Event Details

Department Seminar - Jeff Kochan

09 October 2014, 15:00 - 17:00

Speaker: Jeff Kochan

Scientific Styles in Northern Canada


Scientific Styles in Northern Canada


In the science studies literature, natural field sites are often treated as extensions of the laboratory. But this overlooks the unique specificities of field sites. Unlike the lab, the field is a public space inhabited by diverse people and groups. While lab scientists seek to contain and control their work spaces, field scientists must often adapt their work to the demands and interests of local agents. Lab studies regularly emphasise contestation; the field sciences more typically involve collaboration. I suggest that the difference between the lab and the field may be addressed as a difference in styles of reasoning. A field style treats epistemic alterity as a resource rather than an obstacle for objective knowledge production. A stylistics of the field should thus explain how objective science can co-exist with radical conceptual difference. I discuss examples from the Canadian North, focussing on collaborations between state wildlife biologists and managers, on the one hand, and local Aboriginal Elders and hunters, on the other. I argue that a stylistics of the field allows us to overcome issues of incommensurability, and to better understand how radically diverse agents may collaborate across cultures to produce reliable natural knowledge.

For more information, please see the Visiting Speakers link or contact Maria Nakhshina.













Hosted by: Arctic Domus and Anthropology Department

Venue: Edward Wright Building, F61


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