STS Seminar Series explores Crip technoscience, March 10

concept of digital technology
Figure 1: Traditional cellular network

The next instalment of the 2019-20 Research Seminar Series in Science & Technology Studies (STS) is planned for Tuesday, March 10 and features Melanie Baljko, associate professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the Lassonde School of Engineering at York University.

Now in its 26th year, the series has hosted hundreds of experts from across Canada and around the world presenting on a wide range of STS-related topics. The talks are free and open to the public, and STS majors are encouraged to attend. Refreshments are provided.

Melanie Baljko
Melanie Baljko

The March 10 seminar is titled “Crip technoscience & critical technical practice” and will run from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in room 203, Bethune College (Norman’s), Keele Campus.

Crip technoscience is a field of research and a practice of critical “knowing-making” (Source: Hamraie, 2017, 2019). Crip technoscience takes up issues of: ideologies about how bodies are configured (versus “are supposed to be”), how the world can be created and ordered (versus “gets created and ordered”) and who can be said to have authority to create knowledge and thus to participate in this world-making.

Crip knowing-making is “world-building and world-dismantling practices by and with disabled people and communities that respond to intersectional systems of power, privilege, and oppression by working within and around them,” a stance that critically responds to knowing-making for disability, which refers to “expert relations and practices concerned with designing for disabled people rather than with or by disabled people” and “positions enhancement and capacitation as progressive moves to overcome disability” (Source: Hamraie, 2019).

In this seminar, Baljko will discuss some of the technoscientific practices around access within some of the research projects within the Practices in Enabling Technologies (PiET) lab. Baljko will signal access as a contested and unstable concept. The practices of focus will concern the development of software and other digital artefacts connected to “Do-It-Yourself” Assistive Technology (DIY-AT), the use of open source methodologies and modes of participatory design and community engagement. These various practices, which are embedded in multiple contexts – such as various communities of scholarlship, training regimes for highly qualified personnel (aka HQP in NSERC parlance) and academic knowledge mobilization – are sites of friction and contestation, connected to disability social justice.

The series is sponsored by York University’s Department of Science & Technology Studies, Faculty of Science, and coordinated by members of the department. For more information about the Research Seminar Series in Science & Technology Studies, contact Professor Conor Douglas at cd512@yorku.ca or visit sts.info.yorku.ca/seminar-series.