Archive for November, 2013

Photo from The Commons archive at Flickr here.

Weekend Reading

James Scott reviews Jared Diamond’s latest in the LRB.  [Via Savage Minds.] Kevin Drum  on the debate between economists about why fiscal stimulus works.  How is New Keynesianism different from Old Keynesianism? Using Google Docs in the higher education classroom. On meta-games and containers.  (You should definitely click on this!) An essay on academics hired by Wall Street published in The Nation. Upworthy is just the new mutation of the Internet Chain Letter. Have a good weekend!      

Big Data, Boundary Work and Computer Science

Big Data, Boundary Work and Computer Science

4S 2013 was full of “big data” panels (Tom Boellstorff has convinced me to not capitalize the term).  Many of these talks were critiques; the authors saw big data as a new form of positivism, and the rhetoric of big data as a sort of false consciousness that was sweeping the sciences. 1 But what do scientists think of big data? In a blog-post titled “The Big Data Brain Drain: Why Science is in Trouble,”  physicist Jake VanderPlas (his CV lists his interests as “Astronomy” and “Machine Learning”) makes the argument that the real reason big data is dangerous is because […]

Liveblog: Environment, HASTS 25th Anniversary Event

Liveblog: Environment, HASTS 25th Anniversary Event

Co-written with Shreeharsh Kelkar, with additional help from Amy Johnson and photos by Ashawari Chaudhuri, Amy Johnson, and Lan Li. In her Welcome speech for the HASTS 25th Anniversary celebration, Deborah Fitzgerald started with a plea.  Working in the “belly of positivism,” it’s not easy being a science studies scholar at MIT.  But fortunately, we’ve been able to become the best–and only–program of our kind.  History, Anthropology, and STS. “The program was never quite tidy or quite tame,” and sometimes it still feels a bit unruly, always full of surprises. ***** The first panel, Environment, is chaired by Nicole Labruto and moderated by Nate Deshmukh Towery. Etienne […]

Liveblog: Technology, HASTS 25th Anniversary Event

Liveblog: Technology, HASTS 25th Anniversary Event

Co-written with Lan Li, with additional help from Julia Fleischhack; photos by Ashawari Chaudhuri and Amy Johnson; Wordle shows program interests between 2000 and 2004. Onward to Technology! Aka the third panel of the HASTS 25th Anniversary Event, introduced by Grace Kim and moderated by Shreeharsh Kelkar. Lindy Biggs (‘87): The Changing Meaning of Work in England’s Early Industrial Period David Lucsko (‘05): Dismantlers or Graveyards? Automotive Salvage in the Twentieth Century Rob Martello (‘01): Paul Revere and Ben Franklin: Artisans, Entrepreneurs, and Boundary Crossers Bill Turkel (‘04): The Hands-On Imperative **** Lindy Biggs (‘87): The Changing Meaning of Work in England’s Early Industrial Period For […]

Liveblog: Health & Biology, HASTS 25th Anniversary Event

Liveblog: Health & Biology, HASTS 25th Anniversary Event

Co-written with Lucas Mueller, with additional help from  Julia Fleischhack and Amy Johnson; photos by Ashawari Chaudhuri and Amy Johnson. Wordle shows program interests between 1990-1994.  The Health and Biology panel,  panel #2 at the 25th Anniversary Event, introduced by Marie Burks and moderated by Lan Li. Jennifer Mnookin (‘99): Knowledge, Culture and Forensic Science: What Fingerprint Experts – and Their Critics – Know Anne Pollock (‘07): Health Disparities and American Citizenship Claims Jenny Smith (‘06): From Soup Nuts to Curry-Flavored SPAM, a History of the Science and Politics Behind American Food Aid Jessica Wang (‘95): The Telling Case: Rabies Narratives, Autopsy, […]

Liveblog: Infrastructure & Communication, HASTS 25th Anniversary Event

Liveblog: Infrastructure & Communication, HASTS 25th Anniversary Event

Co-written with Shreeharsh Kelkar, Lan Li, and Beth Semel, with additional assistance from Julia Fleischhack; photos by Amy Johnson. The Infrastructure & Communication panel, the final panel in the 25th Anniversary Event, introduced by Renee Blackburn and moderated by Ellan Spero: Slava Gerovitch (‘99):  ‘Writing Across the Lines:’ A Parallel Social Infrastructure in Soviet Mathematics in the 1970s Shane Hamilton (‘05): Navigating the Spatial Turn Wade Roush (‘94): History, Journalism, and the Technology of Storytelling Livia Wick (‘06): The Arabic Language, Pedagogy, and the Concept of Crisis   Slava Gerovitch (‘99): ‘Writing Across the Lines:’ A Parallel Social Infrastructure in Soviet Mathematics in the 1970s Historians haven’t […]

Weekend Reading

This weekend is the HASTS 25th anniversary.  But just in case, you have time, some interesting links to browse through on the weekend. Historian David A. Bell asks if global history can be done better, without over-using the “network” metaphor. Susan Faludi on “Facebook feminism” and the Lean In movement. Annette Markham writes about what it means to do ethnography online. An interesting article, with results from a group of MIT neuro-scientists about how we perceive subway maps. Post in the comments if you love/hate any of them.

Liveblogging info for the HASTS 25th Anniversary Event (11/9)

Join us as we liveblog the HASTS 25th Anniversary Event! The links below will take you to the Google docs where the liveblogging teams for each panel will be collaborating, real-time. With some minimal polishing after the panel ends, the finished liveblogs will then be posted here on the HASTS blog. Panel 1: Environment Panel 2: Health & Biology Panel 3: Technology Panel 4: Infrastructure & Communication Come stop by!

Supplementary Tips (prior to fieldwork)

Supplementary Tips (prior to fieldwork)

My disclaimer: many of you are probably more organized than me, and maybe less foolhardy. 1. Prepare the logistics of oh-so-boring but necessary things to keep you healthy and safe preferably before you embark on your fieldwork. Everyone talks about setting up your fieldwork to make it viable, and that’s important. But there’s something many of you might overlook. I did. Healthcare. Ah yes, most of us are unlikely to consider it, given that the worse we get down with is a flu/cough. As Amah said, no prizes for getting mono…and it’ll set you back financially, research time wise, and […]