Rupture and Flow: The Circulation of Technoscientific Facts and Objects

Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Sawyer Seminar on the Comparative Study of Cultures
Indiana University, Bloomington


Neoliberal Regimes and Institutions of Knowledge Production

April 27-28, 2012
Room 100, Classroom Office Building, 800 East Third St.

Neoliberalism has become a remarkably widespread political and economic perspective, so much so that over the past three decades many institutions have altered their practices to incorporate neoliberal principles. Yet not all institutions are adopting the same neoliberal principles, nor are these institutions all easily or eagerly accommodating neoliberal transformations. By asking how different institutions respond to neoliberalism in institutionally specific ways, we are also following Wendy Brown, David Harvey and Phil Mirowski in taking neoliberalism to be fundamentally distinct from earlier forms of capitalism. This conference will explore the uneven processes of neoliberalization comparatively, focusing on how different institutions respond to neoliberalism. Because neoliberal philosophy and policy places so much emphasis on transforming the ways in which knowledge is owned, produced and circulated, this workshop will focus on institutions that centrally engage with creating, labeling, and circulating knowledge: certification regimes, universities, corporate research parks, courts, and administrative legal regimes. Key questions will include: how have institutional practices surrounding knowledge production, management, and dissemination been reworked in response to neoliberal policies, and what new discourses or institutional logics accompany these changes?

Day One

9:00–10:00 Nick Cullather, Dept. of History, Indiana University
Why Central Intelligence Thrives Amid Dogmas of Decentralization and Privatization [Abstract]
10:00–10:45 Tim Bartley, Dept. of Sociology, Indiana University
Global Production, Neoliberalism, and the Puzzle of Rules
10:45–11:00 Coffee Break
11:00–11:45 Tad Mutersbaugh, Dept of Geography, University of Kentucky
Certify Everything: the everyday entanglements of practical neoliberalism(s)
11:45–1:00pm Lunch
1:00–1:45pm David Caudill, Law, Villanova University
Legal fantasies of science free from economics
1:45–2:30pm Rosemary Coombe, Dept. of Communication and Culture, York University
Vital World: Life on the Line…
2:30–2:45pm Coffee Break
2:45–3:30pm Becky Mansfield, Dept. of Geography, Ohio State University
Liberal biopolitics of environmental health: contamination, risk, and race at the EPA
3:30–4:15pm Rebecca Lave, Dept of Geography, Indiana University
Science, regulatory agencies, and markets in neoliberal environmental management
4:15–5pm Discussion of first day’s papers

Day Two:

9:30–10:15 Stephanie C. Kane (Criminal Justice) and Eden Medina (Informatics), Indiana University
Narrative Control and the Inept State: Seismic Anomalies, Technological Glitches, and the Failed Tsunami Alert of February 27, 2010.
10:15–11:00am Andrew Herman, Dept. of Communication Studies, Wilfred Laurier University
Hiding the Hiding: Network(ed) Capital and the Performativities of Digital Labour
11:00–11:15am Coffee Break
11:15–noon Bonnie McElhinney, Dept. of Anthropology, University of Toronto
Changing Forms of Knowledge Production in Late Capitalism: Language as a Contested Terrain
12:00–12:45pm Ilana Gershon, Dept. of Communication and Culture, Indiana University
From the Fordist Phone to Neoliberal Facebook: Standardizing New Media Practices
12:45–1:45pm Lunch
1:45–2:30pm Wesley Shumar, Dept. of Culture and Communication, Drexel University
Consumer Capitalism’s Higher (Ed) Contradiction: Commodification meets Audit
2:30–3:15pm Stuart Kirsch, Dept. of Anthropology, University of Michigan
Virtuous Language in Industry and the Academy
3:15–3:30pm Coffee Break
3:30–4:15pm Bonnie Urciuoli, Dept. of Anthropology, Hamilton College
Lovemarking College
4:15pm–5:15pm Conference wrap-up.