"Transfer, Interrupted: Barriers, Obstructions, and Impediments in Technological Change Processes"
Please join us for our third ALL-DAY workshop SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 19 Kelley School of Business, Room 307. We will have the pleasure of hearing papers by the following specialists in the history and social studies of science and technology:
Michael Adas (History, Rutgers)
Clapperton Mavhunga (Science, Technology, and Society, MIT) Gabriela Soto Laveaga (History, UCSB) Kaushik Sunder Rajan (Anthropology, University of Chicago).
The workshop is *open to all.* Feel free to come for the whole day or just for the talk(s) that interest you. Lunch will be served, so *please RSVP* by emailing Eric Harvey (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you are planning to attend.
10:15-11:15 Michael Adas (Rutgers) -- Transfer Proscribed,
Interrupted, Disrupted and Fractured: Metropole Technological Dominance and Colonial Response in the Industrial Age
11:30-12:30 Clapperton Chakanetsa Mavhunga (MIT) -- Prophylactic Mobilities & Immobilizations
2:00-3:00 Gabriela Soto Laveaga (UCSB) -- The Making of "National”
Steroids: Mexican Scientists as Producers of “Foreign” Knowledge
3:15-4:15 Kaushik Sunder Rajan (University of Chicago) -- Property, Rights, and the Constitution of Contemporary Indian Biomedicine: Notes from the Gleevec Case
This workshop is the third in a series of four organized by the 2010-2011 Sawyer
Seminar, "Rupture and Flow: The Circulation of Technoscientific Facts and Objects." For more information please visit our website: http://sawyer.indiana.edu/index.html
Speaker biographies and paper abstracts:
Michael Adas (History, Rutgers)
Adas's research has focused on the role of technology in global history. He is the author of several books including _Machines as the Measure of Men: Science, Technology and Ideologies of Western Dominance_ (Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY, 1989) and _Dominance by Design: Technological Imperatives and America's Civilizing Mission_ Cambridge, Massachusetts: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2006). His current research is on n World War I and its global impact--including books on A Grave Dug in Flanders: World War I and the Crisis of the European World Order (for the Cambridge University Press); Misbegotten Wars: Trench Stalemate, Vietnam Quagmire and the Decline of British and American Global Power (for Harvard University Press); and a book on War and the Arts in the Twentieth Century.
Adas's paper is titled "Transfer Proscribed, Interrupted, Disrupted and Fractured: Metropole Technological Dominance and Colonial Response in the Industrial Age"
Abstract: Because dominance and subordination are central, relations and exchanges between European metropoles and their overseas colonies – very often including colonial officials and European setters within them – were often strained and contested. Technological transfers were invariably linked to European control over and extraction from colonial possessions, and as a result they were frequently flashpoints of tension and at times open conflict in the history of interaction and exchange. Drawing on case examples from different colonial locales from the early nineteenth century to the First World War, I will explore the ways in which transfers of technology – broadly defined to include the ideas and organization which framed material artifacts – were systematically proscribed, selectively funneled, or interrupted by imperial writ backed by the surveillance and policing of potential agents of delivery and policies enforced by colonial officials. I will also consider the ways in which transfers were blocked, disrupted or fractured due to resistance on the part of colonized peoples, in situations where the colonized themselves sought to protest proscriptions or limits on technological exchange, and in moments of international crises which opened up possibilities of transfers hitherto proscribed or prohibited.
Clapperton Chakanetsa Mavhunga (Science, Technology, and Society, MIT)
Clapperton Chakanetsa Mavhunga is an STS scholar of Africa and an African scholar of Science, Technology and Society interested in historicizing and theorizing the role mobility plays in everyday life.
He researches and teaches on African Mobilities and Mobility in Africa; Science, Technology and African Societies; Energy, Environment, and African Society; and (African) Indigenous Knowledge Production and Practice. Mavhunga received his BA Honors from the University of Zimbabwe (History, 1996), his MA from University of the Witwatersrand (History and International Relations, 2000), and his PhD from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (History/STS, 2008). He taught at the University of Zimbabwe (2000-2005). He is finishing his first book, The Mobile Workshop, which traces the role of mobility in human-nature-technology interactions in Zimbabwean history. He is also co-editor (with Gijs Mom, Eindhoven University of Technology) of the Inside Mobility: A Kaleidoscopic Overview volume for MIT Press.
Mavhunga has also published over a dozen articles and book chapters,
including: “A Plundering Tiger with its Deadly Cubs?: The USSR and China as Weapons in the Engineering of a ‘Zimbabwean Nation,’ 1945-2009,” in Gabrielle Hecht (ed.), Entangled Geographies: Empire and Technopolitics in the Global Cold War, editor (MIT Press, 2011) and “Vermin Beings: On Pestiferous Animals and Human Game,” Social Text 106 (Spring 2011), an article that anticipates his second book project.
Mavhunga will be presenting a paper on "Prophylactic Mobilities & Immobilizations"
Abstract: The central question of the talk is: "Under what circumstances do mobilities and immobilizations become prophylaxes?"
Its focus is not restricted to the ways in which humans deploy mobility and immobility as weaponry to purvey or interrupt noxious transfers by humans, but also extends towards the deployment of technologies that purvey and intercept, and indeed prophylactics against nonhuman species like plants and animals both micro and macroscopic. At the present moment, the state of my research allows for provisional notes on technological and organic bodies, but the ambition, as the project goes towards completion, is to consider the interruption and promotion of flows and seepages; of liquid, gaseous and solid matter; of sound, light and the visual; of senses of touch and smell; and implications of emotion on e-motion as the uptake of new technologies of mobility grows (including the continuities and changes historically). While starting from a human-centric position, this is one of many starting options; in other work I start from the nonhuman as a way of showing the way other species deploy mobility and immobility as defensive mechanisms against movements detrimental to their existences. Hopefully, this may lead towards a theorization of mobility and inertia.
Gabriela Soto Laveaga (History, UCSB)
Soto Laveaga's interests are history of science, knowledge production, and public health in Latin America. Her recent book _Jungle Laboratories: Mexican Peasants, National Projects, and the Making of the Pill_(Duke University Press, 2009) traces the political, economic, and scientific development of the global barbasco industry, focusing primarily on the rural southern region of Tuxtepec, Oaxaca, where scientists relied on local, indigenous knowledge to cultivate and harvest the plant. She explores how the yams made their way from the jungles of Mexico to domestic and foreign laboratories, and on to the medicine cabinets of millions of women around the world. Soto Laveaga was the winner of the 2010 Robert K. Merton Best Book Award, given each year by the Science, Knowledge, and Technology section of the American Sociological Association for the best recent book published in science and technology studies. Her current project is about public health and social movements in Mexico City.
Soto Laveaga will be speaking about "The Making of 'National' Steroids:
Mexican Scientists as Producers of 'Foreign' Knowledge"
Abstract: In May 1951 Fortune magazine reported that “the biggest technological boom ever heard south of the border” was that a Mexican laboratory, Syntex, had derived synthetic cortisone from Mexican wild yams. Months later an even more momentous discovery, the first active oral contraceptive, was also discovered in this Mexico City laboratory with the pivotal participation of another Mexican chemist. The narrative of discovery, however, rarely places Mexico or Mexican chemists at the epicenter of steroid production. In the 1970s Mexico’s president encouraged domestic scientists to emulate the U.S. and Europe and find “a Mexican pill.” Since then Mexican family planning campaigns have lamented the high cost of imported oral contraceptives while complaining of Mexico’s inability to produce science. What happens when the impediment to technology transfer is a nation’s historical amnesia? Is it possible to trace the roots of this interruption?
Kaushik Sunder Rajan (Anthropology, University of Chicago)
Sunder Rajan was initially trained as a biologist, obtained his PhD in the History and Social Studies of Science and Technology, and works on the anthropology of science,technology and medicine. His work has focused on a number of interrelated events and emergences: firstly, the increased corporatization of life science research; secondly, the emergence of new technologies and epistemologies within the life sciences, such as, significantly, genomics; and thirdly, the fact that these technoscientific and market emergences were not simply occurring in the United States, but rather globally. His book, _Biocapital: The Constitution of Post-Genomic Life_, tries to capture a flavor of these emergences. On the one hand, it is a multi-sited ethnography of emergent genomic research and drug development marketplaces in the United States and India. On the other hand, it traces the historical emergence of what he calls biocapital in the late 20th century, which asks questions of the nature and manner of the co-production of economic and epistemic value in the life sciences today. In the former register, Sunder Rajan’s work has followed a number of actors – scientists, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and policy makers – involved in genomics research and market development in a range of sites in the US and India (in the US, primarily in the Bay Area; in India, primarily in Delhi, Bombay and Hyderabad). In the latter register, his work engages social theories of epistemology, political economy, ethics, subjectivity, language and value (most directly the analysis of Karl Marx, Michel Foucault and Jacques Derrida), in order to provide ways to think about a current moment in world history that is significantly shaped by techno-scientific capitalism.
Sunder Rajan is currently researching two distinct though inter-related new projects. One focuses on the political economy of pharmaceutical development in India in the context of changes in global capital flows and governance regimes. The second project focuses on the changing nature of the research university in India in the life sciences. The focal point here is the Translational Health Science and Technology Institute (THSTI), a new biomedical research institute being set up as a collaboration between the Government of India’s Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and the Division of Health, Science and Technology
(HST) at MIT.
Sunder Rajan's paper is called "Property, Rights, and the Constitution of Contemporary Indian Biomedicine: Notes from the Gleevec Case"
Abstract: In this paper, I am interested in tracing how patent regimes drive the re-institutionalization of pharmaceutical development in India today in unsettled and contested ways. Patents are perceived to be a double edged sword – on the one hand, they supposedly provide incentives to innovate by providing inventors with limited monopolies on their inventions; but on the other hand, it is precisely this monopoly that potentially occludes technology transfer, and certainly makes innovative medicines less accessible to those who need it. I wish to trace this in the context of the emergence and interpretation of particular patent regimes. I draw upon an exemplary case surrounding a patent on the anti-cancer drug Gleevec. I am interested in how this case resolves, in an apparent purification, into technical and constitutional components; how the technical components are entirely unsettled; and how the constitutional components open up questions regarding the relationship between biocapital and issues of constitutionalism, rights, and corporate social responsibility. In other words, I am interested in the terrain of the political that gets constituted around questions of innovation, technology transfer and therapeutic access.