Governing Technology: Material Politics and Hybrid Agencies
*Thursday, May 9 and Friday, May 10, 2013*
*Stanford Humanities Center*
This conference aims to bring together two communities of scholars: those examining the ways that states and other institutions have sought to govern technologies, and those examining the ways that technologies have influenced the practice and form of governing. In the process, we will revisit the concept of governance through the lens of *material politics*.
As some technologies promise the world and others threaten to overrun it, scholars in the humanities and social sciences have turned a critical eye to the agentive power and material effects of technology, as well as the responses that this power invokes. Research on technology’s entanglements with states, transnational organizations, and other powerful institutions has often taken its cues from science and technology studies. In particular, pioneering work in STS on materiality, on governmentality, and on hybrid and nonhuman agency has become more and more a part of mainstream work in history, geography, anthropology, communication, literary studies, sociology, and beyond. Scholars from across these fields have, in turn, developed new frameworks of analysis that go beyond classic conceptions of governmentality and materiality to incorporate their own disciplinary strengths.
Cornell professor Steve Jackson<https://sites.google.com/site/stanfordstsgrad/conference/keynote> will discuss the interplay between governance and technology in his keynote lecture <https://sites.google.com/site/stanfordstsgrad/conference/keynote>. The conference will wrap up with a roundtable discussion on building the STS community in the Bay Area and beyond, featuring STS professors from Stanford and several nearby Universities of California.
Call for Participation
We invite papers that consider (or critique) the relevance of *material politics* in understanding the relationship between governance and technology: how states and other institutions respond to challenges imposed by new and emerging technological developments and how technologies, understood broadly, become part of governing.
Papers from any discipline or institution are encouraged. Possible topics include, but are not limited to:
- Natural resource management and extraction
- The politics of environmental regulation and tourism
- National or transnational policies on innovation and intellectual property
- The regulation and development of biotechnology
- The agency and role of non-governmental organizations
- Governing dangerous materials
- The politics of agricultural technologies
- Medical innovation and regulation
- The *un*governability of certain technologies
- The politics of technology in public health or urban planning
- Historical accounts of technological governance or agency
- Theoretical discussions or critiques of material agencies
- Theoretical discussions of governance through the lens of material politics
Please submit the following to *firstname.lastname@example.org*:
- *A submission abstract* of no more than 250 words
- *A brief biography* of no more than 50 words to be included in the conference program
The deadline for submissions is *March 22, 2013*. Notifications will be sent and the schedule posted by April 12, 2013.
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