Studying Science and Technology in Latin America: Beyond Imported Magic

August 24-25, 2012
Indiana University, Bloomington


Paper Authors and Luminaries

Morgan Ames (Stanford University, USA)
Javiera Barandiaran (University of California Berkeley, USA)
Anita Chan (University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, USA)
Henrique Cukierman (Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
Amy Cox Hall (University of North Carolina Charlotte, USA)
Ivan da Costa Marques (Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)
Márcia Regina Barros da Silva (Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil)
Ana Delgado (University of Bergen, Norway)
Adriana Díaz del Castillo (Colombia)
Mariano Fressoli (Universidad Nacional de Quilmes, Argentina)
Jonathan Hagood (Hope College, USA)
David Hess (Vanderbilt University, USA)
Christina Holmes (EHESS-CNRS, France)
Matthieu Hubert (CONICET, Argentina)
Michael Lemon (Indiana University Bloomington, USA)
Gisela Mateos (UNAM, Mexico)
Eden Medina (Indiana University Bloomington, USA)
María Fernanda Olarte Sierra (Universidad de los Andes, Colombia)
Hugo Palmarola (UNAM, Mexico)
Tania Pérez Bustos (Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Colombia)
Julia Rodriguez (University of New Hampshire, USA)
Edna Suárez (UNAM, Mexico)
Manuel Tironi (Pontificia Universidad Católica, Chile)
Dominique Vinck (University of Lausanne, Switzerland)

Faculty Interlocutors (Indiana University)

Deborah Cohn (American Studies)
Shane Greene (Center for Latin American Studies)
Nathan Ensmenger (Informatics)
David Hakken (Informatics)
Lessie Jo Frazier (Gender Studies/American Studies)
Laura Foster (Gender Studies)
Ilana Gershon (Communication and Culture)
Stephanie Kane (Criminal Justice)

Graduate Student Interlocutors (Indiana University)

David Nemer (Informatics)
Samantha Merritt (Informatics)
Kate Bishop (Geography)

Biographies of Participant Authors

Morgan G. Ames draws on training in communication, anthropology, and computer science to examine the ways people make sense of new technologies in their everyday lives. Her current research focuses on the social meanings of the One Laptop Per Child project, tracing its intellectual history and assessing its deployments across the Americas. She spent six months in 2010 conducting ethnographic fieldwork on OLPC in Paraguay, and is also involved with OLPC research initiatives in Peru, Haiti, Uruguay, and Birmingham, Alabama. Morgan is a doctoral candidate in Stanford University's Department of Communication, with a Ph.D. minor in anthropology, and a former National Science Foundation graduate fellow. She earned a bachelor's degree in computer science from UC Berkeley in spring 2004 and a Master's degree in information science from UC Berkeley in spring 2006.

Javiera Barandiaran is a Ph.D. candidate in Environmental Science Policy and Management at U.C. Berkeley. She has conducted research on anticipatory governance systems and science policy, public perceptions of science, technology and the environment, and the regulation of nanomaterials in light of their environmental and health effects. She has also conducted research for a Mexican NGO on technology and knowledge transfer between California and Mexico through Mexican migrant workers. In 2008 she obtained a Master in Public Policy from the Goldman School of Public Policy, U.C. Berkeley. Prior to coming to Berkeley, she worked for six years in public opinion research in Europe. Her current research is on how knowledge about nature is produced and used to manage the environment in Chile, which she is examining through the analysis of four important environmental controversies.

Márcia Regina Barros da Silva is a professor in the History Department of the University of São Paulo's (USP) Faculty of Philosophy, Letters and Human Sciences, History of Science area, working in the undergraduate and post-graduate fields. She is Deputy Director of this department and director of the History Research Center. She is currently performing research supported by a grant from the National Scientific and Technological Development Council (CNPq). Her main research theme is the history of "periodism," specializing in the formation of local scientific communities, specifically the Brazilian and Latin American cases. This research is based on the study of medical journals created in the state of São Paulo between 1884 and 1950 and the circulation of articles among researchers in Brazil and Latin America linked to the Latin American History of Science and Technology Society. She also studies the relation between image and science in medical documentary films, based on films produced in Brazil.

Anita Say Chan is an assistant professor of in the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's Media and Cinema Studies Department. Her work examines the emergence of innovation-driven national development initiatives in Peru, where new technological and legal resources, including intellectual property titles to networked digital technologies, are promoted to prepare diverse populations for the Information Age. Her work considers how the promotion of such tools impacts communities from rural ceramics artisans to urban-based free software coders. She was previously a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University's Introduction to Humanities Program. She received her Ph.D. from MIT's Program in Science, Technology, and Society, and her master's degree from MIT's Comparative Media Studies Program. Her research has been awarded support from the Center for the Study of Law and Culture at Columbia University's School of Law and the National Science Foundation.

Henrique Cukierman is Professor at the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro with affiliations in the Systems Engineering and Computer Science Department, the Graduate Program in the History of Sciences and Techniques and Epistemologies, and Computer Engineering and Information Department. He is the author of Yes, we have Pasteur: Manguinhos, Oswaldo Cruz and the History of Science in Brazil (2007). He has held visiting positions at Stanford University (2001-2002), the Deutsches Museum (2009-2010), and the Universität Konstanz (2009-2010) and is the recipient of a 2008 scholarship from the Alexander von Humbolt Foundation.

Ivan da Costa Marques received a bachelor degree in electronic engineering at ITA (Aeronautics Institute of Technology) in 1967 and received his Ph.D. in Electric Engineering and Computer Science from U.C. Berkeley in 1973. Back in Brazil he was a researcher and teacher at the COPPE / Federal University of Rio de Janeiro until December 1966. From 1977 to 1980 he was the coordinator for the computer industry policy at CAPRE, the Brazilian government agency in charge of defining rules for computer manufacturing in Brazil. From 1981 to mid 1986 he was the CEO and main shareholder of a small private computer manufacturer in Rio de Janeiro (EBC-Embracomp) and from July 1990 to July 1992 he was president and CEO of the Brazilian state owned computer manufacturer (COBRA). During the 1980s, besides working as a business man, Ivan sought to be technically and politically active in the Brazilian scene on issues of local development of computer technology. From August 1990 to July 1992 Ivan returned to an academic life; this time, however, in the social sciences, after two years as a research fellow at the Committee for Historical Studies of the New School for Social Research in New York. Again back in Brazil in 1992, Ivan is currently an associate professor at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. He has since then published extensively in Portuguese and English, including many journal articles and edited volume chapters and a book (Marques, 1998) ("Brazil and the opening of the markets -- questions of labor," 1998, 2nd edition in 2004 by Editora Contraponto). He was twice elected vice-president of the Brazilian Association of Historians of Science (SBHC -- 2008-2012) and the first President of the recently formed Brazilian Association for Social Studies of Science and Technology (ESOCITE.BR 2011-2013).

Ana Delgado is a post-doctoral fellow at the Centre for the Study of the Sciences and the Humanities at the University of Bergen, Norway. She is a Social Anthropologist by training, with a Ph.D. in environmental sciences from the Autonomous University of Barcelona and in theory of science from the University of Bergen. Her research falls mainly within environmental issues, the dynamics of public formation, and emerging technologies. Her latest research focuses on the digitalization of biology, particularly on the epistemic and political dimensions of computer-based designs in synthetic biology.

Adriana Díaz del Castillo has a Master's degree in Medical Anthropology and a background in medicine. She has worked as an independent researcher with universities and public institutions both in Colombia and abroad. Her research interests have to do with the interplay of health and society from an ethnographic approach. This interest has led her to work with diverse topics that include the body and chronic illness, urban infrastructures and well-being, and medical education. In the past two years she has broadened the scope of her research in the field of social studies of science and technology with a focus on human population genetics, forensics, and information systems and their relation to nation building processes in Colombia.

Mariano Fressoli is a sociologist and Research Assistant at CONICET -- Argentina. He is currently working at the Institute of Studies on Science and Technology, Universidad Nacional de Quilmes, Argentina. He also teaches Sociology of Technology at UNILA, in Brazil and other universities in Argentina. Mariano holds a MA in Cultural Studies at Goldsmiths College, University of London and a Ph.D. in Social Sciences at University of Buenos Aires. His main research activities include STS studies in technology for social inclusion and social movements, sociology of knowledge, biotechnology and nature/culture relations. He works as an assistant editor at Revista Redes -- Revista de estudios sociales de la ciencia.

Jonathan Hagood is an Assistant Professor in the Department of History, a position he began in Fall 2008. He teaches Latin American history as well as courses in the history of science and medicine. His dissertation research, for which he received support from the National Science Foundation's Graduate Research Fellowship Program, focused on the history of social medicine and public health in 1930s-50s Argentina. Other projects have included the history of nuclear research in Argentina and nuclear weapons policy and history. Prof. Hagood's current projects include the history of the field stations operated by the Organization for Tropical Studies in Costa Rica and the history of nursing in Argentina. He holds a Ph.D. (2008) and an M.A. (2005) in Latin American History from the University of California, Davis. His undergraduate background is in both architecture and Latin American Studies from the University of Texas at Austin (1998).

Amy Cox Hall is a Lecturer of History and Global International, Area Studies at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte. She received her Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from the University of Florida and is currently completing a book on scientific expeditions, visual technologies, indigeneity, and the making of heritage in twentieth-century Peru.

Christina Holmes is a Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada funded post doctoral fellow at the EHESS-CNRS in Paris, France (School of Higher Studies in Social Sciences in the National Scientific Research Centre). Holmes received her Ph.D. from Dalhousie University in 2008 in Social Anthropology. Her doctoral and post-doctoral work is on agricultural biotechnology in Canada and Colombia. The doctoral work focused on how scientists see genetically modified organisms compared to the public controversy surrounding them, while the post-doctoral research is exploring the tensions between traditional plant breeding methods and newer biotechnological ones within the training of future plant breeders. Holmes has received grants and fellowships for her doctoral and post-doctoral work from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Canadian Institute of Health Research, and the International Development Research Centre. She is also currently a co-investigator in the Canadian Institute of Health Research Council funded project, "Articulating Standards: Translating the Practices of Standardizing Health Technologies". Her work has been published in Focaal: The European Journal of Anthropology, Culture and Agriculture, Sociologias, and OMICS, as well as in an edited volume, Contesting Aging and Loss, published by the University of Toronto Press.

Matthieu Hubert is a graduate in engineering, and holds a Ph.D. in sociology (University of Grenoble, France). He has been a postdoctoral researcher in the EHESS (Paris, France) and is currently postdoctoral researcher of CONICET (Buenos Aires, Argentina). He is working on science-industry relationships, technological platforms (book in preparation in Editions des Archives Contemporaines) and nanoscience and nanotechnology research in Argentina. He has published: Hybridations instrumentales et identitaires dans la recherche sur les nanotechnologies (2007, Revue d'Anthropologie des Connaissances); Integrarse en redes de cooperación en nanociencias y nanotecnologías: el rol de los dispositivos instrumentales (2009, REDES, with A. Spivak L'Hoste); Le rôle des dynamiques d'organisation dans les sciences: le cas des plateformes de caractérisation en nanosciences (2010, Terrains and Travaux); Les chercheurs et la programmation de la recherche: du discours stratégique à la construction de sens (2012, Quaderni, with F. Chateauraynaud and J.-M. Fourniau).

Michael Lemon is a Ph.D. student in History at Indiana University, Bloomington. He received the inaugural Pamela Laird communications research grant from the Society for the History of Technology (SHOT) in support of his dissertation research on the relationship between television technology, media, and politics during the presidency of Salvador Allende in Chile. He holds a B.A. degree in history from Oberlin College.

Gisela Mateos González obtained her Ph.D. in the History of Science at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, Spain in 2001. Since 2003 she has been working as a full time researcher at the Centro de Investigaciones Interdisciplinarias en Ciencias y Humanidades, UNAM, Mexico. Her main research focuses on the history of 20th Century Physics. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses at the UNAM and has presented her work at various national and international meetings. Since 2011, her current research project is examining how Physics developed in Mexico during the Cold War and how local knowledge was decisive for this development, with special attention on the formation of the local material culture. She co-edited with Angeles Eraña La cognición como proceso cultural, and has published on the history of 20th Century Physics in Spanish and English journals.

Eden Medina is Associate Professor of Informatics and Computing and an Adjunct Associate Professor of History at Indiana University, Bloomington. Medina received her Ph.D. in 2005 from MIT in the History and Social Study of Science and Technology. She is the author of Cybernetic Revolutionaries: Technology and Politics in Allende’s Chile (MIT Press, 2011). Medina has received grants and fellowships from the Social Science Research Council and the American Council for Learned Societies, the National Science Foundation, the Charles Babbage Institute, the Mellon Foundation, and the Dibner Institute for the History of Science and Technology. She is also the recipient of the IEEE Life Members' Prize in Electrical History, a Scholar’s Award from the National Science Foundation, and a New Direcetions Fellowship from the Mellon Foundation. In 2011, she received the Outstanding Junior Faculty Award from Indiana University, Bloomington.

María Fernanda Olarte Sierra holds a Ph.D. in Social Sciences, a Masters in Medical anthropology, a BA in Social Anthropology and recently finished a postdoctoral fellowship in Social Anthropology. Her research interests have always revolved around the interplay of health, illness, society, science and technology. In this context, she has been highly interested in medical technologies, and more recently in genetics. One overarching theme of her research is to study the ensemble of science, technology and society in ways that talk about nation building and citizenship processes through the lens of individual bodies in Colombia. She has conducted fieldwork in Colombia and in the Netherlands and has worked with a network of scholars based in Europe, South America and North America.

Hugo Palmarola Sagredo holds a Masters in History and Theory of Industrial Design from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) and studied design at the P. Universidad Católica de Chile, where he also taught. He has published on topics such as the history of technology, design, architecture, art and film in Blucher and Museu Oscar Niemeyer (Brazil), Routledge and Hatje Cantz Publishers (USA), Museo Reina Sofía (Spain), AA Files (UK), Josef Albers Museum Quadrat (Germany), EPFL (Switzerland) and New Architecture (China). In 2007 he received the International Scholar Award from the Society for the History of Technology (SHOT). Together with Pedro Alonso, he received a RIBA Research Trust Award 2008 for his ongoing cultural study on the Soviet large-concrete panel system and the politics of Cold War prefabrication housing in Russia, Cuba and Chile. Other research interests include the processes of assimilating household technologies in Latin America during the first half of the twentieth century and the technological imaginary of the first animated cartoons and comic films made in the US and Europe.

Tania Pérez Bustos has a Ph.D. in Education with a Masters in Development Studies and undergraduate studies in Social Anthropology and Communication Studies. She is currently working as an Assistant Professor at the Department of Anthropology in the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana. Her areas of research are related to the feminist politics of knowledge circulation especially in popular settings (media, non formal education settings, initiatives of scientific engagement with broad publics) and to the cultural feminization of certain practices related to science and technology. She has worked on a variety of topics, including science museums and Free Software communities in Colombia and India, and more recently with the ethnographic analysis of the coverage of human genetics in the Colombian media. Her fieldwork has developed in southern countries, mainly India and Colombia, but has also involved networking with universities in Brazil and the United Kingdom.

Edna Suárez-Díaz obtained her Ph.D. degree at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) in 1996. Currently, she is Full Professor at the School of Sciences at UNAM. She has done research stays at the University of California, Irvine, Harvard University and the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin. Dr. Suá rez has written more than 20 articles on the history and historical epistemology of molecular evolution and bioinformatics. She has published in journals like Science in Context, History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences, and Studies in the History and Philosophy of the Biological and Biomedical Sciences. She co-authored, with Sergio Martínez, Ciencia y Tecnología en Sociedad, Cambio Tecnológico con miras a una sociedad democrática (2008), and she is currently co-editing a volume on Darwin: The Art of Doing Science, with Ana Barahona and Hans-Jörg Rheinberger. Her current interest is on the uses of molecular markers in the study of human populations in Mexico, in the context of the internationalization of science during the postwar period.

Manuel Tironi is Assistant Professor at the Department of Sociology, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. His current research agenda focuses on public engagement, expertise, disasters, and the politics of large technical systems. He is currently leading a major project on public participation technologies in post-disaster planning in Chile. In addition, he leads a 2-year research project on public perceptions of risks associated with envirotech contamination in Puchuncaví (Chile), and he co-directs a comparative research project exploring public engagement in transportation policies in Chile and Mexico. He serves in several editorial committees and, among other honors, he has been awarded with the FURS 2006 Essay Competition for the best essay on urban and regional themes by young authors. Manuel holds a Msc in City and Regional Planning from Cornell University and a Ph.D. in Urbanism from Politechnique University of Catalonia.

Dominique Vinck is Professor in Sociology and STS in the University of Lausanne, member of the Institute for Social Sciences (Lausanne) and of the CETIS (Tecnología, Ingeniería y Sociedad) of the University of the Andes (Bogotá). His research concerns the sociology of sciences and innovation, among others, in the field of micro and nanotechnology. He is President of the Société d'Anthropologie des Connaissances and Director of the Revue d'Anthropologie des Connaissances. He published Everyday Engineering. An Ethnography of Design and Innovation (MIT Press, 2003; translation in Brazil, Fabrefactum, Belo Horizonte, 2012), The Sociology of Scientific Work (E. Elgar, 2010), Les nanotechnologies (Le Cavalier Bleu, Paris, 2009), Comment les acteurs s'arrangent avec l'incertitude (EAC, 2010), Les masques de la convergence (EAC, 2012) and, with Noela Invernizzi, is editor of a special issue in REDES in 2009 (Nanociencias y nanotecnologías en América Latina).