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Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Thresholds - A pop-up symposium

22 September 2017
University of York


This event platforms scholars working across the humanities and social sciences around the theme of ‘thresholds’. It explores perspectives on the liminal edges of everyday, organisational and social life. What and who reside beyond or within different types of thresholds? Who has to cross thresholds? What prevents people or things crossing? How does power operate through different thresholds? How do thresholds articulate with limits, extremes, dangers and tipping points? These are just some of the questions explored in this one day symposium.

Thresholds is intended to bring together diverse disciplines including sociology, politics, history, anthropology, women’s studies, critical management, human geography, social policy. The format will be short papers (10 mins) followed by discussion. 

Organisers: Joanna Latimer, David Beer, Nik Brown, Rolland Munro 

SATSU – Sociology – University of York

Time and Place: 10:30 to 15:30; Berrick Saul Building, The Treehouse - University of York

REGISTER HERE

Supported by: the University of York ‘Culture and Communication’ Research Theme; The Department of Sociology; Science and Technology Studies Unit (SATSU)

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Imagining the History of the Future: Unsettling Scientific Stories

27-29 March, 2018 | University of York, UK

The future just isn’t what it used to be… not least because people keep changing it. Recent years have seen a significant growth of academic and public interest in the role of the sciences in creating and sustaining both imagined and enacted futures. Technological innovations and emergent theoretical paradigms gel and jolt against abiding ecological, social, medical or economic concerns: researchers, novelists, cartoonists, civil servants, business leaders and politicians assess and estimate the costs of planning for or mitigating likely consequences. The trouble is that thinking about the future is a matter of perspective: where you decide to stand constrains what you can see

With confirmed plenary speakers Professor Sherryl Vint (University of California, Riverside, USA) and Professor Charlotte Sleigh (University of Kent, UK) this three-day conference will bring together scholars, practitioners, and activists to explore ways in which different visions of the future and its history can be brought into productive dialogue.

Focused on the long technological 20th Century (roughly, 1887-2007) and looking particularly at the intersections between fictional/narrative constructions of the future, expert knowledge, and institutional policy development, the themes of the conference will include but are not limited to:

The relationship between lay and expert futures, especially futures produced by communities marginalised in public dialogue by ethnicity, gender, sexuality, species or political orientation

How have different forms of fiction (novels, films, games, comics) created different visions of what’s to come? How have their audiences responded to and shaped them

The role of counterfactuals/alternate histories, as well as factional accounts and popular science: how have different forms of writing positioned the future?

What’s the relationship between past and present scenario planning in government or commerce? How have they fed into wider cultural conceptions of impending developments?

Disciplinary influences: how have different academic disciplines – sciences, humanities, arts, social sciences – fed into developing futures? Has this changed over time?

The role of futures past: how can we recover them, and what do they tell us about futures present? What are the forgotten or marginalised sites of future-making

How have different themes – time, the apocalypse, the individual, among others – changed over the last century of future-thinking?

Twitter: @UnSetSciStories #ImaginedFutures
We invite proposals based broadly on these themes. Individual papers should take the form of 20 minute presentations, but we would also be delighted to consider three or four paper panel submissions on a related topic, workshops or round-table discussions.

Proposals for individual papers should include an abstract of no more than 250 words, together with a short author biography (100 words). Panel proposals should also include a short (150 words) commentary on the overall theme. Please email proposals to unsettling-science@york.ac.uk (as email attachments in Word format) by FRIDAY 15 SEPTEMBER. Authors will be notified of decisions by Friday 27 October. Prospective organisers of other formats should contact the steering committee by email as soon as possible to discuss possibilities.

Please direct all enquires to unsettling-science@york.ac.uk.

This is an Arts and Humanities Research Council funded event, run by the Unsettling Scientific Stories project based at the Universities of York, Aberystwyth and Newcastle.


Thursday, 8 June 2017

Fully funded PhD in STS available from October 2017

SATSU has available a fully funded (fees and stipend) PhD, supported by the ESRC Doctoral Training Programme. This will be to work on understanding the role patient charities play in shaping biomedicial innovation. Full details are at:
https://www.york.ac.uk/sociology/postgraduate/phd-mphil/pgt_funding/#tab-5

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Vigilante Science: Examples, Trends and Causes

Wednesday 24 May 2017, 12.00pm to 1pm

Speaker: Dr Meritxell Ramírez-i-Ollé (SATSU Visitor)
I employ the term “Vigilante Science” – in analogy with the vigilante heroes in comic books – to describe cases whereby self-appointed individuals policing the claims, methods and governance of the scientific community have not been recognised by its members as legitimate authorities. Recent examples of vigilantism in science have occurred in climate science, social psychology and nutrition science. I will discuss the possibility of interpreting the alleged “Climategate” scandal, the “replication crisis” in psychology and the “sugar conspiracy” as evidence of a wider social trend of public suspicion, if not complete distrust, towards certain scientists. I will outline two historical and sociological causes for this trend: first, the progressive integration, over the last century, of the disputed sciences into government agendas and industries; and second, the expansion of formal education and the consequent emergence of a better-informed and more self-confident citizenry that is suspicious of the declared political autonomy of scientists.
Biography: Dr Meritxell Ramírez-i-Ollé is The Sociological Review Fellow of 2017. Prior to being awarded this writing fellowship based at Keele University, she was a Teaching Fellow in the Department of Science and Technology Studies (STS) at University College London. In November 2015 Meritxell obtained a Ph.D. in STS from the University of Edinburgh with a thesis that examined the roles of trust and scepticism in science. Her academic interests are in the sociology of science and research methodology.
Location: Wentworth College W/243