Upcoming STS events

Archive 2013 Fall

During the decades of its operation in Taiwan, U.S.-based Radio Corporation of America (RCA) routinely dumped chlorinated organic solvents into the same aquifer that supplied its employees with drinking and bathing water. Many workers believe that their cancers and other grave illnesses are caused by chronic exposure to the toxic substances, claims the corporation hotly denies. A social movement composed of workers, activists, public-health professionals, lawyers, and members of the STS community has now succeeded in bringing the case to court. Prof. Hsin-Hsing Chen will discuss the scientific, legal and political dimensions of this controversy and its historic litigation.

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"Pandora's Promise" kicks off RPI Sustainability Film Series
Darrin Communications Center room 308
October 6, 2013 4:00 PM - August 30, 2013

Pandora's Promise, an official selection of the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, is the first offering of this year's Sustainability Film Series at RPI.  Starting with the Fukushima disaster, the film asks viewers to rethink nuclear power – in positive terms.

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Struggles Over the Geo-Body Politic: Imaging Disaster in Sri Lanka
Sage Lab 3510
October 16, 2013 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM

Vivian Choi, Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Society for the Humanities and the Department of Science and Technology Studies at Cornell, explores how national politics can be both made and unmade through the production of images of the tsunami and the war.

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The presentation by Professor Kim Fortun (Acting Head, Department of Science and Technology Studies) will describe the material and discursive conditions of  “late industrialism” -- a historical moment characterized by deteriorating industrial infrastructure, landscapes dotted with toxic waste ponds, bodies burdened by chemical exposures, climate instability, exhausted paradigms and disciplines, and incredible imbrication of commercial interest in knowledge production, in legal decisions, in governance at all scales.

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Film Series Fall 2013 RPI Sustainability Film Series
Darrin Communication Center, Room 308
November 3, 2013 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM

Arid Lands tells the story of the region around the Hanford Nuclear Reservnation in eastern Washington state, where plutonium was produced for the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki at the end of World War II.   Arid Lands has been screened at 24 film festivals, and has won eleven awards.

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How does a disaster end?  Is it when the waters recede, the homes are rebuilt, when the relief funds stop? Disaster experts present one answer to this question through the conduct of expert investigations and technical post-disaster studies.  For scientists and engineers working on risk the "learning" from a disaster helps bring about closure. Scott Gabriel Knowles, author of The Disaster Experts: Mastering Risk in Modern America,  examines the politics of expert disaster inquiry using the cases of September 11 and 3.11, and considers the difficulties in "learning lessons" from a disaster.

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