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Seminar with Myra Hird: Social Science and the Microbial
Date: 12 June 2008 Time: 13.00 -14.30 pm
Plenty of Room at the Bottom: Social Science and the Microbial
Myra J. Hird, Queen's University, Kingston, Canada
Bowland North Seminar Room 23
A number of social scientific analyses consider nonhuman animals in attempts to think beyond humanist Other-ethics. The aim of this presentation is to open up these analyses to the bacterial, and think through what it might mean to meet-with bacteria outside dominant pathogen and domestication characterisations. After briefly describing some of the major kinds of bacteria that created, sustain and regulate all life on Earth, I review recent evidence of bacterial perception, communication, self-organization, colonisation and (what some scientists describe as) consciousness. I then attempt to formulate a microontology drawing upon insights from biosemiotics, autopoiesis, and nature-culture-social distinctions. Specifically, I want to think through contemporary Other-ethics 'brought forth' through complex bacterial intra- and inter-actions upon which all humans depend.
Myra J. Hird is Professor and Queen's National Scholar at Queen's University in Canada. Herresearch and teaching interests span the areas of science studies (including philosophy of science, sociology of scientific knowledge and epistemology), medical sociology, the ontology and epistemology of sexual difference, sexuality (including trans, transsex, intersex), ethics and social justice, violence, disability studies, feminist theory and queer theory. Her books include Sociology of Science: A Critical Canadian Introduction(Oxford U Press, forthcoming),Microontologies: Social Science and the Origins of Sociable Life(Palgrave, forthcoming),Sex, Gender and Science(Palgrave, 2004), Queering the (Non-)Human(co-edited with N. Giffney, Ashgate, 2008) and Questioning Sociology: Canadian Perspectives(co-edited with G. Pavlich, Oxford, 2006). She is guest editor of two forthcoming journal special issues (ParallaxandFeminist Theory). She is currently working on four funded research projects in the areas of science studies, medical sociology, knowledge translation and public understandings of science. She is currently researching in the Lynn Margulis microbiology laboratory at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
This seminar is organised by Bronislaw Szerszynski on behalf of the Department of Sociology and the Centre for the Study of Environmental Change. All welcome.
Who can attend: Anyone
Associated staff: Bronislaw Szerszynski
Keywords: Biopolitics, Metaphysics, Science and technology studies, Semiotics, Sensation
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