Lectures

The life of the coral body

Life comes apart on the reef. Changes to ocean chemistry and temperature—generated by the fossil-hunger of militarism, extractivism, and industrialism—break open coral worlds on Australia’s northeast coast. Encountering death’s ascendency on the Great Barrier Reef, scientists seek to track coral life by descending within: to study limestone structures, the tiny polyps that build them, and the microscopic symbiotic algae that …

Lectures

Seeking Urban Metabolisms through Archaeology

The metabolism of a city is perhaps nowhere more apparent than in its archaeology. Decades of excavations triggered by cultural heritage management legislation in Melbourne, Australia reveal a city honeycombed with rubbish pits. Disused cesspits (old-fashioned long-drop toilets), purpose-dug holes and localised dumps filled to the brim with rubbish remain below the factories, office buildings and car parks we see …

Lectures

Social Soils and Chimerical Metabolisms

The metabolic rift

“All progress in capitalist agriculture is a progress in the art, not only of robbing the worker, but of robbing the soil,” Marx (1976: 637-38) wrote in Volume I of Capital. For Marx, not only was the capitalist mode of production incapable of valuing nature in its own right, but its central contradictions also left it …

Lectures

Feeble-mindedness, depression and obesity: a brief history of eugenics and dietary interventions in Australia

In October 2019 the Australian Productivity Commission (APC) released a report stating that mental health cost employers $4.7 billion AUD in absenteeism. The report also highlighted significant government expenditure on health services as well as intangible costs on committees. Over the past decade there have also been a number of reports from federal and state governments on the economic and …

Lectures

How do you do interdisciplinarity?

The AusSTS Interdisciplinary workshop took place at Deakin University, in Melbourne, Australia from the 3rd to the 5th of July 2019.

The workshop quite literally started with a confession of the feeling of insecurity that surfaces when you step into an interdisciplinary setting. Cordelia Fine, opening Keynote of the 3-day workshop, began her lecture ‘50 Shades of Grey …

Features

A Report on the 2018 4S Conference in Sydney, Australia

What characterises STS in different regions? What kinds of research projects, educational programs, and people are doing STS around the world? What problems exist in different regions? Can we draw comparisons and remark on differences between regional practices unproblematically? And, inevitably, what is STS? These are some of the questions that recurred in this year’s 4S conference. We may …