The field of synthetic biology has been promoted as a new kind of science based on the promises of affordable medicines, environmental bioremediation and democratic, DIY science practices. With the development of this field the subject of the Tinkerer as a creative, anti-establishment scientist has emerged. In this presentation, Giordano considers multiple definitions of tinkering to examine conceptions of the relationship between “ethics” and “science.” They look at the production of this relationship at three sites—traditional institutional sciences, DIY synthetic biology, and feminist science—drawing attention not only to the differing ideas of ethics but to the ways the latter two related oppositionally to the first. Finally, by using their own neuroscientific research on muscle coordination, I suggest possibilities for feminist sciences rooted in social justice to ethically tinker in knowledge production.
Sara Giordano is an Assistant Professor of feminist science studies in the Department of Women’s Studies at San Diego State University.
This is a manuscript reading seminar with Professor Khan. Students are welcome. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to receive readings.
Dr. Khan is a multidisciplinary scholar with research and teaching interests in environmental studies, religious studies, urban studies, agrarian change, science studies, and political and social anthropology. Methodologically, her work relies on ethnographic fieldwork, archival work, and textual analysis. Her first book, Muslim Becoming: Aspiration and Skepticism in Pakistan (Duke University Press, 2012), traces the emergence of Pakistan as a future-oriented society of experimentation and political and ethical aspiration. Challenging conventional claims about Pakistan’s relationship to Islam as one of fragmentation and failure, Khan analyzes how intellectuals and ordinary people strive to be better Muslims and, in so doing, recast Islam as an open religion with possible futures yet unrealized. Central to the book is Khan’s focus on poet, philosopher, and politician Muhammad Iqbal, whose engagement with European and Muslim philosophers reflects, Khan argues, a tradition of striving also taken up in everyday practices of mosque building, Qur’an reading, and religious pilgrimage.
Her more recent research focuses on the intersection of ethics, ecologies, and temporalities, taking up how rural and riverine environments in Bangladesh intersect with multiple possible futures, including those of everyday life, of material substances like silt sedimentation, and of climate change. Moreover, Khan is committed to intervening as a scholar in contemporary public and political debates, and is the editor of Beyond Crisis: Re-evaluating Pakistan (Routledge India/UK, 2010), which brings together nineteen scholars in the social sciences and humanities to explore what it means to live with or refuse the designation of crisis.
Although South Asia is the regional focus of Khan’s research, her thematic interests are broad: global Islam; the built environment; temporality and futurity; political aspiration; everyday life; philosophies of skepticism; political theology; discourses of crisis; human and non-human ecologies; and the anthropocene.
AS YOU SEE (1986, 72 min.)
This wide-ranging film essay continues Farocki’s concern for the links between technology and warfare, tracing the ways that engineering advances have brought increasing automation and mechanization to physical labor and warfare , formerly the exclusive province of the body. A key sequence involving the dubbing of a porn film implies that this mechanization extends to another bodily province-sexuality itself. As You See lays the foundation for Farocki’s later essay films to come by bringing together little-known fragments of history with sharp interviews and extended observational sequences.
RESPITE (2007, 40 min.)
Respite consists of silent black-and-white films shot at Westerbork, a Dutch refugee camp established in 1939 for Jews fleeing Germany. In 1942, after the occupation of Holland, its function was reversed by the Nazis and it became a ‘transit camp.’ In 1944, the camp commander commissioned a film, shot by a photographer, Rudolph Breslauer.
Thursday, Jan 22 / CRISIS IN THE CULTURES OF CAPITALISM / Warren Neidich / 10:00-11:45am / Oakes College, Room 105
Warren Neidich is an artist and critic, editor of The Psychopathologies of Cognitive Capitalism (Archive Books, 2013). He will be speaking in Warren Sack’s lecture course, and interested parties are invited to attend. Those who would like to participate in a further discussion with Neidich that afternoon should email email@example.com.
Professor Khan will work with selected graduate students to workshop their research. The discussion is open to graduate students and faculty.
This is a talk about flat affect, anachronism, and the history of the present. The concept of a “structure of feeling” offered by Raymond Williams points to atmospheres shared among strangers but circulating beneath the surface of explicit life. How do we access that material? What happens to our capacity for trust and interpretation when the shared affects are manifested in flat or recessive styles of being that occlude expressivity? “Structures of Unfeeling: Mysterious Skin” works with Scott Helm’s novel and Gregg Araki’s film to think about how scenes of “underperformed” or flat emotion shift social norms of trust and aesthetic norms of the event: to do this, it implicates a history of aesthetic movements from twentieth century avant-gardes and theories of traumatic dissociation to the inside knowledges of sexual culture and the DIY aesthetics of punk and mumblecore.
Professor Berlant is George M. Pullman Professor of English and Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago, where she has taught since 1984.
Verónica Reyes is a Chicana feminist jota poet from East Los Angeles, California. She earned her BA from California State University, Long Beach and her MFA from University of Texas, El Paso. She scripts poetry for the people. Her poems give voice to all her communities: Chicanas/os, immigrants, Mexicanas/os, and la jotería. Reyes has won AWP’s Intro-Journal Project, an Astraea Lesbian Foundation Emerging Artist award, and was a Finalist for Andrés Montoya Poetry award. Her work has appeared in Calyx, Feminist Studies, ZYZZYZVA, The New York Quarterly, Ms. Magazine (Online), and The Minnesota Review. She is a proud member of Macondo Writers’ Workshop.
Her first poetry book, Chopper! Chopper! Poetry from Bordered Lives (Arktoi Books, an imprint of Red Hen Press 2013), has won Best Poetry from International Latino Book Awards 2014, Best Poetry from Golden Crown Literary Society Awards 2014, Goldie award, and was a Finalist for Lesbian Poetry from Lambda Literary Awards 2014.
Javier O. Huerta is the author of Some Clarifications y otros poemas (Arte Publico 2007), which received the Chicano/Latino Literary Prize from UC Irvine, and American Copia: An Immigrant Epic (Arte Publico 2012). His poems have recently been anthologized in American Tensions: Literature of Identity and the Search for Social Justice, The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2011, and Everyman’s Library Art and Artists: Poems. He lives in Berkeley, California.
Friday, Jan 23 / FRIDAY FORUM FOR GRADUATE RESEARCH / Wes Modes / “A Secret History of American River People” / 12:00-1:30pm / Humanities 1, Room 202
Wes Modes is an MFA candidate in Digital Arts and New Media (DAMN). His project, “Secret History,” is a journey to discover, present, and connect the lost narratives of people who live and work on the river from the deck of a recreated shantyboat. With help from numerous people who work and live on the river, Wes Modes is creating a growing digital archive of personal histories — the lost stories of river people, river communities, and the river itself, including the personal chronicle of the artist’s adventure.
The Friday Forum is a graduate-run colloquium dedicated to the presentation and discussion of graduate student research. The series will be held weekly from 12:00 to 1:30PM and will serve as a venue for graduate students in the Humanities, Social Sciences, and Arts divisions to share and develop their research. Light refreshments will be available.
For more info, or to inquire about joining the roster of presenters for Spring quarter contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
For more on Of Interest events please see the Institute for Humanities Research calendar.