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  • Lawrence Abu Hamdan
  • Babak Afrassiabi
    • Babak Afrassiabi is an artist who works both in Iran and the Netherlands. Since 2004, he has collaborated with Nasrin Tabatabai on various joint projects and the publication of the bilingual magazine Pages (Farsi and English). Their work seeks to articulate the undecidable space between art and its historical conditions, including the recurring question of the place of the archive in defining the juncture between politics, history, and the practice of art. The artists’ work has been presented internationally in various solo and group exhibitions and they have been tutors at the Jan Van Eyck Academie, Maastricht (2008–13), and Erg, école supérieure des arts, Brussels (2015–).
    • published contributions
  • Malin Ah-King
  • Memo Akten
    • . He is currently a PhD candidate at Goldsmiths, University of London, where he is researching artificial intelligence, machine learning, and expressive human-ma
    • published contributions
  • Jamie Allen
  • S. Ayesha Hameed
    • Dr. S. Ayesha Hameed is a Lecturer in Visual Cultures and the Joint Programme Leader in Fine Art and History of Art Research Fellow in Forensic Architecture at Goldsmiths, London. She received her PhD in Social and Political Thought at York University, Canada in 2008
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  • Sammy Baloji
  • Subhankar Banerjee
  • On Barak
    • On Barak is a social and cultural historian of science and technology in non-Western settings. He has been a senior lecturer in the Department of Middle Eastern and African History at Tel Aviv University since 2012. Prior to this, he was a member of the Princeton Society of Fellows. In 2009, Barak received a joint PhD in History and Middle Eastern Studies from New York University. His most recent book is On Time: Technology and Temporality in Modern Egypt (University of California Press, 2013), and his current publication project, Coalonialism: Energy and Empire before the Age of Oil, is funded by a European Union Marie Curie Award and an Israel Science Foundation Grant.
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  • Anil Bawa-Cavia
    • Anil Bawa-Cavia is a computer scientist with a background in machine learning. He runs STDIO, a speculative software studio. His practice engages with algorithms, protocols, encodings, and other software artifacts and his doctoral research at the Center for Advanced Spatial Analysis (CASA) at University College London was on complex networks in urbanism. He is a founding member of Call & Response, a sonic arts collective and gallery space in London, and a member of the New Centre for Research & Practice.
    • published contributions
  • Etienne Benson
  • Josh Berson
  • Jeremy Bolen
  • Paul Boshears
  • Benjamin Bratton
    • for Media, Architecture and Design, Moscow. Bratton is also Professor of Digital Design at the Eur
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  • Axel Braun
    • Axel Braun studied photography at the Folkwang University of the Arts, Essen, and fine arts at the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts de Paris. His artistic research deals with controversial infrastructure projects, tautology as an attempt to understand reality, and failed utopias in art and architecture. Currently, he is pursuing the long-term project Towards an Understanding of Anthropocene Landscapes. Recently exhibited works include Some Kind of Opposition (2016) at Galeria Centralis, Budapest, and Dragonflies drift downstream on a river (2015) at Kunstmuseum Bochum.
    • published contributions
  • Keith Breckenridge
  • François Bucher
    • s, focusing on ethical and aesthetic problems of cinema and television, and more recently on the image as an interdimensional field. His work has been exhibited at
    • published contributions
  • Lino Camprubí
  • Zachary Caple
  • Ele Carpenter
    • Dr. Ele Carpenter is a senior lecturer in curating at Goldsmiths, London. Her curatorial practice responds to interdisciplinary socio-political contexts such as the nuclear economy and the relationship between craft and code.
    • published contributions
  • Andrew Chubb
    • Andrew Chubb is a PhD candidate at the University of Western Australia conducting research on the relationship between Chinese public opinion and government policy in the South China Sea. His articles have appeared in the Journal of Contemporary China, Pacific Affairs, East Asia Forum, and Information, Communication & Society. His blog, South Sea Conversations (southseaconversations.wordpress.com), provides translations and analysis of Chinese discourse on the South and East China Sea issues.
    • published contributions
  • Louis Chude-Sokei
    • Louis Chude-Sokei is a writer and scholar currently teaching in the English Department at the University of Washington, Seattle. His academic interests range from West African, Caribbean, and American literary and cultural studies to a particular focus on sound, technology, and performance. His literary and public work focuses on immigration and black-on-black cultural contacts, conflicts, and exchanges. Chude-Sokei is the author of the award-winning book The Last “Darky”: Bert Williams, Black-on-Black Minstrelsy, and the African Diaspora (2006) and The Sound of Culture: Diaspora and Black Technopoetics (2016).
    • published contributions
  • Amy Cimini
  • Claire Colebrook
    • Claire Colebrook is a professor of English at Penn State University. Her areas of specialization are contemporary literature, visual culture, and theory and cultural studies. She has written articles on poetry, literary theory, queer theory, and contemporary culture. Colebrook is the co-editor of the series Critical Climate Change, published by Open Humanities Press, and a member of the advisory board of the Institute for Critical Climate Change. She recently completed two books on extinction for Open Humanities Press, Death of the PostHuman and Sex after Life (both 2014), and with Tom Cohen and J. Hillis Miller co-authored Twilight of the Anthropocene Idols (2016).
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  • Flavio D'Abramo
  • Ana Dana Beroš
    • chitect and curator focused on creating uncertain, fragile environments that catalyze social chan
    • published contributions
  • Pietro Daniel Omodeo
  • Rana Dasgupta
  • Filip De Boeck
    • Filip De Boeck is actively involved in teaching, promoting, coordinating and supervising research in and on Africa at the Institute for Anthropological research in Africa at the U
    • published contributions
  • Seth Denizen
    • Seth Denizen is a researcher and design practitioner trained in landscape architecture and evolutionary biology. Since completing research on the sexual behavior and evolutionary ecology of small Trinidadian fish, his work has focused on the aesthetics of scientific representation, madness, and public parks, the design of t
    • published contributions
  • Rohini Devasher
  • Jonathan Donges
    • Jonathan Donges is a postdoctoral researcher who holds a joint position at the Stockholm Resilience Centre (as Stordalen Scholar) and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. He studies planetary boundaries and social dynamics in the Earth system from a complex dynamical system perspective. At Potsdam, he is Co-head of the flagship COPAN (Coevolutionary Pathways) project (www.pik-potsdam.de/copan). His published research includes work on complex network theory, dynamical systems theory, and time series analysis, with a focus on their application to our understanding of past and present climate variability and its interactions with humankind on planet Earth.
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  • Design Earth
    • ollaborative architectural practice led by El Hadi Jazairy
    • published contributions
  • Keller Easterling
  • Anna Echterhölter
  • David Edgerton
    • David Edgerton is Hans Rausing Professor of the History of Science and Technology and a professor of modern British history at King’s College London. After teaching at the University of Manchester, he became the founding director of the Centre for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine at Imperial College London (1993–2003), and moved along with the centre to King’s College London in August 2013. He is the author of many works, including The Shock of the Old: Technology and Global History since 1900 (2007), which argues for and exemplifies new ways of thinking about the material constitution of modernity.
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  • Technosphere Editorial
  • Sasha Engelmann
  • Lois Epstein
    • stein is Arctic Program Director at the Wilderness Society an American land conservation non-profit. A licensed engineer, she has served on a number of federal advisory committees, including a National Academy of Sciences committee studying oil and gas regulations, and, for twelve years, a committee focusing on oil pipeline safety. Epstein holds a Master of Civil Engineering with a specialization in environme
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  • Eberhard Faust
  • Jennifer Gabrys
    • Jennifer Gabrys is Reader in the Department of Sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London, and Principal Investigator on the ERC-funded project, "Citizen Sense." Her publications include Digital Rubbish: A Natural History of Electronics (University of Michigan Press, 2011); and Program Earth: Environmental Sensing Technology and the Making of a Computational Planet (University of Minnesota Press, forthcoming).
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  • Elaine Gan
  • Oliver Gantner
  • Beate Geissler and Oliver Sann
  • Florian Goldmann
    • Florian Goldmann is a Berlin-based artist and a PhD candidate at the DFG Research Training Center Visibility and Visualisation – Hybrid Forms of Pictorial Knowledge as well as at the Brandenburg Center for Media Studies, both Potsdam University. His research focus is the utilization of models as a means of both commemorating and predicting catastrophe. In 2015, he took part in the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR) in Sendai, Japan. Goldmann is one of the founders of the research collective STRATAGRIDS and the author of Flexible Signposts to Coded Territories (2012), an analysis of football hooligan graffiti in Athens as a system of fluid signage.
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  • Mark Graham
  • Jacques Grinevald
  • Johan Gärdebo
    • Johan Gärdebo is a PhD candidate at the Royal Institute of Technology affiliated to the Environmental Humanities Laboratory (EHL). H
    • published contributions
  • Orit Halpern
    • Orit Halpern is a Strategic Hire in Interactive Design and an associate professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Concordia University, Montreal. Her work bridges the histories of science, computing, and cybernetics with design and art practice. She is also a co-director of the Speculative Life Research Cluster, Montreal, a laboratory situated at the intersection of art and life sciences, architecture and design, and computational media (www.speculativelife.com). Her recent monograph, Beautiful Data (2015), is a history of interactivity, data visualization, and ubiquitous computing. www.orithalpern.net
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  • Eva Hayward
  • Gabrielle Hecht
  • Gerda Heck
  • Florian Hecker
    • dio 3 as the broadcaster’s first ever live binaural broadcast. Recent major exhibitions
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  • Carola Hein
    • Carola Hein is a professor of the history of architecture and urban planning in the Architecture Department at Delft University of Technology. She has published widely on topics in contemporary and historical architectural and urban planning, notably that of Europe and Japan. Her current research interests include transmission of architectural and urban ideas along international networks, focusing specifically on port cities, and the global architecture of oil. Her books include Port Cities: Dynamic Landscapes and Global Networks (2011), Cities, Autonomy, and Decentralization in Japan (2006), and The Capital of Europe: Architecture and Urban Planning for the European Union (2004).
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  • Julian Henriques
    • Julian Henriques is the convener of the MA in Script Writing and Director of the Topology Research Unit in the Department of Media and Communications at Goldsmiths, University of London. Prior to this, he ran the film and television department at the Caribbean Institute of Media and Communication (CARIMAC) at the University of the West Indies, Kingston, Jamaica. His credits as a writer and director include the reggae musical feature film Babymother (1998) and as a sound artist, Knots & Donuts, exhibited at Tate Modern in 2011. Henriques researches street cultures and technologies and his publications include Changing the Subject: Psychology, Social Regulation, and Subjectivity (1998), Sonic Bodies: Reggae Sound Systems, Performance Techniques, and Ways of Knowing (2011), and Sonic Media (forthcoming).
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  • Hanna Husberg
    • Hanna Husberg is a Stockholm-based artist. She graduated from ENSB-A in Paris in 2007 and is currently a PhD in Practice candidate at the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna.
    • published contributions
  • Sabine Höhler
  • Erich Hörl
  • Timothy Johnson
  • Peter K. Haff
  • Bernd Kasparek
  • Nikos Katsikis
  • Laleh Khalili
  • Axel Kleidon
  • Alexander Klose
    • Dr. Alexander Klose studied History, Law, Philosophy, Art, and Cultural Studies. From 2005-07 he held a scholarship at Bauhaus Universität Weimar for his PhD project on standardized containers used in transport as one of the leading material media in the 20th century. Between 2009 and 2014 he worked as a research associate and programme developer at Kulturstiftung des Bundes. In 2015 in the forefront of COP 21, he co-curated Blackmarket for Useful Knowledge and Non-Knowledge No. 18 – On Becoming Earthlings: 150 dialogues and exercises in shrinking and expanding the Human at Musée de l'Homme, Paris. His latest publication is: The Container Principle. How a box changes the way we think (2015).
    • published contributions
  • Karin Knorr Cetina
  • Scott Knowles
  • Nile Koetting
  • Nicole Koltick
    • Nicole Koltick is an assistant professor in the Westphal College of Media Arts & Design at Drexel University, Philadelphia. She is Founding Director of the Design Futures Lab at Westphal College, which is currently pursuing design research to stimulate debate on the potential implications of emerging technological and scientific developments within society. Koltick’s practice spans art, science, technology, design, and philosophy, and current work focuses on the philosophical, material, and relational implications of aesthetics as they intersect with emerging developments in computational creativity, artificially intelligent autonomous systems, robotics, and synthetic biological hybrids.
    • published contributions
  • Nik Kosmas
  • Matthijs Kouw
    • Matthijs Kouw joined the Rathenau Instituut, The Hague, in March 2016. He holds an MA in Philosophy and an MSc in Science and Technology Studies from the University of Amsterdam as well as a PhD from Maastricht University. In his PhD thesis, Kouw describes how and to what extent reliance on models can introduce vulnerabilities through the assumptions, uncertainties, and blind spots concomitant with modeling practice. He was employed as a postdoctoral researcher at the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL), during which time he acted as a member of the Dutch delegation for plenary sessions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
    • published contributions
  • Matija Kralj
  • Kei Kreutler
  • Lars Kulik
    • Lars Kulik studied biology at the Humboldt University of Berlin. He received his doctorate on the development of social behavior of rhesus monkeys at the University of Leipzig and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. He lives with his family in Berlin.
    • published contributions
  • Richard L. Hindle
    • Richard L. Hindle is an assistant professor of landscape architecture and environmental planning at the University of California, Berkeley. His current research focuses on patent innovation in landscape related technologies, from large-scale mappings of riverine and coastal systems to detailed historical studies on the antecedents of vegetated architecture. His work explores the potential of new technological narratives and material processes to reframe theory, practice, and the production of landscape. Recent works include the articles “Levees That Might Have Been” (2015), and “Infrastructures of Innovation” in Scaling Infrastructure (MIT Center for Advanced Urbanism, 2016), and the exhibition Geographies of Innovation at UC Berkeley (2015).
    • published contributions
  • Hannah Landecker
  • Brian Larkin
  • Bruno Latour
  • Manfred Laubichler
  • John Law
    • hn Law was a professor of sociology at Keele University, Lancaster, and the Open University, Milton Keynes, and a co-director of the Economic and Social Researc
    • published contributions
  • Yoneda Lemma
    • ents from one fiction to another. She has exhibited her work at V4ULT, Berlin; Le Cube, Par
    • published contributions
  • Esther Leslie
    • t theories of aesthetics and culture, with a particular focus on the work of Walter Benjamin and Theodor Adorno. It deals with the poetics of science, European literary and visual modern
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  • George Lewis
    • my of Arts and Letters, New York. He has been a member of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), Chicago, since 1971. Lewis’s work as composer, electronic performer, installa
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  • S. Løchlann Jain
  • Donald MacKenzie
  • Stefan Maier
  • Chowra Makaremi
  • Annapurna Mamidipudi
  • Laura McLean
    • Laura McLean is a curator, artist, and writer based in London. She is a graduate of Goldsmiths College and Sydney College of the Arts, where she later lectured. She has also studied at Alberta College of Art and Design, and the Universität der Künste Berlin.
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  • Eden Medina
    • Eden Medina is an associate professor of informatics and computing, affiliated associate professor of law, and adjunct associate professor of history at Indiana University, Bloomington. Her research and teaching address the social, historical, and legal dimensions of our increasingly data-driven world, including the relationship of technology to human rights and free expression, the relationship between political innovation and technological innovation, and the ways that human and political values shape technological design. Medina’s writings also use science and technology as a way to broaden understandings of Latin American history and the geography of innovation. She is the author of Cybernetic Revolutionaries: Technology and Politics in Allende's Chile (2011) and the co-editor of Beyond Imported Magic: Essays on Science, Technology, and Society in Latin America (2014).
    • published contributions
  • Anne-Sophie Milon
    • Anne-Sophie Milon is an artist and a freelance illustrator and animator working and living in Bristol, UK. After completing two Masters in Art, she has recently concluded the program of experimentation in Art and Politics at SciencesPo (SPEAP) in Paris.
    • published contributions
  • Paul N. Edwards
  • Gerald Nestler
    • Gerald Nestler is an artist and writer who combines theory and post-disciplinary conversation with video, installation, performance, text, code, graphics, sound, and speech. He explores what he calls the derivative condition of contemporary social relations and its paradigmatic financial models, operations, processes, narratives, and fictions. He is currently working on an “aesthetics of resolution” that maps counterfictions and counterimaginations for “renegade activism,” which revolves around the demonstration as a combined artistic, technological, social, and political practice. Nestler holds a practice-based PhD from the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths, University of London.
    • published contributions
  • Huiying Ng
  • Daniel Niles
    • terial, millenary and momentary—that their knowledge takes, and, finally, the significance of this experience to our understanding of t
    • published contributions
  • James P. M. Syvitski
    • James P. M. Syvitski is Executive Director of the Community Surface Dynamics Modeling System (CSDMS) at the University of Colorado Boulder. From 2011 to 2016, he chaired the International Council for Science’s International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP), which provides essential scientific leadership and knowledge of the Earth system to help guide society toward a sustainable pathway during rapid global change. His specialty is the global flux of water and sediment (river and ocean borne) and its trends in the Anthropocene. He works at the forefront of computational geosciences, including sediment transport, land-ocean interactions, and Earth-surface dynamics.
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  • Luciana Parisi
    • Luciana Parisi is Reader in Cultural Theory, Chair of the PhD program in Cultural Studies, and Co-director of the Digital Culture Unit at Goldsmiths, University of London. Her research focuses on cybernetics, information theory and computation, complexity and evolutionary theories, and the technocapitalist investment in artificial intelligence, biotechnology, and nanotechnology. Her books include Abstract Sex: Philosophy, Biotechnology and the Mutations of Desire (2004) and Contagious Architecture: Computation, Aesthetics, and Space (2013). She is currently researching the history of automation and the philosophical consequences of logical thinking in machines.
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  • Lisa Parks
  • Matteo Pasquinelli
  • Karen Pinkus
    • w York. She is also a faculty fellow of the Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future, Ithaca. Author of numerous publications in literary studies, Italian studies, critical theory, and environmental humanities, Pinkus is also Editor of the journal Diacritics. In her latest book, Fuel (2016), Pinkus thinks about issues crucial to climate ch
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  • Giulia Rispoli
  • Sophia Roosth
    • t when researchers are building new biological systems in order to investigate how biology works. She holds a PhD from the Massachuse
    • published contributions
  • Arno Rosemarin
  • Rafico Ruiz
    • afico Ruiz is Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Banting Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Sociology at the University of Alberta, Edmonton. He studies the relationships between mediation and social space, particularly in the Arctic and subarctic; the cultural geographies of natural resource engagements; and
    • published contributions
  • Kim Rygiel
    • f International Affairs in Waterloo, Canada. Her research focuses on border security, migration, and citizenship in North America and Europe. She investigates how citizens and non-citizens engage in citizenship practices and challenge notions
    • published contributions
  • Dorion Sagan
  • Isabelle Saint-Saëns
  • Birgit Schneider
  • Sever
    • SEVER was developed as a speculative design project by Francesco Sebregondi, Alexey Platonov, Inna Pokazanyeva, and Ildar Iakubov during the New Normal postgraduate program at Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design, Moscow. SEVER seeks to intervene into current Arctic debates by disturbing the landscape of the region’s possible futures
    • published contributions
  • Jens Soentgen
  • C Spencer Yeh
  • Nick Srnicek
  • Lizzie Stark
    • Lizzie Stark is an author, journalist, and experience designer. She is the author of two books, Pandora’s DNA (2014), exploring so-called ‘breast cancer genes’ and her first book, Leaving Mundania (2012), which investigates the subculture of live action role play, or larp. Her journalism and essays have appeared in The Washington Post, the Daily Beast, The Today Show Website, io9, Fusion, the Philadelphia Inquirer and elsewhere. She holds an MS from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She has organized numerous conventions and experiences across the US. Her most recent work is as a programming coordinator for Living Games Austin, and as co-editor and contributor for the #Feminism anthology, which collects 34 nano-games written by feminists from eleven countries.
    • published contributions
  • Carolyn Steel
  • Benjamin Steininger
  • Lucy Suchman
    • ology of Science and Technology in the Department of Sociology at the University of Lancaster, UK. Her research interests within the field of feminist science and technology studies are focused on technological imaginaries and material practices
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  • Kaushik Sunder Rajan
    • echnology studies, and postcolonial studies, holding a special interest in the global political economy of biomedicine, with a comparative focus on the Un
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  • Jenna Sutela
    • Jenna Sutela’s installations, texts, and sound performances seek to identify and react to precarious social and material moments, often in relation to technology. Most recently, she has been exploring exceedingly complex biological and computational systems, ultimately unknowable and always becoming something new. Her work has been presented, among other places, at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London; Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin; and the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo and her writing has been published by Fiktion, Harvard Design Magazine, and Sternberg Press.
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  • Bronislaw Szerszynski
    • Bronislaw Szerszynski is a Reader in Sociology at Lancaster University in the UK. Szerszynski’s work has developed across several themes, including the role of Western religious history in shaping contemporary understandings of technology and the environment—typified by his book Nature, Technology and the Sacred (Wiley-Blackwell, 2005).
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  • Elisa T. Bertuzzo
    • Elisa T. Bertuzzo studied comparative literature, sociology, communication, and media studies and holds a PhD in urban studies. She was a curator and project leader with Habitat Forum Berlin, including for the project Paradigmising Karail Basti (2010–16). Bridging discourses from the fields of cultural and urban studies, her research focuses on the everyday life facets of urbanization and settlement in South Asia. On that topic, she published Fragmented Dhaka: Analysing Everyday Life with Henri Lefebvre’s Theory of Production of Space (2009) and runs her multimedia project Archives of Movement (since 2012), which deals with the everyday life of temporary labor migrants in Bangladesh and India.
    • published contributions
  • Gregory T. Cushman
    • Gregory T. Cushman is Associate Professor of International Environmental History at the University of Kansas.
    • published contributions
  • Nasrin Tabatabai
    • Nasrin Tabatabai is an artist who works both in Iran and the Netherlands. Since 2004, she has collaborated with Babak Afrassiabi on various joint projects and the publication of the bilingual magazine Pages (Farsi and English). Their work seeks to articulate the undecidable space between art and its historical conditions, including the recurring question of the place of the archive in defining the juncture between politics, history, and the practice of art. The artists’ work has been presented internationally in various solo and group exhibitions and they have been tutors at the Jan Van Eyck Academie, Maastricht (2008–13), and Erg, école supérieure des arts, Brussels (2015–).
    • published contributions
  • Ksenia Tatarchenko
    • dies Institute, Geneva University, specializing in the history of Russian science and technology. She has held positions as a visiting Assistant Professor of History at NYU Shanghai and a post-doctoral fellow at the Harriman Institute, Columbia. Most broadly, she studies questions of knowledge circulation to situate Soviet developments in the global context. She is currently writing a book on science and innovation cultures in Siberia provisionally
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  • Katerina Teaiwa
    • Dr. Katerina Teaiwa is Associate Professor at the Department of Gender, Media and Cultural Studies, School of Culture, History & Language and the president of the Australian Association for Pacific Studies. Her main area of research looks at the histories of phosphate mining in the central Pacific. Her work does not only span academic research, publications, and lectures, but also manifests itself in other formats within the arts and popular culture. Her work has inspired a permanent exhibition at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, which tells the story of Pacific phosphate mining through Banaban dance. In 2015, she published „Consuming Ocean Island: Stories of People and Phosphate from Banaba“, Indiana University Press. She is currently working with visual artist Yuki Kihara on a multimedia exhibition for Carriageworks in Sydney.
    • published contributions
  • Terre Thaemlitz
  • Jol Thomson
  • Claire Tolan
  • John Tresch
  • Etienne Turpin
    • Etienne Turpin is a philosopher, Founding Director of anexact office, and a research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, where he coordinates the Humanitarian Infrastructures Group and co-directs the PetaBencana.id disaster mapping project for the Urban Risk Lab. He is the editor of Architecture in the Anthropocene: Encounters Among Design, Deep Tim
    • published contributions
  • Asonseh Ukah
    • Asonzeh Ukah is a sociologist and historian of religion. He joined the University of Cape Town in 2013 and previously taught at the University of Bayreuth (2005–13), where he also earned a doctorate and habilitation in history of religions. His research interests include religious urbanism, the sociology of Pentecostalism, and religion and media. He is Director of the Research Institute on Christianity and Society in Africa (RICSA), University of Cape Town, and Affiliated Senior Fellow of Bayreuth International Graduate School of African Studies (BIGSAS), University of Bayreuth. He is the author of A New Paradigm of Pentecostal Power (2008) and Bourdieu in Africa (edited with Magnus Echtler, 2016).
    • published contributions
  • Underworlds
  • Sebastian Vehlken
    • Sebastian Vehlken is a media theorist and cultural historian at Leuphana University Lüneburg and Permanent Senior Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study on Media Cultures of Computer Simulation (MECS). From 2013 to 2017, he worked as MECS Junior Director, and in 2015–16, he was a visiting professor at Humboldt-Universität Berlin, the University of Vienna, and Leuphana. His areas of interest include the theory and history of computer simulation and digital media, the media history of swarm intelligence, and the epistemology of think tanks. His current research project, Plutonium Worlds, explores the application of computer simulations in West German fast breeder reactor programs.
    • published contributions
  • Vladimir Vernadsky
  • Ben Vida
    • Korea, Australia ,and Europe at such institutions as the Guggenheim, New York; Centro Pecci, Prato, Italy; STUK Arts Center, Leuven
    • published contributions
  • Davor Vidas
    • Davor Vidas is a research professor in international law and Director of the Law of the Sea Programme at the Fridtjof Nansen Institute, Lysaker, Norway. He is Chair of the Committee on International Law and Sea Level Rise and a member of the Anthropocene Working Group. Vidas has been involved in international law research for over thirty years, focusing since 2009 on implications of the Anthropocene for the development of international law. Among his books are The World Ocean in Globalisation (2011) and Law, Technology and Science for Oceans in Globalisation (2010). He is the editor-in-chief of the book series Anthropocene (Skolska knjiga, Zagreb), launched in 2017.
    • published contributions
  • Kalindi Vora
  • Jennifer Walshe
    • porary Arts, New York; DAAD Berliner Künstle
    • published contributions
  • Hannes Wiedemann
    • Hannes Wiedemann is a Berlin-based photographer. He studied at the Ostkreuz School of Photography, Berlin. For his project Grinders (2015–16), he followed the American bodyhacking community, a small group of people across the United States working out of garages and basements to become real cyborgs. Recent exhibitions include NEW PHOTOGRAPHY II (2017) at Gallery ALAN, Istanbul, and HUMAN UPGRADE, with Susanna Hertrich (2016), at Schader-Stiftung Gallery, Hessisches Landesmuseum, Darmstadt. www.hanneswiedemann.com
    • published contributions
  • Elvia Wilk
  • Cary Wolfe
    • Cary Wolfe is Bruce and Elizabeth Dunlevie Professor of English and Founding Director of 3CT: Center for Critical and Cultural Theory at Rice University, Houston. He is the author of What Is Posthumanism? (2010), a book that weaves together principal concerns of his work: animal studies, system theory, pragmatism, and post-structuralism. It is part of the series Posthumanities, for which he serves as Founding Editor at the University of Minnesota Press. His most recent publication is Before the Law: Humans and Other Animals in Biopolitical Frame (2013) and earlier books and edited collections include Animal Rites: American Culture, The Discourse of Species, and Posthumanist Theory (2003) and Zoontologies: The Question of the Animal (2003).
    • published contributions
  • Andrew Yang
  • Jan Zalasiewicz
    • Dr. Jan Zalasiewicz is Professor of Palaeobiology at the University of Leicester and Chair of the Anthropocene Working Group of the International Commission on Stratigraphy. A field geologist, paleontologist, and stratigrapher, he teaches and publishes on geology and earth history, in particular on fossil ecosystems and environments that span over half a billion years of geological time.
    • published contributions
  • Anna Zett
  • Sander van der Leeuw
    • ionships, and complex systems theory. He investigates the preconditions for and the practices and role of invention, sustainability, and innovation in societies. He has done
    • published contributions
  • Liv Østmo
    • Liv Østmo is one of the founders and current Dean of the Sámi University of Applied Sciences, Kautokeino, Norway, where she researches and lectures on the subject of multicultural understanding. For the last eight years, Østmo has worked with traditional Sámi knowledge and she is currently working on putting the finishing touches on a methodology book about the documentation of this knowledge.
    • published contributions
Source: CCO

Biopolitics of Trust in the Technosphere: A Look at Surrogacy, Labor, and Family

Who is trusted to take care of others? Investigating the relationships between surrogates and commissioning parents, feminist science and technology studies scholar Kalindi Vora discusses the ethics of assisted reproductive technologies. She argues that the global distribution of care and service work these technologies promote requires structures of trust and security that are in line with recent ideals of work, family, social, and biological reproduction.
Care and service work are being increasingly automated and outsourced with the development of technology. Assisted reproduction technologies, for example, including in vitro fertilization and transnational commercial surrogacy, have led to the inclusion of gamete markets and gestational surrogacy in the globalization of reproduction, care, and service work. Processes that were once highly localized, such as factory production and surrogacy arrangements, if not even hyperlocalized within families and households, such as personal assistance and tutoring, are now stretched across national boundaries. This international distribution of what were once household processes challenges national ideals of family, the household economy, and the raced, gendering, and sexualized practices that go with them.
Transnational gestational surrogacy in India, one of the research sites for my book Life Support: Biocapitalism and the New History of Outsourced Labor, illustrates these technological and social challenges. I did fieldwork with international participants including current and former surrogates, commissioning parents, doctors, technicians, staff, and community members at an Indian assisted reproductive technology clinic in 2008, when the practice was still fairly new. At that time, there were only a few clinics offering the service, and people outside India were just starting to hear about it. I followed the development of what some call an industry, tracking legal debates and draft legislation, feminist organizing, and policy recommendations in India as well as discussion in Europe and the United States about the ethics of being commissioning parents who hire low-earning Indian women to become gestational carriers.
Trust and Care Labor
“Whom will I trust to take care of me when I am not able?” This question comes up in pressing medical emergencies, like a sudden serious illness or injury or a loss of shelter, or simply due to the organic fact of passing through physical fitness into age and infirmity. One answer offered historically by both socialist and capitalist democracies has been: the nation-state. This imagined community that arises out of a social contract asserts that in exchange for submitting to the power of the state, we gain its protection. This protection includes the redistribution of wealth in the form of social welfare benefits like emergency medical care, disability and medical payments when we cannot work, and retirement pensions. Another structural answer to the question has of course been: the family. Just as the nation arises out of a social contract, where actual legal contracts will be enforced through the state apparatus of the nation, the family, too, arises out of a contract—the marriage contract.
The modern nuclear family as an ideal is a relatively recent invention consisting of a set of people living together in one household economic unit recognized through tax reporting, medical insurance registration, school enrollment, death benefits, visitation and custody rights, etc. In the United States, it wasn’t until the early to mid-twentieth century that the heteropatriarchal nuclear family became the privileged site of the citizen subject. In his book Contagious Divides: Epidemics and Race in San Francisco’s Chinatown, Nayan Shah explains how in the US in the mid-twentieth century, anxieties about immigration and racial intermixing were part of a national project to promote the members of the white, middle-class, heteropatriachal nuclear household as the ideal citizen subject. He explains that many alternate domestic formations existed at the time, and that these were pathologized to support the ideal family household. For example, Shah looks at Chinese immigrant residences in San Francisco in the 1920s and ’30s, which included female-headed households, multifamily households, and apartments where many single migrant men lived together, among others.Nayan Shah, Contagious Divides: Epidemics and Race in San Francisco’s Chinatown. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001.
These lifestyles and households were cast as a racialized threat, and in fact a danger to public health. The threat of the dilution of white America by immigrants was countered by the promise of a new ideal family model that was being nationally promoted, in racist and classist tones, as the “American way of life.Ibid., p. 79.
Source: CCO

In reality, of course, most households do not match this imaginary of the nuclear family—in fact, we can see these “queer domesticities,” as Shah calls them, as protesting the reproduction of the nation, because they destabilize the white nuclear family norm. Shah describes queer domesticities as forms of intimacy and domesticity that are nonproductive in a capitalist frame and that don’t replicate the idealized citizen subject out of that white middle class nuclear family.Ibid., 79.
Mixed families, single mothers raising children within unofficial cooperative arrangements with other single mothers, grandparents housing and supporting adult children and grandchildren … the list goes on. Yet, the state goes on giving social welfare benefits primarily to the sanctioned legal family, constituted through a legal marriage contract. However, saying queer domesticities refuse to reproduce the nation is not to simply celebrate the fact that they exist, since they are also most often testimony to the fact that low-resource contexts lead to creative living solutions, because the state refuses to recognize its nonidealized forms as viable for rights and social welfare entitlements.
Feminist scholars including Maria Mies, Carole Pateman, and Janet Jakobsen have argued that marriage, the state’s preferred way of recognizing domesticity and family, has also historically been a labor contract, specifically a labor contract that creates the subordinated economic position of “wife” within the household unit.See for example Maria Mies, Patriarchy and Accumulation on a World Scale: Women in the International Division of Labour. London: Third World Books; Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Zed Books, 1986; Janet Jakobsen, “Perverse Justice,” GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 18, no. 1 (2012): pp. 19–45; Carole Pateman, The Sexual Contract. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press, 1988.
Of course, women of color feminists, including Angela Davis, Evelyn Nakano Glenn, Jennifer Morgan, and Grace Chang among others, have pointed out that immigrant and low-resourced women have always done their own household labor, plus additional underpaid wage labor in the households of wealthier, often white, families.See for example Angela Y. Davis, “The Approaching Obsolescence of Housework: A Working-Class Perspective,” in Women, Race & Class. New York: Vintage Press, 1983; Evelyn Nakano Glenn, “From Servitude to Service: Historical Continuities in the Racial Division of Paid Reproductive Labor,” SIGNS: Journal of Women and Culture in Society, no. 18 (1992): pp. 1–43; Grace Chang, Disposable Domestics: Immigrant Women Workers in the Global Economy. Cambridge, MA: South End, 2000; Jennifer Morgan, Laboring Women: Reproduction and Gender in New World Slavery. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004.
Mies, in her book Patriarchy and Accumulation on a World Scale, says that the marriage contract was what made the nuclear family possible, creating a new historical economic domestic form that replaced wages for labor.Maria Mies, Patriarchy and Accumulation on a World Scale: Women in the International Division of Labour. London: Third World Books; Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Zed Books, 1986, p. 104.
With marriage, “love” would now be the compensation for labor in the household. Jakobsen explains how the household economic unit has also helped support the fiction that the liberal subject is free and autonomous. She says this freedom is a fiction because it relies on the subordination of invisibilized and devalued support labor: the historical male head of household could not survive without the labor of wife, children, servants, and slaves, subjects that are erased through the marriage contract and through the strict limits of what counts as “family” under the law.Janet Jakobsen, “Perverse Justice,” GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 18, no. 1 (2012), p. 25.
Mies goes on to explain that the modern marriage contract sets up a model of unpaid labor in the private sphere, the home, that is then extended through globalization to encompass the formerly colonized world’s labor economies.Maria Mies, Patriarchy and Accumulation on a World Scale: Women in the International Division of Labour. London: Third World Books; Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Zed Books, 1986, p. 102.
We can add casualized labor, including many forms of crowdsourced digital labor and sweatshop work, as extending from this model of unpaid and underpaid labor in the gendered private sphere. The former colonial metropole, in the position of patriarch, commands the gendered labor of globalized service economies in the position of wife—sweatshop garment work, customer service call center work, long-distance tutoring and teaching, or crowdsourced microtask work like that managed by Amazon’s Mechanical Turk platform. These forms of labor have little in common except that they are deemed to be uncreative or reproductive, and therefore while they are performed by people of any gender, the work itself is feminized, a process that in the late 1970s Mies called “housewifization.Ibid., p. 16.
The post-1980s retraction of the social welfare state is putting immense pressure on the household as an economic unit. This pressure could destabilize the family as the privileged site where the state recognizes people as having the rights entitlements of citizenship. Instead, those who can afford it are finding new ways to supplement the household economic unit by outsourcing the necessary domestic labor that keeps it going. Of course, the white middle-class household was never self-sufficient, because families with the economic means have always hired lower-class and often racialized women to do domestic work in their homes. The outsourcing of care work, including the work of gestation and childbirth, which I study in the form of transnational surrogacy markets, draws our attention to what is in fact a very long history of outside support for what looks from the outside like the simple bourgeois family unit.See Kalindi Vora, “Limits of Labor: Accounting for Affect and the Biological in Transnational Surrogacy and Service Work,” South Atlantic Quarterly 111, no. 4 (2012): pp. 681–700.
When the work of the household gets stretched out across a global map of outsourcing, we get what Rhacel Parreñas calls “global chains of care,” in which women emigrate overseas to care for families, leaving their own to be cared for by other family members, often their own mothers.Rhacel Parreñas, “Migrant Filipina Domestic Workers and the International Division of Reproductive Labor,” Gender & Society 14:4 (2000): pp. 560-80.
These chains of care get superimposed onto the map of the formerly colonized world and its metropoles in what is now termed the global North.
Assisted Reproductive Technologies and Trust
When I started researching transnational Indian surrogacy arrangements, I spent several months at a surrogacy clinic in northern India. At one point in the first week, I was asked to step in as a translator for a conversation in which a commissioning father named David was introduced to Puja, the woman the clinic had assigned to be his gestational surrogate. The arrangement called for in vitro fertilization, where an embryo created with David’s sperm and the ovum of a different local Indian woman would then be transferred to Puja’s uterus for gestation. Puja explored the extent of David’s intentions toward her and her family by asking if he would be willing to bring her family to the US and help them find jobs. He expressed a vague intention to help educate her children and perhaps invite them to the US, but by the end of their contract, nine months later, he described mounting frustration with her continued attempts to, as he phrased it, “get more money” from him and his wife each time they communicated.This story is excerpted from Kalindi Vora, “Indian Transnational Surrogacy and the Commodification of Vital Energy,” Subjectivity 28, no. 1 (2009): pp. 266–78.
I found an insistence among surrogates that common sense should dictate that commissioning parents would naturally feel that they owed their surrogate an extended form of patronage, in light of what the surrogate had given them—something beyond what money can repay or represent. In fact, such relationships between people of power and resources and those of little have well-established precedents in South Asian history.Kalindi Vora, “Potential, Risk and Return in Transnational Indian Gestational Surrogacy.” Current Anthropology. 54: Supplement 7. (2013): pp. 97-106.
The social contract that binds the nation together, where citizens subject themselves to state power in exchange for security, is a model for the marriage contract. It is also a model for surrogacy contracts. The social contract—an agreement between two supposedly autonomous parties that will be upheld by the state legal apparatus—makes one party, in this case, the surrogate, subordinate to another, the commissioning parents, because by law she is a temporary service worker who will gestate their property and progeny for nine months, after which she is no longer part of the parents’, or the commissioned infant’s, social world.
The work of care, nurturing, attention, and biological gestation performed by commercial surrogates is devalued because it is gendered. It is outsourced to racialized nations and performed by their citizen bodies as underpaid labor. However, as Shah’s study of “queer domesticities” in San Francisco’s Chinatown of the 1930s means to suggest, the work of care can lead to new social forms and can change existing institutions.Nayan Shah, Contagious Divides: Epidemics and Race in San Francisco’s Chinatown. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2001.
Assisted reproductive technologies, including the practice of surrogacy, are destabilizing the citizen subject of the nation-state and the laws that protect them. The notion of “family” has been shifting in response to outdated models of patriarchy and the nuclear family, for example, through the notion of “genetic” parents. Should we really then think of some surrogates’ assertion that they should have a lasting economic connection to the families they contracted with for surrogacy as irrational or impossible?
The challenges posed to national ideals of work, family, and both social and biological reproduction by the global distribution of care and service work require participants to remake structures of trust and security as we create new forms of kinship and social responsibility. These new forms of collectivity are required because the outsourcing of care has been accompanied by a retraction of the national social welfare state. In 1987, Margaret Thatcher famously encapsulated neoliberal economic subjectivity when she said, “There is no such thing as society. There are individual women, and there are families.” From the perspective of the nation-state, the family is a unit through which the life of a collective (the body of the nation) can be reproduced both biologically and ideologically. It is privileged in many ways, from its ideological promotion to its gatekeeping function to control full access to the entitlements of a citizen subject. From the perspective of a critical race and gender studies analysis, the family is an imagined ideal that has been constructed to mark full citizenship at the expense of raced, gendered, and sexualized subjects against whom it is defined.
Source: CCO

What types of communities of care might arise, then, out of the retraction of the social welfare state? Can we see these both as a symptom of the failure of the state and also as sites of possibility to interrupt the easy reproduction of the nation and the family form? The way former surrogates in India describe the potential for structures of lifelong responsibility between commissioning parents and the families of surrogates helps us imagine alternatives to nation-state organized family and marriage-based structures of kinship and mutual aid.
If we rearrange this essay’s opening question, “Whom can I trust to take care of me,” to “Who can trust me to take care of them?,” the question becomes open to the social, and to the ongoing life of “society.” It pushes against the atomization encouraged by privatization. Thinking about being trusted to take care of others—to not just be responsible for oneself and one’s family but to also recognize mutual dependence as in surrogacy arrangements—points to the power to use social reproduction, and perhaps even technologies of biological reproduction, to change the fabric of society in response to the retraction of social welfare by the neoliberal state. “Who can trust me to take care of them” is a question of building collectives within or despite the nation. Collectives have historically challenged the model of the autonomous individual property owner. Surrogates who feel they should be in a relation of responsibility with commissioning parents are calling for those parents to think about a collective investment. Who will they care for? Not the surrogate, but the genetic progeny she has borne, because it is a relation sanctioned by the state? Many people are already living as part of alternative collectives—those queer domesticities that the nation-state has tried to penalize. I’ve argued that in some ways social reproduction and the domestic sphere have always been such a place, even as they have been central to raced, gendered, and imperial exploitation.