SEMINAR: “The Social Life of Bits, Genes and Machines: on Teaching STS & Engineering” by Dr. Eric Deibel, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam
27 June 2016 Monday at 10:40
EA-409, Bilkent University
The seminar will discuss two interrelated topics. Firstly I will discuss science and technology studies (STS) and its contribution to the teaching curriculum of an engineering faculty. Touching on many of the subjects of the STS course, I will discuss the basic problem that STS as a field has attempted to address: technological and social determinism. By doing so I will demonstrate how STS can help students to see the various fields of engineering in social context, ethically as well as in terms of a design process that is open to improvement. Secondly, I will go in depth in regard of a subject from the course called “intellectual property and emerging developments”. I will draw primarily on my own work on “open innovation”, demonstrating the difference that an STS approach makes to the teaching curriculum and to the formation of its students.
Bio: Eric Deibel received his Ph.D. in science and technology studies (STS) from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Its subject was “open source in the lifesciences”. Subsequently he won an Andrew W. Mellon fellowship at the university of Indiana-Bloomington and an IFRIS fellowship (Institut Francilien Recherche Innovation Société)in Paris. During this time he developed a comprehensive research agenda examining how the life sciences and related bio-economies are build on facts, data and artifacts. Most of his research examines how life is known as well as shared (copied), owned (claims over information) and optimized (remade through optimizing the code based on standard languages and biotech engineering visions). This subject area includes scientific practices in fields like bio-informatics, genomics, systems biology, synthetic biology as well as its influence on plant biotechnology. He also written on the influence of changing understanding of life and nature on international mandates and governance mechanisms in fields such as trade (patents/IP), health (biomedicine) as well as agriculture and climate change (GMOs). Returning to the Netherlands he renewed his empirical work examining“ the global bio-economy”, a relatively new European policy language that seeks to replace the dependence of industrial societies on fossil fuels as well as on oppositional figures such as “bio-hackers”and the advocates of “Open Source Seeds”. The earlier work as well as the new material will be part of his forthcoming book: “Recoding life: information and the biopolitical”.