Looking at Science & Technology, Together.

The Binocular Conference is an annual graduate conference jointly organized by the York University Science and Technology Studies (STS) department and the University of Toronto’s Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology (IHPST).

While STS and HPST often have different methodologies, concerns, styles, and goals, both disciplines train their sights on science and technology. The Binocular Conference is an opportunity for the graduate communities of the University of Toronto and York University to intentionally bring these “lenses” together, to mutually benefit from each others’ perspectives and scholarship.

This year’s theme is “Chimerizations”

Information about previous years’ conferences, and links to those conferences’ sites, can be found below!


2018 Chimerizations

Call For Abstracts


In various world mythologies, a chimera is a hybrid creature comprised of body parts from two or more different human or non-human animals. In contemporary biology laboratories, a chimera refers to one entity containing genetically distinct cells from another entity. In both cases, chimeras point to processes by which the distinction between the real and the unreal is distinctly blurred: the fusion of unique elements from disparate entities effectively destabilizes the borders that separate them. The act of chimerization, then, is an ethical, political, and ontological maneuver. Indeed, as Aryn Martin (2010) shows, while biological chimerism is increasingly understood to be a mundane material phenomenon, scientific renderings of self and other continue to betray deep-running fantasies of individualism. Similarly, in the cyborg of Donna Haraway, the ritualized images of Carlo Severi, the symbiotic sensorium of Lynn Margulis, or the sound art of Florian Hecker and Reza Negarestani, the question isn’t so much “How might things be otherwise?” but rather, “How might things be perceived otherwise?”

Submission Details

We invite graduate students to submit 200-300 word abstracts for a 15-20 minute presentation on the aforementioned theme(s). Proposals for panels will also be accepted (same format). To submit, please send your proposals to binocularconference@gmail.com by February 1, 2018.

Beyond HPST/STS, we welcome submissions from graduate students of any level from a wide cross-section of disciplines, fields, and critical approaches, including but not limited to animal studies, communications and culture, critical theory, disability studies, futures studies, gender studies, humanities, sound studies, visual culture, and women’s studies.

For further information and updates please visit http://binocular2018.wordpress.com/

2017: Environments of Science


Keynote: Jennifer Light (MIT)

April 20-21, 2017

“Science, like all human endeavours, is a situated affair. Scientists approach their respective objects from within particular social, cultural, religious, economic, and institutional contexts. These environments of science shape science’s methods and direction, its goals and values. But the activity of science also leaves its mark on these environments, affecting everything from particular cultural climates to the global climate of planet Earth itself.”

2016: Looking at Junk


Keynote: Max Liboiron (Memorial University)

April 29-30, 2016

“The recent explosion of Discard Studies points towards a world in which it is increasingly accepted and encouraged to look at not just what is successful, useful or present, but also what is unsuccessful, useless, or discarded. The material focus of Discard Studies is one way to understand this tendency, but there are also discarded ideas, useless theories, and tracks that research just doesn’t take in the course of its formation. There is also knowledge that is deliberately obfuscated or ‘junked,’ as Proctor and Schiebinger’s Agnotology and Oreskes and Conway’s Merchants of Doubt detail. This call for papers is therefore focused on bringing to the foreground that which has, out of necessity or choice, been relegated to the background.” 


If you have any questions about the Binocular Conference, or would otherwise like to get in touch, please email us at binocularconference@gmail.com

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