STS Methods Lab: Reading Science - Caring with Haunted Microbes
Astrid Schrader, University of Exeter, visits the STS Methods Lab
This talk introduces ‘reading science’ as an STS practice that is both deconstructive (after Jacques Derrida) in the sense that it modifies scientific discourses from within the science and diffractive (after Karen Barad) in the sense that the scientific accounts are made to interfere with feminist theories. The focus is on scientific accounts of marine microbes that update understandings of microbial existences in the Anthropocene. Making sense of newly affirmed phenomena such as the collective suicide of marine algae or the circadian rhythms of cyanobacteria (that don’t live a day) requires new ontologies that replace the priority of being and presence with inheritance and transgenerational communications: that is, a hauntology as introduced by Derrida. I argue that these biohauntings make explicit the contribution of scientific observation to the observed phenomenon. ‘Caring with’ articulates two relationships at once: between STS and science, on one hand and between scientists and their ‘object’ of studies, on the other hand. ‘Caring with’ displaces the opposition between ‘thinking with’ and ‘living with’, as abstract and embodied activity, while retaining traces of ‘thinking with care’ (Puig de la Bellacasa).
Dr Astrid Schrader is Senior Lecturer (Sociology and Philosophy) at University of Exeter and currently researcher-in-residence at the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society in Munich.