The Politics of Care in Technoscience

Network Node: 
Fri., Apr. 20, 2012, 9:00am - Sun., Apr. 22, 2012, 9:00pm

The Politics of Care in Technoscience

Organizers: Aryn Martin, Natasha Myers & Ana Viseu
Date: April 20-22, 2012
Location: York University, Toronto, Canada
This is a closed event. Keynote is public.
Keynote: Public Afternoon Lecture by Charis Thompson April 20th, 4pm.

Keynote information, video and podcast HERE

Blogs available HERE

Workshop Description       

What are the politics of care in technoscience? Undaunted by a system of power and knowledge whose very formation hinged on exclusion and domination, Susan Leigh Star encouraged a generation of scholars to examine how technoscience “might be otherwise.” She insisted that “there is nothing necessary or inevitable” about the contours of science and technology, and continually pressed STS scholars to pose the question, cui bono? STS scholar Maria Puig de la Bellacasa (2011) interprets this imperative to inquire into “who benefits,” as an invitation to ask not just “for whom?” but also, “‘Who cares?’ ‘What for?’ ‘Why do ‘we’ care?’, and mostly, ‘How to care?’”.

This workshop takes up these questions about care in relation to feminist inquiry in technoscience. How does care contour research in technoscience? Does it manifest as an expression of hope for a different set of relations between power and knowledge? As a call for social and environmental justice? Or otherwise? When and how might it be necessary not to care?

Care has historically been stigmatized as feminized labour. This question then of “how to care” and care well becomes salient for the future of feminist STS research. This workshop takes seriously the call to move beyond questions about the “matters of fact” (Shapin and Schaffer 1985) and “matters of concern” (Latour 2004) that have long organized inquiry in technoscience. With Maria Puig de la Bellacasa (2006), we consider how an attention to “matters of care” and an “ethos of care” can help us “assemble neglected things” including the “invisible, unnumbered and unvalued experiences, silenced sufferings and displaced subjects” of technoscience.

The aim of this workshop is to examine topologies, entanglements, and ambivalences of a feminist politics of care. We seek to assemble a group of scholars who have already illuminated matters of care in their intellectual work or who might want to take this opportunity to reflect on this theme now.  Through the collaborative inquiry of an intimate workshop, we hope to imagine futures for feminist scholarship that can foreground both our interventions in, and affective entanglements with, technoscience.

Invited Participants

Our invited workshop participants include both a range of scholars who have long been active in shaping feminist technoscience and emerging voices in the field.  We have invited prominent and emerging scholars from Canada and abroad, including:

Naomi Adelson (York), Annette Burfoot (Queens), Lorraine Code (York), Myra Hird (Queens), Leesa Fawcett (York), Michelle Murphy (UofT), Maria Puig de la Bellacasa (Leister, UK), Eric Mykhalovskiy (York), Catriona Sandilands (York), Karen Barad (UCSC),  Astrid Schrader (Sarah Lawrence), Rusty Shteir (York) Lucy Suchman (Lancaster), Charis Thompson (Berkeley), Lorna Weir (York), Barbara Crow (LAPS) and others. Graduate students from programs across York University (Anthropology, ComCult, Sociology, SPT, STS) with interests in feminist technoscience will also be invited to participate in the workshop.

Public Keynote Lecture :: April 20, 2012

Charis Thompson (Berkeley) will be delivering the public keynote lecture to launch the conference. Thompson is a major figure in feminist science studies and anthropology of science. Her 2005 book Making Parents: The Ontological Choreography of Reproductive Technologies, is foundational to the field. This lecture will be of immense interests to faculty and graduate students across the campus, and especially in Anthropology, STS, Women’s Studies, SPT, Health, and Environmental Studies.

Workshop Format

Our vision is to encourage an intimate conversation among participants. To this end, we will limit the number of participants to thirty people and provide ample time and space for conversation and exchange. Following a public keynote lecture, we will hold two days of discussions with workshop participants organized around 10-12 original papers, pre-circulated in advance of the conference. With interests in a future publication on the theme of the conference, participants have been asked to contribute an original paper to this workshop.


This workshop is sponsored by the York University Institute for Science and Technology Studies, the SSHRC Situating Science Cluster, the York University Departments of Anthropology and Communication Studies, the Office of the Vice-President of Research & Innovation, and the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies.

Aryn Martin, Associate Professor, Sociology/STS, York University
Natasha Myers, Assistant Professor, Anthropology/STS, York University
Ana Viseu, Assistant Professor, Communications & Culture/STS, York University