: CALL FOR PAPERS - Reconsidering Assumptions about ‘Conjugated Subjects’: Connection, Sharing, and Entanglement in Postcolonial Studies of Technoscience

This special thematic issue of Tecnoscienza aims to provide a forum to revisit concerns raised by Warwick Anderson (2009: 389) about what he perceived to be the ‘minor postcolonial agenda in STS’ becoming subsumed ‘as scholars choose now to fetishise “globalisation”.’ At that time, as Maureen McNeil (2005: 106, 111) observed, the term ‘postcolonial’ was ‘a rather ambiguous term’ touching on ‘both the impact and legacies of formally deposed imperial regimes and to new forms of exploitative global relations,’ noting that ‘colonial legacies are never simply “leftover” from the past, they are reanimated, recast and reappropriated in new forms and new ways, with new resistances.’ Anderson, in turn, described the uneven and unexpected consequences produced by two overlapping directions within postcolonial STS, one concerned with ‘subjugated knowledges’ and the other with ‘conjugated subjects.’ The critical study of subjugated knowledges placed emphasis on understandings of power, history, identity, and epistemology that have been marginalised or made invisible within Western society (cf. Palladino and Worboys, 1993; Hess, 1995; Visvanathan, 1997; Harding, 1998). Anderson (2009: 389) created the term ‘conjugated subjects,’ on the other hand, to ‘hint at postcolonial hybridity and heterogeneity.’ His aim was to reveal ‘a more complicated and entangled state of affairs’ (2009: 389-390). He also noted that ‘postcolonial theory and insight rarely have been mobilised explicitly in attempts to explain the transaction, translation and transformation of science and technology’ (2009: 390). The critical study of conjugated subjects raised doubt about the comprehensiveness and efficacy of prevailing narratives in which social, cultural, and political formations of technological imperialism are depicted as one-way relationships of ‘sending’ colonisers and ‘receiving’ colonial subjects (e.g., Watson-Verran and Turnbull, 1995; Abraham, 2006; Seth, 2009). Moreover, it established grounds for a challenge to what Anderson (2009: 392, 397) described as global (or universalist) claims about patterns of local transactions that seem ‘quite abstract, strangely depopulated, and depleted of historical and social content’ brought into being by a ‘[r]eluctance to recognise and engage directly with the postcolonial spectre haunting globalisation.’

Ongoing consideration and review of what Anderson originally described as the ‘hybrid, partial and conflicted’ conjugated subjects of postcolonial STS, we submit, provides opportunities to come to terms with what Suman Seth (2017: 77) has recently called ‘the socially imbricated, tentative, and complex coming-into-being of the categories and binaries [that have been taken to characterise colonial modes of thought and governance].’ What have since been called, variously, ‘connected,’ ‘shared,’ and ‘entangled’ histories of technoscientific co-production permit, we believe, a foretaste of what can be achieved by untangling and reconnecting local histories of technoscience in ways that stress processes of mutual influencing across borders (cf. Philip, Irani, and Dourish, 2012; Kowal, Radin, and Reardon, 2013; Brandt, 2014). Accordingly, we propose to open up and develop the discussion surrounding conjugated subjects of postcolonial STS by soliciting papers that include (but are not limited to) studies of the ‘connected,’ ‘shared,’ and ‘entangled’ relationships of technoscience that:

  • have occurred between colonial powers and independent former colonies;
  • have occurred under (pre- or post-1989) first-second-third world international relationships;
  • have occurred in the course of supranational and/or international  technoscientific projects involving collaborations between so-called developing and developed nations (e.g., Human Genome Projects, LIGO Scientific Collaboration, UN Convention on Biological Diversity, Millennium Seed Bank Partnership).

Deadline for abstract submissions: September 20th, 2019.


Abstracts (in English) with a maximum length of 500 words should be sent as email attachments to redazione@tecnoscienza.net and copied to the guest editors. Notification of acceptance will be communicated by October 2019. Full papers (in English with a maximum length of 8,000 words including notes and references) will be due on March 30th 2020 and will be subject to a double blind peer review process.

For information and questions, please do not hesitate to contact the guest editors:

William Leeming, bleeming@faculty.ocadu.ca

Ana Barahona, ana.barahona@ciencias.unam.mx




Abraham, I. (2006) The contradictory spaces of postcolonial techno-science. Economic and Political Weekly, 41 (3): 210–217.

Anderson, W. (2009) From subjugated knowledge to conjugated subjects: Science and globalisation, or postcolonial studies of science? Postcolonial Studies, 12 (4): 389-400.

Brandt, M. (2014) Zapatista corn: A case study in biocultural innovation. Social Studies of Science 44 (6): 874-900.

Harding, S. (1998) Is Science Multicultural? Postcolonialisms, Feminisms, and Epistemologies. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Hess, D. J. (1995) Science and Technology in a Multicultural World: The Cultural Politics of Facts and Artifacts. New York: Columbia University Press.

Kowal, E., J. Radin, and J. Reardon (2013) Indigenous body parts, mutating temporalities, and the half-lives of postcolonial technoscience. Social Studies of Science, 43 (4): 465-483.

Philip, K., L. Irani, and P. Dourish (2012), ‘Postcolonial computing: A tactical survey.’ Science, Technology, & Human Values, 37 (1): 3-29.

McNeil, M. (2005) Introduction: Postcolonial Technoscience. Science as Culture, 14 (2): 105-112.

Palladino, P., and M. l. Worboys (1993) Science and Imperialism. Isis, 84 (1): 91-102.

Seth, S. (2009) Putting knowledge in its place: Science, colonialism, and the postcolonial. Postcolonial Studies, 12 (4): 373-388.

Visvanathan, S. (1997) A Carnival for Science: Essays on Science, Technology, and Development. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Watson-Verran, H., and D. Turnbull (1995) Science and other indigenous knowledge systems. Pp. 115–139 in S. Jasonoff, G. E. Markle, J. C. Petersen and T. Pinch (eds), Handbook of Science and Technology tudies. Thousand Oaks: Sage.

ISSN: 2038-3460