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Twentieth Century Reading Group

The group discusses books and papers relating to the history and historiography of 20th-century science, technology and medicine, broadly construed. We meet on Thursdays, 1pm to 2pm in the Board Room. Organised by Andrew Buskell and Richard Staley.

Everyone is welcome – feel free to bring along your lunch.

Lent Term 2019

This term the Twentieth Century Reading Group focuses most of its meetings on the ontological turn in anthropology, featuring a visit from Martin Holbraad on 24 January and linking to presentations at the Twentieth Century Think Tank from Freddy Foks and Paolo Heywood. (On 7 February, we prepare for Audra Wolfe's visit to the Think Tank.)

Please contact Andrew Buskell (ab2086) if you are unable to access the readings.

24 January
The Ontological Turn, I. Introductions: A Cantabrigian Movement? (With Martin Holbraad)

Key readings:

  • Paolo Heywood. 2018. 'The ontological turn: school or style?' In Matei Candea (ed.) Schools and styles of anthropological theory. London: Routledge.
  • Martin Holbraad and Morten Axel Pedersen. 2017. The Ontological Turn: An Anthropological Exposition. Ch. 1 'The Ontological Turn in Anthropology'.

Further readings:

  • Adam Reed. 2016. 'Postscript: Taking the Ontological Turn Personally'. In Bjørn Enge Bertelsen and Synnøve Bendixsen (eds.) Critical Anthropological Engagements in Human Alterity and Difference. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 295–301.

7 February
Political Histories of the Apolitical

  • Audra Wolfe. 2018. Freedom's Laboratory: The Cold War Struggle for the Soul of Science. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, chap. 5.

21 February
The Ontological Turn, II. Methods of the Ontological Turn (With Matei Candea)

Key readings:

  • Amira Henare, Martin Holbraad, and Sari Wastell. 2007. 'Introduction: Thinking Through Things'. In Amira Henare, Martin Holbraad, and Sari Wastell (eds.) Thinking Through Things: Theorising artefacts ethnographically. London: Routledge, pp. 1–31.
  • Matei Candea. 2017. 'We Have Never Been Pluralist'. In Pierre Charbonnier, Gildas Salmon, and Peter Skafish (eds.) Comparative Metaphysics: Ontology After Anthropology. London: Rowman & Littlefield.

7 March
The Ontological Turn, III. STS, Anthropology and Actor-Network Theory

Key readings:

  • Anna Tsing. 2010. 'Worlding the Matsutake Diaspora: Or, Can Actor-Network Theory Experiment with Holism?' In Ton Otto and Nils Bubandt (eds.) Experiments in Holism: Theory and Practice in Contemporary Anthropology. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 47–66.
  • Steve Woolgar and Javier Lezaun. 2013. 'The wrong bin bag: A turn to ontology in science and technology studies?' Social Studies of Science, 43(3): 321–340.

Further readings:

  • Matei Candea. 2018. 'No actor, no network, no theory: Bruno Latour's anthropology of the moderns.' In Matei Candea (ed.) Schools and Styles of Anthropological Theory. London: Routledge, pp. 209–223.