3rd symposium

ACTING WITH NONHUMAN ENTITIES
 Posthumanist Explorations between Anthropology and Science Studies

International Conference and Workshop at Kyoto University

etghp_sympo2013smallDate: March 3-4, 2012 (Saturday and Sunday)
Venue: Kyoto University, Institute for Research in Humanities (Main Bldg., Conference Room)
access map: http://www.zinbun.kyoto-u.ac.jp/e/institute/access-institute/access_e.htm
Open to public. Admission Free. No registration is required.

SYMPOSIUM ABSTRACT

Whereas artifacts, animals and all sorts of otherworldly creatures have long occupied the attention of anthropologists, recent encounters with science and technology studies have stimulated a novel interest in ecological thinking. Part of the impetus for this research comes from a shared critical stance towards the anthropocentric bias of social research. Another important issue central to these debates has been a growing emphasis on innovation at the ethnographic level. Posthumanist approaches call for a closer attention to nonhuman entities by exploring their role in what constitutes the senses, persons, worlds, etc. This conference will reflect on these conceptual and methodological currents in anthropology and beyond with the participation of scholars from diverse backgrounds and fields of study. Some of the key concerns and question we shall focus on are: What disciplinary boundaries have to be crossed or permeated to reveal otherwise unattended links between human and nonhuman ways of acting in the world? What are the distinguishing features of these analytic experimentations when compared to earlier work in ecological and cultural anthropology? How do the variety of posthumanist trends, from actor-network theory to multispecies ethnography and ontological anthropology, differ from and relate to each other? We hope to address these questions by both discussing new theoretical challenges and presenting diverse ethnographic cases relevant to the ongoing transformations of the world—a world, which is populated with humans and animate non-humans alongside techniques, and anthropologists who try to understand them.

PARTICIPANTS

 Guest Speakers

Matei Candea (University of Cambridge)
Miho Ishii (Kyoto University)
Natasha Myers (York University)
Mei Zhan (University of California, Irvine) 

Workshop Presenters

Moe Nakazora (JSPS/Kyoto University)
Lea Schick (IT University, Copenhagen)
Wakana Suzuki (Osaka University) 

PROGRAM

Day 1 (Graduate Workshop)

13:30  Introduction

13:45  The Care of the Cells: Body, Care and Affect
             Wakana Suzuki (Osaka University)
Comments by Natasha Myers (York University)

14:45  (Coffee Break)

14:55  Infrastructuring Smart Grid Environments: Technological Artifacts, Subjectpositions and ‘Natures’
             Lea Schick (IT University, Copenhagen)
Comments by Mei Zhan (University of California, Irvine)

15:55  (Coffee Break)

16:05  Pure Gifts for Future Benefit? Giving Form to Subject in the Biodiversity Databasing Project in India
             Moe Nakazora (JSPS/Kyoto University)
Comments by Matei Candea (University of Cambridge)

17:15  Closing comments by Paul Hansen (Tsukuba University)

Day 2 (International Symposium)

10:00 Moderator/Introductory Remarks by Gergely Mohácsi (Osaka University)

10:15  Excitable Tissues: Vocalities and Temporalities in Botanical Experiments
             Natasha Myers (York University)

11:15   (Coffee Break)

11:30   Disharmony Undivided: Thinking, Doing and Being Posthuman through Daosim
Mei Zhan (University of California, Irvine)

12:30  (Lunch Break)

13:30  The Ecology of Transaction: Dividual Persons, Spirits, and Machinery in the Special Economic Zone in South India
Miho Ishii (Kyoto University)

14:30  Not feeding (or eating) meerkats
             Matei Candea (University of Cambridge)

15:30  (Coffee Break)

15:45  General Discussion

 

For further details contact:

Atsuro Morita (Osaka University) morita@hus.osaka-u.ac.jp, or
Gergely Mohacsi (Keio University) mohacska@z3.keio.jp

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2nd symposium

TRANSLATIONAL MOVEMENTS
Ethnographic Engagements with Technocultural Practices

International Symposium and Workshop at Osaka University

etghp_sympo2012smallDate: March 3-4, 2012 (Saturday and Sunday)
Venue: Osaka University Hall (formerly Igo-kan, Toyonaka Campus)
access map: http://www.osaka-u.ac.jp/en/access/toyonaka.html
Open to public. Admission Free. No registration is required.

SYMPOSIUM ABSTRACT

Scientific and local knowledge making are constantly at play in our world, and ethnographers engage with them in ways that are contingent to the modes of the encounter. This relatively novel ethnographic condition has been fertile ground for the ongoing dissatisfaction with the positivist division between theory and practice and led many researchers to detailed study of scientific work. What are the conceptual challenges that need to be addressed if the relationship between science and local knowledges is taken up laterally? How does the interplay of ethnographic and technocultural practices affect different pathways of situating ourselves (and others) between nature and culture? These are some of the questions that we hope to address. The symposium will bring together scholars from anthropology and science and technology studies to account for the methodological richness of this new mode of ethnographic engagement.

Workshop

Following the international symposium of the same title, a workshop for young scholars will be held at the Osaka University Hall on March 4, 2012. The purpose of this event is to give an opportunity for graduate students and postgraduate researchers of anthropology and related fields to present their materials in English in a friendly and informal atmosphere and to receive comments from our invited guests.

PARTICIPANTS

 Guest Speakers

Helen Verran (University of Melbourne)
Casper B. Jensen (IT University of Copenhagen)
Koji Sasaki (JSPS)
Hirokazu Miyazaki (Cornell University) 

Workshop Presenters

Group 1
HAMADA Akinori (JSPS)
NISHI Makoto (Kyoto University)
NAKAZORA Moe (University of Tokyo)
WAKAMATSU Fumitaka (Harvard University)

Group 2
Ece ÖYKEN (University of Tokyo)
UESUGI Takeshi (McGill University)
Greg de ST. MAURICE (U.of Pittsburgh, Visiting Researcher at Minpaku)
TAKEMURA Yoshiaki (Osaka University)
NOBORI Kukiko (Osaka University)

Group 3
YOSHIDA Naofumi (Waseda University)
NAKATANI Kazuto (Kyoto University)
UMEDA Yuna (Yamaguchi University)
WATANABE Noriko (Kyoto University)

PROGRAM

 Day 1 (International Symposium)

10:00  Opening Remarks

10:10  Introduction
         Atsuro Morita (Osaka University) and Gergely Mohácsi (Keio University)

10:50  Ethnography of Numbers
           Helen Verran (University of Melbourne)

11:30   Q&A session

11:40   Recursive Partnership, Recursive Infrastructure, Recursive Ethnography
           Casper Bruun Jensen (IT University of Copenhagen)

12:20  Q&A session

12:30  (Lunch)

13:30  Relaying Agencies in Knowledge: Minor intellectuals and anthropologist
           Koji Sasaki (University of Tokyo)

14:10  Q&A session

14:20  The Gift in Finance
           Hirokazu Miyazaki (Cornell University)

15:00  Q&A session

15:10  (Coffee break)

15:30  General Comments
           Kasuga Naoki (Hitotsubashi University)
Kurimoto Eisei (Osaka University)

16:00  Discussion

Day 2 (Graduate Workshop)

11:30 Lunch Meeting (everybody is welcome)

13:00              PRESENTATIONS in 3 groups
Group 1 (by Prof. Verran)
Group 2 (by Prof. Miyazaki)
Group 3 (by Prof. Jensen)

15:45              (Coffee Break)

16:00  General Discussion (until 16:45)

For further details contact:

Atsuro Morita (Osaka University) morita@hus.osaka-u.ac.jp, or
Gergely Mohacsi (Keio University) mohacska@z3.keio.jp
Symposium HP: http://anthropology.hus.osaka-u.ac.jp/120303.html

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1st symposium

TRAVELING COMPARISONS
Ethnographic Reflections on Science and Technology

International Workshop at Osaka University

 

etghp_sympo2009smallDate and Time: July 20th (Mon), 2009 13:00-18:00
Venue: Lecture Room #207 (Humaine Hall), 2nd floor of East Building of School of Human Sciences (Suita Campus, Osaka University)
Open to public. Admission Free. No registration is required. 

WORKSHOP ABSTRACT

This workshop will investigate some novel uses of the comparative method at the intersection of science studies and anthropology through ethnographic accounts of technoscience from/of Japan. Since its inception, much of the anthropological agenda has been revolving around various methods of comparison. While it has become something of a reflex to ask questions of similarity and difference, such comparative work has also provided an easy target for critics of simplification and reductionism. But, one may ask, aren’t these arguments themselves acts of comparison? Comparing may be more complex than it seems at a first glance. In the field, anthropologists work to recognize differences through continuously contrasting their findings with more commonsensical knowledge brought from home or elsewhere in order to make sense of the links between the particular and the general. On the other hand, however, such comparative work is also part and parcel of the very practices that are being studied. It is this implicit interplay between different scales of comparison that speakers of the workshop will reflect upon by examining complex ontologies of technoscientific praxis. In today’s globalizing world, knowledge is under constant negotiation and reordering around conflicting ideas of progress and development. Nowhere is it more evident than in the daily practices of living and working with old and new technologies. Scientist, mechanics, physicians and farmers whom anthropologists encounter in the field see development, uniqueness or backwardness in their innovations in the midst of complex relations, which connect local innovations and routines with the transnational circulation of people, objects and information. How do these circulations and unexpected connections stimulate us, innovators and users, to make comparisons in our daily engagements with technologies? How should we, anthropologists, reflect on the fact that while comparisons make connections, connections make comparisons, as well? By focusing on the relationship between ethnographies of Japanese science and the Japanese ethnography of foreign technologies, we will explore these recursive relations between comparisons and connections to challenge dominant modes of anthropological thinking.

GUEST SPEAKERS

 Anders Blok (Sociology, Copenhagen University)
Ryan Sayre (Anthropology, Yale University)
Annelise Riles (Cornell School of Law, Cornell University)

PROGRAM

 13:00 Welcoming Message by Kasuga Naoki

13:10 – 15:00 Session I
Introduction: Ethnographic Reflections on Science and Technology
Mohácsi Gergely (Anthropology, The University of Tokyo)
Morita Atsuro (Anthropology, Osaka University)
Comparative Globalities: Actor-network Theory and the Topologies of Japanese Whales
Anders Blok (Sociology, Copenhagen University)
Rendering the Unthought into the Thought: How Disaster Preparedness Experts are Futzing with the Notion of Certainty
Ryan Sayre (Anthropology, Yale University)

15:00 (Coffee Break)

15:15 – 16:45 Session II
Compelled to Compare: Traveling Machines, Uncertainty and Emergent Relations in Thai Indigenous Engineering
Morita Atsuro (Anthropology, Osaka University)
Missing Hormones, Working Men and Other Metabolic Interferences
Mohácsi Gergely (Anthropology, The University of Tokyo)

16:45 (Coffee Break)

17:00 Wrap-up and Discussion
General Comment by Annelise Riles (Cornell School of Law, Cornell University)
General Discussion

For further details contact:

Atsuro Morita (Osaka University) morita@hus.osaka-u.ac.jp, or
Gergely Mohacsi (The University of Tokyo) mohacska46@gmail.com
Symposium HP: http://gcoe.hus.osaka-u.ac.jp/090720workshop.html

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