Bruno Latour visited Dublin City University on Friday, February 17th for a special seminar on interdisciplinarity, the arts and the sciences, entitled 'From Critique to Composition'. Prof Latour is a leading figure in contemporary anthropology and science studies, but the reach of his influence is truly interdisciplinary.
In a provocative discussion with academics and students from many disciplines, Prof Latour signalled that the old certainties of science that have existed since the 17th century are under threat, both as a work of knowledge and an institution. By referencing how current environmental crises are placed under categories of study such as 'Gaia theory' and 'the anthropocene era', Prof Latour asked that the concept of 'nature out there' with its 'matters of fact' no longer be the only goal of ' the sciences' but rather to address our common world by identifying 'matters of concern'. Prof Latour continued his Irish visit with a public lecture in the Science Gallery on Monday 20th.
The seminar, and Prof Latour's trip to Ireland, was organised with the combined efforts of the Celsius interdisciplinary research group at DCU, the French Embassy and the Science Gallery, with special thanks also to Trispace, DCU.
Bruno Latour, born in 1947 in Beaune, Burgundy, from a wine grower family, was trained first as a philosopher and then an anthropologist. From 1982 to 2006, he has been professor at the Centre de sociologie de l'Innovation at the Ecole nationale supérieure des mines in Paris and, for various periods, visiting professor at the London School of Economics and in the History of Science department of Harvard University. He is now professor at Sciences Po Paris where he is also the Vice President for Research. After field studies in Africa and California, Prof Latour specialised in the sociological analysis of scientists and engineers at work. In addition to work in philosophy, history, sociology and anthropology of science, he has collaborated on many studies on science policy and research management, influencing the fields of Science and Technology Studies and political ecology. His books include Laboratory Life, Science in Action, The Pasteurization of France, Pandora's Hope: Essays in the Reality of Science Studies and Politics of Nature.h/t Adam Robbert.