Studying Science and Technology in Latin America: Beyond Imported Magic

August 24-25, 2012
Indiana University, Bloomington

Edited Volume

* Winner, 2016 Amsterdamska Award from the European Society for the Study of Science and Technology

Results from the workshop are disseminated in the peer-reviewed edited volume Beyond Imported Magic: Essays on Science, Technology, and Society in Latin America (MIT Press, 2014). The publication of the book was timed to coincide with the joint meetings of the Society for the Social Studies of Science (4S) and the Sociedad Latinoamericana de Estudios Sociales de la Ciencia y la Tecnología (ESOCITE) that took place in Buenos Aires in August 2014. The book is coedited by Ivan da Costa Marques, Christina Holmes, and Eden Medina.

Purchase the Book: (excerpts available online)
MIT Press
All chapters are available in pdf format on Project Muse.


At one level the term 'beyond imported magic' situates this collection as a contribution to the critique of the traditional North-South diffusionist stories of science and technology, but at another level the essays take the reader beyond the 'imported magic' of Northern theories of STS. By connecting us with the reflexive and critical voices of Latin American STS scholarship, this book is a great introduction to contemporary modes of rethinking STS from Latin American perspectives.
—David J. Hess, Sociology, Vanderbilt University

This astonishing collection provides for both science and technology studies and postcolonial students and scholars valuable new pathways for thinking and illuminatingly different conceptual approaches. These authors usher in a much-needed expansive era for historians, philosophers, sociologists, political theorists, and ethnographers of science as well as for readers in other fields. I can't wait to teach it.
—Sandra Harding, Distinguished Professor, Departments of Education and Gender Studies, University of California, Los Angeles; Distinguished Affiliate Professor, Department of Philosophy, Michigan State University; and author of Sciences from Below

In this enchanting book, leading scholars conjure up surprising and gripping new configurations of science and technology in Latin America. These essays reveal brilliantly how local and regional histories haunt so-called global scientific projects. Beyond Imported Magic brings Latin America into contemporary conversations about what makes technoscience appear so worldly and cosmopolitan, even as it is experienced as situated and place-bound in practice. This book will cast a spell on anyone who wants to understand the multiple ways in which we try, and often fail, to be both modern and global.
Warwick Anderson, University of Sydney, author of The Collectors of Lost Souls

This exciting and thought-provoking volume shows how analyzing Latin America through an STS lens allows us to peer more closely at known histories and uncover new and in some cases existing but understudied connections. Once we divest ourselves of outdated adjectives such as 'peripheral' to explain the role of Latin America in science we invariably begin to see the region as a center with a long history of scientific production and with the many complexities that this entails. By placing Latin America into longer narratives of (redefined or reemphasized) scientific research, the authors crucially demonstrate science as ever-present and not a relatively new, imported phenomena of the nineteenth/twentieth centuries.
Gabriela Soto Laveaga, author of Jungle Laboratories: Mexican Peasants, National Projects, and the Making of the Pill


See reviews in Investigación y Ciencia, Isis, Journal of Latin American Studies, Hispanic American Historical Review, Choice Magazine, Physics World, Bulletin Pacific Circle, East Asian Science, Technology and Society, Critical Reviews on Latin American Research, National Identities, and International Journal for the History of Science and Engineering.