Call for Papers: Panel “Data worldings and post/colonial connectedness” at 4S conference 2018 (29.08.–01.09.2018, Sydney)

You are invited to submit paper proposals for the panel “Data worldings and post/colonial connectedness” at the 4S conference which will be held from 29th August to 1st September 2018 in Sydney, Australia.

Data infrastructures have taken centre stage in many of the strands which comprise the environmental, bio- and geosciences: from biodiversity assessments and conservation efforts to environmental monitoring and the development of “urban biomes”. Data infrastructures are producing unprecedented amounts of data and figures, advancing a primarily data-based understanding of worlds and compelling the coming together of different rationalities, imaginaries, economies and agencies in the pursuit of ever more integration across and connection between data.

Having worked in the context of the biological and ecological sciences, their infrastructures and institutions, we observe that these rationalities, imaginaries, economies and agencies are deeply enmeshed with historical yet enduring imperial relations. Indeed, we would suggest that current desires to apprehend a totalised world at all scales—including bio- and atmo-spheres, cosmos, inner spaces and outer surfaces of bodies—exclusively through data need to be understood as constituted in and through colonial relations and their shifting material realities. STS-inflected scholarship on data and data infrastructures has provided useful insights into making, sharing and mobilisation of data as efforts to govern the furthermost reaches of the “natural empire” (Bowker 2000) and into their participation in racialising asymmetries. With this panel we wish to further problematize emergent data worldings drawing on postcolonial critiques of the “universal” and “global” to examine how data worldings are contingent on and enact specific colonial relations. We also want to explore how attending to data worldings can help us understand the ongoing unfolding and transformation of neo-colonial logics and practices.

The deadline for submissions is February 1, 2018.

For more information, check the full list of accepted panels (see #87 for this panel).