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The knowledge of scientific outposts: epistemology of postcolonial circulations 
Jan Verlin (Université Jean Moulin Lyon 3 - Triangle)
David DUMOULIN KERVRAN (Sorbonne Nouvelle Unversity -)
Jérôme Lamy (CNRS)
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Traditional Open Panel

Short Abstract:

Scientific outposts in (post)colonial contexts raise questions about the epistemological pressures on data production and circulation. This panel explores how to extract knowledge by collective and experimental practices, filtering and disseminating data from these remote locations.

Long Abstract:

Scientific outposts, ranging from biological stations to astronomical observatories or polar stations, occupy a unique space within the scientific landscape. Situated on the fringes of (post)colonial empires, these outposts establish a significant center-periphery relationship with the metropolitan 'calculation centers,' resulting in a gradual dissociation of knowledge from their distinct local environments.

Amidst these dynamics, the panel endeavors to explore the epistemological pressures influencing data production and dissemination within these outposts. Central to this inquiry is an examination of the concrete organization of procedures involved in extracting, filtering, and distributing scientific information. Questions will revolve around the criteria guiding choices between on-site or metropolis-based analyses, whether favoring prepared data, experimental results, or raw data. Additionally, the discussion will probe the classification of scientific practices as belonging to 'collecting sciences' or 'experimental sciences,' and the significance of interdisciplinary or hybrid scientific and non-scientific knowledge in shaping production protocols.

The pivotal role of instrumentation within these remote scientific infrastructures will be addressed. Moreover, the panel will explore the inclusion of data production locations and conditions in experiment reports, and the mechanisms facilitating knowledge circulation between these poles. The examination extends to scrutinizing the homogeneity of knowledge produced in these remote scientific settings, its translation, and movement within transmission chains, especially considering the escalating conflicts surrounding these sites.

With a focus on how Science and Technology Studies (STS) can contribute, the discussion aims to enrich ongoing debates on the management of these remote scientific infrastructures. Ultimately, the panel seeks to outline a distinct epistemological framework characterizing the knowledge derived from these scientific outposts shaped by their postcolonial context.

Accepted papers: