In-n-Out California: Circulating Things and the Globalization of the West Coast

Workshop Organizers:

Tiago Saraiva, Cathryn Carson and Massimo Mazzotti

June 16-17, 2014
Drexel University (Disque 109)

Pre-Circulated papers: please contact Tiago Saraiva ( for access

Co-sponsored by the UC Berkeley Office for History of Science and Technology and the Drexel University Center for Science Technology and Society.

In and Out by Courtney Coco

Workshop Overview

Rockets, dams, surfboards, cyclotrons, LSD, or iPods are all common ingredients in the making of historical narratives of California. Strangely enough, many such histories have too much of a local flavor: they don’t fully acknowledge the global circulation of the things that have produced California.

This workshop points to globalization in the double sense that those things were the result of multiple trajectories originating from all over the world converging in California, at the same time that many things found their way out of California to produce what is commonly perceived as the globalized world. We are interested in exploring the potential of California to problematize taken-for-granted notions of what constitutes the local, the region, the nation, the empire, or the globe. Approaches that deal with the many obstacles involved in getting things In-n-Out offer a sober reminder that globalization is no teleological tale.

What travels attached to those things? Identities, skills, politics, markets, all contribute to make them thick things good to think with for scholars haunted by what globalization historically means. By calling for contributions from historians of science and technology, historians of the West, world historians, environmental historians, and Science and Technology Studies scholars, we want to establish the crucial place of California in globalization narratives.

Workshop Schedule

June 16, 2014
9.30 – 9.40 AM
Welcome, Tiago Saraiva (Drexel University)

9.40 -10.30 AM
Peter Sachs Collopy (University of Pennsylvania), Videotape and LSD from Ampex to Revolution
Commentators: Robert Schraff, Alison Kenner

10.35-11.25 AM
Joshua Roebke (UC Berkeley), Scientists in Gray Flannel Suits: Ernest Lawrence and Color
Television from California to Japan, and Back Again

Commentators: Eric Avila, Tiago Saraiva

11.30 AM-12.20 PM
Eric Avila (UCLA), The Disney Empire and its So Cal Origins
Commentators: Peter Sachs Collopy and Robert Schraff

12.20 -1.45 PM Lunch

1.45-2.35 PM
Mihir Pandya (USC), California’s Global Cold War
Commentators: Joshua Roebke, Peter Sachs Collopy

2.45-3.35 PM
Christopher E. Johnson (University of Washington), Lands of Sunshine: Toward a Solar-Powered
Future in California and the Colonial World, 1870s-1920s

Commentators: Augustine Sedgewick, Mihir Pandya

3.40-4.30 PM
General discussion led by Soraya de Chadarevian

6.00 PM Dinner in Philadelphia

June 17, 2014

9.00-9.50 AM
Robert Schraff (UCLA), Inventing California, Exporting Hides and Tallow:
Alta California Missions as Agricultural Experiment Stations, 1769-1833
Commentators: Eric Avila, Tiago Saraiva

9.55-10.45 AM
Augustine Sedgewick (University of Toronto), The Appearance of the Vacuum-Sealed Coffee Can and
the Disappearing World of American Consumerism

Commentators: Christopher Johnson, Soraya de Chadarevian

10.50-11.40 AM
Tiago Saraiva (Drexel University), Cloning California: Oranges, Genetics, and the Mediterranean
Commentators: Christopher Johnson, Augustine Sedgewick

11.50 AM

Past Workshops



Drexel University
April 30, 2014

Sponsored by the Drexel University College of Arts and Sciences, Department of History and Politics, and Center for STS

Workshop Overview

The primary goal of the workshop is to continue the work of building a collaborative disaster research network.  Though many of us are aligned with STS scholarship, this meeting is intentionally inclusive of scholars coming from policy studies, history, disaster sociology, and a host of other disciplines involved in disaster research.  What unites us is the goal of breaking down barriers and building a stronger network of researchers, representing many methodological approaches.  During the workshop, we will discuss different modes of scholarly collaboration, ways scholarly work can circulate, and how a digital platform can support this work.

The workshop will focus on three tasks simultaneously:

  • One task will focus on in-depth discussion of key cross-cutting themes animating disaster research today.
  • A second task is to focus on the genres—including but also beyond the traditional book and journal article—through which disaster research can be shared. The third task will be to focus on how a digital platform supporting Disaster-STS research (and disaster research more broadly) should be designed.

Brief essays will be made available for review one week ahead of the workshop, and workshop sessions will take these essays of points from which to launch discussion.

Workshop Schedule

8:15 a.m.

Welcome and Introductions

8:30-10:00 a.m.

Disasters Fast and Slow (Knowles moderates)

  • Scott Frickel, What Can Disaster STS Be? Insights from the Anthropocene Debates
  • Ali Kenner, Spaces of Care, Everywhere: Negotiating Environmental Health Amid the Ordinary
  • Max Liboiron, Temporality
  • Lori Peek, Beyond the IRB: An Ethical Toolkit for Long-Term Disaster Research; and SHOREline: A Youth Empowerment and Post-Disaster Recovery Program
  • Ryuma Shineha, Grasping Realities and Issues: the 3.11 Japanese Triple Disasters

10:00 a.m.

Writing Session #1 (and break)

10:15-12:00 p.m.

Knowing Disasters (Knowles moderates)

  • David Bond, Fielding Disaster: Ethnographic and Conceptual Reflections on the BP Oil Spill
  • Lydie Cabane, “Are We Thinking Globally About Disasters?”
  • Max Liboiron, Mutual Aid in Disaster Research; and Template of Memorandum of Understanding for Mutual Aid Research in Disasters
  • Cecile Stephanie Stehrenberger, Approaching STS-Disaster Research from a History of Knowledge Perspective: Possible Contributions to a Collaborative Research Network
  • Kohta Juraku, Lessons are Still Unlearned: Post-Fukushima Accident Investigation Activities in Japan and Continued “Structural Disaster”
  • Manuel Tironi, Towards a Material-Oriented Approach to Politics and Disasters

12:00 p.m.

Writing Session #2 (and break)

12:15-1:15 p.m.

Lunchtime Presentation and Discussion

  • Kim Fortun and Lindsay Poirier, Building a Disaster-STS Research Network and Digital Platform

1:15-2:45 p.m.

Keeping Safe (Fortun moderates)

  • Sulfikar Amir, Hidden Vulnerabilities: Disaster and Expertise in an Age of Complexity
  • Vivian Y. Choi, The Intergovernmental Oceanic Commission (IOC) and Disaster Diplomacy
  • Greg Bankoff, Rendering the World Neoliberal: Vulnerability as a Cold War Discourse?
  • Scott Gabriel Knowles, Explaining Disaster Policy Challenges
  • Patrick S. Roberts, Resilience as an Outcome
  • Jose L. Torero, David vs. Goliath: Making Structural Engineers Assume Responsibility for Fire Safety

2:45 p.m.

Writing Session #3 (and break)

3:00-4:00 p.m.

From Thought to Action: Open Discussion on Next Steps

View/Download Disaster Workshop Agenda [PDF]

Conceptualizing Environmental Exposure: From Data to Decisions

Conceptualizing Environmental Exposure: From Data to Decisions

Chemical Heritage Foundation
315 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106

April 10-11, 2014

STS Center Conceptualizing Environmental Exposure: From Data to Decisions Workshop Poster

Concerns about environmental health are rising. Policymakers, scientists, and the public have grown increasingly concerned about adverse health effects in the wake of national and international catastrophes such as the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, as well as cumulative effects of long-term infrastructure projects such as the Keystone Pipeline project. In April 2010, the President’s Cancer Panel released a landmark report, “Reducing Environmental Risk: What We Can Do Now.” This report suggested that environmental contributions to our nation’s cancer burden have been grossly underestimated, and urged more attention to exploring the impact of industrial, occupational, agricultural, and military activities on community environmental health. Yet the ways scientists, social scientists and policymakers conceptualize the terms "environment" or "exposure" vary across disciplines and across regulatory arenas. This workshop aims to bridge these disciplinary divides, to better understand how the terms "environment" and "exposure" are used, by whom, and to what effect. Each session will have 3-4 speakers and a facilitator.

Workshop schedule

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Session One: Conceptualizing Environment (9:00-10:30 a.m.)

Within and across disciplines, the term "environment" takes on many meanings. Ranging across scales from the intracellular level to the neighborhood level, the word environment may be used to evoke a range of settings and specific exposures in the ambient physical or social environments. This session maps out the varying uses of the term environment, examining who holds those definitions and what is at stake in these varied uses.

Sara Shostak, Brandeis University
Hannah Landecker, University of California, Los Angeles
Ali Kenner, Drexel University

Facilitator: Diane Sicotte, Drexel University

Session Two: Conceptualizing Exposure (11:00 AM-12:30 p.m.)

Medical sociologists, medical anthropologists, epidemiologists, public health scholars and bioethics scholars offer ways to conceptualize and subsequently measure exposure. This session maps out the varying ways scholars operationalize exposure, examining who holds these definitions and what is at stake in these varied uses.

Phil Brown, Northeastern University
Kelly Joyce, Drexel University, and Mel Jeske, Drexel University
Sacoby Wilson, University of Maryland, College Park

Facilitator: Britt Dahlberg, University of Pennsylvania

Lunch 12:30-1:30 p.m.

Session Three: Official Data, Big Data and Environmental Health (2:00-3:30 p.m.)

This session examines what counts as data in policy, science, and legal arenas as well as efforts (or the lack of efforts) to mine big data sets related to environmental exposure.

Kim Fortun, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Logan Liu, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Edward A. Emmett, University of Pennsylvania
Tram Kim Lam, National Cancer Institute (NCI)

Facilitator: Jody Roberts, Chemical Heritage Foundation

Session Four: Citizen Science Efforts to Document Exposure (4:00-6:00 p.m.)

Although citizen science efforts have been part of environmental action for a long time, heightened interest in such efforts to document exposures and perhaps even more citizen science projects have occurred in the last decades. How do citizen science efforts define environment? Exposure? Has there been an increase in citizen science efforts in the United States in recent decades? If so, what factors contribute to this? What are the contributions of these efforts? What are the shortcomings? What does the rise of citizen science efforts suggest about the current configuration of science? How has citizen science changed (or not changed) notions of exposure or the environment?

Greg Newman, Colorado State University
Abby Kinchy, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Nick Shapiro, Oxford University

Facilitator: Gwen Ottinger, University of Washington, Bothell

Dinner (at a local restaurant TBA)

Friday, April 11, 2014

Session Five: Translating Data into Policy: Challenges and Opportunities (9 AM-10:30 a.m.)

Session six investigates how to gather data that is of use in policy or legal arenas. What kinds of data work in the political arena? Is too much data a possibility? Speakers will address the opportunities, challenges and pitfalls they have encountered trying to move their data/research into the policy realm.

Kelly Pennell, University of Kentucky
Ami Zota, George Washington University
Steve Wing, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Facilitator: Laura Senier, Northeastern University

Session Six: Translating Data into Policy: Challenges and Opportunities (11:00 AM-1:00 p.m.)

Session seven highlights the challenges policy makers face. What types of data do they need? What institutional barriers do they face? How do they interface with academic and nonprofit data collection?

Antonia Calafat, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Gwen Collman, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
Cynthia Stahl, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Region III

Facilitator: Sarah Vogel, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF)

Lunch: 1:00-2:00 p.m.

This workshop is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation Award #1133304 , Drexel University's Center for Science, Technology and Society, and the Chemical Heritage Foundation.