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Jennifer Carlson

Former Co-Chair and Contributor, Platypus: The CASTAC Blog

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Contributions to Platypus: The CASTAC Blog

View all of Jennifer's posts on Platypus: The CASTAC Blog.

Congratulations to the 2016 Winners of the Diana Forsythe Prize!

Today’s post is brought to you from the 2016 Forsythe Prize Committee, to announce two scholars recognized in this year’s competition. Created in 1998, The Diana Forsythe Prize celebrates the best book or series of published articles in the spirit of Diana Forsythe’s feminist anthropological research on work, science, or technology, including biomedicine. The prize is awarded annually at the AAA meeting by a committee consisting of one representative from the Society for the Anthropology of Work (SAW) and two from the Committee on the Anthropology of Science, Technology and Computing (CASTAC). It is supported by the General Anthropology Division (GAD) and Bern Shen. CASTAC is deeply grateful to all who submitted to the competition, and to Prize Committee members Stefan Helmreich, Nina Brown, and Alexander Edmonds for their efforts on behalf of the Forsythe Prize.

Eben Kirksey, Winner, 2016 Diana Forsythe Prize

Eben Kirksey’s Emergent Ecologies (Duke University Press, 2015) offers an imaginatively written and highly innovative multi-sited, multi-method ethnography about the doings of a range of human and non-human biological agents, in places from Costa Rica to Panama to the United States. The book takes us to such varied sites as scientific labscapes and landscapes—as one might expect in a work of science studies—but also ushers us into the world of art spaces and galleries, where new kinds of critical eco-art and bio-art are coming into being. Kirksey, in this tale of people, frogs, monkeys, microbes, and more, gives us a vivacious and vital contribution to “multi species ethnography,” a field in which he has been a pioneer. His narrative moves the reader into other species’ phenomenological worlds while also highlighting areas of inter-species connection and entanglement.  (more…)

CASTAC seeks nominations for the Diana Forsythe Prize

The Diana Forsythe Prize was created in 1998 to celebrate the best book or series of published articles in the spirit of Diana Forsythe’s feminist anthropological research on work, science, or technology, including biomedicine. The prize is awarded annually at the AAA meeting by a committee consisting of one representative from the Society for the Anthropology of Work (SAW) and two from the Committee on the Anthropology of Science, Technology and Computing (CASTAC). It is supported by the General Anthropology Division (GAD) and Bern Shen.

Self-nominations are welcomed. To be eligible, books (or article series) must have been published in the last five years (copyright of 2010 or later). The current submission deadline is July 31, 2015 (early nominations appreciated) and nominations should be sent via email to Selection Committee Chair João Biehl at jbiehl-at-princeton.edu. Publishers, please send a copy of nominated titles to each of the selection committee members listed below. (more…)

2015 Message from the Co-Chairs

As the co-chairs of CASTAC, we’re taking this opportunity to thank you for visiting The CASTAC Blog and to share our plans for 2015 and beyond! But first, we’d like to introduce ourselves.

I’m Jenny Carlson, continuing co-chair of CASTAC. For those new to CASTAC and its blog, I’m a visiting assistant professor of anthropology at Southwestern University, as well as a visiting research fellow at Rice University’s Center for Energy and Environmental Research in the Human Sciences. I work on the everyday, affective dimensions of energy transitions in Germany and, more recently, in the United States. I focus on ordinary structures of feeling at sites of small-scale energy development, exploring how sentiments shape infrastructures for producing energy and engaging in politics. My aim is to theorize how the politics of energy unfolds among those who live at sites of energy development but don’t formally participate in these projects and, going from this vernacular politics, to better understand how site-specific dynamics push back against policy projections, offering a more nuanced perspective on the social underpinnings of participation in areas of rapid technoscientific development.

And I’m Nick Seaver, writing from UC Irvine, where I’m a PhD candidate in anthropology and a researcher with the Intel Science and Technology Center for Social Computing. I succeeded longtime co-chair Jennifer Cool, whose hard work has enabled our interest group to not only survive, but thrive as part of the AAA’s General Anthropology Division. I research the development of algorithmic recommender systems for music — yes, like Pandora — among a broad network of academic and corporate researchers, engineers, and scientists in the US. I’m very interested in the resonances between these algorithmic approaches to “culture” and those from anthropology’s past, so I am also researching the history of computing in sociocultural anthropology. My goal is to gain some analytical purchase for anthropologists on those things we call “big data” or “algorithms” — to enhance our ability to make critiques that are informed and have impact, and to recognize the continuities between these “new” phenomena and older technologies we are more familiar with.

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