CISP Online

Blog of the Centre for Invention & Social Process, Goldsmiths

May 5, 2017
by Alex Wilkie
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Speculative Research Day & Book Launch

To celebrate the recent publication of Speculative Research: The Lure of Possible Futures (Routledge, edited by Alex Wilkie, Martin Savransky, and Marsha Rosengarten), this event co-organised by The Unit of Play and the Centre for Invention and Social Process will bring many of the authors in the collection as well as other international scholars together for a day-long, experimental summer school. Throughout the day we will collectively explore the challenges and potentialities of speculative thought and practice through a series of hands-on experimental workshops, situated reflections, and roundtable discussions.

Research Students and ECRs from all disciplines are especially encouraged to attend. The event is free and everyone is welcome. Registration is required (due to limited capacity). Please register here.

Programme

10.00-10.30am Welcome and Introductions

Location: RHB150

10.30am-12.30pm Speculative Techniques & Propositions

With: Michael Guggenheim (Sociology) and Alex Wilkie (Design)
Inspired by various contributions in the book on ‘speculative techniques’, in this session we open up speculation and speculative thought as an experimental and collaborative activity. We invite participants to present their work as speculative propositions to be collectively explored in small interdisciplinary groups. Session participants will give a short introduction to their projects and then participants will be invited to engage in the collective exploration and reworking of the possibility of the project as a speculative proposition(s) involving speculative techniques.

[Note: While this is not a requirement, if you think you are working on a speculative project and would like to submit it to collective speculation, or if you would like to make available your project for collective speculative experimentation, please submit a short 100-word description of your project or 2 slides/pages of pdf until Friday May 19th with the subject “SPECULATIVE TECHNIQUES” to  and ]

12.30-2.00pm Lunch

2.00-3.30pm Lures for Speculative Thought

With: Monica Greco (Sociology), Marsha Rosengarten (Sociology), Michael Schillmeier (Sociology, Exeter). Chair: Alex Wilkie (Design)
The aim of this session will be to put to the test the lure or proposition of becoming responsive to the emergent demands that make a research encounter. To do so, we will reflect on what might constitute a speculative research approach while bearing in mind the conventional constraints of research practice: namely, the need to identify in advance ‘the problem,’ a research question, and a set of methods. We will ask: in what manner, if at all, might the usual presuppositions of research and their accompanying practices be turned to a care for unforetold possibilities? Possibilities that might, at least initially, seem at risk of foreclosure by the imposition of the usual research repertoire. As may be expected of any research, our test will be applied to situated and thus concrete examples.

3.30-4.00pm Refreshments Break

4.00-5.30pm The Politics of Speculative Thought

With: Vikki Bell (Sociology), Michael Halewood (Sociology, Essex), and Martin Savransky (Sociology). Chair: Marsha Rosengarten (Sociology)
What difference might the speculative make, not just to how we think about and practise social and cultural research, but to how we learn to relate to the many others that compose the presents and futures in which we live, for which we think, do and feel? This roundtable session will explore the implications of some of the themes and issues posed by speculative research as they connect with broader, pressing questions of politics, ethics, and aesthetics. By returning to some of the philosophical sources that provide inspiration for the development of more practical and empirical forms of speculative research, we hope to start a collective conversation (with speakers and all participants) about the relation between speculation and the art of life: that is, the political, ethical, and aesthetic task to live, to live well, to live better.

6.00pm Speculative Research Book Launch

Laurie Grove Baths Council Room
With comments by Andrew Barry (Geography, UCL) and Nicholas Gaskill (English, Rutgers)
All participants are invited to celebrate the launch of the book in a more informal, social setting. Refreshments will be provided, and we hope to have copies of the book available for purchase there too!

Speculative Research Day and Book Launch

Speculative Research Day and Book Launch

April 10, 2017
by Baki Cakici
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CISP Salon 2016/17 Review: STS Then and Now

Throughout the history of the Centre for Invention and Social Process at Goldsmiths, the CISP Salon has been a venue for academic discussion across disciplines, with an evolving format decided according to the needs of the science and technology studies (STS) community by a rotating group of organisers.

During the 2016 Autumn and 2017 Spring terms, we were given the opportunity to lead the CISP Salon, which we structured as four reading groups. As the Spring term draws to a close and we prepare to hand over the Salon responsibility, we wanted to briefly reflect on our Salon experience.

We strove to compose an outward looking programme to reach STS scholars and interested readers with different levels of experience and different disciplinary backgrounds. We wanted to provide a platform for not only academic discussion of texts, but one that could also serve as an introduction to STS ideas for those who had not encountered the field before.

We titled our 2016/17 Salon series “STS Then and Now”. With the four reading group meetings, we wanted to make connections between the early years of STS and the recent theoretical and empirical work that draws on that rich history. Our ‘Then’ texts were drawn primarily from 1980s and 1990s, while our ‘Now’ texts were from the last two years.

We organised each Salon under a theme (you can find a list of all the discussed papers at the end of this post). The first one dealt with cyborgs, discussing Donna Haraway’s seminal text together with Nelly Oudshoorn’s recent work on pacemakers. In the second salon, we discussed situated practice, starting with Lucy Suchman’s contributions, and following it with Sara Grimes’ research on configuring the child user.  We began the third salon with Susan Leigh Star’s work to understand the methodological issues surrounding the study of infrastructure, and we discussed how these issues inform Joan Donovan’s study of social movements and communications infrastructure. Finally, in the fourth salon, we discussed postcolonial frames for studying of science and technology, starting with Sandra Harding’s “Is Science Multicultural?” to understand and question claims of universal science, and continuing with how these questions inform Lindsay Adams Smith’s study of DNA identification.

Organising the CISP Salon allowed us to meet new scholars with similar interests, and also gave us an opportunity to connect with colleagues. We believe that it is important to continue demonstrating the links between STS concepts from their initial conception to their current use, especially to encourage new readers and new readings.

In closing, we would also like to acknowledge the third member of our group, Naho Matsuda, who designed the posters for all four salons. We received many compliments on the visual design of the posters, and we cannot thank Naho enough for her contribution to the success of the Salon series.

 

Baki Cakici & Jess Perriam

 

salon-01-cyborgs cisp salon 2 - sts then and now - configuration

CISP Salon - Infrastructures cisp salon 4 - postcolonial sts

Cyborgs

Haraway, D.J., 1991. A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century, in Simians, Cyborgs, and Women: The Reinvention of Nature. Routledge, 149–181.
Oudshoorn, N., 2016. The Vulnerability of Cyborgs: The Case of ICD Shocks. Science, Technology & Human Values 41, 767–792.

Configuration
Suchman, L., 1987. “Human-Machine Communication”, in Plans and Situated Actions: The Problem of Human-Machine Communication. Cambridge University Press.
Grimes, S.M., 2015. Configuring the Child Player. Science, Technology & Human Values 40, 126-148.

Infrastructure
Star, S. L. 1999. “The Ethnography of Infrastructure.” American Behavioral Scientist 43 (3): 377–91.
Donovan, J., 2016. “Can You Hear Me Now?” Phreaking the Party Line from Operators to Occupy. Information, Communication & Society 19, 601–617.

Postcolonial STS
Harding, S.G., 1994. Is Science Multicultural?: Challenges, Resources, Opportunities, Uncertainties. Configurations 2, 301–330.
Smith, L.A., 2016. Identifying Democracy: Citizenship, DNA, and Identity in Postdictatorship Argentina. Science, Technology, & Human Values 41, 1037–1062.

March 13, 2017
by Baki Cakici
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CISP Salon: Postcolonial STS (Mar 15, 2017)

cisp salon 4 - postcolonial sts

CISP Salon: STS Then & Now – Postcolonial STS
March 15 (Wednesday) 2017
3:00pm-5:00pm, Warmington Tower 1204

Over the past 40 years, Science and Technology Studies (STS) has grown with contributions from many disciplines, sometimes leading to complicated genealogies concerning its many theoretical commitments. During the Autumn and Spring terms, we will meet to discuss two texts in conversation with each other to trace how theories and methods have changed over time. With this reinvention of the CISP Salon, we aim to offer an entry point to STS for those new to the field, as well as providing a new discussion for those familiar with the literature.

At the fourth CISP Salon on Wednesday March 15, we will discuss texts that use postcolonial frames for studying of science and technology. We will begin with Harding’s “Is Science Multicultural?” to understand and question claims of universal science. We will then discuss how these questions inform Smith’s study of DNA identification. The required reading is as follows:

  1. Harding, S.G., 1994. Is Science Multicultural?: Challenges, Resources, Opportunities, Uncertainties. Configurations 2, 301–330.
  2. Smith, L.A., 2016. Identifying Democracy: Citizenship, DNA, and Identity in Postdictatorship Argentina. Science, Technology, & Human Values 41, 1037–1062.

Please contact Baki Cakici (b.cakici@gold.ac.uk) or Jess Perriam (j.perriam@gold.ac.uk) for any queries. We look forward to seeing you!

February 15, 2017
by CISP Administrator
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How to Make an Archive Travel? The Launch of the WAL App

WAL App Launch Event

Poster design by Naho Matsuda.

This event marks the official launch of the Women’s Art Library (WAL) App. The launch provides an occasion for women artists, academics, students and all other members of the interested public to engage with materials from the archive, learn more about the Women’s Art Library and also try on the Wal App with devices provided by the Library.

The WAL App is part of a project called How to Make an Archive Travel? led by Ana-Maria Herman (Research Associate at the Women’s Art Library and Visiting Research Fellow at the Centre for Invention and Social Process). For more information about the project visit www.howtomakeanarchivetravel.wordpress.com or follow updates on Twitter @archivetravels.

Friday, 3rd March, 2017 17:30 – 19:30

Women’s Art Library, Goldsmiths Library

March also marks Women’s History Month and this event precedes International Women’s Day on the 8th. We therefore see the launch of the WAL App as fitting for the month of March – a time to consider and celebrate women’s lives and work.

Please register at Eventbrite to attend. Queries can be sent to a.herman@gold.ac.uk.

February 3, 2017
by CISP Administrator
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This is the Modern World?

This is the Modern World?

An expedition through the REF and other ‘neoliberal’ times

Inaugural lecture by Daniel Neyland

In collaboration with Vera Ehrenstein and Sveta Milyaeva

What times do we live in and how should we get through them? To address this question I suggest using Latour’s notion of The Modern as a departure point for an expedition through the devices of ‘neoliberalism’ (a term that loses as much as it gains through usage). From emissions trading, advance market commitments, to social impact bonds, we will explore how these devices anticipate a pure and linear time of progress, only to be overwhelmed by hybridity and plurality. Our final destination on the expedition will be a device in which we are reflexively complicit: the REF. I will suggest that here a time of progress is sustained, but only through a curious form of relativism.

Tuesday, 21st February, 2017 17.30 – 19.30

Ian Gulland Lecture Theatre, Goldsmiths.