibilities
Thursday 27th June 2013: 12.00- 18.00
Lancaster University, Lancaster Environment Centre, Training Rooms 1 & 2
This workshop is inspired by recent work in feminist science studies, cultural studies, feminist theory and human geography on the under-determined or indeterminate, around the possibilities and processes of life. Interestingly, this work which sketches out the contours and implications of a focus upon the ‘in-between’ (Roosth and Schrader 2012), ‘together/apart’ (Barad 2007), ‘insensible’ (Yusoff 2013), ‘untimely’ (Schrader 2010) provokes a number of intellectual perturbations amounting to something of a disciplinary rift. Indeterminacies do not only demand accounting from within existing epistemes of knowledge (from which they have often been excluded) but also radically unsettle those existing methods of accounting. The tensions lie in the divergent methodological, epistemological, ontological and ethico-political commitments at stake. On the one hand, one of the drivers for focusing upon the ontological precariousness of entities in-between, can be seen as a desire to break out of the perceived constraints of interpretive, constructivist theory and practice. These literatures aim to feed the imagination and our ability to interact with and respond to a world, only part of which we can even begin to comprehend. They also tend to call for an immersion ‘in and of the science’ and an appreciation at face-value of the worries, thrills and findings of its practitioners (Roosth & Schrader 2012). On the other hand, many scholars in the social and historical studies of science and technology (STS) would argue that it is disingenuous to write about entities as ethical, and as political, in a way that removes from the picture how knowledge of such entities is being, or has been, crafted and translated, in specific and contestable ways. Such scholars are sensing a whiff of scientism and are troubled by the ways in which science is employed not as a subject of critique, but as a generator of concepts for new ontological formations. This workshop will provide an opportunity to explore such emerging engagements with indeterminacy, ethics and politics through diverging and often-conflicting lenses. The aim is not to attempt any kind of resolution. Rather, we hope to think further together around some of the consequences of the different perspectives for broader STS, feminist, social science and humanities based debates around epistemological and ontological theory.
Speakers include: Astrid Schrader (York University, Toronto), Claire Waterton (Lancaster University), Filippo Bertoni (University of Amsterdam), Kathryn Yusoff (Lancaster University), Adrian Mackenzie (Lancaster University), Kim De Wolff (University of California, San Diego), Nigel Clark (Lancaster University), Ioanat Zurr (SymbioticA, University of Western Australia),Rebecca Ellis (Lancaster University), Celia Roberts (Lancaster University).
Supported by Centre for Science Studies (CSS), Centre for the Study of Environmental Change (CSEC), Centre for Gender and Women’s Studies (CGWS), Lancaster Environment Centre (LEC)