Knowledges in Contact

6th Annual Natura Conference on Science and Epistemology

Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ

March 31, 2017

9:15 AM – 6:00 PM

Keynote Speaker

Debbora Battaglia (Mount Holyoke College)

Hosted by Natura, A Rutgers University Interdisciplinary Graduate Student Working Group focused on critical perspectives of Science and Epistemology, the 2017 Natura Conference explores how systems of knowledge interact. Isabelle Stengers calls for a cosmopolitics that will allow an “ecology of practices” to flourish. We seek to explore the tensions and potentials that arise when ways of knowing collide. How do new and emergent ways of knowing interact with established systems of knowledge? How has this process occurred historically as well as in the present? How are emerging epistemologies created, consolidated, and defended? By whom and for what purposes? How do these nascent ways of knowing interact with more established epistemologies across gulfs of power and influence? How can effective and justice-oriented communication and action take place across these boundaries? How can competing sites and methods of knowledge formation–across cultures and across academic disciplines–become productively entangled with one another? Beyond epistemology, how are underlying ontologies expressed in structures of knowledge, power and methodology? How are knowledge systems naturalized and made self-evident? When does communication across epistemologies occur and what are the conditions of this exchange? How can engaging with multiple epistemologies estrange or cement our concepts of truth? How do animal knowledge formation and plant intelligence collide with and alter human epistemologies?

Potential topics may include (but are not limited to):

  • Claims, proof, truth; research methodologies, technologies, tools, devices, processes of knowledge production, political effects, affect
  • Boundaries, boundary objects, contact zones, zones of exception, centres of calculation, networks
  • PowerKnowledge, The Academy, periodization, and academic disciplines/ “disciplining” knowledge
  • Contextualization. discourse, and framing: e.g. crisis, the Anthropocene, climate change, extinction
  • “More-than”/Posthumanism, animal studies, plant studies, environmental humanities & philosophy, ecocriticism, traditional ecological knowledge, ethno-(botany, ornithology, etc.), biopiracy
  • Feminist, decolonial, and postcolonial theories, philosophy and history of science
  • Conspiracy theories, memes, and anonymous knowledge transmission
  • Big data, citizen science, GIS, algorithms, prediction, sensors, computing and programming, modelling
  • Religious knowledge, Folk traditions, Indigenous epistemologies, Cosmopolitics, ontologies, making worlds, pluriverse

Natura: The Science and Epistemology Working Group is a graduate student working group within Rutgers University that serves as a forum to foster critical interdisciplinary conversations about the history, cultures, places, and theories of science, epistemology, and knowledge production. Natura 2016-2017 organizers are based within the English and Geography Departments at Rutgers University. We are generously sponsored by the Rutgers British Studies Center, School of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Office, and the Graduate Student Association.