SHOT Joint Session

Animals in/as Technologies


Rachel A. Ankeny

University of Adelaide

Brad Bolman

Harvard University


Miguel Garcia-Sancho

University of Edinburgh


Session Abstract

In this joint roundtable, we explore uses of various types of organisms both as parts of biotechnological research, and as applications and as technologies themselves, in 20th and early 21st century sciences in several geographic locales. Although there has been considerable attention to organisms as research objects in and of themselves, much less scholarship has focused on their uses within technology related fields. The roundtable draws out key themes that warrant exploration including the status and epistemological basis of using non-human organisms to simulate particular phenomena, how diverse uses of organisms have shaped and been shaped by changing disciplinary norms and definitions, the role of animals as alternative media for laboratory practices, broader cultural understandings of organisms and their relationship to uses of these organisms as technologies and infrastructures, and their applications as various sorts of materials. Through the presentations as well as discussion with the audience, the roundtable aims to create dialogue across scholars working on history of science and on history of technology, particularly with regard to organisms as material, platforms, and intermediaries across various fields within the life sciences.

Presenter 1

Brad Bolman

Harvard University

Presenter 2

Gina Surita

Princeton University

Presenter 3

Christine Keiner

Rochester Institute of Technology

Presenter 4

Rachel A. Ankeny

University of Adelaide

Presenter 5

Kristen Semento

University of Delaware