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If historical epistemology examines the conceptual foundations of science, material culture its instruments and artefacts, and communication studies its public, this research theme explores how these abstractions and technologies engage both the idea and the substance of localities, places and environments. It examines how, where and why place (e.g., the spatial organization of science on every level from the study room to geopolitics) figures in the conduct of science and the forms of technology. It treats space as constitutive of systems of human interaction rather than as a neutral container.
Canadian scholars in this area are interested not only in the geographies of science itself - the special and social dispositions of laboratories, field stations, universities and law courts to name a few - but in the way these places, their practices and instruments, deploy, subvert, alter and constitute lands, territories, boundaries and physical space.
Given its colonial and colonizing past on the margins of a Eurocentric world, as well as its multi-cultural post-industrial present, Canadian STS/HPS will prove a dynamic venue for studies of the geopolitical dimensions that inhere in the relationship between science, technology and colonialism (and, indeed, post-colonialism). Taking the entire globe as its subject, but rooted in a strong tradition investigating the Canadian dimensions of these issues, this research theme brings together topics ranging from the ecological foundations of northern identities, the relations between technology and hostile environments, and the place of science and technology in redrawing the lines between pristine natures and the spaces of "soiled" artefacts.
The STS/HPS knowledge cluster will facilitate scholars from different disciplinary specialties and geographies to join together in one or more of these thematic areas to create fruitful dialogue and collaborative communication within the cluster, within, and eventually across the themes, and to progressively involve stakeholders in related scholarly and public spheres in Canada and internationally.