Comparative Tinkerings: A Roundtable

Comparative Tinkering: A Roundtable

Tuesday, October 25th, 2:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.

UCSC Campus, Social Sciences 1, Room 261 (Anthropology’s Colloquium Series room)

Speakers: Karen Barad (UCSC, Feminist Studies), Alan Christy (UCSC, History), Lawrence Cohen (UC-Berkeley, Anthropology), Andrew Matthews (UCSC, Anthropology), Danilyn Rutherford (UCSC, Anthropology), Warren Sack (UCSC, Film & Digital Media), Anna Tsing (UCSC, Anthropology)

Facilitators: Peter Lutz (IT University of Copenhagen, Technologies in Practice) and Heather Swanson (UCSC, Anthropology)


Comparisons are utterly pervasive in anthropology and its neighboring disciplines, including science studies and the sciences more broadly. We compare incessantly, yet we rarely theorize explicitly about our comparative practices. For instance, how do we determine the whats and the whos of our comparisons? At this roundtable we hope to unfold these practices by exploring the risks and virtues of comparison, especially those emerging in empirical travels like ethnographic fieldwork. What are the analytical detours of our comparative ventures? What work is required to render objects stable and comparable? What are the natures of the comparable beings we evoke and harness? Stability is arguably one of the most once deeply problematic yet virtually inescapable aspects of scientific comparison. Yet how might we make do with comparisons – themselves knots of relations – to reveal their underlying messy travel from desk to field and back again? Here we are particularly eager to explore the possibilities of tinkering with comparisons so that they might destabilize and move.

Sponsored by: SJWG and the Anthropology Department

Posted in Past Events, Uncategorized.