CISP Events 2015-2016


Posthuman Subjectivity and Ethics Reading Group

CSISP Reading Group
January 20, 2016
3pm-5pm, Warmington Tower 1204

What does it mean to be human in an age of technological transformation, environmental degradation, emerging epidemics, and ubiquitous capitalism? Who counts as a subject in contemporary sciences, politics, and other means of world-making?

In a reading group on posthuman subjectivity and ethics, we wish to explore these questions through the writings of Barad, Braidotti, Derrida, Haraway, and Wolfe, among others. We hope to bring together scholars from different disciplines and departments at Goldsmiths. Starting in January, we will meet once a month during the spring of 2016.

At the first meeting on January 20th (3pm-5pm, Warmington Tower 1204), we will discuss Derrida’s The Animal That Therefore I Am (2008). We look forward to seeing you.

For further details contact Hanna Sjögren, visitor at the Centre for Cultural Studies or Baki Cakici, Sociology

Studio Studies: Operations, Topologies and Displacements


The Event Of The Public: Convolutions Of Aesthetic And Epistemic Practice

Joint conference of the Society for Social Studies of Science (4S) and European Association for the Study of Science and Technology (EASST).


Mike Michael (University of Sydney)
Gay Hawkins (Western Sydney University)
Kane Race (University of Sydney)
Alex Wilkie (Goldsmiths, University of London)


This track aims to explore the role of the aesthetic in epistemic practices with particular reference to the ways in which ‘publics’ or ‘scientific citizens’ are enacted. While STS has long explored how the epistemic practices of knowledge-making can be linked to a heterogeneous range of other practices (social, ethical, economic, political, care-ful, corporeal, affective, etc.), the place of aesthetic practices has been relatively neglected.

The proposed theme aims to examine the role of the aesthetic in the epistemic, with particular reference to the ways in which ‘publics’ are enacted or eventuated. More concretely we can pose such questions as: what counts as ‘aesthetic practice’ and how does this relate to other practices (for example, of care, affect, social)? how do the aesthetics of a technoscientific artifact or assemblage (eg a plastic water bottle, smart monitor, or alternative systems of electricity generation) affect the ways in which publics enact environmental concern? how do the aesthetics of more or less typical STS research tools (such as focus groups, ‘ethnographic’ engagements, data harvesting or speculative design interventions) impact the emergence of particular sorts of ‘epistemic publics’; how do the aesthetics of the representational practices found in STS, policy or the media (eg online data visualization or the narrative structures of academic accounting) shape the public and its issues? More broadly, we ask how might we understand aesthetic practice in the context of ostensibly related traditions, for example non-representational or arts-based modes of inquiry.

Key Questions

  • What counts as ‘aesthetic practice’ and how do these relate to other practices?
  • What role does aesthetics play in epistemic practices?
  • How do the aesthetics of technoscientific assemblages and/or artefacts affect the ways in which publics enact issues?
  • How do the aesthetics of STS research methods and tools impact the emergence of ‘epistemic publics’?
  • How might STS understand aesthetic practice in the context of traditions that themselves claim expertise on the aesthetic?


The Insistence of the Possible: A Two-Day Symposium with Isabelle Stengers

18th and 19th of May 2016, 2pm-6pm
PSH 314, New Academic Building

These two events will explore the development of Isabelle Stengers’ work, and will engage with her in conversations about many of her influential concepts and propositions. The two days will consist of brief interventions by Goldsmiths staff members that will focus around a selection of her most recent essays. These will be followed by conversations with Stengers as well as with members of the audience.


Experiments in new modes of practice:
Launch of the Centre for the study of Invention and Social Process (CISP)

Wednesday 23rd of March 2016, 5pm-7pm

Andrés Jaque, Office for Political Innovation (Madrid/New York and
Antoine Hennion (Centre de Sociologie de l’innovation, Ecole des Mines, Paris)

Chaired by the new directors: Marsha Rosengarten, Michael Guggenheim & Alex Wilkie



How To Become Modern: Time, Work and Infrastructure in Rural Newfoundland

CISP and the Interaction Research Studio are pleased to welcome Phoebe Sengers (Cornell University) who will be speaking on the 22nd of March Phoebe Sengers about technological infrastructures and governance in the Change Islands. All welcome.

Tuesday, 22/03/2016
RHB 137

In the 1950’s the government of Newfoundland & Labrador began an ambitious project to transform this new Canadian province from an impoverished rural backwater to an industrial economy. Central to this plan was the organized movement of most of its population from isolated fishing villages to centralized settlements allowing easier access to services and infrastructures. Change Islands was one of a few villages that actively resisted this move and insisted instead on modernizing in place. Within a few years, the village was overrun with unfamiliar technologies, including electricity, telephone, television, cars, roads, and running water.

I will use the case of Change Islands to explore how modern ways of being are shaped, sometimes accidentally and sometimes intentionally, through the design of technological infrastructures and centralized forms of governance. Modernization both relies on and produces new cognitive habits, orientations to labor, experiences of time, requirements for accountability, and moral norms, many of which do not match well to the geographical and social requirements of remote, rural communities. Caught up in contradictions, Change Islands is today simultaneously experienced as a dying relic, as a cherished preserve for traditional practices, and as unrecognizably modernized.  Change Islands is a place to recognize and reflect on the hopes invested in becoming modern, the technical mechanisms used to realize those hopes, their consequences, and their political stakes.

Phoebe Sengers is an Associate Professor at Cornell University in Science & Technology Studies and Information Science, and is currently a Visiting Scholar in Media Studies at the University of Amsterdam. Her work integrates technology design with cultural studies of technology by analyzing the political and social implications of current technologies and designing new technologies based on other alternatives. She has received a US National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER award, been a Fulbright Fellow and a fellow of the Cornell Society for the Humanities, had 7 major NSF grants, and led the Cornell campus of the Intel Science & Technology Center for Social Computing. She received an interdisciplinary PhD in Artificial Intelligence and Cultural Theory in 1998 from Carnegie Mellon University.