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Dr Bronislaw Szerszynski

Dr Bronislaw Szerszynski

Senior Lecturer, Head of Department

Lancaster University
Bailrigg
Lancaster
United Kingdom
LA1 4YT


Tel: +44 (0) 1524 594178
Location: Bowland North

Affiliations

Centre for the Study of Environmental Change

PhD Supervision Interests

I welcome PhD applications in my areas of research: applicants should be enthusiastic, self-motivated, well-organised and have a strong academic track record.

Research Interests

My research draws on the social sciences, humanities, arts and natural sciences to explore the changing relationship between humans, environment and technology.  In recent years I have applied this interdisciplinary approach to various environment and technology issues, such as technological innovation (especially biotechnology) and political economy (Reynolds and Szerszynski 2011, 2012, 2014); and urban foodscapes seen in terms of socio-material practices and the moral economy (Psarikidou and Szerszynski 2012a, 2012b).

After editing a special double issue of Theory, Culture and Society in 2010 on ‘Changing Climates' with John Urry, I developed a particular research focus on geoengineering – the proposed large-scale technological manipulation of the climate system in order to counteract anthropogenic climate change.  I have explored geoengineering through a wide range of research approaches, including qualitative social science, public engagement, bibliometric analysis, humanities reflection and policy impact.  Along with Maialen Galarraga I have developed analyses of geoengineering that combine philosophical and social scientific inquiry, drawing on biosemiotics and deconstruction (Szerszynski 2010), the philosophy of technology and fabrication (Galarraga and Szerszynski 2012) and the sociology of knowledge and interdisciplinarity (Szerszynski and Galarraga 2013). With Phil Macnaghten and others I have conducted social research using public engagement methods to explore the kinds of world that geoengineering techniques might bring into being, and to critically assumptions of the governability of geoengineering under various future scenarios (Macnaghten and Szerszynski 2013; Szerszynski et al. 2013).  With Paul Oldham, Jack Stilgoe and others I am conducting bibliometric analyses of scientific research and patenting activity in geoengineering in order to make visible the often-hidden networks of collaboration, funding and problem-definition that are shaping this emergent field (Oldham, Szerszynski et al. 2014).  More recently, with researchers in Brazil and Canada, I have started developing analyses of non-western understandings of climate- and weather-control, or ‘alter-geoengineering'.  With Maialen Galarraga and Ruth McNally I am also conducting EPSRC-supported critical research on the practice of interdisciplinarity in practice in geoengineering and other technical domains, using a variant of the PROTEE methodology developed by Bruno Latour, McNally and others.

I have also become deeply engaged in ongoing debates about the Anthropocene – the proposed new geological epoch in which humans are seen as the determining force in the evolution of the Earth.  This led to membership of the European Science Foundation/COST Task Force on ‘New Science Questions' for the Forward Look Responses to Environmental and Societal Challenges for our Unstable Earth (RESCUE) (resulting in Palsson, Szerszynski, Sörlin et al. 2013); an invited contribution to the special issue of Oxford Literary Review on ‘Deconstruction in the Anthropocene' (Szerszynski 2012); a sustained involvement with the two-year Anthropocene Project (2013-14) run by the Haus der Kulturen der Welt and the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin (including The Anthropocene Project: An Opening; the 4-volume MIT collection Grain Vapor Ray: Textures of the Anthropocene; A Matter Theater, for which I wrote Szerszynski 2014); and the eight-day Anthropocene Campus); the devising and staging (in collaboration with Bruno Latour and Olivier Michelon) of Anthropocene Monument, a colloquium and exhibition at Les Abattoirs, Toulouse; and plenary papers at conferences in Paris (2013), Rio de Janeiro (2014), Berlin (2014), Edinburgh (2014), Munich (2015), Stockholm (2015). 

I have a continuing interest in religion and its complex relations with the ideas and practices of science and technology.  My 2005 monograph Nature, Technology and the Sacred argued that contemporary ideas and practices concerning nature and technology remain profoundly shaped by the religious history of the West. This book was chosen to be the subject of featured in a peer-reviewed ‘book symposium' in the American journal Zygon: The Journal of Religion and Science, published later that year; three authors wrote articles engaging with the ideas in the book, and I responded with a 6,000-word reply.  The book also resulted in invitations to give a number of public lectures and plenary addresses between 2006 and 2008, including the Elias Andrews Public Lecture 2007 at Queen's University in Kingston Ontario, the second van Riessen Memorial Lecture at the University of Delft, and keynote addresses in Copenhagen, Birmingham, Leiden and Deurne.  My interest in this area continues: with Celia Deane-Drummond and Sigurd Bergmann I recently co-edited the book Technofutures: Transdisciplinary Perspectives on Nature and the Sacred, which will be published by Ashgate in 2015.

Over the years I have organised or co-organised a number of events with a major arts component.  In July 2000 I co-organised the four-day conference and art festival Between Nature: Explorations in Ecology and Performance (Lancaster, July 2000), which  resulted in two edited collections, Nature Performed (Blackwell, 2003) and Performing Nature (2005). In 2009-10 I directed Experimentality, a year-long collaborative research programme on experimentation in the sciences, arts and wider society, consisting of five two-day interdisciplinary workshops, a three-day international conference, a strand of the FutureEverything festival in Manchester, two public debates (with FutureEverything and the Royal Society), three art exhibitions (at the Peter Scott Gallery and Storey Gallery, Lancaster), 15-cross branded local arts events, and an evening of experimental music, video and live art.  In 2014 Anthropocene Monument, with Bruno Latour and Olivier Michelon used the idea of a monument to the Anthropocene to trigger debate about knowledge and aesthetics in an age of global environmental change.  An exhibition of monument designs from thirty artists at Les Abattoirs Museum of Contemporary Art, Toulouse, and a three-day colloquium, chaired by myself and Bruno Latour, with 100 participants including natural scientists, social scientists, humanities scholars and artists.  The event and exhibition were covered in the French national press, in Libération and Le Monde.

I have also devised my own novel, hybrid genre of performance as a method exploring and communicating complex issues concerning technological and cultural change. So far I have performed three such pieces, each devised in collaboration with other media artists. ‘The Twilight of the Machines', ‘The Onomatophore of the Anthropocene' and ‘The Martian Book of the Dead', performed variously in Lancaster, Sigtuna (2013), Paris (2013), Berlin (2014 twice), Toulouse (2014), Edinburgh (2014) and Stockholm (2014), use ‘found' textual genres, fictional future scenarios, video and soundscapes to create an imaginative space in which audiences can engage with possible post-planetary and post-human futures.

Current Teaching

While I am Head of Department I am not doing so much teaching, but I am supervising PhD students in the area of environment, technology and culture.

Career Details

Lecturer at the Institute for Environment, Philosophy and Public Policy, Lancaster University (September 2000-December 2005).

Lecturer at the Centre for the Study of Environmental Change (CSEC) (August 1998 - August 2000).

Research Associate (as Principal Applicant) on ESRC-funded project Global Citizenship, the Environment and the Mass Media, CSEC, Lancaster University (July 1997 - July 1998).

Research Associate on ESRC-funded research programme Science, Culture and the Environment, CSEC, Lancaster University (April 1994 - June 1997).

Research Fellow at European University Institute, Florence, and Honorary Research Fellow at CSEC, Lancaster University, on five-nation EU-funded project Framing and Communicating Environmental Issues (November 1992 - March 1994).

2015

Mapping the landscape of climate engineering

Oldham, P., Szerszynski, B., Stilgoe, J., Brown, C., Eacott, B. & Yuille, A. 02/2015 In: Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London A. 372, 2031, p. 1-20 20 p.20140065

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

2013

Why solar radiation management geoengineering and democracy won’t mix

Szerszynski, B., Kearnes, M., Macnaghten, P., Owen, R. & Stilgoe, J. 12/2013 In: Environment and Planning A: Environment and Planning. 45, 12, p. 2809-2816 8 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Geoengineering knowledge: interdisciplinarity and the shaping of climate engineering research

Szerszynski, B. & Galarraga, M. 08/2013 In: Environment and Planning A: Environment and Planning. 45, 12, p. 2817–2824 8 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Public engagement on solar radiation management and why it needs to happen now

Carr, W. A., Preston, C. J., Yung, L., Keith, D. W., Szerszynski, B. & Mercer, A. M. 05/2013 In: Climatic Change. 121, 3, p. 567-577 11 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Reconceptualizing the ‘Anthropos’ in the Anthropocene: Integrating the social sciences and humanities in global environmental change research

Palsson, G., Szerszynski, B., Sörlin, S., Marks, J., Avril, B., Crumley, C., Hackmann, H., Holm, P., Ingram, J., Pardo Buendía, M. & Weehuizen, R. 04/2013 In: Environmental Science and Policy. 28, p. 3-13 11 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Living the global social experiment: an analysis of public discourse on geoengineering and its implications for governance

Macnaghten, P. & Szerszynski, B. 04/2013 In: Global Environmental Change. 23, 2, p. 465-474 10 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

2012

Growing the social: alternative agro-food networks and social sustainability in the urban ethical foodscape

Psarikidou, K. & Szerszynski, B. 21/02/2012 In: Sustainability: Science, Practice, and Policy. 8, 1, p. 30-39 10 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

The moral economy of civic food networks in Manchester

Psarikidou, K. & Szerszynski, B. 2012 In: International Journal of Sociology of Agriculture and Food. 19, 3, p. 309-327 19 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

The end of the end of nature: the Anthropocene and the fate of the human

Szerszynski, B. 12/2012 In: Oxford Literary Review. 34, 2, p. 165-184 20 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

2010

Technology and monotheism: a dialogue with Neo-Calvinist philosophy

Szerszynski, B. 2010 In: Philosophia Reformata. 75, 1, p. 43–59 17 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Urban Agriculture as Community Engagement in Manchester

Levidow, L., Price, B., Psarikidou, K., Szerszynski, B. & Wallace, H. 09/2010 In: Urban Agriculture Magazine. 24, p. 43-45 3 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Changing climates: introduction

Szerszynski, B. & Urry, J. 03/2010 In: Theory, Culture and Society. 27, 2-3, p. 1-8 8 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Reading and writing the weather: climate technics and the moment of responsibility

Szerszynski, B. 03/2010 In: Theory, Culture and Society. 27, 2-3, p. 9-30 22 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

2007

The post-ecologist condition: irony as symptom and cure

Szerszynski, B. 2007 In: Environmental Politics. 16, 2, p. 337-355 19 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

2006

Critical discourse analysis and citizenship.

Fairclough, N., Pardoe, S. & Szerszynski, B. 2006 Analysing citizenship talk: social positioning in political and legal decision-making processes. Hausendorf, H. & Bora, A. (eds.). 19 ed. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, p. 98-123 26 p. (Discourse approaches to politics, society, and culture)

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/ProceedingsChapter

Visuality, mobility and the cosmopolitan: inhabiting the world from afar.

Szerszynski, B. & Urry, J. 03/2006 In: British Journal of Sociology. 57, 1, p. 113-132 20 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

A reply to Anne Kull, Eduardo Cruz, and Michael DeLashmutt.

Szerszynski, B. 12/2006 In: Zygon. 41, 4, p. 811-824 14 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Techno-demonology: Naming, Understanding and Redeeming the A/Human Agencies with Which We Share Our World.

Szerszynski, B. 03/2006 In: Ecotheology. 11, 1, p. 57-75 19 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

2005

The Spiritual Revolution: Why Religion is Giving Way to Spirituality.

Heelas, P., Woodhead, L., Seel, B., Tusting, K. & Szerszynski, B. 2005 Oxford: Blackwell. 204 p.

Research output: Book/Report/ProceedingsBook

2004

Nature, Technology and the Sacred.

Szerszynski, B. 2004 Oxford: Blackwell. 222 p.

Research output: Book/Report/ProceedingsBook

Enchantment and its uses: religion and spirituality in environmental direct action.

Szerszynski, B. & Tomalin, E. 2004 Changing anarchism: anarchist theory and practice in a global age. Purkis, J. & Bowen, J. (eds.). Manchester: Manchester University Press, p. 199-212 14 p.

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/ProceedingsChapter

Nature, sustainablility and the postmodern sacred.

Szerszynski, B. 2004 Religion und Nachhaltigkeit. Multidisziplinäre Zugänge und Sicktweisen. Littig, B. (ed.). 46 ed. Münster: Lit Verlag, p. 247-268 22 p. (Soziologie)

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/ProceedingsChapter

Augustinian ecological democracy: postmodern nature and the city of God.

Szerszynski, B. 12/2004 In: Ecotheology. 9, 3, p. 338-358 21 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

2003

Nature performed: Environment, Culture and Performance.

Szerszynski, B., Heim, W. & Waterton, C. 2003 Blackwell. 226 p.

Research output: Book/Report/ProceedingsBook

Introduction to nature performed.

Szerszynski, B., Heim, W. & Waterton, C. A. 2003 Nature performed: environment, culture and performance. Szerszynski, B., Heim, W. & Waterton, C. A. (eds.). Oxford: Blackwell, p. 1-14 14 p. (The Sociological review monographs)

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/ProceedingsChapter

Re-ordering nature: a postscript.

Szerszynski, B. & Deane-Drummond, C. 2003 Re-ordering nature: theology, society and the new genetics. Deane-Drummond, C., Szerszynski, B. & Grove-White, R. (eds.). London: T & T Clark, p. 312-324 13 p.

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/ProceedingsChapter

That deep surface: the human genome project and the death of the human.

Szerszynski, B. 2003 Brave new world?: theology, ethics and the human genome. Deane-Drummond, C. & Peters, T. (eds.). London: T & T Clark, p. 145-163 19 p.

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/ProceedingsChapter

Marked bodies: environmental activism and political semiotics.

Szerszynski, B. 2003 Media and the resyling of politics: consumerism, celebrity and cynisism. Corner, J. & Pels, D. (eds.). London: Sage, p. 190-206 17 p.

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/ProceedingsChapter

At reasons end: the inoperative liturgy of risk society.

Szerszynski, B. & Deane-Drummond, C. 2003 Re-ordering nature: theology, society and the new genetics. Deane-Drummond, C., Szerszynski, B. & Grove-White, R. (eds.). London: T & T Clark, p. 202-220 19 p.

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/ProceedingsChapter

Genetically modified theology: the religious dimentions of public concerns about agricultural biotechnology.

Deane-Drummond, C., Grove-White, R. & Szerszynski, B. 2003 Re-ordering nature: theology, society and the new genetics. Deane-Drummond, C., Szerszynski, B. & Grove-White, R. (eds.). London: T & T Clark, p. 17-38 22 p.

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/ProceedingsChapter

Public consultation through the internet: a guide to the issues involved in using the internet for public consultations.

Szerszynski, B. & O'Donoghue, M. 2003 Lancaster: IEPPP. 16 p.

Research output: Book/Report/ProceedingsBook

2002

Cultures of Cosmopolitan.

Szerszynski, B. & Urry, J. 11/2002 In: The Sociological Review. 50, 4, p. 461-481 21 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Ecological Rites: Ritual Action in Environmental Protest Events.

Szerszynski, B. 06/2002 In: Theory, Culture and Society. 19, 3, p. 51-69 19 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Wild times and domesticated times: the temporalities of environmental lifestyles and politics

Szerszynski, B. 15/11/2002 In: Landscape and Urban Planning. 61, 2-4, p. 181-191 11 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

2001

Visual citizenship

Szerszynski, B. & Urry, J. 2001 Thinkglobal: Cityscape Landscape Symposium 2000. Short, L. (ed.). Carlisle: Cumbria College of Art and Design, p. 110-115 6 p.

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/ProceedingsChapter

Genetically modified theology: the religious dimensions of public concerns about agricultural biotechnology.

Deane-Drummond, C., Grove-White, R. B. & Szerszynski, B. 01/2001 In: Studies in Christian Ethics. 14, 2, p. 23-41 19 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

2000

Mediating global citizenship.

Szerszynski, B., Urry, J. & Myers, G. 2000 The Daily Globe: environmental change, the public and the media. Smith, J. (ed.). London: Earthscan, p. 97-114 18 p.

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/ProceedingsChapter

1999

Risk and trust: the performative dimension.

Szerszynski, B. 1999 In: Environmental Values. 8, 2, p. 239-252 14 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

1997

The varieties of ecological piety.

Szerszynski, B. 1997 In: Worldviews. 1, 1, p. 37-55 19 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

1993

The metaphysics of environmental concern - a critique of ecotheological antidualism.

Szerszynski, B. 1993 In: Studies in Christian Ethics. 6, 2, p. 67-78 12 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

  • PhD visitors welcome at CSEC

    01/02/2011
    Two new visitors, currentlystudying for a PhD, are adding to the diversity of scholarship on the social study of environmental issues at CSEC. Both are interested in the approaches of Science and Tech ... Read more»
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