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The Politics of Science and Technology

Eurocentric narratives of the evolution of science and technology typically position Africa, South Asia and Latin America as backward or dependent. These accounts often ignore and render invisible the significant contributions made by scientists and innovators in these regions. We cannot construct a truly global history of knowledge without understanding the pioneering role of regions that have often been excluded from Western histories of scientific and technological advance.

Paying attention to these marginalized histories reveals the polycentric, non-linear development of science and technology. It also allows us to rethink the relationship between the modern and the ‘non-modern’, by studying the relationships between science and alternative systems of knowledge in the global south.

The arts, humanities and social sciences play a vital role in interrogating the impact of technology on culture and society, and in generating the cultural conditions for the reception and critique of scientific ideas. These become particularly urgent tasks in regions where the rapid adoption of new technologies is not always moderated by strong and effective institutions, and may lead to environmental catastrophe or heightened social and economic inequalities.

The Consortium for the Global South is bringing together researchers at Cambridge who are working on important aspects of this larger research theme. Their projects address urgent social and political questions, such as: 

  • How are the disciplinary and emancipatory effects of new global technologies experienced in local contexts?
  • How is the technological future being imagined? Who has the power/right to imagine it?
  • How do new technologies promote or inhibit community formation? To what extent do they make it possible to imagine alternative forms of community, either virtual or material?
  • How do digital technologies reinforce and redistribute social, economic and political power in the contemporary megalopolis in Latin America?
  • What is the impact of techno-utopian discourses on political thought and policy-making?
  • How are technologies used in local and refugee communities in Africa and the Middle East to create new forms of emancipation and solidarity?
  • How do changes in urban infrastructure affect citizenship in South Africa?
  • What new modes of co-habitation and co-creation for a less anthropocentric world are imagined by projects generated at the intersection of art and environmental science in Argentina and Ecuador?
  • What forms of community are enabled or undermined by technologies of climate change adaptation in Uganda?

The Consortium held its first event on The Politics of Science and Technology in the Global South in December 2017. More workshops will be held in the future; if you would like to join a mailing list of researchers interested in this theme, please email Joanna Page

Upcoming events

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Tri-Continental Tea Seminar: The Politics of Science and Technology in the Global South

Nov 27, 2017

The Consortium for the Global South invites you to participate in the first of its Tricontinental Tea Seminars. This informal series is intended to connect researchers working in different departments and disciplines within the University departments, to share knowledge, and to explore the potential for future collaborative projects.