The International STS Summer School «ANTHROPOLOGY OF SCIENCE AND MODERN FORMS OF LIFE” (Third Edition: Camera Ethnography Approach in Studying Laboratory Practices).Tomsk State University & Research Station Kaibasovo, Russia June 30 — July 7, 2017. Deadline: March 1, 2017.
Objectives: To introduce graduate students into everyday world of late modern techno-science and to provide them with basic theoretical concepts and methodological skills for carrying out fieldwork in research laboratories, technology companies and large technical system sites.
Theoretical and methodological focus: In their approach to techno-science, the organizers of the school simultaneously adhere to Actor-Network Theory (ANT) as key tradition in STS, and the principles of contemporary anthropology in the study of modern societies. In this blend, the ethnographic approach of Karin Knorr-Cetina and her disciples and the sociology of taste and attachment of Antoine Hennion play a special role. They allow us to consider scientific and engineering practices not only as agonistic field of ‘trial of strength’ between human and non-human actors, but also as a home place of passion, attachment, persistence, and endurance, together with the subtle asymmetries that ground them. This theoretical setup translates methodologically in special attention to the timid ways these phenomena are manifested. Camera ethnography (developed by Bina Mohn and Klaus Amann) offers an efficient visual methodology of ethnographic camera use and image (and film) based analyses of silent practices and intercorporeality.
Although applicable to any science and technology, the former communist countries are especially fruitful terrain for approaching empirically above little studied aspects of practice of scientists and engineers. This was result of their specific status as one of the pillars of communist society, subject of admiration and political exalting, which in many research fields allowed for achieving world level excellence. On the other hand, however, they have been subject of tough control and surveillance by the ruling regimes that often instilled deep tensions in scientific communities and even added tragic overtone in the quest for scientific truth. These legacies are still present in contemporary Russian science and technology and in this respect the planned fieldwork in Tomsk promise to make our International STS Summer School an appealing endeavor.
Work-structure: As in previous years, the work of the school is structured in two parts: theoretical & methodological training and fieldwork:
Theoretical & methodological training: Researchers from the Laboratory for Social and Anthropological Research (LSAR) and the Research Center for Policy Analysis and Studies of Technology (PAST-Center) at Tomsk State University will introduce participants in STS approaches. The master class in applying camera ethnography in lab studies will conduct the invited expert, Dr. Bina Elisabeth Mohn (founder of camera ethnography, Centre for Camera Ethnography Berlin/ Zentrum für Kamera-Ethnographie Berlin).
Fieldwork: It will be partly carried out on the base of Research Station Kaibasovo (the part of Institute for Biology and Biophysics of TSU) and in the laboratories of Center of Excellence “Bio-Clim-Land” in Tomsk. Immersed in the scientific practices both in the fields, the participants will be trained to apply camera ethnography method along with traditional methods of anthropological research (interview, participant’s observation, analysis of texts and artefacts, etc.).
The summer school will end with one-day seminar in which participants are given guidance how to handle, edit and analyze data collected by applying conceptual tools and methods given in the theoretical part. This will be illustrated with concrete examples from the already collected data.
Evaluation and outcome: The summer school ends with writing research paper in which the participants carry out explorative analysis the data collected through the “lenses” of theoretical and methodological tools provided in the first part of the school. The standard paper is to be about 6 000 words. It is advisable that paper includes visual parts (analytically arranged series of photos or stills) and supplements with material used (transcribed interviews, photos and video materials, etc.). It is expected the research papers to be prepared in two months period after the summer school. The organizers of the school will help the authors of the best papers to develop them and publish in relevant scientific journals in Russia and abroad.
The number of participants: 10-12 students, working languages: Russian and English
Fees, accommodation and travel: The Summer School fee is 50 euro. The organizers provide accommodation in Tomsk State University’s dormitory and during the fieldwork. During the fieldwork also daily allowance covering the meals will be provided.
The organizers are applying for funding to cover the travel costs of some of the participants.
How to apply:
We welcome graduate students at MA and PhD level, as well as early year post-doctoral scholars. We encourage participation of women and students with disabilities.
Applications should include:
- a filled the Form_1 (attached)
- a motivation letter (up to 1000 words) in English and/or Russian
- a CV in English, including list of publication (with translation into English if you have it only in Russian language)
- a one-page description of your future research plans in English and/or Russian
Applications should be submitted before March 1, 2017 at the e-mail of the organizes listed below. Please send your inquires to the same e-mail addresses.
Contacts of organization committee:
Dr. Irina Popravko, LSAR TSU, Tomsk, Russia, firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Ivan Tchalakov, PAST Center TSU, Plovdiv University, Bulgaria, email@example.com
Short note on the history of STS Summer schools:
The first International STS Summer School “The anthropology of science and big technical systems: identity of scientists and engineers”, organized by the Department of Applied and Institutional Sociology of University of Plovdiv with support from the European Association for the Study of Science and Technology (EASST), and LSAR, Tomsk State University (TSU), was held in Bulgaria in June-July 2015. It was the first international edition of the Plovdiv University STS Summer School, regularly held since year 2000. The field work has been carried out at National Astronomical Observatory Rozhen, as site of science as a form of life, and the high-mountain dam of Dospat as cite of large technical system.
The second International STS Summer School “Science as a form of life: Watching heterogeneous communities in the ‘field’” was held in July, 2016. It was organized by LSAR, TSU with the support of PAST-Centre at TSU. It explored the world of scientists that work at biogeochemical laboratories in the field research station at Kaybasovo in Tomsk Region through the concept of heterogeneous communities, and with special attention to the processes of ‘translation’ and the role of ‘inscription devices’.