T126


Science and Technology in the Middle East: Life Sciences and Environments
Convenor:
Zeynep Oguz (Northwestern University)
Discussant:
Samer Alatout (University of Winsconsin-Madison)
Stream:
Tracks
Location:
112a
Sessions:
Thursday 1 September, 16:00-17:45 (UTC+0)

Short abstract:

Focusing on nature, environment, and the life sciences, this panel aims to provide a nuanced analysis of the power-laden ways in which techno-science circulates and takes shape in the Middle East and rethink assumptions about science and technology themselves through insights from the region.

Long abstract:

Since the 1980s, a large body of work in Science and Technology studies has debunked the Western sciences' and scientists' claims to universality and neutrality by showing the imprint of culture and history in techno-scientific knowledge production, design, and worldviews. Further, although earlier work on non-Western contexts have tended to conceptualize Western techno-science as a hegemonic machinery that is "imported" to other contexts, recent scholarship challenges such assumptions by revealing the "complex process of translation, appropriation and accommodation" (Bray 2007:440) involved in the making of both "Western" and "non-Western" sciences (Abraham 2000; Anderson 2002; Barak 2013; Biermann 2001; Choy 2011; Harding 1993; Hayden 2003; Hecht 2002; Helmreich 2005; Lowe 2006). Focusing on nature, environment, and the life sciences, this panel aims to provide a nuanced analysis of the power-laden ways in which science and technology circulate and take shape in the Middle East -a "non-Western" and "contentious" part of the world, and address an underrepresented area of the STS literature. Aiming to do more than fill a geographic gap, this panel aims to challenge assumptions about science and technology themselves through insights from the Middle East. We ask: How are notions and scales such as the particular, local, regional, global, and universal produced through techno-scientific practices? In what ways do political, social, and cultural constellations in the Middle East recalibrate the frameworks in Science and Technology Studies? What kinds of temporalities do techno-scientific practices, epistemologies, and ontologies in the Middle East build upon?