Corporate Speculation: Techniques for Calibrating Our Future
by Professor Joseph Dumit
(UC Davis, Anthropology)
Thursday, May 4, 2017 from 4-6
George Ignatieff Theatre, 15 Devonshire Place.
Reception to follow. Please RSVP for reception here
I—like many, if not most of you—like to think of futures with ethics in mind, what is best for people or the planet: regulations and policies that could command consensus—some sort of social contract, however weak. Then I watch how corporations act and make decisions. And realize how little I understand these creatures. When they speculate, worlds are terraformed. In this talk, I’d like to share three examples of terraforming—health/pharma, climate/energy/public relations, and politics/fracking—and then offer a playful approach to seeing like a corporation. Because it is one route to understanding how little we want to know about how little they care, about us.
Joe Dumit is a professor in the department of Anthropology & Science and Technology Studies, and chair of Performance Studies at the University of California Davis. He is the author of Drugs for Life: How Pharmaceutical Companies Define Our Health (Duke University Press, 2012), an ethnography that focuses on the way clinical trials are designed in ways that grow pharmaceutical treatments. He is also the author of Picturing Personhood: Brain Scans and Biomedical Identity (Princeton University Press, 2004) and co-editer of three books: with Gary Lee Downey, Cyborgs & Citadels: Anthropological Interventions in Emerging Sciences and Technologies; with Robbie Davis-Floyd, Cyborg Babies: From Techno-Sex to Techno-Tots, and with Regula Burri, Biomedicine as Culture. Prof. Dumit current works on Gaming Studies, where he is developing a game on fracking; immersive visualiztion studying KeckCAVES, as well as bringing dancers and scientists together in it; Crazy Computers and Logical Neuroses, which concerns the early period of computing 1940-1960 when people felt computers were logical and therefore irrational; as well as work on improvisation and bodymind anatomies. Professor Dumit has lead workshops across the United States, Canada, and Europe on various topics of his expertise, and is also known for developing the Writing the Implosion pedagogy. Visit his website to read more.