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The Exeter Royal Institute of Philosophy Lecture Series is a series of public lectures focused on new, expansive and cutting-edge philosophy presented by early career researchers.  

Past events

Current events can be found here.

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29 November 202115:30

EGENIS seminar: "A Spinosaurus Tail Tale: Underdetermination, Capacities & Historical Knowledge", Dr Adrian Currie (University of Exeter)

Most discussion of paleontology’s credentials focus on ‘epistemic scarcity’: paleontological data is rare, degraded, incomplete and hard to manage. In virtue of this, paleontological hypotheses are often underdetermined, that is, we lack sufficient evidence to discriminate between competing hypotheses. However, this discussion assumes that paleontological knowledge is focused on understanding life’s actual history: token events and processes. I’ll push against this interpretation via an examination of secondarily aquatic vertebrates, that is, once-terrestrial critters who have returned to the sea, in particular the enigmatic, enormous theropod Spinosaurus.. Full details
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23 November 202111:00

South West Doctoral Training Programme (SWDTP): Using the Understanding Society study for longitudinal research

Funded by ESRC and as part of NCRM training, Understanding Society is the largest longitudinal study of its kind. It provides crucial information for researchers and policymakers on the changes and stability of people's lives in the UK on topics including Biomarkers, Genetics and Epigenetics; Covid-19; Education; Employment; Ethnicity & immigration; Family & households; Health & wellbeing; Politics & Social attitudes; Transport & environment; Young people. As with most other longitudinal household surveys, the structure and documentation of the Understanding Society are quite complex. Sometimes this may seem as an obstacle for researchers who are just starting to use the data. Full details
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23 November 20219:00

Exeter Q-Step/NCRM Introduction to Nvivo for Social Scientists

NVivo is a powerful and intuitive qualitative data analysis software for gaining richer insights from diverse data. This workshop is aimed at those who have no experience of Nvivo and little-to-no experience of computer coding. Full details
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22 November 202115:30

EGENIS seminar: "Demonstrations, Definitions and Newton’s Experimental Philosophy", Dr Kirsten Walsh (University of Exeter)

Newton’s Opticks Book 1 opens with a set of definitions and axioms, so one might expect to find the theorems contained therein to be proved from said definitions and axioms via deductively valid rules of inference. But they’re not. Instead, Newton employs ‘proof by experiment’: each theorem is proved via a series of experiments, which are represented by geometrical diagrams and accompanying text. Newton’s axioms and definitions do not feature explicitly in these proofs—they are not even mentioned in the discussions. I address two questions in relation to this case. First, how does ‘proof by experiment’ function as a proof? Second, what roles do axioms and definitions play in the trajectory from experiment to proven theorem? I argue that this case is revelatory of Newton’s understanding of experimental philosophy and the probative force of his (in)famous experimentum crucis.. Full details
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8 November 202115:30

EGENIS seminar: "Out of control: creating reliable data in the laboratory", Dr Stephan Guttinger (University of Exeter)

The idea of experimental control is often associated with positive notions such as reliability, certainty, and reproducibility; control is seen as part of what makes the laboratory-based sciences powerful and trustworthy. It is part of the reason why scientists can create reliable data. However, like in society, control can also have a negative effect: exert too much of it and you stifle freedom, creativity, and exploration. This is a problem for science. As Hans-Jörg Rheinberger has highlighted, experimental systems cannot become too rigid and standardized because science depends on a certain openness to unfold its full potential; uncertainty and fuzziness are at the heart of the experimental process.. Full details
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25 October 202115:30

EGENIS seminar: "Quality judgment in data production processes: two case studies on economic and health data", Dr Quentin Dufour (Mines ParisTech)

Despite the rules and measurement conventions that structure quantification processes in statistical institutes, producing data always involve a moral dimension, that of quality judgment. By those terms, I refer to a set of techniques, knowledge and know-how, that helps a community of practice to define and evaluate what a correct data is in specific contexts. Quality judgments involve thoughts about the right ways to produce data, and the characteristics of the result to be achieved. At the crossroads of Science Studies and the sociology of quantification, this presentation tackles the problem of quality judgment following two data production processes.. Full details
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25 - 29 October 20219:30

NCRM Research Methods Festival: 25-29 October 2021

The University of Exeter and Exeter Q-Step Centre are partners in the National Centre for Research Methods -- the UKRI funded national consortium for social science research methods training. Full details
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21 - 22 October 2021

InSPAration: “Research impact in a digital culture”, (SPA) student PGR conference

How do you hope your research will inspire others? We welcome PGRs from across SPA to give a 20-minute talk on their research’s impact in industry, academia, society, or on themselves as PGRs. Full details
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14 October 202116:00

Routes Conversation: Is the asylum system fit for purpose for Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity (SOGI) claimants?

Routes Conversation: Is the asylum system fit for purpose for Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity (SOGI) claimants? with Raawiyah Rifath (Lecturer in Law and PhD Candidate, University of Exeter) and Prof. Nuno Ferreira (Professor of Law, University of Sussex). Full details
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11 October 202115:30

EGENIS seminar: Tracking a Concept through a Medical Humanities Perspective: The Strange Case of the “Parthenos” , Dr Eftihia Mihelakis (Brandon University)

Working with concepts in the field of medical humanities means recognizing that discourses, be they cultural or medical, have an indubitable role to play in how we think, imagine, speak or remain silent about different domains of inquiry and how these thought processes erupt, devolve or mutate over time. In this talk, I will trace the emergence of the Ancient Greek concept of “parthenos” as it pertains to illness as well as lack or excessive knowledge by documenting its transformations in humoral medicine, medical jurisprudence, legal texts, and will conclude on sketching out future directions for this research. Full details
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4 October 202115:30

EGENIS seminar: "From pluripotent stem cells to human embryos", Dr Ge Guo (University of Exeter)

Our life starts from a fertilized egg that develops into a distinctive multicellular structure called blastocyst. The blastocyst comprises three founding tissues, the epiblast, trophectoderm and hypoblast. Epiblast is the origin of the embryo proper and the source of pluripotent embryonic stem cells. Trophectoderm and hypoblast give rise to extra-embryonic tissues, the placenta and yolk sac, that support embryo development in the uterus. We have established human naïve embryonic stem cells. They are called “naïve” because they represent an earlier developmental stage than conventional human embryonic stem cells. Classic developmental biology studies in animal models suggested that epiblast and embryonic stem cells cannot regenerate trophectoderm. Full details
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27 September 202117:00

Ethics and Philosophy of Medicine Virtual Seminar Series - The Emergng Challenges in Global Philosophy

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7 July 202114:00

South West Doctoral Training Programme (SWDTP): Secondary analysis of cross-national, comparative survey data webinar

Those completing PhD research over the past 16 months may have had to develop new strategies for conducting comparative research because travel to other countries has not been possible. Full details
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6 July 202110:00

InSPAration Impact and Dissemination workshop

This workshop is offered to the InSPAration conference presenters, to explore how to use recording and streaming software effectively in an increasingly virtual conference culture. These are skills even seasoned academics are just now developing for the first time, giving PGRs in attendance a head start in academia’s digital ‘new normal.’. Full details
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30 June - 2 July 20219:30

ASYFAIR Virtual conference Adjudicating Refugee Claims in Practice: Advocacy and Experience at Asylum Court Appeals

We have an exciting programme about various aspects of asylum and refugee status determination by international speakers, including judges, lawyers and researchers. The conference programme and other details are available on our website: https://asyfair.com/output/events/asyfair-conference-2021/ Registration is free, and will be open from 4 May until 16 June 2021. Please click on the link to register: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/asyfair-conference-2021-adjudicating-refugee-claims-in-practice-registration-152681682021. Full details
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23 June 202117:00

A Model Court For Migrant Children

Webinar to refine and develop proposals for A Model Court For Migrant Children, Chaired by Baroness Helena Kennedy of the Shaws. Full details
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14 June 202113:00

University of Exeter Workshop on Media and UK Elections

The British Election Longitudinal News Study 2015-2019 (BELNS) covers campaign coverage relating to three general elections: 2015, 2017, 2019. Full details
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9 June 202116:00

Routes Conversation Why should colonial histories be central to the study of migration and what does taking this seriously really mean? with Dr Lucy Mayblin and Dr Luke de Noronha

Routes conversations are monthly meetings where two scholars or activists from different disciplines discuss a migration question from their different perspectives. In this conversation Dr Lucy Mayblin, Senior Lecturer in Sociology at The University of Sheffield and Dr Luke de Noronha, Lecturer in Race, Ethnicity and Postcolonial Studies at UCL will have a conversation on 'Why should colonial histories be central to the study of migration and what does taking this seriously really mean?'. Full details
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7 June 202110:00

EGENIS seminar: "Ferrets Here and There: Global Development of Experimental Practices for Influenza Modelling", Prof Rachel Ankeny (University of Adelaide)

Since at least the 1930s, ferrets have been recognized as extremely well-suited models for studying the pathogenicity and transmissibility of both human and avian influenza viruses. Ferrets are attractive mammalian models due to their relatively small size and other physiological features including the similarity of their lungs to humans, but particularly because they evidence numerous clinical features associated with human disease, especially influenza. Ferrets are highly susceptible to the influenza virus, and have become indispensable for elucidating virus-host interactions following influenza virus infection. However, unlike many other more traditional model organisms such as mice, ferrets are not standardized and often are sourced from diverse types of locales.. Full details
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2 June 202114:00

Women Candidates Use More Positive Language than Men Candidates in Political Campaigns

Dr Akitaka Matsuo will be presenting his work with Tiffany Barnes, Charles Crabtree and Yoshikuni Ono. What explains the type of electoral campaign run by politicians? Prior work shows that parties strategically manipulate the level of emotive language used in their campaigns based on their incumbency status, their policy position, and objective economic conditions ... Full details
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27 May 202116:00

Humanitarian Ethics seminar series - Responding to Medical Humanitarian Crises in COVID-19 Times

Speaker and discussant: Christopher Lockyear, Secretary General, MSF International. Full details
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26 May 202114:00

Negativity in Politicians' Communication during Campaign and Regular Times

Bruno Castanho Silva, Lennart Schürmann, and Sven-Oliver Proksch While research on the tone of politicians' rhetoric has picked up steam in recent years, almost all of our knowledge on factors that influence negativity is based on political communication during electoral campaigns. Full details
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19 May 202114:00

A Cross-National Analysis of the Effect of Parties' Characteristics on Affective Polarization and Interpersonal Trust

This paper uses multilevel models to investigate how parties influence affective polarization and interpersonal trust in multiparty systems. Full details
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17 May 202115:30

EGENIS seminar: "Making up publics: configuring expertise, knowledge and ignorance in environmental research", Prof Judith Green (University of Exeter)

This paper takes an example from a field where scientific knowledge is emergent and uncertain - the health impacts of artificial light at night – to explore how knowledge and ignorance are mobilised to create publics. Artificial light at night has become a matter of political, environmental and public health concern, as urban administrations across the world seek to reduce carbon emissions and costs by using emergent LED and smart technologies to manage street lighting. In doing so, these administrations interact with civil society and academic groups concerned by the impacts of light pollution on the ecosystem and human experiences of the night sky. However, urban light at night is not just a technological accomplishment and light pollution risk: providing it is intricately tied to the histories of city governance, and the making of modern spaces of security and safety. Full details
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12 May 202114:00

When (not) to trust the overlap in confidence intervals: A practical guide

Researchers often aim to compare estimates across groups. For an intuitive and compact presentation of empirical results, many practitioners prefer reporting group-specific estimates instead of pairwise differences, and subsequently seek to infer the statistical significance of pairwise differences from the confidence intervals of the group-specific estimates. Full details
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5 May 202116:00

Routes Event: Precarious protection: Inside Europes Asylum Appeals with Dr Nick Gill

This will be an informal talk outlining some of the findings from a set of ethnographies of asylum appeals in France, Germany, the UK, Belgium and Austria conducted over the last few years by researchers at Exeter University as part of the ASYFAIR project. It will examine why asylum appeals are important, but also some of the challenges they encounter on the ground. It will raise concerns about the superficiality and (in)accessibility of legal protection via asylum appeals, and use this to reflect on some of the problematics of refugee protection more broadly. Full details
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5 - 7 May 2021

Philosophy of Plant Biology Workshop

Plants are very interesting organisms. They implement unique internal processes and modes of interaction with their environments. Needless to say, as the primary harvesters of solar energy they are vital parts of ecosystems. Serious attention to plants provides novel and interesting perspectives on many topics in philosophy of biology, including individuality, organisation, cognition, and disease. For example, the growth of plants requires us to stretch the concept of organism. If vegetative spread, for example via suckers from roots, is counted as mere growth, a forest can be considered a single organism, as is the case with ‘Pando’, a Populus tremuloides forest in Utah. And although there seems to be no centre of the coordination in a plant body as in animals, there is usually a highly-tuned coordination of the body parts that has led some theorists to attribute cognitive capacities to plants.. Full details
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4 May 202116:30

GSE Lecture Series - Associate Professor Sam Friedman (London School of Economics and Political Science)

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26 April 202115:30

EGENIS seminar: "Regulating the Circulation of Knowledge across US Borders: A transnational approach" Prof John Krige (Georgia Institute of Technology)

This talk will explore the contours of a gray zone of knowledge that is neither classified, nor can circulate freely, and then trace the historical arc of one major instrument – export controls – as mobilized by the U.S. national security state to regulate its movement across national borders. To illustrate the range of regulatory instruments devised, I will then briefly describe how the meaning of fundamental research in biomedicine was recently fashioned by the NIH to bring it within the purview of the national security state. To conclude, I will discuss the interest of a transnational approach to knowledge circulation as a method that can help us to overcome the more or less total absence of any engagement with this gray zone in the scholarly literature. Full details
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14 - 16 April 2021

Conference: The Philosophy of Psychedelics: Exploring Frameworks for Exceptional Experience

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26 March 202114:00

Towards Responsible Plant Data Linkage: Global Challenges for Food Security and Governance - Session 4 & Conclusion: Social challenges of data linkage

The social implications of plant and agricultural biotechnologies have been the focus of much debate in recent decades. Data production, sharing and linkage raise new issues concerning the inclusion of diverse stakeholders and ensuring that data works for them, practically and equitably. Building plural knowledges into plant data infrastructures, through the inclusion of practical and traditional knowledge from farmers and breeders, the recognition of diverse (e.g. gendered, but also professional) expertise and the implementation of multilingual systems, will be an important facet in establishing the relevance of those infrastructures to a wide range of stakeholders. Ensuring that global circulations of plant data are fair as well as FAIR, moreover, requires sustained attention to the distribution of scientific and computing resources that facilitate access to and effective use of data resources. Throughout all of this, ensuring that key subjects of food security and end-users of data. Full details
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24 March 2021

CRPR Seminar Series - Dr Conny Guell

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23 March 202117:00

Humanitarian Ethics seminar series - Digital health certificates for Covid-19: implications for data privacy and human rights

Speaker and discussant - Prof. ANA BEDUSCHI. Full details
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22 March 202115:30

EGENIS seminar: Exploring the Easter E.g. - Shifting Baselines and Changing Perceptions of Cultural and Biological "Aliens" Prof Naomi Sykes (University of Exeter)

Very little of what we see around us in Britain today can be classed as 'native'. When the sea cut off the island from the rest of the continent (c. 8,000 years ago) the flora, fauna and human population were very different. Over millennia, Britain's ecology and culture have been transformed. Change has been the only constant, with population movements being responsible for the island's unique bio-cultural heritage. Full details
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19 March 202114:00

Towards Responsible Plant Data Linkage: Global Challenges for Food Security and Governance - Session 3: Governance Challenges of Data Linkage

New flows and intersections of big data from -omics research in plant science, including field-based phenomics as well as genomics, to various types of socioeconomic and environmental data, pose distinct challenges for governance. Data access and ownership for the common good and/or scientific advancement remain areas of considerable contestation, especially given the distinctive intellectual property landscape of plant science, which is marked by the predominance of transnational corporations on the one hand and regimes of national sovereignty on the other. Moreover, longstanding challenges of implementing Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) schemes in regard to biological materials are renewed by the increasing availability of digital data, while the integration of biological with socioeconomic data raises new questions of privacy. This session will address these and other governmental issues raised by plant data linkage, from open science policy through legal and political regulation. Full details
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15 March 202115:30

EGENIS seminar: "Hard Knock Life: Concussion, Dementia and Sport" Dr Greg Hollin (University of Leeds)

The first decades of the twenty-first century have seen a ‘concussion crisis’ in sport. While there has been increased, and considerable, concern about the acute health risks associated with brain injury, much of the crisis has oriented around ‘Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy’, or CTE, a form of dementia associated with repetitive head injuries such as those experienced as part of sporting activity. Within this context, there has been widespread criticism levelled at innumerable Sports Governance Organizations with accusations that responses to the crisis have been both too slow and too circumscribed. Nonetheless, concussion governance has been embedded in numerous sports in the form of, for example, new or altered rules, increased medical provision, diagnostic technologies, compulsory coaching courses, return to play protocols, and legislative change.. Full details
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12 March 202114:00

Towards Responsible Plant Data Linkage: Global Challenges for Food Security and Governance - Session 2: Technical Challenges of Data Linkage

Making plant data FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable) has been the subject of much effort. Extensive semantic tools are now available, including the multiple, intersecting ontologies that comprise the Planteome project, as are metadata standards such as the Minimum Information About a Plant Phenotyping Experiment (MIAPPE). Such tools nevertheless require collective work to develop and maintain. Beyond ensuring data themselves are FAIR, actively linking and circulating data poses further challenges. These include finding ways to link biologically, experimentally or geographically related yet heterogeneous datasets consistently, and to make data usable in practice to potential users with divergent aims and resources, not only reusable in theory. This session will address the technical challenges of data linkage, including the development of standards and infrastructures; epistemic issues; and the organizational requirements of this work.. Full details
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8 March 202115:30

EGENIS seminar: "AI Extenders and the Ethics of Mental Health" Dr Karina Vold (University of Toronto)

The extended mind thesis maintains that the functional contributions of tools and artefacts can become so essential for our cognition that they can be constitutive parts of our minds. In other words, our tools can be on a par with our brains: our minds and cognitive processes can literally ‘extend’ into the tools. Several extended mind theorists have argued that this ‘extended’ view of the mind offers unique insights into how we understand, assess, and treat certain cognitive conditions. In this chapter we suggest that using AI extenders, i.e., tightly coupled cognitive extenders that are imbued with machine learning and other ‘artificially intelligent’ tools, presents both new ethical challenges and opportunities for mental health. We focus on several mental health conditions that can develop differently by the use of AI extenders for people with cognitive disorders and then discuss some of the related opportunities and challenges. Full details
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5 March 202114:00

Towards Responsible Plant Data Linkage: Global Challenges for Food Security and Governance - Introduction & Session 1: Experiences from The Trenches

How is data managed in practice? To start the workshop, this session will discuss case studies of plant data use and linkage in the context of particular research projects and breeding programs, drawn from contemporary experience as well as historical research. Consideration of these cases will ground the thematic discussion of the following sessions, and provide an opportunity to reflect on the practical dimensions of the various challenges of data linkage and their solutions. This session will also begin with a general introduction to the online workshop goals and format by the organisers. Full details
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3 March 202116:00

Routes event: U.S. Immigration Law - a brief overview of issues with Anthony Vale

Anthony Vale is a 1972 law graduate from the University of Exeter, who has been practicing law in the USA. Tony represents immigrants caught up in the US immigration system, who seek asylum or relief from removal. He has been successful in cases on behalf of non-citizens from Angola, Cameroon, El Salvador Guatemala and Honduras. These cases are difficult and raise many constitutional issues, which he will clarify and discuss. Full details
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24 February 2021

CRPR Seminar Series - Professor Paul Young and Dr Branwyn Poleykett

Please email crpr@exeter.ac.uk to receive a link to join this online seminar. Full details
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22 February 202115:30

EGENIS seminar: "Data through time: Figuring out the narrative self in longitudinal research" Prof Jane Elliott (University of Exeter)

This paper will explore the ways in which individuals can be obscured and revealed through the practices of longitudinal social research. In particular it will juxtapose qualitative and quantitative data from the 1958 British Birth Cohort study (which has followed thousands of individuals from their birth in 1958 through childhood and adult life) in order to consider the ways in which different approaches to research can reinforce or disrupt narrative conceptions of the self. It will also discuss the opportunities and challenges for longitudinal research provided by new practices of self-tracking e.g. using apps and wearable devices made possible following the digital revolution. Full details
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15 February 202115:30

EGENIS seminar: Book Launch: 'The Rise of Autism: Risk and Resistance in the Age of Diagnosis' Dr Ginny Russell (University of Exeter)

The book is about how the use of diagnosis has increased over the last 30 years in the UK and is a key output from our Exploring Diagnosis project. An initial overview will describe how it was written as a counterpoint to work with the neurodiversity movement, and present some data from the latest surveys that demonstrate the dramatically increased diagnosis of autism in Europe and US since the 1990s. The book offers a critical understanding of autism statistics, and why there are competing interpretations of the same data. It provides both commentary on, and contribution to, the neurodiversity movement. After a talk to introduce the contents of the book, discussants will give their own unique take on the rising use of autism diagnosis and the phenomenon of diagnostic creep. Full details
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10 February 202116:00

Routes event: Marriage, migration and Integration with Professor Katharine Charsley

Join online: https://teams.microsoft.com/l/meetup-join/19%3ameeting_YzNiMzQ0NzYtMDc3Ny00Mjc3LThjYzktZDJiNGMyYzQ2NWVi%40thread.v2/0?context=%7b%22Tid%22%3a%22912a5d77-fb98-4eee-af32-1334d8f04a53%22%2c%22Oid%22%3a%226e937dec-e3c4-404e-a24f-6bde3e224f85%22%7d. Full details
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8 February 202115:30

EGENIS seminar: "The Politics of Scientific Pluralism in Global Perspective" Dr David Ludwig (Wageningen University & Research)

Epistemic and ontological diversity have become core topics in debates about global challenges from deforestation to food security to public health. Responding to these challenges does not only require scientific expertise but the knowledge of diverse stakeholders who are commonly marginalized in academic knowledge production. The aim of this talk is to bring concerns about global knowledge diversity in dialogue with philosophical debates about scientific pluralism.. Full details
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3 February 2021

CRPR Seminar Series - Amy Simpson (DECIPHer, Cardiff University)

Please email crpr@exeter.ac.uk to receive a link to join this online seminar. Full details
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2 February 202112:30

Social mobility prospects in a post pandemic world

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29 January 20219:00

Philosophy of Coordination

As a follow-up to the workshop held in Nijmegen in Nov 2018, Egenis, The Centre for the study of Life Sciences at University of Exeter and the Philosophy of Mind and Language group at Radboud University Nijmegen are organising a small online workshop on the Philosophy of Coordination on Friday January 29th 2021. Full details
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13 January 2021

CRPR Seminar Series - Caroline Bennett and Professor Steve Simpson

Please email crpr@exeter.ac.uk to receive a link to join this virtual seminar. Full details
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14 December 202015:30

EGENIS seminar series: "Emotions online: What are they, and what can they do for us?" Dr Anna Bortolan (Swansea University)

The seminar explores from a philosophical perspective the nature and role of emotions experienced in the context of social media use. First, I will argue that a narrative theory of emotion is better positioned than competing approaches to account for the key features of affective experiences on the internet. I will claim that these experiences are best understood as socially shaped processes, suggesting that such an account enables us to make sense of some of the characteristics of emotions undergone on social media (e.g. their intensity and contagiousness). I will then move to outline how such an account can shed light on the way in which online interactions may have transformative effects on one’s self-experience and self-understanding.. Full details
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7 December 202015:30

EGENIS seminar: "Signalling, Solidarity, and Strategic Delusions", Dr Daniel Williams (University of Cambridge)

Some widely held beliefs seem absurd. They appear so radically at odds with the available evidence that it is difficult to understand how anyone could genuinely hold them. Unlike clinical delusions, however, they do not appear to be produced by a dysfunctional psychology. Such beliefs therefore generate a puzzle: How – and why – do functional psychological mechanisms give rise to absurd beliefs? Drawing on signalling theory and research in the psychological and social sciences, I clarify, defend, and explore the hypothesis that such beliefs are a strategic response to the signalling incentives generated by coalitions.. Full details
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2 December 202016:00

Routes Conversation: What Does Citizenship Mean Today? with Dr Ben Hudson (Lecturer in Law at the University of Exeter) and Daniel Mutanda (MPH Candidate at the University of Warwick)

Routes Conversation: What Does Citizenship Mean Today? with Dr Ben Hudson (Lecturer in Law at the University of Exeter) and Daniel Mutanda (MPH Candidate at the University of Warwick). Full details
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2 December 202011:30

CRPR Seminar Series - Jess Fagin

Jess is a PhD researcher at the University of Exeter’s Centre for Rural Policy Research. She is also a member of SOAS Food Studies Centre and the Graduate Association of Food Studies. Jess co-edits the Graduate Journal of Food Studies. Full details
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30 November 202015:30

EGENIS seminar: "An ethnography of metagenomics: Preliminary Results and Next Steps" Dr Roberta Raffaeta (Alma Mater University of Bologna)

This presentation will be a critical discussion of my last book ‘Antropologia dei microbi. Come la metagenomica sta riconfigurando l’umano e la salute’ CISU, 2020. The book illustrates how the ecosystemic understandings of health and of biology introduced by microbiome research is perceived and enacted by metagenomics researchers. The main argument is that metagenomics working practices develop across the tension between theory and practice, holism and reductionism, and the molecular and the ecosystemic view. Full details
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23 November 202015:30

EGENIS seminar series: "Cognitive Science Goes Green: The Quest for Plant Intelligence", Prof Paco Calvo (University of Murcia)

Cognitive science provides the means to make headway in the quest for plant intelligence. Contrary to common belief, plants are not merely acted upon; they rather take action autonomously according to their own needs. Plants are intelligent insofar as they behave adaptively, flexibly, anticipatorily, and in a goal-directed manner. Plausibly, to do so, self-propelled mobility is needed—although, unlike animal locomotion, plant movement takes the form of growth and development. With that being said, being rooted, plants need to be much more distributed and decentralized than animals. Unfortunately, the default understanding of the relation between mobility and cognition is by resorting to an information-processing paradigm.. Full details
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16 November 202015:30

EGENIS seminar: "A Candyman in Letchworth: Making Human Environments Liveable", Prof Des Fitzgerald (University of Exeter)

It is commonplace now to say that mental life is partly a product of the environment – to say that a person’s mental health is rooted in the external circumstances of their life, and not (only) in the internal workings of their body. There is however an emergent wrinkle in this form of thought, which is not new, but has nonetheless gained prominence in recent years: for both cultural and scientific practitioners, the environment, as it relates to mind, has come to signify not simply a generalisable set of social and cultural circumstances, but rather a person’s immediate physical environment; which is to say, the materials composing the building they are in, the arrangement of the urban scene they are passing through, or the set of small plants and shrubs with which they desperately populate their living and working spaces.. Full details
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11 November 202015:30

Understanding the relationships between risk factors, intersectional identities and criminal career trajectories: A multilevel approach

Researchers have called for developmental criminologists to better understand how criminal career patterns and 'risk factors' relate to intersectional identities. Full details
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9 November 202015:30

EGENIS seminar: "Intercultural dialogue and learning across difference in traditional fishing communities using the partial overlaps methodology" Charbel El-hani (University Federal da Bahia)

I will describe the partial overlaps methodology as an approach to deal with ontological, epistemological, ethical and political issues related to knowledge integration, by taking a via media between overly optimistic and pessimistic views on the possibility of integrating different knowledge systems. A central topic will be how learning may take place through partial overlaps, both when there is overlap between knowledge systems and when they diverge from each other. I will illustrate both the partial overlaps methodology and some mutual learning process from fieldwork in artisanal fishing traditional communities from Northeast Brazil. Full details
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4 November 202011:30

CRPR Seminar Series - Simon Pope

Simon is an artist, and an associate researcher at the University of Toronto.. Full details
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26 October 202015:30

EGENIS seminar: "The Spaces In Between: What geographic data can and cannot tell us about the past" Prof Leif Isaksen (University of Exeter)

The appeal of geographic data to those studying the past seems self-apparent. Few sources of evidence provide such immediate and compelling means of conveying broader context and identifying correlatory relationships between ostensibly separate phenomena. But without disputing its importance as an essential component of historical inquiry, this seminar will seek to problematise the use of spatial data using two case studies.. Full details
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19 October 202015:30

EGENIS seminar: "Social practices, contested values. Forensic genetics innovations for policing" "Dr Matthias Wienroth (University of Northumbria)

This paper contributes to studies of values and valuation within debates about social practices of responsible innovation. It proposes to understand innovation as social practice, and values in innovation as temporary settlements of considerations around validity, operability, and social compatibility of socio-technical innovation. As such, the paper adopts a practice-based approach to values in new technologies and their respective emerging governance and practice arrangements around Reliability, Utility and LEgitimacy (RULE). These three principles combine scientific with operational and social aspects of innovation as centre points around which deliberative engagement can be facilitated between different societal perspectives, offering the opportunity to develop greater awareness of diverse and at times competing understandings of values.. Full details
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9 October 202014:00

"COVID Societies: What is the place of the social sciences and humanities in pandemic times?"

The COVID-19 pandemic is changing the world. As the temporal horizon of the pandemic moves into years, and perhaps decades, however, it becomes clear that there are more than medical and scientific questions at stake, both in the pandemic and in our response to it. Learning to live with COVID also means identifying, understanding and tackling the social, cultural, political, ethical and environmental shifts emerging from the pandemic. This means, in turn, that research from experts in the social sciences and humanities will increasingly move towards the forefront of how we respond to the pandemic – sometimes in collaboration with clinical and scientific research, but sometimes under its own steam too. In this online roundtable, we draw together social science and humanities expertise from Exeter University to situate COVID-19 as a crisis that is posing major questions to research in these disciplines.. Full details
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7 October 202011:30

CRPR Seminar Series - Dr Olivia Barnett-Naghshineh

Olivia is a Research Fellow at the Sainsbury Centre of Visual Arts, UEA and a Post-Doctoral Research Associate at the European Centre for Environmental and Human Health (ECEHH) at the University of Exeter, working on a transdisciplinary project on healthy food systems in the Caribbean. She also teaches two online short courses at Goldsmiths University, 'Decolonising Anthropology' and 'Masters of Sex: Feminisms, Sexuality and the Archive". Please email crpr@exeter.ac.uk to receive the link to join this online seminar. Full details
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5 October 202015:30

EGENIS seminar: "Processual Empiricism the COVID-19 Era: Rethinking the research process to avoid dangerous forms of reification" Prof John Dupre and Prof Sabina Leonelli (University of Exeter)

Whether we live in a world of autonomous things, or a world of interconnected processes in constant flux, is an ancient philosophical debate. Modern biology provides decisive reasons for embracing the latter view. How do we understand the practices and outputs of science in such a dynamic, ever-changing world - and particularly in emergency situation such as the current pandemic, where scientific knowledge is regarded as bedrock for decisive social interventions?. Full details
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5 - 9 October 2020

Egenis Studies of COVID

Online events exploring COVID research in Egenis, the Centre for the Study of the Life Sciences. Full details
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9 September 202015:00

Establishment Relations and Fatherhood Wage Premiums

Fathers often earn more than their childless counterparts, although effects can vary among groups of men. Most of this literature uses micro data and attributes these wage effects to individual selection. We instead draw on relational inequality theory (RIT) to argue the importance of establishment relations behind group differences in net fatherhood wage premiums.. Full details
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30 July 202011:00

"Do Not Feed the Animals?"

Signs stating ‘Do not feed the animals’ are ubiquitous in zoos, national parks and urban spaces. They stress that uncontrolled feeding by people can affect animal health, alter wild animal behaviour and create public hygiene and nuisance issues. However, humans appear to have a deep-seated proclivity to feed animals. Many ancient cults fed animals, some modern religions require it, and feeding is often actively encouraged as a tourist attraction. Millions of people feed wildlife in gardens and in 2018, the pet-food industry was worth £2.7 billion in the UK alone. Full details
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3 July 202015:30

Book Launch: Data Journeys in the Sciences

This Joint event between the Institute for Data Science and Artificial Intelligence and Egenis, features the official launch of the Springer Open Access volume Data Journeys in the Sciences, edited by Sabina Leonelli and Niccolo Tempini and appearing in July 2020. The volume is a key output of the ERC project DATA_SCIENCE (led by Sabina Leonelli from 2014 to 2019, see www.datastudies.eu) and brings together leading thinkers in the history, philosophy and social studies of science to reflect on the challenges and conditions for mobilizing and (re)using research data. Full details
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1 July 202013:00

Data Analysis and visualisation with Python

Building upon the basic introduction offered to Python in workshop 1, this workshop will cover exploratory data analysis, quantitative data analysis, and visualising data in Python and the Seaborn package. Full details
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24 June 202013:00

Introduction to Python for Social Scientists

This workshop is aimed at those who have no experience of Python and little-to-no experience of computer coding.. Full details
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19 June 202015:30

POSTPONED. EGENIS seminar series / book launch: Prof Sabina Leonelli (University of Exeter)

To be rescheduled. Full details
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8 June 202015:30

POSTPONED. EGENIS seminar series: Dr Marta Halina (University of Cambridge)

We hope to reschedule. Full details
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3 June 202013:00

Longitudinal Data Analysis

In this workshop you will learn about the principles of longitudinal data analysis; when it should be used and the advantages and disadvantages of longitudinal methods. Full details
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27 May 2020

Food and Drink Colloquium

This interdepartmental colloquium will draw together colleagues working on any aspect of food and drink to launch the University of Exeter Food Studies Network. Full details
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20 May 202015:30

RIP Seminar Series

Pre-Talk 1.30-2.30 Amory 239C / Public Lecture 3.30-5 Building One: Bateman Lecture Theatre. Full details
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18 May 202015:30

CANCELLED. EGENIS seminar series: Prof Alison Wylie (University of British Columbia)

May be rescheduled. Full details
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15 May 202013:00

An Introduction to Open-Source Intelligence and its practical applications - ONLINE Workshop

This seminar will be an Introduction to Open-Source Intelligence (OSINT). It will cover some broad themes of what OSINT is and what it is not, as well as some thoughts on the future of OSINT.. Full details
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13 May 202015:30

SPA Seminar Series: Dr Emilia Sanabria (Paris)

Title and abstract TBA. Full details
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12 May 202014:00

Bayesian analysis with JAGS/Topics in Bayesian analysis - ONLINE Workshop

One of the advantages of Bayesian analysis is its great flexibility with respect to the functional form of the model. To take full advantage of this flexibility, the analyst need to know how to write code for Stan, JAGS, BUGS or a similar sample.. Full details
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11 May 202015:30

RIP Seminar Series: Emily Thomas (Durham): Time and Subtle Pictures in the History of Philosophy

Pre-Talk 1.30-2.30 XFI Conference room 1 / Public Lecture 3.30-5 Building One Matrix Lecture Theatre. Full details
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11 May 202014:00

Introduction to Bayesian analysis - ONLINE Workshop

This workshop offers an introduction to Bayesian analysis in R. We will talk about the theoretical underpinnings of Bayesian analysis and the practical considerations for conducting such analyses in R.. Full details
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4 May 202015:30

POSTPONED. EGENIS seminar series: Exploring the Easter E.g. – Shifting Baselines and Changing Perceptions of Cultural and Biological ‘Aliens’, Prof Naomi Sykes (University of Exeter)

Easter is the most important event in the Christian calendar. Despite its global reach and cultural significance, Easter has attracted minimal academic attention since the 1970s. Astonishingly little is known about the festival’s genesis, when it first appeared in Britain, the origins of its component customs – e.g. the gifting of eggs purportedly delivered by the Easter ‘bunny’ – or how they coalesced to form current practices. Equally obscure are the timing and circumstance by which animals that have come to be associated with the festival – notably the brown hare and the rabbit but also the chicken – arrived in Britain. As a result, Easter is a high-profile natural and cultural history puzzle. This talk, timed to coincide with the festival, will bring together the results of an AHRC-funded project on the subject.. Full details
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27 April 202015:30

POSTPONED. EGENIS seminar series: Prof Carole McCartney (Northumbria University)

We hope to reschedule. Full details
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23 March 202015:30

POSTPONED. EGENIS seminar series: "Beliefs, Signals, and Groups" Dr Daniel Williams (University of Cambridge)

An increasingly influential hypothesis in political science is that certain forms of group-based misinformation are driven by psychological and social processes in which unfounded beliefs come to function as signals of group identity and loyalty. I clarify, scrutinise, and offer a partial defence of this ‘signalling hypothesis’. Drawing on signalling theory and various characteristics of human psychology and groups, (i) I develop a theoretical framework for understanding why and how beliefs come to perform group-signalling functions and (ii) I explain how this phenomenon can be distinguished from other explanations of group-based misinformation.. Full details
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18 March 202015:30

CANCELLED: Understanding the relationships between risk factors, intersectional identities and criminal career trajectories: A multilevel approach

Researchers have called for developmental criminologists to better understand how criminal career patterns and 'risk factors' relate to intersectional identities.. Full details
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16 March 202015:30

CANCELLED. EGENIS seminar series: Dr Matthias Wienroth (Newcastle University)

Hope to re-schedule in the autumn. Full details
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11 March 202015:30

SPA Seminar Series: Dr Orestis Palermos (Cardiff University)

Title and abstract TBA. Full details
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10 March 202014:00

CANCELLED - Hope and Despair: Presidents, Prime Ministers, Populists, Polarization and Mass Democratic Accountability in Challenging Times

The Executive Approval Project (EAP) is a global collaborative data and research project whose goal is to measure public approval of political leaders to help understand why some executives are despised and removed while others remain popular and reelected.. Full details
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9 March 202015:30

CANCELLED. EGENIS seminar series: Prof Leif Isaksen (University of Exeter)

Hope to be reschedule in the autumn. Full details
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4 March 202015:30

POSTPONED: SPA Seminar Series - Professor Michael Carolan

Professor Carolan is a Professor of Sociology and Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Affairs for the College of Liberal Arts at Colorado State University. His areas of expertise include environmental and agricultural law and policy, environmental sociology, the sociology of food systems and agriculture, economic sociology, and the sociology of technology and scientific knowledge. Full details
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4 March 202013:00

Data Analysis with R for Social Scientists

Building upon the basic introduction offered to R in workshop 4, this workshop will cover exploratory data analysis, quantitative data analysis, and visualising data using R, as well as introducing the various libraries that a user needs to be familiar with in order to carry out such tasks. Full details
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2 March 202015:30

RIP Seminar Series: Al Wilson (Birmingham): Emergent Contingency

Pre-Talk 1.30-2.30 Amory 315 / Public Lecture 3.30-5 Forum Exploration Lab 1. Full details
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24 February 202015:30

CANCELLED. EGENIS seminar series: Dr Gregor Greslehner (University of Bordeaux/CNRS)

May be rescheduled. Full details
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17 February 202015:30

EGENIS seminar series: "Using open data to define problems: How residents, policymakers, and engineers approach open government data" Dr Caitlin Donahue Wylie (Virginia University)

Making a city’s data publicly available online can serve the democratic ideal of transparency. Advocates argue that open civic data can equip stakeholders to achieve such lofty goals as supervising their government, identifying social problems, making evidence-based arguments for reform and social justice, and designing tailored solutions and research projects. As a result of this variety of uses, open data brings together several stakeholder groups, such as residents, elected officials and government staff, and engineering researchers. How these groups understand, interpret, and apply the same datasets offers a valuable comparison between their values, beliefs about knowledge, and conceptions of public good. Understanding these groups’ different epistemic approaches to data is crucial for identifying factors that influence whether and how users succeed in transforming open data into knowledge. Full details
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12 February 202015:30

SPA Seminar Series: Dr Iza Kavedzija (Exeter): The attitude of gratitude: Inhabiting the moment with older Japanese

Dr Iza Kavedzija (Exeter): The attitude of gratitude: Inhabiting the moment with older Japanese. Full details
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10 February 202015:30

EGENIS seminar series: "Plant Phenome", Dr Ozlem Yilmaz (University of Exeter)

Plant Phenome Project* has started last month. Plant Phenomics has been growing and advancing rapidly in the last decades. Two important facts drive this growth: 1) the need for growing more, and more nutritious crop plants, for the rapidly growing world population, a growth that has been marked by increasing social inequalities; 2) the need for better understanding of plant-environment interaction, thereby improving the ability to produce crops better adapted to uncertainties in future climate. While recent research has focused heavily on genomics, it is increasingly recognised that achieving these vital goals will require matching genomic insights with deeper understanding of phenomes. The main purpose of the Plant Phenome Project is to provide a philosophical analysis of the main concepts in plant science.. Full details
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7 February 202015:30

Geographical and Place-based dependence in multilevel models

Multilevel models have been applied to study many geographical processes in epidemiology, economics, political science, sociology, urban analytics, and transportation. They are most often used to express how the effect of a treatment or intervention may vary by geographical group, a form of geographical process heterogeneity.. Full details
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5 February 202015:30

SPA Seminar: Laura Kotevska (Sydney) "The First Rule of Geometers: Arnauld and Nicole on Definition"

Reflection on how we acquire scientific knowledge is a striking feature of Arnauld and Nicole’s Logique, ou l’art de penser (1662). In this talk, I examine one part of their methodological writings inspired by geometry - their theory of definition. In so doing, I describe what is distinctive about Arnauld and Nicole’s view and use this to 1) examine their interventions in their Nouveaux éléments de géométrie, and 2) trace the influence of Arnauld and Nicole’s account of definition on the wider 17th century culture of rewriting the Elements of Euclid. I conclude with some emerging reflections on the epistemological reasons for Arnauld and Nicole’s distinction between real and nominal definitions and argue that this account is compatible with Arnauld’s commitments to Aristotelian science evident in the Logique and Nouveaux éléments de géométrie.. Full details
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5 February 202015:00

Eating Together: Commensality seen through objects in the Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter

We would like to invite you to join us for the presentation and discussion of food and drink-related objects in the Royal Albert Memorial Museum collection. Harry G West (Professor of Anthropology and Convenor of the MA Food Studies at the University of Exeter) will frame the presentation with observations on commensality—the act of coming together to share food and drink. Tony Eccles (Curator of Ethnography at the RAMM) will then present a range of materials, with commentary provided by a number of specialists from the University of Exeter. Full details
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5 February 202013:00

Introduction to GIS

A geographic information system (GIS) is a system designed to allow researchers to capture, store, manipulate, analyse, manage, and present spatial or geographic data. This workshop will introduce attendees to the introductory principles of GIS and how to use Python QGIS for research purposes. Full details
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30 January 20209:00

Analysing ambiguity: understanding and managing complexity in the professional environment

Suggested participants: Mid/senior level managers, SMEs in any business sector, those seeking promotion to management levels or new to management, HR SMEs, Data scientists/analysts. Full details
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15 January 202015:30

SPA Seminar Series: Professor Graham Scrambler (UCL)

Title: 'The Fractured Society: Dimensions and Mechanisms'. Full details
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15 January 202013:00

Introduction to R for Social Scientists

This workshop is aimed at those who have no experience of R, and will provide a solid introduction to using it for data analysis by covering how to handle data structures such as vectors, matrices, and data frames. Full details
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13 January 202015:30

EGENIS seminar series: "Open Knowledge Institutions: Is there a future for the university in a networked world?" Prof Cameron Neylon (Curtin University)

From the inside it feels as though universities are under threat. Trust in expertise and support from governments seems to be ebbing, at the same time as massive tech giants pose an apparent threat to our core business of disseminating curated knowledge to students and sites of innovation. Yet universities are amongst the oldest surviving institutions in western society, predating the nation state, the corporation, and modern government. They have weathered massive societal change in the past. Are they well placed to do so through the crises of today? And are the tools available to university leaders fit for purpose, or even actively dangerous to the future of our institutions? What could a university be in the 21st century?. Full details
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8 - 9 January 20209:30

Turning the Mirror: From Scientific Pluralism to Pluralism in HPS

Turning the Mirror: From Scientific Pluralism to Pluralism in HPS All welcome, but please RSVP here https://philevents.org/event/show/74754 for catering purposes. 8-9 January 2020, Egenis, University of Exeter, UK Panel discussions are 90 minutes, talks are 60 minutes.. Full details
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6 January 202015:30

RIP Seminar Series: Haixin Dang (Leeds): Consensus and Disagreement in Science

Pre-Talk 1.30-2.30 / Public Lecture 3.30-5. Full details
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16 December 20199:30

"AI between Plant and Agricultural Science: Green Paths towards Environmental Intelligence"

The workshop seeks to bring together experts in the plant and agricultural sciences who are working with computational methods of analyses, the integration of diverse datasets spanning biological and environmental data, and the management of plant data infrastructures, in order to discuss what possibilities might be offered for the field by the Alan Turing Institute, the UK’s National Institute for Data Science and Artificial Intelligence, and the Environmental Intelligence initiative based at the University of Exeter. The Environmental Intelligence initiative seeks to develop new ways to understand complex interactions between climate, ecosystems, and human social and economic systems through the application of data science tools. Full details
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9 December 201915:30

EGENIS seminar series: Book Launch "Badgers and Bovine TB: Past, Present and Future", Dr Angela Cassidy (University of Exeter)

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3 December 201912:30

Introduction to LaTex

LaTex is a document preparation system for high-quality typesetting that is used extensively in academia and elsewhere for technical and scientific documents. This workshop is aimed at those with little-to-no experience of LaTex, but who wish to develop a working understanding of it in order to produce high-quality documents. Full details
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25 November 201915:30

POSTPONED - Egenis seminar series: Prof Leif Isaksen (University of Exeter)

To be re-scheduled. Full details
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22 November 201915:30

Data Analysis & Q-Step Alumni Careers Q&A Discussion

Come along to our Q&A event and speak to a number of recent Exeter Q-Step and Politics graduates who have taken different career routes into social data science since graduating! This event is intended for any students, UG or PG, interested in a career in data analysis. You will have the opportunity to find out about a range of careers, and learn about what you can do, both now during your studies and after graduation, to follow a similar path.. Full details
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20 November 201913:30

The hidden curriculum for Widening Participation Students

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20 November 201910:30

Who do we think you are? Detecting salient identities in text

Behaviour differs between social groups – this appears to be true for linguistic style as well. Recent research has shown differences between age, gender, religious and political groups in the way group members speak. Since we are members of many different social groups, the question arises whether group membership affects our linguistic style constantly or whether our style shifts towards the group membership most relevant to the situation. Full details
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13 November 201915:30

SPA Seminar Series: Dr Beth Singler (University of Cambridge): “Blessed by the Algorithm”: Artificial Intelligence, Aspirations, and Agency

“Blessed by the Algorithm”: Artificial Intelligence, Aspirations, and Agency. Full details
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11 November 201915:30

EGENIS seminar series: "Offerings and Interruptions: co-creating with life" Heather Barnett (University of the Arts London)

Heather Barnett is an artist, researcher and educator working with natural phenomena and biological systems. Working with live organisms, imaging technologies and playful pedagogies, her work explores how we observe, influence and relate to the world around us. Full details
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8 November 201915:30

The case against perfection in the mean: Why it is time for an individualised approach to evidence for education

Analyses of educational interventions need to produce evidence that is relevant to specific groups of students. When a group is not the target population of an intervention, any analysis involving just that group is called subgroup analysis, which is often regarded as a statistical malpractice, as its findings are often underpowered, unreliable, prone to overinterpretation at best, or misleading at worst.. Full details
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6 November 201913:00

Data Analysis and visualisation with Python for Social Scientists

Building upon the basic introduction offered to Python in workshop 1, this workshop will cover exploratory data analysis, quantitative data analysis, and visualising data in Python and the Seaborn package. Full details
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6 November 201910:30

Worlds Colliding: Examining the social networks and linguistic patterns of a merging organization through email

During a merger the acquiring organization is often a dominant force. It overwhelms the target organization and replaces its norms, routines, and formal structures. I will present the results from an ongoing analysis of a massively rich dataset of emails, longitudinal surveys, individual performance, and ethnography that paints a detailed picture of an unfolding organizational merger.. Full details
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4 November 201915:30

RIP Seminar series: Anna Alexandrova (Cambridge): Happiness and Technocracy

Pre-Talk 2.30-3.15 in Queens LT4.1 / Public Lecture 3.30-5. Full details
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29 October 201913:00

When politics and diplomacy collide; the conflict spiral in the Cuban Missile Crisis 1962

An investigation into the conflicting interests and powerplay revealed in the behaviour of the main protagonists- USSR and USA. A brief overview of this dangerous incident will be provided, but the main focus will be an analysis of public versus private decisions. We'll look at the personal drives and motivations of key figures such as John F Kennedy and Nikita Khrushev and discover why was not all as it seemed... Full details
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28 October 201918:30

Careers in Social Justice

Explore a range of careers which we have badged under the title of "Social Justice" - Police, Civil Service (Ministry of Justice), Youth offending services and more. You will have the opportunity to speak with all guests for around 15 minutes. See My Career Zone for booking details and information about our speakers. Full details
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28 October 201915:30

EGENIS seminar series: "Connecting the plots: 176 years of Long-term Experiment data and samples" Richard Ostler (Rothamsted Research)

The Rothamsted Long-term Experiments (LTEs), started by Lawes and Gilbert between 1843 and 1856 are among the oldest continuing agricultural field experiments in the world. Seven of these early "Classicals" continue today, and more LTEs have been added since, the most recent being the Large Scale Rotation Experiments started in 2015/16.. Full details
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21 October 201915:30

EGENIS seminar series: 'The coordinative function of cultural conventions', Prof Marc Slors (Radboud University)

In this talk I want to argue that there is an intimate connection between trivial cultural conventions—such as social etiquette, styles of clothing and architecture and the styling of public space—and the (massive) division of roles and tasks that are characteristic of human societies. Full details
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16 October 201912:30

SWDTP Information Session

Gabriel Katz, Exeter's Institutional Academic Lead for the ESRC-funded South West Doctoral Training Programme (SWDTP), has organised an information session on the SWDTP PhD and MA Programs, scholarships and selection procedures. Full details
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14 October 201915:30

EGENIS seminar series: "Cultivating Bioscience Image: A New Approach to Understanding the Life Sciences and Life Science Education as Participatory Visualisation Process" David Hay (King's College London)

In this paper I set out to challenge the firmly held assumption that bioscience research is a quest for knowledge and the imperative to change, develop, modify, and manipulate things. In its place I will advance a different thesis, one that situates researchers and their objects in a line of understanding. Without contesting the obvious association that bioscience is for human benefit: healthcare, economy, conservation, and the like, I will also assert that these potential gains are only half the story and that while this goes on, there is another current of research in which human and non-human sensitivities are being cultivated by the practice of research for different – more important – reasons. Full details
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7 October 201915:30

RIP Seminar: Sam Wilkinson (Exeter): What are we doing when we call someone mentally ill?

Pre-Talk 1.30-2.30 in Queens LT4.1 / Public Lecture 3.30-5. Full details
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2 October 201918:30

Valuing Nature Keynote Lecture

This Valuing Nature Keynote Lecture will be given by Dr Nicola Beaumont from Plymouth Marine Laboratory. Full details
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2 October 201915:30

SPA Seminar series: Professor Cristina Grasseni (Leiden University) "The politics of raw-milk cheese in the food heritage arena"

The politics of raw-milk cheese in the food heritage arena. Full details
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2 October 201913:00

Introduction to Python for Social Scientists

This workshop is aimed at those who have no experience of Python and little-to-no experience of computer coding. The workshop will provide a practical introduction to the Python programming language, and cover a host of the major operations a user will need to do in Python; ranging from assigning variables and working with lists, through to writing to/reading from a file, producing graphs, and debugging. Full details
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30 September 201915:30

EGENIS seminar series: “Evolution evolving”, Prof John Dupre (University of Exeter)

My title refers both to changes in the theory of evolution and to changes in the processes of evolution themselves. With regard to the former, I shall discuss the gradual relaxation of the hegemonic grip of so-called neo-Darwinism, as this has had to confront insights into phenomena such as the variety of modes of inheritance and of sources of novelty, the two-way interaction between organism and environment, and the widespread significance of biological plasticity. Full details
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9 - 13 September 201911:30

Q-estival 2019: People, Data and Society

The Exeter Q-Step Centre is celebrating six years of teaching and research and our move to a new home. We are holding a series of workshops, seminars and keynote addresses around our key research labs: Education and Life Course Studies, Policing in Practice and Computational Social Science. We will also be hosting a related Arts & Culture stream. Full details
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25 July 201913:00

Understanding women's mental health across the lifecourse

The aim of this workshop is to bring researchers together across the University of Exeter, and beyond, with an interest in understanding women’s mental health. The workshop will convene a multi-disciplinary group with shared substantive interests, but who take different approaches to research on this topic.. Full details
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15 July 201917:30

Keynote Lecture - Animal Research Unbound: The Messiness of the Moral. Lesley A. Sharp (Barnard College, Columbia University)

Interspecies intimacy defines an inescapable reality of lab animal research. This talk is an effort to disentangle this reality’s consequences—both in and outside the lab—as framed by the quandaries of ethnographic engagement. Full details
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15 - 16 July 20198:30

"Animal Research Unbound" Conference

Much social scientific, philosophical and historical work on animal research has followed the enclosures around research communities and the relatively closed nature of animal research to highlight the construction of boundaries around animal research. This includes the ethical boundary work used to justify the use of animals in research, the human-animal and species boundaries constructed through research practices, the regulatory boundaries shaping responsibilities for animal use and care, through the spatial and material infrastructures that separate the animal house and laboratory. Even work tracing the accelerating mobilities and movements of research using animals often starts from consideration of how these might overcome boundaries between previously closed species and spaces of animal research. Full details
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24 June 201915:30

EGENIS seminar series: "On the Nature and Intelligibility of Medical Knowledge and Practitioners", Prof Dr Hakan Ertin

What kind of knowledge is produced in the realm of medicine? Does the medicine have exact results as mathematics and physics have? Or is medical knowledge not certain? Medical professionals believe that the result of medical knowledge is not always as precise as two and two is four. Why is this so? If so, what kind of results can be deduced from this situation? For instance, does complementary and alternative medicine take advantage of this situation? The complex nature of medical knowledge involves some challenges for scientists outside the medicine researching issues relating to the medical field. This is often encountered while medical (and/or technical) knowledge is being interpreted by social scientists. In fact, German pathologist Rudolf Virchow describes medicine as social science, but medical professionals - usually physicians - cannot even imagine that medicine can be a social science. This perception has become stronger as more and more new technologies enter -even occupy- th. Full details
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24 June 2019

Institute of Coding Summer School 2019 at the University of Exeter

For students with little or no experience of programming or coding, the Institute of Coding Summer School at Exeter is an opportunity to enhance your digital skills through a course designed to introduce you to the fundamentals of computer programming and social data analysis. Full details
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20 - 21 June 2019

"Science and Values" Integrated History and Philosophy of Science Workshop

Questions of value have always played a role in the history and philosophy of science. Philosophical questions surrounding scientific realism, for instance, often turn on the epistemic value or otherwise of virtues such as ‘simplicity’. While historians have long recognised this, philosophers have recently begun to acknowledge a wide range of values - the political, moral and aesethetic - in understanding scientific practices. This opens up a variety of new questions, both historical and philosophical, regarding the relationship between scientific practice and its historical development on the one hand, and the role of values—understood broadly. Consideration of the role of values in research provokes a host of historical and philosophical questions, typically well suited to an integrated HPS approach. This meeting of the iHPS will focus on such questions. Full details
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17 June 201915:30

EGENIS seminar series: "Public Health, Biopolitics, Security", Ariane Hanemaayer (Brandon University, Canada)

Biopolitics is a force relation that deploys security mechanisms to regularize general biological processes within a population according to a norm. These mechanisms are institutionalized around those uncertain or random elements within a population of living beings with the objective of optimizing the state of life. This presentation analyzes a case study of the preparation of The Health of a Nation – a strategy for England, a public health policy for the National Health Service in the 1990s. I argue that the power-knowledge of public health and the policies installed to organize and inform the rates of mortality within the NHS have congealed within a dispositif of security.. Full details
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17 June 20199:30

Centre for Social Mobility Conference 2019

After a successful launch event last year, the University of Exeter is delighted to be holding the second Conference for the Centre for Social Mobility, which will take place on 17th June at the Streatham Campus. This conference will be open to all University of Exeter professional services staff, academics, research fellows and students who are interested in finding out about building a whole institution approach to social mobility, and about plans to improve the access, success and progression of Widening Participation students within Higher Education and specifically at the University of Exeter. The conference will take place in the Forum Auditorium and Seminar rooms, and will include plenaries, a number of different workshop breakout sessions (bookable upon registration on the day of the event), and discussion throughout.. Full details
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13 June 201910:00

GW4 Doctoral Student Training Workshop

Publishing ethnographic work: monographs, journals and mainstream media. Full details
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10 June 201915:30

EGENIS seminar series: "An empirical challenge for scientific pluralism – Alternatives or Integration?" Sophie Juliane Veigl (University of Vienna, Austria)

Scientific pluralism has become an increasingly popular position in the philosophy of science. One shared notion among scientific pluralists is that some or all natural phenomena require more than one theory, explanation or method to be fully understood. One distinction within pluralist positions is often overlooked. Some pluralists argue that several theories or explanations should be integrated (e.g. Mitchell, 2002). Others rather treat different theories and explanations as alternatives (e.g. Kellert, Longino and Waters, 2006). But does this distinction address the “nature” of the respective phenomena? And, consecutively: Are there genuine cases of “alternative” or “integrative” pluralism? In this talk I challenge this perspective and argue that it is not possible to uphold the distinction of alternatives vs. integration. Full details
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5 June 201913:00

CANCELLED: Introduction to SQL for Data Science

Unfortunately this workshop has been cancelled. We apologise for any inconvenience caused. Full details
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31 May 2019

Ian J. Kidd (Nottingham): 'Pathophobia, Vices, and the Awfulness of Illness'

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23 - 24 May 20199:00

New Foundations of Dispositionalism

Recent years have witnessed a surge of interest for dispositionalism, both in metaphysics and philosophy of science, and philosophy at large. Dispositionalism, the claim that there are genuine powers instantiated in the physical world, is taken by many to be the cornerstone of a new metaphysical system of distinct anti-Humean flavor, offering new accounts for (at least) physical modality, laws of nature, causation, the nature of properties, and much more. The former generation of dispositionalists secured dispositionalism as an important alternative in the logical space of positions, introducing many notions and issues that we debate today. Yet, despite this universal anti-Humean consensus, philosophers are still struggling with several fundamental aspects of dispositionalist metaphysics, and many related projects still have to leave the programmatic stage. Younger scholars are now working on the clarification of its fundamental tenets, and its compatibility with metaphysical stances. Full details
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22 May 20199:30

Inner Speech, Self-talk and Mental Health

For several decades the phenomenon of inner speech has been seen as relevant to understanding psychiatric conditions; most notably, voice hearing and thought insertion. But inner speech itself is far from being fully understood. Full details
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20 May 201915:30

EGENIS seminar series: "Assembling the Dinosaur" Lukas Rieppel (Brown University, USA)

Although dinosaur fossils were first found in England, a series of dramatic discoveries during the late 19th century turned North America into a world center for vertebrate paleontology. At the same time, the United States emerged as the world’s largest industrial economy, and creatures like tyrannosaurus, brontosaurus, and triceratops became emblems of American capitalism. Large, fierce, and spectacular, American dinosaurs soon dominated the popular imagination, making front-page headlines and appearing in feature films. Full details
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16 - 17 May 2019

Making SPAce: Sociology, Philosophy and Anthropology (SPA) student PGR conference

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13 May 201916:30

Professor Richard Foltz (Concordia University) presents "What is the meaning of 'Tajik'?"

Richard Foltz (Ph.D., Harvard, 1996) is a cultural historian specializing in the broader Iranian world and his work highlights the wide-ranging influence of Iranian civilization on diverse societies stretching from the Balkans to China.. Full details
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30 April 201915:30

Mog Stapleton (Edinburgh): 'Enacting Education'

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17 April 201913:00

Detecting trolls on Reddit: Introduction to Computational Text Analysis and Supervised Machine Learning in R

Computational propaganda is becoming a non-negligible presence on news forums and social media, and it is crucial to be able to separate between real users and social bots or trolls. Following Twitter, Reddit released a list of accounts suspected of being state-sponsored trolls, users who wrote more than 15.000 posts and comments between 2015 and 2018. How precisely can these posts be detected based on their content and the available metadata and what techniques can be used to achieve maximum accuracy?. Full details
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15 April 201915:30

EGENIS seminar series: "Developing a cross cultural comparison of child mental health: stories from the field", Dr Ginny Russell, Dr Abby Russell & Daisy Elliott (University of Exeter)

In this seminar we want to examine differing cultural understandings of child mental health gleaned from our recent working visits to Peru, India and Vietnam. We will each give a brief introduction to the history of one region, our host institutions, and the understandings of child mental health that we gleaned, using photos to illustrate. We hope to discuss how to synthesise culturally informed understandings about children’s mental health in a planned trans-national comparison. We will have a particular focus on girls’ mental health and gender inequality. Full details
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29 March 2019

Alastair Wilson (Birmingham): 'Emergent Contingency'

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25 March 201915:30

EGENIS seminar series: "Citizen-Led Science and Participatory Science and Technology Studies" Dr Ernesto Schwartz-Marin (University of Exeter)

Weakness and vulnerability lie at the centre of what we call Citizen-Led Science. Paradoxically the strength of weak knowledge production is to systematically start our activities and enquiries not with a position authority, or in the know, but in the margins of what we have considered possible, desirable and realistic so far. Citizen-Led Science begins in the what if? Nonetheless, Citizen-Led Science will hardly (if ever) become solely a thought experiment, a foundational principle is that it should be a matter of practice: citizen-led scientists learn by doing. Actioninside and outside laboratory settingshelps to reveal the boundaries, limits and unspoken rules of the status quo and scientific production. Intervention is revelation. Taking inspiration from Karl Marx’s famous 11th thesis, I argue that all interpretations are interventions, but not all interventions are equal. In short disrupting is not necessarily subverting, and subversion does not necessarily lead to justice.. Full details
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22 March 201910:00

UNHCR Careers talk

Our speaker will share details about the application process and what attributes and skills the organisation is looking for. Laura will also discuss their own career journey and the field of external relations, with some personal tips. The talk will be followed by a Q&A. Laura has been a spokesperson and campaigner for UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, for over a decade. She works on parliamentary advocacy and communications on UK and international refugee issues, and manages relationships with high profile supporters in the UK. Prior to UNHCR, she worked on asylum issues in government and as a parliamentary advisor. She co-chairs the Families Together coalition of over 30 organisations campaigning on refugee family reunion. Full details
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20 March 201913:30

Longitudinal Data Analysis for Social Scientists

In this workshop you will learn about the principles of longitudinal data analysis; when it should be used and the advantages and disadvantages of longitudinal methods. Full details
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18 March 201915:30

EGENIS seminar series: "Epigenetic Variables and Postgenomic Influences", Dr Lara Choksey (University of Exeter)

This paper looks at what counts as a variable in human epigenetics, and at how a combinatorial approach in postgenomic research is producing novel accounts of experience, embodiment, and inheritance, while also throwing up problems of interdisciplinary methods. When it comes to epigenetics, the question, “what matters, and how?” passes through a network of distinct disciplinary conventions of identification, assembled - sometimes speculatively - into cause and effect. Moreover, the process of identifying life experiences as biologically significant often follows established narrative conventions of understanding human life within different disciplines – commonly, psychological and sociological approaches – while also urging reconceptualisations of their significance and processes.. Full details
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14 March 201912:00

Are you listening? Crisis Negotiation Skills with Deborah Goodwin OBE

Join us as we welcome prestigious guest speaker Dr Deborah Goodwin OBE, to present her seminar on Crisis Negotiation Skills. Ever wondered how negotiators work? How do they even start to de-escalate something like a siege or a conflict? Would you know what to do? No? Well, here's a chance to learn! We're also throwing in a pizza lunch for attendees!. Full details
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13 March 201915:30

Seminar Series - “Can genetics tell us anything about voting patterns, including Brexit?”

Abstract TBC. Full details
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11 March 201915:30

EGENIS seminar series: "Responsible Futures:Industrial Biotechnology and the Challenge of Responsible Innovation", Dr Achim Rosemann (University of Exeter)

The seminar explores one of the key problems of contemporary society: to develop new forms of technology and industrial production that are safe, sustainable and accepted by the public. Industrial biotechnology (IB) is often portrayed as fulfilling this promise. Hailed as part of a new industrial revolution, IB is seen as offering solutions to some of the world’s largest problems: climate change, clean production, food shortages and major global health issues. However, akin to the industrial transformations of the past, IB is also creating new types of challenges, such as risks arising from manufacturing accidents, unintended environmental effects, and disruptive impacts on economic systems and human societies.. Full details
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8 March 201917:30

Women in Leadership: Balance for Better

To celebrate International Women’s Day we are delighted to announce our Women in Leadership discussion panel and networking will take place on Friday 8th March. With support from the Annual Fund and from the Women and Law SACA project, this exciting event will be a highlight of the social sciences employability events calendar. Open to all students and local alumni, this event will showcase the inspiring career journeys of our speakers. This discussion panel event will allow plenty of time for a Q&A. Following the event there will be the opportunity to network with all of our guests, where you will be able to speak more freely with them about their careers. Light refreshments will be provided. Our speakers are all SSIS graduates and leaders in their fields: Janet Garcia – Law and Society, President at PSI International Denise Hadow – Law, Non-Executive Director, AJH Ltd Sue Heady – Philosophy, Director at Heady Communications. Full details
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6 March 201913:30

Data Analysis with R for Social Scientists

Building upon the basic introduction offered to R in workshop 4, this workshop will cover exploratory data analysis, quantitative data analysis, and visualising data using R, as well as introducing the various libraries that a user needs to be familiar with in order to carry out such tasks. Full details
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5 March 201913:00

Gender, Sexual Orientation and Stereotypes: Challenges for Lesbian and Gay Candidates

This paper explores how the public stereotypes politicians based on gender and sexual orientation when cued about these identities in low information environments. While many studies examine high profile races to demonstrate the impact that media coverage and its potential to trigger stereotypes has on opportunities for female or queer candidates, few studies explore its implications in typical elections at the riding level.. Full details
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4 March 201915:30

SPA Seminar Series: Dr Geoff Hughes (University of Exeter) - "Cracks in the Screen: Technology, Media Liberalization and Authority in Networked Jordan"

This talk will examine how Jordan’s rapidly evolving media sector is transforming the nature of authority in Jordan. An older generation of leaders, known as sheikhs, confronts technologies they often don’t understand and a new generation that has little respect for their elders’ genealogical claims. Amidst a proliferation of social media tools that allow young people to use the idiom of the tribe to act quickly and decisively—even violently—in the political field without regard for their elders, the Jordanian government seeks to reassert control over a media sector that is increasingly international, for-profit, and privately held. Yet a new generation of would-be tribal leaders is rushing into the breach. Drawing on case studies of sheikhs, policemen, and journalists, I argue that the future of authority in Jordan will depend on the continued ability of leaders to use media to move between various scales, representing themselves individually while also convincingly standing in for li. Full details
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1 March 2019

Jessica Isserow (Leeds): Pluralism about Moral Worth

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28 February 201912:30

SSIS Careers: Working in Public Relations / Communications

Join Alicia De Haldevang (International Relations with Arabic and German, 2010), Public Relations and Digital Communications Manager at Atkins Global, who will deliver a session on what it's like to work in PR and communications. In this interactive workshop, Alicia will cover: An introduction with a career outline PR scenario group task Consolidation on how the skills you learn from your social sciences degree are relevant to your future employers Q&A on what steps you can take to get in to a PR careers The session will cover both UK and Middle Eastern opportunities, the skills required from your social sciences degrees to succeed in PR employment, what steps you can take to do so, as well as a Q&A where you will get the chance to ask our guest speaker the questions on your mind!. Full details
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27 February 201915:30

Seminar Series - “Measuring global gender inequality indicators using large-scale online advertising data”

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a key instrument in setting the agenda around global development until 2030. The promotion of gender equality features prominently in the SDGs, both as a standalone goal as well as in relation to other goals (e.g access to education). Full details
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25 February 201915:30

EGENIS seminar series: “The Greenpeace Research Laboratories and the role of science within a global environmental campaigning organisation”, Dr David Santillo (Greenpeace Research Laboratories, University of Exeter)

In working towards a more sustainable future across all aspects of society, Greenpeace aims to bear witness to environmental problems and to support work to identify innovative solutions. Campaigning is in part about winning ‘hearts and minds’, but that is only likely to lead to secure change in the right directions if work is underpinned by a strong evidential basis, including in science. The role of the Greenpeace Research Laboratories, which have been based within the University of Exeter and affiliated with the School of Biosciences for more than a quarter of a century, is to provide objective scientific advice and primary analytical research capabilities to Greenpeace’s offices around the world, across a range of disciplines. Full details
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18 February 201915:30

EGENIS seminar series: "Linnaeus in Lapland: Generating Knowledge in Transit" Dr Staffan Müller-Wille & Prof Elena Isayev (University of Exeter)

We present our plans for a collaborative research project that consists of two intertwined elements: a new English on-line edition and translation of Carl Linnaeus's diary of a journey through Lapland undertaken in 1732, and a re-enactment of that journey. Full details
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13 February 201915:30

Seminar Series - 'Religious decline in the West: Unravelling age, period and cohort effects'

Old people tend to be more religious than young people, and Western societies today are less religious than they were in the past. Scholars disagree, though, about what’s changing and why.. Full details
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11 February 201915:30

EGENIS seminar series: "Who is Afraid of Mimesis?", Dr Chiara Ambrosio (University College London)

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8 February 201914:00

Human Rights Careers Discussion and Q&A

Barrister Jonathan Cooper OBE is a Human Rights specialist with experience before English and International courts and tribunals, as well as conducting training programmes and advising on human rights issues in jurisdictions all over the world. You can read more about Jonathan's own career path and find out how he combines his work as a leading barrister in Doughty Street Chambers with his work developing teaching and training programmes in Human Rights. https://justice.org.uk/jonathan-cooper-obe/ https://www.doughtystreet.co.uk/barristers/jonatha... Jonathan's talk will be of special interest to any students considering becoming a barrister and those with an interest in working in the area of Human Rights. An informal Q&A session will be accompanied by tea / coffee and biscuits. Full details
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6 February 201913:00

Introduction to Discourse Network Analysis (DNA)

Discourse network analysis is a toolbox of research methods for the analysis of actor-based debates, such as policy debates or political discussions. Examples include the policy debates on climate change, pension politics, or around the introduction of large infrastructure projects. Full details
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5 February 201911:30

SSIS Careers: Life as a commercial lawyer in a regional law firm

Our speaker, corporate solicitor Henry Maples, trained at a large regional full service firm (Foot Anstey) which included a secondment to a large London law firm specialising in private equity work before moving in 2013 to Murrell Associates, a smaller corporate commercial law firm based in Truro, Cornwall. He will share his views on life as a corporate lawyer in a regional firm (large and small) for those interested in such career outside of the major cities. He will also provide some tips on how to demonstrate your commercial awareness – a key question in many job applications. Full details
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4 February 201915:30

SPA Seminar Series: Dr Kirsten Walsh (University of Exeter) - "Newton’s Metaphysics in Practice"

In his methodological statements, Newton (in)famously declared ‘hypotheses non fingo’ and explicitly eschewed metaphysical speculation. However, every edition of the Opticks and Principia contains hypotheses and metaphysical speculation. Newton’s commentators thus face a dilemma: they can take Newton’s metaphysical speculations seriously, but this involves downplaying the sincerity of his methodological claims; or they can take his methodological claims seriously, and downplay the significance of his metaphysical speculations. In this paper, I offer a solution to the dilemma: study Newton’s metaphysics in practice. That is, focus on the role of Newton’s metaphysical discussions, constructs and commitments in the context of his scientific work. What we find is that Newton’s metaphysical speculation plays a vital supportive function in his experimental philosophy. Recognising this feature of Newton’s work is revelatory, both of Newton’s methodology. Full details
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1 February 201912:30

SSIS Careers: Journalism Workshop: Getting a story on air with Simon Vigar (5 News)

Join Exeter alumnus Simon Vigar (Royal Correspondent for 5 News) for a workshop focusing on delivering a news story, analysing different scenarios and practical ways of dealing with them. There will also be time for a Q&A with Simon about careers in journalism. 'Everything you wanted to know about getting a story on air but were afraid to ask' Exeter alumnus Simon Vigar shares his 30 years experience in broadcast news, which includes everything from major terrorist attacks to Royal weddings. Simon will lead a workshop analysing different scenarios and will look at practical ways of dealing with them. Simon will also reveal some newsgathering top tips on how to stay safe but still get the story. The session will finish with a Q&A. Full details
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31 January 201918:30

Social Sciences Careers Speed Networking

Back by popular demand! Hear from alumni speakers working in Government, Foreign Office and Consultancy. We have four alumni working in a variety of sectors who have used their degrees to have successful careers. This will be a fantastic opportunity to hear about the career options open to you, to network with a number of successful alumni, find out about their careers, and learn about what steps you can take to follow a similar path.. Full details
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30 January 2019

Liam K. Bright (LSE): Formal Africana Philosophy and Cosmopolitan Decolonisation

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28 January 201915:30

"Receiving an Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnosis for a child: a longitudinal interview study on parents’ experiences" Delphine Jacobs (KU Leuven, Belgium)

Egenis seminar series. In a longitudinal empirical study, I investigate how the autism concept is understood and experienced by parents. Parents who ask for an ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) diagnostic assessment for their child are interviewed at three different moments (Saldaña, 2003): before the ASD diagnostic assessment, right after the feedback session, and 12 months later. Full details
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23 January 201913:00

Network Analysis for Social Scientists

This workshop provides an introduction for beginners to Social Network Analysis. It gives an overview of key concepts needed to design research that looks at social relations (networks) that connect individual units (actors), so that students can apply social network analysis to their own research.. Full details
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21 January 201915:30

"The Art of Moving in Biology", Janina Wellmann (Leuphana University of Lüneburg)

Egenis seminar series. Since ancient times, self-propelled movement has been considered the distinguishing characteristic of the living, setting it apart from mere matter. Motion has always been observed, described and visualized: cells “dancing”, “swimming”, or “swarming”, for example, or “twitching”, “floating”, and “curling” have vividly brought to life the hidden world inside our bodies. But what is biological motion? While motion has always been central to studying the living world it appears to have been taken for granted in biological analysis. Full details
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14 January 201915:30

"Expressivism about the Attribution of Mental Illness" Dr Sam Wilkinson (University of Exeter)

Egenis seminar series. There is an on-going debate surrounding different answers to the question “What is mental illness?” My aim in this paper is not to engage directly with this debate, but to see the consequences of adopting a form of expressivism with regards to the attribution of mental illness. In other words, I am (at least initially) retreating from the contested ground about what mental illness might be, to an exploration of what attributing mental illness might do. I argue that calling someone mentally ill expresses (in a sense that I will clarify) certain evaluative attitudes (in a sense that I will clarify). I end by investigating consequences of this view for related issues, including: cultural relativism, the nature of illness more generally, and, returning to the more traditional debate, a potential answer to what mental illness might actually be. Full details
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9 January 201913:00

Introduction to R for Social Scientists

This workshop is aimed at those who have no experience of R, and will provide a solid introduction to using it for data analysis by covering how to handle data structures such as vectors, matrices, and data frames. Full details
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10 December 201815:30

POSTPONED "Linnaeus in Lapland: Generating Knowledge in Transit" Dr Staffan Müller-Wille & Prof Elena Isayev (University of Exeter)

Egenis seminar series. This seminar has been postponed until Monday 18th February.. Full details
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5 December 201814:00

Sentiment Analysis/Career as a Data Scientist

ASI Data Science utilise artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques in conjunction with large and small data sets in order to provide businesses with a competitive advantage. In this workshop, members of the company will provide an in-depth understanding of sentiment analysis, and how it can identify and categorise opinions from text data in order to understand the attitude of the individual(s) that wrote a piece of text. Full details
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4 December 201815:30

Seminar Series - 'From riot police to tweets: How world leaders use social media during contentious politics'

Elite communication has the potential to influence public opinion, civil conflict, and diplomatic interactions. However, a comparative study of leaders' public rhetoric has proven elusive due to the difficulties of developing comparable measures across countries and over time. The advent of social media sites, and its widespread adoption by world leaders, offers a unique new source of data to overcome these challenges. Full details
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3 December 201815:30

SPA Seminar series: Dr Andrew Edgar (Cardiff University)

SPA Seminar series: Dr Andrew Edgar (Cardiff University). Title TBC. Full details
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26 November 201815:30

"Fragile cultures and unruly matters: the role of microbial lives in collaborative knowledge practices in synthetic biology", Dr Sally Atkinson & Prof Susan Molyneux-Hodgson (University of Exeter)

Egenis seminar series. In this paper we describe the pluralistic and mutable roles attributed to and enacted by microbes in the process of microbial engineering for bioproduction. Examining the tension between live cultures as bio-objects and bio-actants, we discuss how such roles reveal and shape scientific practice and emerging knowledge in an industry-academic synthetic biology collaboration.. Full details
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23 November 201818:00

Special Guest Lecture and Book launch by Dr Lee Elliot Major

Why is climbing the social ladder so difficult in Britain - and what can we do to create a fairer society? Are we all enemies of social mobility? These are some of the questions which will be addressed by University of Exeter Honorary Professor Dr Lee Elliot Major in a special guest lecture to mark the launch of his new Penguin book Social Mobility and Its Enemies. Dr Lee Elliot Major is Chief Executive of the Sutton Trust, the UK’s leading foundation improving social mobility. Full details
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21 November 201816:30

Patchwork Cities: Urban Ethnic Segregation in the Global South in the Age of Steam, Michael Goebel (Geneva)

Shared EXCELAS and CIGH seminar given by Michael Goebel,Associate Professor in International History at the Graduate Institute, Geneva.. Full details
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19 November 201815:30

"Squandered value? How to overcome the challenges of joining up government data for statistics and research", Ed Humpherson & Catherine Bromley (UK Statistics Authority)

To speak to people involved in linking Government datasets is to enter a world that at times seems so ludicrous as to be Kafkaesque. Stories abound of Departments putting up arcane barriers to sharing their data with other parts of Government; and of researchers waiting so long to get access to data that their funding runs out before they can start work. Full details
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14 November 201815:30

Seminar Series - 'Connected networks, wellbeing and the power of representation: Qualitative and quantitative evidence from Facebook and social network data'

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14 November 201815:30

Polity. Demystifying Democracy in Latin America, Joe Foweraker (Exeter)

Exeter Centre for Latin American Studies Seminar.. Full details
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12 November 201815:30

"Creativity as Strategy", Dr Adrian Currie (University of Exeter)

Egenis seminar series. Against most philosophers who are interested in creativity, I think there is good reason to want an account of creativity that doesn’t tie it to agents or individuals. First, the arguments for tying creativity to agenthood are based on unstable, historically contingent intuitions which are a bad basis for analysis. Second, if creativity is importantly linked to knowledge-production, and knowledge-production is best thought of as a population-level phenomena, then we should develop ways of understanding creativity at the population-level. Third, some arguments for human exceptionalism turn on our capacity to be creative, and I suspect our ability to articulate and critique such positions are marred if we cannot get a non-anthropocentric grip on creativity in the first place: decoupling creativity from agenthood is one way of doing this. In light of this, I present an account of creativity which is non-agential and non-purposeful but, I think, both deserves to be named creativity and sheds light on arguments for human exceptionalism. Full details
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8 November 201818:30

Sociology/ Anthropology/ Criminology; Careers with your Degree

Come along to our discussion panel where we have four alumni working in a variety of sectors who have used their Sociology degrees to have successful careers. This will be a fantastic opportunity to hear about the career options open to you, to network with a number of prestigious Sociology alumni, find out about their careers, and learn about what steps you can take to follow a similar path. We have a fantastic group of alumni attending the evening! The full list of guests are: Adam Bundy (Financial Accountant, UK Ministry of Defence), Sociology Lauren Redfern (Volunteer Coordinator- Trafficking, The Children's Society & PhD Candidate, Medical Anthropology, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine U. of London), Sociology and Anthropology Lily Megson (Public Relations Consultant, Lily Megson Public Relations and Lobbying), Politics and Sociology Esther Craddock-Taylor (Senior Capability Lead- Promotions, Dunnhumby), Sociology and Philosophy. Full details
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7 November 201813:00

Data Analysis with Python for Social Scientists

Building upon the basic introduction offered to Python in workshop 1, this workshop will cover exploratory data analysis, quantitative data analysis, and visualising data in Python. It will also provide an introduction to the major Python packages used in data analysis; including NumPy, Pandas, and Seaborn. Full details
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5 November 201815:30

SPA Speaker Series: Professor Susie Scott (University of Sussex) and Professor John Scott

Professor Susie Scott (Sussex): Narratives of nothing: storying the unlived life. Full details
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29 October 201815:30

"Inductive risk in framework shifts: the case of cultural evolution", Azita Chellappoo (University of Cambridge)

Egenis seminar series. Non-epistemic values have been long-acknowledged to play a significant role in scientific inquiry: for example, in problem selection, and directing the use of scientific knowledge. Douglas (2000) provides a widely-applied account of another avenue for non-epistemic values to play a legitimate role: inductive risk. Inductive risk refers to the risk involved with the acceptance or rejection of a hypothesis: in the decision whether to accept a given hypothesis or not, there is always the risk of either accepting a false hypothesis (a Type 1 error, or ‘false positive’) or rejecting a true hypothesis (a Type 2 error, or ‘false negative’). When these errors have non-epistemic consequences, non-epistemic values will influence the ‘rule of acceptance’ (the level of evidence or statistical significance required to accept the hypothesis). Full details
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24 October 201815:30

The Birth of Brazilian Amazonian Societies, Prof. Mark Harris (St Andrews)

The Exeter Centre for Latin American Studies first seminar of the year will be delivered by Mark Harris, Professor of Historical Anthropology at the University of St Andrews. Full details
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15 October 201811:00

The Tyranny of Distance: Assessing and Explaining the Apparent Decline in U.S. Military Performance

This is the first in a series of Q-Step Seminar talks for Autumn 2018. The talk will address the growing sense that U.S. military effectiveness has been on the wane in recent years. Is this the case? If so, what are the reasons for the decay in American combat performance?. Full details
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10 October 201813:00

Introduction to Python for Social Scientists

Python is increasingly used by social scientists to collect, process and analyse new types of unstructured or semi-structured data, such as online text and social media data. It is an accessible, yet versatile programming language which is also broadly used for data science and machine learning tasks, combining multiple types of data, simulation and visualization. This workshop provides an introduction to basic programming notions in Python, and introduces some of the most useful packages used in social science research. No previous programming experience is required.. Full details
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8 October 201815:30

"Tasting like a cheese. Lactic ferments, cheese specificity and the making of the dairy industry", Dr Elise Tancoigne (University of Geneva)

Egenis seminar series. There are just a few dairy breeds, yet there are hundreds of different cheeses. Then what makes the specificity of a cheese? In addition to dairy breeds, pasture, environmental conditions, cheesemakers’ practices, and lactic ferments have been among the most frequently cited sources of cheese specificity. Here I will explore how lactic ferments came to be considered as an essential determinant of cheese specificity and terroir in France, and its relationship with the making of the dairy industry. Full details
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3 October 201813:00

Introduction to Python for Social Scientists

Python is increasingly used by social scientists to collect, process and analyse new types of unstructured or semi-structured data, such as online text and social media data. It is an accessible, yet versatile programming language which is also broadly used for data science and machine learning tasks, combining multiple types of data, simulation and visualization. This workshop provides an introduction to basic programming notions in Python, and introduces some of the most useful packages used in social science research. No previous programming experience is required.. Full details
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24 September 201818:00

An Inaugural Lecture by Professor Sabina Leonelli

What impact are big and open data having on research and on what counts as empirical knowledge in the 21st century? One way to answer this question is to engage in empirical philosophy of science. In this talk, I exemplify what this involves by examining three dimensions of this type of scholarship. Full details
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2 August 201811:00

"The future(s) of open science", Philip Mirowski (University of Notre Dame)

Almost everyone is enthusiastic that ‘open science’ is the wave of the future. Yet when one looks seriously at the flaws in modern science that the movement proposes to remedy, the prospect for improvement in at least four areas are unimpressive. This suggests that the agenda is effectively to re-engineer science along the lines of platform capitalism, under the misleading banner of opening up science to the masses. Full details
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25 July 201818:30

WCCEH Event: An alternative to diagnosis?

This event will explore the role and nature of diagnosis in mental health and critically consider an alternative model to conventional diagnosis: The Power Threat Meaning Framework. Full details
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12 June 20189:30

Social Mobility Conference

The University's first social mobility conference aims to bring academics, professional services staff and students together to share insights and understanding about the University's role in promoting social mobility by working to improve access to higher education and to create a level playing for students to thrive. Full details
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11 June 201815:30

"Phage therapy, or how to think about the complex assemblages of humans and microbes" Dr Charlotte Brives (Bordeaux)

Bacteriophages (or phages) are viruses that have bacteria as their hosts. Discovered a century ago, and rapidly used as therapeutic agents to treat bacterial infections, they were nevertheless eclipsed by the massive rise of antibiotics from the 1940s onward. Faced with the major public health scourge of antimicrobial resistance, some scientists and physicians are attempting to rekindle and develop therapeutic phages, encountering considerable difficulties along the way. This talk will develop the idea that phage therapy and antibiotic therapy rely on two radically distinct conceptions of infectiology, and of medicine more generally. It traces the way researchers and physicians are actively challenging dominant sociocultural narratives about our becoming with microbes. As such they are engaged in the production of a new narrative about humans, viruses and bacteria, a complex story that invites us to rethink our relationships with microbes, the environment and living things more widely. Full details
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11 May 201814:00

Guest speaker - Professor Charis Thompson: On the Posthuman in the Age of Automation and Augmentation

Charis Thompson is Chancellor's Professor, Gender and Women's Studies and the Center for Science, Technology, Medicine and Society, UC Berkeley, and Professor, Department of Sociology, London School of Economics. She is the author of Making Parents; The Ontological Choreography of Reproductive Technologies (MIT Press 2007), which won the Rachel Carson Prize from the Society of the Social Studies of Science, and of Good Science: The Ethical Choreography of Stem Cell Research (MIT Press 2013). Her book in progress, Getting Ahead, revisits classic questions on the relation between science and democracy in an age of populism and inequality, focusing particularly on genome editing and AI. Full details
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29 March 201816:00

Q-Step: Multilevel Modelling

In this tutorial, we introduce multilevel models as extensions of regression-type models suited to analyse hierarchical or nested data, such as children's SATs test scores nested within classes or schools, individual survey responses nested within interviewers, or, potentially, any measure taken repeatedly over time. I’ll demonstrate code on the spot in R, so you might find it helpful to bring your laptops (but it’s optional). Full details
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26 March 201815:30

"Turning Science into Legal Data: Where is the Invention in Patent Law?" Hyo Yoon Kang (University of Kent)

Egenis seminar series. This talk will explore the implications of patent law's digitisation on the understanding of scientific and technological inventions. Patent law is becoming increasingly datafied, both in terms of its internal workings as well as its social information, through interlinked databases. The result is that a patented invention, a scientific and/or technological artefact, is rendered into legal data. I probe the place of scientific knowledge in such a setting and show that the datafication of science and law results in different kind of calculability, namely a financial one. Full details
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21 March 201813:30

Rethinking Marriage: Theoretical and Policy Challenges

The Family Regulation and Society Network and the Gender Research Network are jointly running this interdisciplinary event entitled “Rethinking Marriage: Theoretical and Policy Challenges”. Following presentations from the four speakers, see below, the discussion will centre around theoretical and policy challenges to traditional conceptions of marriage, with speakers from Law, Sociology and Theology whose research interests include feminist and queer theory, gender studies, sexuality and marriage, civil and formalised partnerships, polygamy and the implications of intersex and transgender for theologies of marriage. Full details
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21 - 23 March 20189:00

Process Biology: Final Conference of the ERC Project ‘A Process Ontology for Contemporary Biology’ Prof John Dupre

The ERC-funded project ‘A Process Ontology for Contemporary Biology’ (2013-2018) has sought to rethink central issues in the philosophy of biology by elaborating an ontology for biology that takes full account of the processual nature of living systems. The goal has been to develop a concept of process adequate for addressing the multiple levels of interacting processes at different time scales characteristic of living systems. All biological entities can be analysed as stabilised processes relative to an appropriate time scale, and this conception provides a better understanding of familiar biological pluralisms (about genes, organisms, species, etc..) in terms of different ways in which distinct scientific practices intersect with biological processes. A process perspective has been used to shed light on a number of traditional philosophical problems, including individuation, classification, persistence, explanation, essentialism, and reductionism. It has also addressed the consequences of a process perspective for particular areas of contemporary biological and biomedical research. This final conference will present the main findings of the project and explore the broader consequences of a process ontology for biology, as well as suggest further avenues of future research in the philosophy of biology and metaphysics. Full details
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19 March 201815:30

"Tasting like a cheese. Lactic ferments, cheese specificity and the making of the dairy industry" Elise Tancoigne (University of Geneva)

Egenis seminar series. There are just few dairy breeds, yet there are hundreds of different cheeses. Then what makes the specificity of a cheese? In addition to dairy breeds, pasture, environmental conditions, cheesemakers’ practices, and lactic ferments have been among the most frequently cited sources of cheese specificity. Here I will explore how lactic ferments came to be considered as an essential determinant of cheese specificity and terroir in France, since the introduction of microbes in our understanding of fermentations in the mid-nineteenth century, and its relationship with the making of the dairy industry.. Full details
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8 March 201815:30

Q-Step: Text Analysis - Python

tbc. Full details
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7 March 201817:00

POSTPONED: "Animals and the Shaping of Modern Medicine" Dr Angela Cassidy (University of Exeter)

TO BE RESCHEDULED. Book Launch event. Egenis, CRPR (Centre for Rural Policy Research) and the Wellcome Centre for Cultures and Environments of Health will be co-hosting a book launch event for “Animals and the Shaping of Modern Medicine: One Health and its Histories” co-authored by Abigail Woods (King’s College London), Michael Bresalier (Swansea University), Angela Cassidy (University of Exeter, CRPR/Egenis) and Rachel Mason Dentinger (University of Utah). Full details
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6 March 201811:30

Q-Step : Agent-based modeling

Though models sit at the centre of lines of social inquiry as diverse as game theory, statistical analysis, qualitative analysis, and political philosophy, all involve an attempt to describe core elements of the world in a way that helps us to understand, value, and predict that world. With Agent Based Models, computer simulations of the behaviours of many agents work deductively from simplified assumptions to create dynamic interactions that can be examined over a range of conditions to make inductive arguments about the nature of the world. In this generative reasoning approach, agents with very simple micromotives can lead to complex adaptive systems in which qualitatively different macrobehaviours emerge. How do very simple assumptions about drivers, city dwellers, and voters lead to complex emergent phenomena like traffic jams, housing segregation, and party realignment? In this lecture, I’ll introduce answers to these questions by building models of these problems and highlight tools you can use to develop your own agent based models. Full details
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1 March 201817:30

Careers in lobbying and advocacy with Danny Kushlick (Transform Drug Policy Foundation)

Join Danny Kushlick (Founder and Head of External Affairs at Transform Drug Policy Foundation) for a workshop focusing on a career in lobbying and advocacy. Transform is a charitable think tank that campaigns for the legal regulation of drugs both in the UK and internationally. Transform aims to educate and inspire policymakers to explore and implement the effective legal regulation of drug markets. Danny will speak about his diverse career and experiences, give an in-depth look into the work of organisations such as Transform, and give his tips on being successful in the industry. There will be a Q&A after the talk, and a drinks reception where you will have the chance to speak to Danny further. Danny Kushlick bio: Danny is the founder of Transform Drug Policy Foundation, which he started in 1996, after working in a variety of jobs in the drugs field. It was his clients' experience that led him to the understanding that prohibition is a social policy catastrophe. He worked for Bristol Drugs Project, the Big Issue Foundation, Bath Area Drugs Advisory Service and the National Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders (NACRO). He is now an internationally recognised commentator on drug and drug policy issues, with a unique combination of personal experience and broad, global view. Please ensure that you arrive promptly for the start of this event and that you have your University ID card (UniCard) with you. Your attendance at this appointment/event will be recorded. If you are recorded as absent your ability to book further events and appointments may be temporarily revoked. If you are unable to attend, please cancel your booking as soon as possible. Please see attendance policy at http://www.exeter.ac.uk/careers/exeter/aboutus/policies/. Full details
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27 February 201811:30

Q-Step : Network Analysis

The workshop provides an introduction for beginners to Social Network Analysis. It gives an overview of key concepts needed to design research that looks at social relations (networks) that connect individual units (actors), so that students can apply social network analysis to their own research. The workshop focuses on the description and visualisation of social network data, looking at structural properties of a network, as well as ideas of centrality in the network. To understand the SNA perspective, practical examples are given from academic literature, illustrative graphics from the media, and source material visualised through R. Experience in R is expected although not required. We will use a combination of slides and R code exercise. Full details
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26 February 201815:30

POSTPONED - Dr Sarah Chaney (Queen Mary University of London)

To be re-scheduled. Full details
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20 February 201817:00

Q-Step: Longitudinal Data Analysis

In this workshop you will learn about the principles of longitudinal data analysis, when it should be used and the advantages and disadvantages of longitudinal methods. You will also be introduced to event history analysis and learn how to construct a person-year data file. Finally, you will learn to run common hazard models and create a survival curve. The workshop will be taught using STATA software with examples from the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS). Please note that a prior experience with regression analysis is required. Full details
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19 February 201815:30

"Trees as keys, ladders, maps: A revisionist history of early systematic trees" Petter Hellström (Uppsala University, Sweden)

Egenis seminar series. In recent years, there has been a profusion of studies charting the history of tree diagrams in natural history and biological systematics. Whereas some of these have focused on one or a few arboreal schemes, the majority have presented long histories, spanning centuries and occasionally even millennia. Early or ‘pre-Darwinian’ trees typically feature in these histories as precursors to phylogenetics; sometimes even as the ‘roots’ of later trees. Together with colleagues in France, I have previously argued that one of the most frequently cited early tree diagrams, Augustin Augier’s ‘Botanical Tree’ (1801), cannot in any reasonable way be made to play the role of forerunner to later, evolutionary trees—even as the author pitched his tree of natural families in explicitly genealogical terms. In this talk, I push the argument further by proposing an alternative reading of the historical record. Starting from Augier’s tree and other early examples, I argue that ‘pre-evolutionary’ trees should be understood less in terms of what came after, and more in terms of what came before. Attending to the functions they performed as keys, ladders, and maps, I argue that early trees were logical, rhetorical, and mnemonic devices drawn to imagine perfect, static order. Full details
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12 February 201815:30

"History of continuous culture techniques and their promise of directed evolution" Gabriele Gramelsberger (RWTH Aachen)

Egenis seminar series. Continuous culture techniques were developed in the early twentieth century to replace cumbersome studies of cell growth in batch cultures. Devices — called "automatic syringe mechanism," "turbidostat," "chemostat," "bactogen," and "microbial auxanometer" — have been designed by Jacques Monod, Aron Novick and Leo Szilard and other scientists. With these devices cell growth came under the external control of the experimenters and thus accessible for metabolically and genetically studying organisms but also for developing a mathematical theory of growth kinetics. The paper explores the historical development of continuous culture devices. It further discusses contemporary designs of continuous culture techniques realizing a specific event-based flow algorithm able to simulate directed evolution and produce artificial cells and microorganisms. This current development is seen as an alternative approach to today's synthetic biology. Full details
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7 February 201814:00

Using your social sciences degree for a career in Finance

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6 February 201811:30

Q-Step: Data Analysis - Python

TBC. Full details
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5 February 201815:30

Liz Irvine (Cardiff University) “Interaction, Minds and Meaning in Pragmatics”

SPA Seminar series. Full details
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30 January 201811:30

Q-Step : Designing Experiments

At the workshop we will consider basic principles of designing field and survey experiments. We will start with discussing the idea of causal inference and randomisation. Then we will review several experimental designs: completely randomised, stratified, paired, cluster randomised, factorial. Next, we will discuss statistical power in experiments and conclude with a review of the methods for the analysis of experimental data, such as ANOVA and linear model. The workshop will be useful for Q-Step undergraduate students planning to use experiments for their dissertations, as well as for postgraduate students.. Full details
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29 January 201815:30

"Culture, ‘mental’ illness, and embodiment: Survey evidence of helpful and harmful effects of fiction-reading for eating disorders" Dr Emilly Troscianko (University of Oxford)

Egenis seminar series. The healing power of literature is far more often assumed than tested—either that, or ignored as irrelevant to the serious medical business of curing illness. Neither attitude is helpful. Cultural factors can clearly be relevant to mental health, and the treatment-resistance of many mental illnesses, combined with the high financial cost of many existing therapies, makes the idea of using books to heal people an attractive one. But although fiction and poetry seem to be used fairly often in therapeutic practice, so far there is very little systematic understanding of what actually works and what doesn’t for different conditions and individuals. I take eating disorders as a case study, and report on evidence from a large-scale survey conducted with the charity Beat. We found that reading some kinds of fiction is perceived to have therapeutic effects, but that other kinds can be highly detrimental to mental and physical health—in particular those texts which thematise eating disorders, which seem often to be sought out by sufferers specifically with the aim of exacerbating their illness.. Full details
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22 January 201815:30

"Disturbances of We-Intentionality in Schizophrenia and Autism: An Initial Comparison" Dr Alessandro Salice (University College Cork)

Egenis seminar series. Main aim of this talk is to develop a comparison between the disturbed social behaviour in schizophrenia (SZ) and the disruption of sociality to be found in, especially, severe forms of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).. Full details
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19 January 201813:30

Journalism Workshop: Getting a story on air with Simon Vigar (5 News)

Join Exeter alum Simon Vigar (Royal Correspondent for 5 News) for a workshop focusing on delivering a news story, analysing different scenarios and practical ways of dealing with them. There will also be time for a Q&A with Simon about careers in broadcast journalism. Full details
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10 January 201815:30

"Objectivity and the reconstruction of life’s past" Edna Suárez-Díaz (The National Autonomous University of Mexico)

Egenis seminar series. Since the 1960s, the field of molecular systematics has been transformed by the mathematization and automation of criteria and decision-making. Its goal is the objective reconstruction of phylogenetic relations among biological species, also formulated as the elimination of subjectivity (E. Suárez-Díaz y Anaya-Muñoz 2008; Suárez y Anaya 2009). The molecularization of evolutionary biology, and the introduction of huge data-bases containing sequences of DNA and proteins, along with an increased use of computers and mathematical algorithms made this process possible. In this seminar, I will briefly describe the historical context for this “methodological anxiety”, and describe some of the statistical tools devised to solve the several problems arising in the reconstruction of life’s past. In a recent paper written with Victor Anaya we also argue that attention to the philosophical disputes between the taxonomic schools of cladism, evolutionary systematics, and phenetics has acted as an obstacle for a narrative focused on practices, and a historical and epistemological reflection on objectivity as practiced in a localized scientific field. Full details
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8 January 201815:30

Francois Ribac (Université de Bourgogne) “Performing Arts and Music in the Anthropocene Era: issues and perspectives”

SPA Seminar series. Full details
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11 December 201715:30

“What is an Ethical Autism Research Culture?” Chloe Silverman (Drexel University, USA)

Egenis seminar series. There is currently little formal guidance for autism researchers seeking to design studies in an ethically conscientious fashion, despite a history of research designs that have incorporated potentially harmful assumptions about the causes and consequences of autism. Published work on autism research ethics has focused primarily on research conduct and responsible communication of findings, with less focus on research design ethics. This persists despite lively conversations and substantive recommendations on this topic from self-advocates, as well as suggestive findings on how research design can be affected by a range of community engagement practices. This talk describes a project still in its early stages that aims to use stakeholder consultation to generate a set of guidelines for ethical autism research design. By comparing the perspectives and publications of researchers who do and do not use forms of community engagement, the project will evaluate whether and how such practices affect research design ethics. One goal of this project is to generate evidence of how community engagement (as one type of ethical research design practice) might benefit both stakeholders and researchers, yielding findings that may be both more innovative and more robust. Full details
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7 December 201716:30

Q-Step: Collecting Social Media Data

This workshop provides an introduction to the main methods used to access, download and store social media data. You will learn how to use Twitter's APIs to collect tweets and user details, and how to collect Facebook posts and comments. Basic knowledge of programming in Python is required, and participants are required to attend the "Intro to Python" workshop first.. Full details
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6 December 201715:30

"Put more Ph into a biomedical Phd!" Prof Giovanni Boniolo (University of Ferrara, Italy)

Egenis seminar series. Please note that this is a Wednesday and not the customary Monday. - An increasing number of biomedical scientists and clinicians are asking for more philosophy. Are they in love with philosophy? And are the philosophers ready to provide them with the philosophy they need and ask for?. Full details
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4 December 201715:30

Matt Dawson (University of Glasgow) “Morality as Rebellion: Towards a Partial Reconciliation of Bauman and Durkheim”

SPA Seminar series. Full details
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30 November 201714:30

Q-Step : Designing Experiments

At the workshop we will consider basic principles of designing field and survey experiments. We will start with discussing the idea of causal inference and randomisation. Then we will review several experimental designs: completely randomised, stratified, paired, cluster randomised, factorial. Next, we will discuss statistical power in experiments and conclude with a review of the methods for the analysis of experimental data, such as ANOVA and linear model. The workshop will be useful for Q-Step undergraduate students planning to use experiments for their dissertations, as well as for postgraduate students. Full details
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20 November 201715:30

"From A Glance to Insider View: Researching English Football Fans" Dr Jessica Richards (University of Sydney, Australia)

Egenis seminar series. Gaining access to the research field has received much academic attention, however little work has focused on the difficulties researchers face once in the field. This presentation proposes that by outlining the multiple stages of the fieldwork journey, a more reflexive approach to fieldwork and the research process can be attained. Drawing on a three-year ethnographic study of the match-day experiences of the fans of Everton Football Club, this presentation recounts how my position in my research community changed as the research developed. This presentation advocates that researchers should be more critical of their position in the field of their research, and should seek to identify this more clearly in their scholarship. This in turn would enable for more discussions of how each stage of the fieldwork journey affected the scope and overall findings of the research. Full details
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20 November 201711:30

Q-Step: Intro to Python

Python is increasingly used by social scientists to collect, process and analyse new types of unstructured or semi-structured data, such as online text and social media data. It is a an accessible, yet versatile programming language which is also broadly used for data science and machine learning tasks, combining multiple types of data, simulation and visualization. This workshop provides an introduction to basic programming notions in Python, and introduces some of the most useful packages used in social science research. No previous programming experience is required. NOTE: This workshop is a prerequisite for the following Q-Step workshops (to be offered this and next term): Collecting Social Media Data, Data Analysis in Python, Text Analysis.. Full details
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13 November 201715:30

"Embryo in Silico: Time-lapse Embryo Imaging and the Datafication of Reproduction" Lucy Van De Wiel (University of Cambridge)

Egenis seminar series. Recent years have seen the emergence of in silico reproduction alongside the familiar in vitro reproduction (eg. IVF), as increasingly large and automatically-generated data sets have come to play an instrumental role in the technological reproduction of human life. This datafication of reproduction is evident at all stages of the reproductive process, whether in fertility apps for timing conception, genetic sequencing for predictive fertility testing, or time-lapse embryo imaging for selecting embryos. In this talk, I will zoom in on the latter case of time-lapse embryo imaging, a new data-intensive method of embryo selection that integrates reproductive and data technologies to decide which embryos will be implanted in the womb in IVF cycles. The presentation will analyse the new sets of images and data flows that capture the embryo in silico and discuss how patients and professionals increasingly make reproductive decisions in conjunction with digital technologies. Full details
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9 November 201716:30

Q-Step: Data visualisation in R

We will introduce the common approaches to data visualisation in R, including line / bar charts, scatterplots, histogram and density plots in base R and using the ggplot2 package. We will also discuss the aesthetics, geoms and faceting systems in ggplot2. Please bring your own laptop with R, RStudio, and the following packages installed: "tidyverse", "titanic". Full details
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6 November 201715:30

Andreas Kapardis (University of Cyprus) “The Jury Criminal Trial: A Concept Fraught with Contradictions and an Uncertain Future? A Psycho-Legal Perspective”

SPA Seminar series. Full details
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26 October 201716:30

Q-Step: Data management in R

In this workshop, we introduce some of the most popular functions and packages for data management/manipulation including fast data cleaning, recording a number of variables simultaneously, aggregating or summarising data by groups, merging tables, reshaping tables. Using an example data set provided on the spot, we will go through (s/t)apply functions, and functions provided by the dplyr package and the data.table package. Participants will be able to use their own laptops during this workshop and receive support with software installation. Full details
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25 October 201714:00

Perspectives on Work in the Aid and Development industry

Join our speaker, Yasamin Alttahir, for an informal discussion on the challenges and opportunities of working in the aid and development sector. You will gain an insight of the practicalities of working across a broad range of jobs that make up the Development industry. Yasamin Alttahir is project manager of a counter ISIS communications project based in Baghdad and has a decade of experience working in the government, NGO and private sectors within the MENA region and beyond.. Full details
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25 October 201712:30

Getting Started with your Career Planning (Sociology, Philosophy, Anthropology, Criminology)

Bring along your CV, analyse its strengths and weaknesses and plan next steps for future work experience and a careers in the SPA subjects. Full details
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18 October 201716:30

Stephen Thorpe "'Art worlds' and 'art fields' in relation to his own practice and the contemporary London art scene"

As part of the MA in Cultural Sociology, artist Stephen Thorpe will be coming to the University of Exeter on Wednesday, 18th October, 2017. Stephen will be presenting on the subjects of 'art worlds' and 'art fields' in relation to his own practice and the contemporary London art scene more generally. This is an excellent opportunity for postgraduate students based in sociology, philosophy and anthropology, to gain insights into the nature of art markets, artistic practice, aesthetics and creativity more broadly, from the perspective of the artist. All are welcome. A note on the artist: Referred to by art dealer and patron Charles Saatchi as 'one to watch' and regarded as one of Britain's up and coming contemporary artists, examples of stephen's work can be found at the following: www.stephen-thorpe.com https://www.saatchiart.com/account/profile/154186 https://www.artsy.net/artist/stephen-thorpe. Full details
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16 October 201715:30

"The Dynamic Present and the Primacy of Process" Antony Galton (University of Exeter)

Egenis seminar series. The so called "at-at" theory of change and motion states that there is nothing more to change than objects' possessing different properties at different times, and nothing more to motion than their being in different positions at different times. In this theory the history of the world is reduced to a succession of individually static world-states which take it in turns to be present. In most versions of the theory, in order to accommodate continuity of change and motion, it is assumed that the present times at which such static world-states hold are instants. The picture of reality thus presented favours an ontology in which the first-class entities are substances, or objects, which act as the bearers of the static properties and positions whose different values at different instants constitute the changes and motions that those entities undergo. A persistent, if minority, strain in the history of philosophy, however, has held that the first-class inhabitants of the ontology should be processes rather than objects. This idea raises problems for the traditional instant-based model of time, since processes, being inherently temporally extended, can only exist over intervals, not at instants. This paper draws on the ideas of such philosophers as Whitehead, James, and Bergson to explore the ramifications of the idea that the present should be treated as an interval whose contents are inherently dynamic in nature, the dynamic present of the title.. Full details
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16 October 201710:30

Introduction to Career Planning for Mature students

THIS WORKSHOP IS CANCELLED DUE TO LOW SIGN UP. OUR CAREERS CONSULTANT WILL BE AVAILABLE IN THE ROOM AT THIS TIME FOR ONE TO ONE APPOINTMENTS. PLEASE EMAIL KATE FOSTER K.L.FOSTER@EXETER.AC.UK. Full details
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9 October 201715:30

“An Ethical Approach to Genomic Analysis and Data Sharing” Caroline Wright (UoE)

Egenis seminar series. Large-scale DNA sequencing is increasingly being used in research and clinical care. This talk will argue that, in order to maximise the benefits of genomic medicine and minimise the potential harms, making accurate molecular diagnoses for individuals with disease should be the focus of genome sequencing. In this talk, I will outline some of the key lessons learnt from the UK-wide Deciphering Developmental Disorders study, a unique partnership between the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute and all the NHS Regional Genetics Services across the UK and Ireland. By sequencing all the genes of affected children and their parents, and developing novel methods for responsible and effective data processing and sharing, we have been able to provide a diagnose to thousands of families and discover dozens of new disease-causing genes. Full details
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3 October 201717:30

Frontline: The skills you need to succeed in the third sector

Frontline's mission is to transform the lives of vulnerable children by recruiting and developing outstanding individuals to be leaders in social work and broader society. Frontline is especially interested in meeting life social sciences students. Full details
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18 September 201715:30

Annemarie Jutel (Victoria University of Wellington) “To be a Sociology of Diagnosis or Not to Be: Disciplines,

SPA Seminar series. Full details
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11 September 201715:30

"Phenomenological Bioethics: Medical Technologies, Human Suffering, and the Meaning of Being Alive" Prof Fredrik Svenaeus (Södertörn University, Sweden)

Egenis seminar series. Emerging medical technologies are presently changing our views on human nature and what it means to be alive, healthy, and leading a good life. Reproductive technologies, genetic diagnosis, organ transplantation, and psychopharmacological drugs all raise existential questions that need to be tackled by way of philosophical analysis. Yet questions regarding the meaning of life have been strangely absent from medical ethics so far. In this talk – based on a newly released book of mine – I will try to show how phenomenology, the main player in the continental tradition of philosophy, can contribute to bioethical issues. Phenomenological bioethics may be viewed as an opportunity to scrutinize and thicken the rather thin philosophical anthropology implicitly present in contemporary mainstream bioethics. The concept of personhood in such an analysis may be substantiated by an exploration of phenomena such as embodiment, suffering, empathy, responsibility, and instrumentalization, drawing on philosophers such as Martin Heidegger, Edith Stein, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Jean-Paul Sartre, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Paul Ricoeur, Hans Jonas, and Charles Taylor. In the talk I will present the outline of the book and give some examples of how to approach and develop a phenomenological bioethics.. Full details
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6 - 9 September 2017

EPSA17 - European Philosophy of Science Association Conference

Exeter will be hosting the 2017 conference. The conference will feature contributed papers, symposia, and posters covering all subfields of the philosophy of science, and will bring together a large number of philosophers of science from Europe and overseas. We are also welcoming philosophically minded scientists and investigators from other areas outside the philosophy of science, for example as participants in a symposium, and we particularly welcome submissions from women, ethnic minorities, and any other underrepresented group in the profession.. Full details
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30 June 20179:15

Collecting and Analysing Social Media Data

This workshop, taught by Prof. Robert Ackland (ANU and Uberlink), provides an introduction to social media analysis using the R package SocialMediaLab. The package provides an easy way to collect text and network data across multiple popular social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram). You will learn how to collect the data, analyse and visualize it, and generate different types of networks for analysis.. Full details
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12 June 201715:30

POSTPONED. Thinking Like a Cheese: Towards an Ecological Understanding of the Reproduction of Knowledge in Contemporary Artisan Cheesemaking - Harry West (University of Exeter)

Egenis seminar series. This seminar has been postponed until the next academic year. Date to be advise. Full details
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25 May 2017

'Process Epistemology' (A workshop with Bill Bechtel)

The argument for process epistemologies in studies of the life sciences has arguably been growing for a number of years now. At Egenis there are two ERC-funded projects, ‘A Process Ontology for Contemporary Biology’ and ‘The Epistemology of Data-Intensive Science’, which are dealing with particular aspects of this topic. In this workshop we will take stock of this development and explore different areas linked to this issue through some of the research being conducted as part of these two projects. Full details
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22 May 201715:30

"Structure vs. Process: A Reconciliation (?)" Steven French (University of Leeds)

Egenis seminar series - According to ‘ontic’ structural realism, the world is structure and physical objects are ‘nodes’ of such structure. I have tried to ‘cash out’ that claim in terms of the relevant laws and symmetries of physics, interpreted via certain devices taken from current metaphysics. I have also tried to extend this stance to biology. Such a move can be contrasted with the ‘processual’ approach that takes certain processes as fundamental and reduces biological entities to be nexuses of such processes. Here I shall sketch the similarities and differences between these two accounts and try to indicate how they might be reconciled.. Full details
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15 May 201715:30

"Publics, Sciences, Citizens: Triviality, Aesthetics and Abduction" Mike Michael (University of Exeter)

Egenis seminar series. In this exploratory paper I consider the differences between scientific citizenship and citizen science in relation to the fields of Public Understanding of Science (PUS) and Public Engagement with Science and Technology (PEST). The paper diverges from the usual focus on elements of technoscience that are, in one way or another, controversial or topical. Instead, the paper focuses on the apparently ‘trivial’: taking inspiration from recent process sociology, the paper examines the value of addressing non-controversial and sub-topical science and technology. As such two case studies are presented: the multiple ontologies of the nanotechnology Vantablack, and the ‘citizen science’ entailed in the YouTube genre of destroying i-Phones. Along the way, the paper proposes roles for ‘aesthetics’ and ‘abduction’ in the unfolding of the research event.. Full details
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10 May 201713:00

2017 SPA PGR Conference Keynote: Professor Alesandra Tanesini (University of Cardiff): Collective amnesia and epistemic injustice

Abstract: Communities often respond to traumatic events in their histories by destroying objects that would cue memories of a past they wish to forget and by building artefacts which memorialise a new version of their history. Hence, it would seem, communities cope with change by spreading memory ignorance so to allow new memories to take root. In this talk, I offer an account of some aspects of this phenomenon and of its epistemological consequences. The talk has three aims. The first is to show that the formation and maintenance of collective memories requires that other events are to some extent forgotten. All shared memories, including those which are shared by a large group, are the result of mechanisms that transform initially divergent recollections of the past into an agreed account. Those memories which do not survive this process so that they are excluded from the shared version become forgotten through neglect. The second is to argue that sometimes collective mnemonic silence or forgetfulness is not a mere by-product of the formation of memory. Instead, cognitive effort is specifically directed toward bringing about ignorance. Ignorance, in these instances, is a perverse kind of success. I reserve the term ‘collective amnesia’ for collective forgetfulness of this kind. The final aim is to demonstrate that collective forgetfulness is harmful. Here, I focus exclusively on the harms caused by its contribution to undermining the intellectual self-trust of some members of the community. Further, since some of these harms are also wrongs, collective amnesia contributes to causing epistemic injustices. Full details
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10 May 2017

POSTPONED - BSA Regional Postgraduate Event: Medical Interpreting under a Sociological Lens

This event will be rescheduled to either late 2017 or early 2018, to be advised. Full details
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9 - 10 May 20179:30

2017 SPA PGR Conference

Student-led conference providing a platform to showcase the wide range of postgraduate research done in SPA. Presentations will bring together themes from the medical, social, and natural sciences as well as philosophy. Full details
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8 May 201715:30

Roman Frigg (LSE) “How Models Represent”

SPA Research seminar. Full details
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3 April 201715:30

Isaac Ariail Reed (Virginia) “Chains of Power and Their Representation”

SPA Research seminar. Full details
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30 March 201719:00

“The end of the world?': 2017 Existential Risk symposium"

Dr Adrian Currie will be joining us from the University of Cambridge to discuss Existential Risk with Professor John Dupré, director of Egenis, and Dr Sabina Leonelli, co-director of Egenis. Dr Currie is a postdoctoral researcher from CSER, the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk. CSER is an interdisciplinary research centre within the University of Cambridge dedicated to the study and mitigation of human extinction-level risks that may emerge from technological advances and human activity. They state on their website the 'aim to combine key insights from the best minds across disciplines to tackle the greatest challenge of the 21st century: safely harnessing our rapidly-developing technological power... to the task of ensuring that our own species has a long-term future.'. Full details
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27 March 201715:30

Jackie Leach Scully (Newcastle) “On Strange Ground: Narrative Vulnerability and Identity Repair”

SPA Research seminar. Full details
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20 March 201714:30

"Digital Infrastructure Innovation Dynamics, Computing in the Small, in the Large, and at Scale" Dr Carsten Sorensen (LSE)

Much data has sped through personal, local, and global data networks since Gore and Bangemann in the 1990 summarised the emergent importance of the Internet in terms of “The Information Superhighway” and “The Global Information Society”. It is difficult to succinctly characterise the changes global data communications have undergone since Tim Berners-Lee published the World Wide Web standard in 1991, and the first widely available Web Browser, Mosaic, followed in 1993. This talk will pragmatically summarise the architecture that has emerged in recent years as one combining: 1) Computing in the small through an expanding mobile and ubiquitous device ecology; 2) Computing in the large network connectivity through machine-to-machine, personal, local, and global digital infrastructures; and 3) Computing at scale, where powerful data-centres engage in heavy-lifting computational tasks utilising the exponential growth in processing power, reduction in storage costs, and increasingly complex capabilities.. Full details
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13 March 201715:30

"On Being Schizophrenic: Diagnosis and the Medicalisation of Experience" Dr Ashley Tauchert

Egenis semainar series. In this talk I reflect on the meaning and implications of my diagnosis of schizophrenia in 2011. I consider the process of this diagnosis as a performative act which brings a certain kind of subjective experience under the authority and control of the medical model. Working through the ambiguity about being schizophrenic/ having schizophrenia I consider the possibility that medicalisation might erase the validity of psychosis as a limit experience.. Full details
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9 - 10 March 20179:00

"Organisms: Living Systems and Processes" workshop

Organisms are living systems. What does this mean? One answer given by systems biology is that organisms are self-organising dynamical systems that demarcate themselves from their environment by interacting with this environment on different levels. Non-reductionist top-down approaches in systems biology stress that organisms, as living systems, exhibit biological autonomy; they are integrated entities able to maintain themselves by actively adapting, whether by bodily reorganisation or by performing bodily movements, to changes in the environment rather than being the passive victims of such changes.. Full details
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3 March 201711:30

A Barrister's perspective on working with tribal communities

Gordon Bennett is a human rights lawyer who works closely with Survival International. He recently published an article in the Guardian on the rights of tribal people to hunt. In this talk, Gordon will reflect on his work as a barrister and how his role interacts with other agencies involved in supporting the human rights of indigenous people. This event is designed to give you a flavour of some of the roles and activities involved in working in human rights with indiginous communities. Students from all disciplines are welcome to come and hear Gordon speak and discuss issues of tribal human rights. Full details
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3 March 20179:30

Network Analysis

The workshop provides an introduction for beginners to Social Network Analysis. Full details
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27 February 201715:30

CANCELLED - Hyo Yoon Kang (University of Kent)

To be resecheduled. Full details
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24 February 20179:30

Analysing Text as Data

The workshop will introduce and provide hands on applications of various techniques of content analysis especially focusing on the analysis of texts.. Full details
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20 February 201715:30

Rachel Cooper (Lancaster) “The Normal and the Pathological”

SPA Research seminar. Full details
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17 February 20179:30

Data Visualisation in R

In this workshop we will introduce you to data visualisation in R with two popular packages, dplyr and ggplot2. We will cover most main types of statistical graphics. Full details
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13 February 201715:30

"Antigone's forensic DNA database. The Politics of 'futile' technologies & the search for the disappeared in Mexico" Ernesto Schwartz-Marin (Durhan University)

Egenis seminar series. Antigone’s tragedy and the search for the disappeared has been aesthetically and politically appropriated by artists and activists alike in Mexico and Latin America (Weiner 2015) both as a site ‘for radical political thought’ (Chanter 2010:22) as well as a ‘source of inspiration’ to ‘give voice to the disappeared, defend those who died, and demand a proper burial as an act of defiance, mourning, and remembrance’ (Poulson 2012:48-9).. Full details
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13 - 17 February 201710:30

SSIS Careers Week 13th - 17th February 2017

If you are in Politics, International Relations, Law, Sociology, Anthropology, Criminology, Philosophy or Arabic & Islamic Studies, you will find the SSIS Careers Week events and drop-ins designed to help at all stages of your career planning. Full details
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10 February 20179:30

Presenting and Visualising Regression Results

This workshop introduces various ways of automating regression output from Stata and R.. Full details
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3 February 20179:30

Data Analysis in R

Building upon the 'Introduction to Programming in R' and the 'Data Visualisation in R' sessions, this workshop provides a brief introduction to major data analysis topics and their implementation in R. Covered topics include: probability distributions, regression analysis, models for binary and categorical data. Full details
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24 January 20171:30

Getting into the PR and Media sector

This is a great opportunity to find out more about a career working in the PR, marketing and media sector. Local PR and marketing agency, Astley Media, will be running a workshop designed to help you understand how to develop a career in this competitive industry. You will be able to find out what a typical day involves, the types of skills needed and career prospects, while also having the opportunity to work on developing valuable skills that will help you get noticed and secure a job! Spaces are limited, so book on now! Find out more about Astley Media: http://www.astleymedia.co.uk/. Full details
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23 January 201715:30

"Old cases as new research objects: On biomedical uses of the past" Lara Keurk (Humboldt University of Berlin)

Egenis seminar series. The talk scrutinizes the ways in which histological preparations and medical files of patients that died long ago have been re-used as biomedical resources. It takes the re-assessment of the first cases of Alzheimer’s disease as a case study to follow the scientists’ iterative meandering between learning from the present about the past and learning from the past about the present. Full details
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20 January 201714:00

ESRC SWDTP Studentships Info Day

An afternoon to experience and learn more about what Social Sciences and International Studies Postgraduate Research in Exeter can offer. Full details
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20 January 20179:30

Introduction to R

This workshop provides an introduction to basic programming notions and their application in R.. Full details
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11 - 13 January 201712:30

"Data Journeys in Biomedicine: Data Use, Research Translation and the Management of Infrastructures"

This workshop aims to trace the variety and mutual interlinking of contemporary data practices in biomedicine, through the discussion of the epistemological, ontological, methodological and societal implications of the development and adoption of complex digital data infrastructures and their methods and techniques.. Full details
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9 December 201612:30

Qualtrics surveys and survey experiments

Students and research staff in the College of Social Sciences and International Studies now have access to the online survey platform Qualtrics. In this tutorial you will learn how to use Qualtrics to design customized surveys and survey experiments, distribute them, collect the data and report the results. Full details
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8 - 9 December 201610:00

CBMNet ‘Social and Political Challenges for the Bioeconomy’ Organiser: Susan Molyneux-Hodgson

This event will address the challenges facing the bioeconomy related to rapid scientific, technological and social change. It will bring together UK industrial biotechnology leaders and academics to discuss grand challenges and then hopes to forge new collaborations between delegates, who will go on to apply for funding to begin to solve these problems. Full details
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5 December 201615:30

Marcel Boumans (Utrecht) “Science Outside the Laboratory”

SPA Research seminar. Full details
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29 November 20169:30

"Breaking Boundaries Symposium" Andy Clark (University of Edinburgh) and John Dupre (University of Exeter)

“Where does the mind end and the rest of the world begin?” This question opens a now classic article, published in 1998, in which philosophers Andy Clark & Dave Chalmers advanced the idea that the mind is not realized just by the brain, but can sometimes “extend” into the world.. Full details
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28 November 201615:30

Andy Clark (Edinburgh) "Busting Out – Two Takes on the Predictive Brain"

SPA research seminar - In this talk, I contrast two ways of understanding the emerging vision of the predictive brain. One way (Conservative Predictive Processing) depicts the predictive brain as an insulated inner arena populated by richly reconstructive representations. The other (Radical Predictive Processing) stresses processes of circular causal influence linking brain, body, and world. Such processes deliver fast and frugal, action-involving solutions of the kind highlighted by work in robotics and embodied cognition. What remains, if this radical option is correct, of the traditional picture of inner states bearing familiar representational contents? The answer is not clear-cut. Full details
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21 November 201615:30

"The emotional life of the laboratory dog: W. Horsley Gantt and the conditional reflex method" Edmund Ramsden (Queen Mary, University of London)

Egenis seminar series. Inspired by the work of Ivan Pavlov, and seeking to establish an experimental psychopathology, from the 1920s, American psychiatrists, physiologists and psychologists began to turn to the animal laboratory. My talk will focus on the use of the conditional reflex method for the study of “experimental neurosis” in dogs by W. Horsley Gantt at Johns Hopkins University. It will explore the ways in which Gantt struggled with, and ultimately reinterpreted, the persistent problems of emotional reaction and idiosyncratic behaviour among his research animals. While both the animal laboratory and the conditioning method are more commonly associated with the predictable, the general and the uniform, they provided Gantt with the means to build an experimental psychiatry focused upon the problem of individual difference, and mount a sustained critique of over-generalization and excessive determinism in science. A focus on Gantt’s laboratory work opens the door to a more complicated understanding of the reception and interpretation of the Pavlovian method, and to the important role played by non-human animals, individually conceived and personally affected and interconnected, in the behavioural, medical and life sciences. Full details
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18 November 201616:00

"The Monist entitled: Fiction, Depiction, and the Complementarity Thesis in Art and Science" Elay Shech (University of Auburn)

In this paper, I appeal to a distinction made by David Lewis between identifying and determining semantic content in order to defend a complementarity thesis expressed by Anjan Chakravartty. The thesis states that there is no conflict between information and functional views of scientific modeling and representation. I then apply the complementarity thesis to well-received theories of pictorial representation, thereby stressing the fruitfulness of drawing an analogy between the nature of fictions in art and in science. I end by attending to the problem of depicting impossible fictions. It is suggested that progress can be made by understanding the role of impossible fictions in science, namely, allowing researchers to probe into the possible structure and representational capacities of scientific theory. Full details
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17 November 201610:30

SPSS Intermediate

This workshop introduces you to the basics of statistical analysis using SPSS focusing on cross-tabulations and correlations in particular. The workshop is taught at the intermediate level and requires basic knowledge of SPSS or the attendance of SPSS Beginners Workshop. For materials and further information visit Q-Step's ELE page. Full details
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14 November 201615:30

"Transnational “Truth machine”? Challenges of forensic DNA databases" Helena Machado (University of Coimbra)

Egenis seminar series - In the “genetic age” of criminal investigation, the expansion of large computerized forensic DNA databases and the massive exchange of DNA data at a transnational level have been portrayed as being significantly important resources for fighting crime. The growing expansion of forensic genetic surveillance apparatuses raises acute and ambivalent challenges to the nature of social control, citizenship and democracy. The ethical implications of DNA data exchange between different jurisdictions are paramount. My talk has three interrelated aims. First, to provide an overview of “new” and “old” ways of constructing social order that emerge from the transnational exchange of DNA data for combating criminality. Second, to propose a methodology for developing a multisite ethnographic research on this phenomenon. Third, to understand how a particular group of scientific experts – forensic geneticists – politicize and de-politicize privacy, data protection and public trust.. Full details
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9 November 201610:30

SPSS Beginners

This Q-Step workshop offers a brief guidance on how to get started with SPSS. It reflects on the drawbacks and benefits of the software and explains how to prepare your data to use in SPSS. The workshop then moves on to demonstrate how you can describe the data in SPSS. There are no pre-requisites for taking the workshop, and no prior knowledge of data analysis is assumed. For materials and further information visit Q-Step's ELE page. Full details
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31 October 201615:30

"Evoluntionary Processes", Prof John Dupre (University of Exeter)

Egenis seminar series. This talk represents the application of my current ERC project, a Process Ontology for Contemporary Biology, to evolutionary theory. After briefly describing the broader project, I shall consider some of the implications of understanding evolution as a process undergone by processes. A central focus will be to understand better the key processes to or in which evolution happens, lineages. I shall emphasise the diversity of kinds of lineages, ranging from mere units of classification to highly integrated units of evolution, and how this diversity provides the need for pluralism in evolutionary theory. I shall suggest, indeed, that many heated debates in contemporary evolutionary theory would be largely defused if it were recognised that different kinds of lineages undergo different kinds of evolutionary processes.. Full details
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24 October 201615:30

"Explaining the global warming “hiatus": models, measurements and media", Wendy Parker (Durham University)

Egenis seminar series. Change in title and abstract. In both scientific journals and the blogosphere, there has been much discussion of a recent “hiatus” or "pause" in global warming. Climate skeptics see the hiatus as evidence that climate scientists have exaggerated the effects of greenhouse gases on climate. In the face of such criticism, climate scientists have found ways to explain the hiatus that do not require any significant revision to existing theory or models. Just as a coherent account seemed to be emerging, however, some climate scientists came to the conclusion that actually there is no hiatus to be explained(!), once appropriate corrections to the observational data are applied. This talk will discuss this unfolding hiatus episode, calling attention to some important features of explanatory practice in climate science: the centrality of computer models; the revisable nature of observational datasets; the multitude of causal factors that might be invoked in explanations; and the benefit and burden of substantial uncertainties.. Full details
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24 October 201614:00

Jonna Vuoskoski (Oxford) & Sarah Wilson (SMART Project, London) “ Music, Empathy, and the 'Aesthetics' of Wellbeing: Perspectives from Music Psychology and Music Therapy”

SPA Research seminar. Full details
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20 October 201616:30

Book launch - "CyberGenetics - Health genetics and new media" Anna Harris, Susan Kelly and Sally Wyatt

Online genetic testing services are increasingly being offered to consumers who are becoming exposed to, and knowledgeable about, new kinds of genetic technologies, as the launch of a 23andme genetic testing product in the UK testifies. Genetic research breakthroughs, cheek swabbing forensic pathologists and celebrities discovering their ancestral roots are littered throughout the North American, European and Australasian media landscapes. Genetic testing is now capturing the attention, and imagination, of hundreds of thousands of people who can not only buy genetic tests online, but can also go online to find relatives, share their results with strangers, sign up for personal DNA-based musical scores, and take part in research. This book critically examines direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic testing from a social science perspective, asking, what happens when genetics goes online?. Full details
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20 October 201616:00

Data Analysis in Practice: Examples from the Fire Service

Data Analysis in Practice is a series of talks designed to showcase how a range of organisations and industries use data analysis to inform best practice and improve performance. Full details
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17 October 201615:30

"Knowing Animal Health in the Environment: contesting bovine TB and British badgers since c. 1965" Angela Cassidy (University of Exeter)

Egenis seminar series - Bovine TB (bTB) is a chronic infectious disease of cattle which can also affect other mammals: until well into the 1940s it was a source of human disease in the UK, and remains so in some parts of the world today. While the risks of bTB have been well controlled in humans and animals since the late 1960s, the disease has persisted in British cattle herds, and since the 1990s infection rates have accelerated. The UK has also experienced an increasingly high profile public controversy over government policies to cull wild badgers in order to control bTB in cattle. This paper will give an overview of the history of this controversy, which has been ongoing since the early 1970s, when government veterinarians first connected persistent outbreaks of bTB in cattle herds to their discovery of infected wild badgers in Gloucestershire. I will discuss my research and book in progress, which maps the long term development of the badger/bTB controversy, exploring a series of factors contributing to the current situation. To close, I will discuss the implications of the bTB case for wildlife, agriculture and infectious disease policy; for relationships between science, evidence and policymaking; and for processes of public environmental debate, both within and beyond the UK. Full details
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10 October 201615:30

"Mapping Plant Life: From Humboldt to Early Ecology" Nils Guettler (ETH Zurich)

Egenis seminar series - Botanical distribution maps are a crucial tool for scientific ecology. For a long time, historians of ecology could agree on the notion that this has always been the case and [accordingly] have concentrated on the alleged "golden age“ of this map genre, as drawn by famous first-generation plant geographers such as Alexander von Humboldt. Rather than pursuing this line of inquiry, this talk focuses on botanical maps after this initial age of discovery. It detects both a quantitative explosion and qualitative modification of botanical distribution maps in the late 19th century. By spotlighting the case of the plant geographer Oscar Drude (1852-1933) and others it argues that the dynamics of botanical mappings were closely linked to a specific milieu of knowledge production: the visual culture of Imperial Germany. The scientific upgrading of maps was stimulated by a prospering commercial cartographical market as well as a widespread practice of mediating between professionals and amateurs via maps in the public sphere. In transferring skills and practices from these "popular" fields of knowledge to scientific domains, botanists like Oscar Drude established maps as an indispensable element of botanical observation. This wholesale dissemination of botanical maps had thus a formative influence on collective perception - the botanist's "period eye" - regarding plant distribution. Full details
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3 October 201615:30

Robert Stock (Konstanz) “The Cochlear Implant and the Impositions of Hearing”

This talk will discuss media practices of hearing with cochlear implants by focusing on the filmic production of ‘auditory ecologies’. The cochlear implant system is thereby not understood as a mere tool or prosthesis subject to human agency, which can easily be used by its bearers. Rather, the implant system, its social, technical and political ‘impacts’ need to be conceptualized as ‘effects’ of specific situations and environments. By connecting ANT, Sound Studies and Media Studies, it will be argued that the cochlear implant and the actors it assembles can be considered as a particular auditory ecology (Gatehouse et al. 1999). The latter will be described by analysing the long-term documentary film Natalie or the sound after silence, 2013, dir. Simone Jung. By doing so, I will demonstrate how various forms of hearing and non-hearing are constituted cinematographically. We hence propose that films are specific operations that constitute visibilities, invisibilities or (in-)audibility. Such an understanding of film foregrounds the performative production of hearing as an ‘audiovisual event’. Consequently, the description of the reciprocal relationship between user and implant, between image and sound, here understood as an integral part of a complex media ecology, allows us to get an idea of the audiovisual event of enabling and disabling practices of technological hearing. Full details
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26 September 201615:30

Bayesianism and the perception-cognition divide

Perceptual experience and belief are frequently treated as distinct kinds of mental states. A belief might prompt a new perceptual experience, and new experience can confirm or trigger a belief. Despite causal influences of this sort, it was commonly held that perceptual experience is insulated from the information contained in beliefs. However, recent scientific evidence shows that this picture is mistaken: perception is routinely influenced by beliefs and expectations. This evidence of cognitive penetration thus erodes a strict perception-cognition divide. Two recent approaches to the mind, Bayesianism and Predictive Coding, do further damage to the divide. According to these approaches, influences from cognition on perception are not just pervasive, but integral to its functioning. In this talk I’ll argue that if these two approaches are correct, there is no use in saving divide. Perception and cognition do not exist. Understood as paradigm changes, Bayesianism and Predictive Coding imply eliminativism with respect to belief and experience. They constitute a real revolution in the philosophy of mind, and it is time for philosophers to embrace the change. Full details
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26 September 201615:30

Anya Farennikova (Bristol) “Bayesianism and the Perception Cognition

SPA Research seminar. Full details
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28 July 201615:00

Diagnostic Disclosure: A Cultural Excursion — Professor Annemarie Jutel (Victoria University, Wellington, NZ)

Seminar times and abstract to follow. Annemarie Jutel originally trained and practised as a nurse, but left clinical work in 2000 to focus on sociological aspects of health and illness. Her ground-breaking work in the sociology of diagnosis focuses on how medical classification interacts with social and cultural interests. She has written on the medicalization of overweight, female sexuality and foetal death. She has also explored how the pharmaceutical and fitness industries act as specific agents of medicalization and at the use of self-diagnosis in the management of pandemic influenza.. Full details
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7 - 8 July 2016

Moral Enhancement: The Annual Royal Institute of Philosophy Conference 2016

The annual Royal Institute of Philosophy Conference is taking place this year at the University of Exeter, with the topic of moral enhancement. Full details
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4 - 5 July 2016

British Society of Aesthetics Connections Conference: Aesthetics and the 4E mind

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13 June 201615:30

"Human Persons – A Process View" Anne Sophie Meincke (University of Exeter)

What are persons and how do they exist? The predominant answer to this question given by Western metaphysics is that persons, human and others, are and exist as substances, i.e., as some sort of discrete particular whose identity is determined by a certain set of intrinsic essential characteristics. In my talk I want to suggest an alternative view which is motivated by metaphysi¬cal considerations about persistence as well as by recent insights from systems biology and the theory of cognition derived from it (‘enactivism’). If we take seri¬ously that at least human persons are living dynamical systems, embedded in a natural environment and for their existence at a time as well as through time de¬pendent on an interaction with that environment, we are led to recognise them as organised and stabilised higher-order processes rather than as substances in the traditional sense. Full details
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2 - 3 June 20169:00

Biological Identity

Recent debates in metaphysics on personal identity and material constitution have seen a rise of theories which appeal to a biological understanding of identity. So-called animalists claim that the puzzles of standard psychological theories of personal identity can be avoided by the insight that we are essentially animals or organisms rather than persons and that the necessary and sufficient conditions of our identity over time therefore are purely biological in character. Moreover, it has been argued (most famously by Peter van Inwagen) that if there are any composite objects at all in the world, then these are those studied by biology. According to this view, there are no inanimate things like stones or cars, strictly speaking, as these turn out to be just collections of particles; but there are living organisms, due to a special unity making them each one rather than many. It is time to investigate whether, and if so how, the concept of biological identity can indeed serve the functions metaphysicians attribute to it. For that purpose, the conference will aim to confront the metaphysical motives for proposing biological conceptions of identity, diachronic as well as synchronic, with the scientifically informed research on biological identity which has been carried out within the philosophy of biology but which so far has been little noticed by the metaphysics community. The conference seeks to connect these two hitherto largely separate debates so as to put future metaphysical allusions to biological identity on more solid grounds and, at the same time, to raise awareness for the metaphysical implications of the empirically founded models of biological identity developed in philosophy of biology. Full details
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23 May 201615:30

"Evaluation, Participation and Social Learning, the Korean Case of TA" Prof Sang-Wook Yi (University of Cambridge/Hanyang University, Seoul)

I shall talk about the annual TA(Technology Assessment) of South Korean government, which has been performed by changing Ministries and governmental agencies since 2003. After surveying the aims of the TA and its overall executive structure, I will examine one of the most recent TAs in 2015 as regards so-called ‘genetic scissor’ technology from its initial stage of choosing the scope of its target technology to its final stage of producing the official report. I will discuss a number of controversial junctures of the entire procedure including the sensitive debate on the exact wording of the target technology and the thorny issues of the applicability of the current regulations to this frontier technology. I shall add what I think could be some general implications of Korean TA for the democratic control of scientific and technological research. Full details
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16 May 201615:00

“Troubling Genealogies: Conceptualizing Race, Belonging and Political Subjectivity in South Africa” Katharina Schramm (Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg)

SPA Research seminar. Full details
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16 - 17 May 201613:00

"Pace Science:Data, Acceleration, Duration"

The handling and management of time is a crucial aspect of research environments and of expectations around the processes and outputs of scientific research, including how scientific evidence is marshalled in trials and policy-making. And yet discussions of the garnering of evidence and data sharing tend to forgo the temporal aspect in favour of static requirements and time-independent guidance on best practice. This workshop highlights and critically examines assumptions and implications of focusing on research as a historical process, whose various stages inhabit different temporal expectations from researchers, funders, governments, regulatory agencies, and relevant publics. In particular, we focus on situations where the temporality associated with research environments—for a variety of reasons ranging from material infrastructures to interpretations of value and efficiency— varies substantially, to the point of making research carried out under different temporal regimes practically incommensurable (e.g. data collection in the qualitative social sciences versus genomics; management of evidence in publicly funded versus commercial research; data sharing in developed and developing countries). Through this we will be able to understanding the demands and limitations raised by the increasing uses of controlled trials and other forms of evidencing across diverse settings.. Full details
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11 May 201615:30

SPA seminar: Chandré Gould (Institute for Security Studies) & Brian Rappert (University of Exeter) “The Dis-eases of Secrecy”

SPA seminar: Chandré Gould (Institute for Security Studies) & Brian Rappert (University of Exeter) “The Dis-eases of Secrecy”. Full details
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9 May 201615:30

"Pluralism in Psychiatric Classification" Anke Bueter (University of Hannover)

Psychiatric classification is considered by many to be in a state of crisis, and the controversial status of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) has only been amplified by its latest revision. A central concern in these controversies is that the DSM lacks validity, which is often attributed to its atheoretical, syndromal approach. Shortly before the release of the DSM-5, the NIMH has therefore announced to replace the DSM with a theory-driven alternative, the Research Domain Criteria project (RDoC). RDoC presents a change in heuristic strategy that is well justified by the history of DSM-led research. However, it does not by itself end the classification crisis and leads to the important question of the DSM’s future. I argue that to enhance the trustworthiness of psychiatric classification, a combination of strategies is needed. These revolve around different kinds of pluralism: theoretical pluralism (1), nosological pluralism (2), and participatory pluralism (3). Full details
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26 April 201614:00

'Scientific Models:Imagination and Practice'

Half day workshop. For more information, please contact Adam Toon (a.toon@exeter.ac.uk). No registration required. Full details
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25 April 201613:00

'Species Natures: Against Aristotelian Realism ' Tim Lewens (University of Cambridge)

Philosophers of biology have had much to say--some of it positive, a lot of it negative--about efforts to formulate biologically respectable accounts of the 'natures' of humans and other species. They have had considerably less to say about prominent efforts on the part of workers in ethics--especially Philippa Foot and Michael Thompson--to develop neo-Aristotelian accounts of species natures. This talk begins with an overview of recent efforts to ground species natures in biological fact, before moving on to assess the plausibility of what I call Aristotelian Realism. I argue that the force of Thompson's transcendental argument for Aristotelian Realism has not been given due credit by critics of his position. I also argue that his argument gives better support to a position I call 'Kantian Projectivism' than it does to Thompson's own version of Aristotelian Realism. Full details
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21 - 22 April 201612:00

"Integrating Large Data into Plant Science: From Big Data to Discovery"

This workshop brings together prominent biologists, data scientists, database leads, publishers, representatives of learned societies and funders to discuss ways of harnessing and integrating large plant data to foster discovery. Over the last decade, data infrastructures such as cloud, grids and repositories have garnered attention and funding as crucial tools to facilitate the re-use of existing datasets. This is a complex task, and within plant science a variety of strategies have been developed to collect, combine and mine research data for new purposes. This workshop aims to review these strategies, identify examples of best practices and successful re-use both within and beyond plant science, and discuss both technical and institutional conditions for effective data mining.. Full details
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11 April 201615:30

"Does Replication help with Experimental Biases in Clinical Trials?" Prof David Teira (UNED, Madrid)

During the last decade, a replication crisis has been detected in many experimental fields, and, in particular, in drug testing in clinical trials. Experimental outcomes published in top journals do not stand the test of reproduction. A widespread interpretation of this crisis puts the blame on the experimenters’ financial biases. Clinical trials are regulatory experiments in which a treatment may gain or not market access: the financial stakes for the sponsor of the development of the treatment are high. Therefore, the sponsor may put direct or indirect pressure on the experimenter to obtain a positive outcome. Often, once this pressure is relaxed, in further replications of the trial, the original positive outcome vanishes. The implicit assumption in this interpretation is that, once we correct for the sponsor biases, trials will become more replicable than they actually are. We want to contest this interpretation of the replication crisis with an analysis of the concept of experimental bias in clinical trials. We will focus on the biases that may flaw the design and conduct of the test. Our basic claim is that replication in experiments is only valuable once the experimenters have agreed on a standardized intervention and a list of debiasing controls to be implemented in the trial. Replicability mainly helps us in controlling for unintended deviations from the protocol, once the relevant debiasing procedures have been implemented. But the major problems with trials lie elsewhere: either in improperly debiased tests or in trials with clinically irrelevant variables. Against a widespread intuition, we will defend that the outcomes in these latter trials are perfectly replicable. If we want better trials, fostering replicability (good as it may be) is perhaps not helpful in itself. Full details
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21 March 201615:30

"To eat or not to eat cats and dogs: The making and breaking of animal taxonomies and dietary taboos in contemporary South Korea" Dr Julien Dugnoille (University of Exeter)

South Korea is widely regarded as a nation that eats cats and dogs. The consumption of these animals has attracted a considerable amount of international animal activist attention since the late 1980s, and raised questions about the nation’s indifference to violent methods used to tenderize and process the meat while animals are still alive. Today, South Korean civil and state discourses about the nation’s cat and dog meat trade mobilize principles of wellbeing and welfare inspired by those marshaled in Western discourses about democratic moral values. These Korean discourses also emphasize a clear boundary between cats and dogs regarded as pets and those consumed as food. However, an ethnographic approach to the South Korean cat and dog meat trade reveals that these moral and taxonomic discourses do not adequately represent how cats and dogs are treated or eaten in practice. Furthermore, a closer analysis reveals how maintaining this discrepancy between discourse and practice may benefit those with ulterior political and economic motives. Bringing together anthropological scholarship on cultural taxonomies, dietary taboos and the anthropology of ethics in the context of South Korea’s largest cat and dog meat marketplace, this paper interrogates conventional understandings of ethnicity, morality and cosmopolitanism. Full details
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14 March 201615:00

“The Complex Relations Between Narrative and Suffering” Prof. Arthur Frank (University of Calgary)

SPA research seminar. Full details
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7 March 201615:30

"Parts, Wholes, Processes, and Rates: From Rigid to Dynamic Mechanisms" Jan Baedke (University of Bochum)

In the last ten years a number of authors of the new mechanistic philosophy have argued for conceptualizing the relations traced in causal-mechanistic explanations in the biosciences by means of the idea of compositional constitution. In other words, ‘vertical’ relations across levels of organization in mechanisms exhibit constitution and inter-level parthood. For many ‘new mechanists’ this means that changes in the causal properties of parts constitutively (not causally) make a difference in the properties of wholes. This paper show that (i) this conceptualization of inter-level relations leads to a view of ‘rigid mechanisms’. (ii) It radically contradicts those mechanistic investigations in biology seeking to understand the vertical build-up of organisms diachronically and over time, respectively. Thus, (iii) a new view of ‘dynamic mechanisms’ is presented that is able to overcome this problem by conceptualizing vertical relations in mechanisms in a more dynamic manner. It is centered not on the concepts of constitution and parthood but on causal process and rate. Investigations in evolutionary developmental biology (evo-devo) of the origin and change of levels of organization (i.e. evolutionary novelty and evolvability) will be reviewed to support these findings.. Full details
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22 February 201615:30

"Names and Numbers: “Data” in Classical Natural History, 1758–1859" Dr Staffan Müller-Wille (University of Exeter)

According to a famous formula going back to Immanuel Kant, the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries saw the transition from natural history to the history of nature. This paper will analyze changes in the institutions, social relations, and media of natural history that underwrote this epochal change. Focusing on the many posthumous re-editions, translations, and adaptations of Carl Linnaeus’s taxonomic works that began to appear throughout Europe after publication of the tenth edition of his Systema naturae (1758), I will then argue that the practices of Linnaean nomenclature and classification organized and enhanced the flows of data—a term already used by naturalists of the period—among individual naturalists and natural history institutions in new ways. Species became units that could be “inserted” into collections and publications, re-shuffled and exchanged, kept track of in lists and catalogues, and counted and distributed in ever new ways. On two fronts—biogeography and the search for the “natural system”—this brought to the fore entirely new, quantitative relationships among organisms of diverse kind. By letting nature speak through „artificial“ means and media of early systematics, I argue, new powerful visions of an unruly nature emerged that became the object of early evolutionary theories. Classical natural history as an “information science” held the same potential for generating surprising insights, that is, as the experimentally generated data of today’s data-intensive sciences. Full details
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15 February 201615:00

Christoph Rehmann-Sutter (University of Lübeck) “Livingness: A Husserlian Approach”

SPA Research seminar. Full details
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9 February 201618:15

Professor Michael Hauskeller Inaugural Lecture "Asking the right questions: On being a Philosopher and Ethicist"

Hardly a month goes by without the announcement of yet another significant technological innovation. So much has changed during the past three decades, it is almost impossible to predict with any degree of certainty what we will be able to accomplish and what our world will look like a decade or two ahead. Anything seems possible. This makes it more pressing than ever to figure out what we actually want and what kind of life we should strive for. This talk looks into some of the challenges we face today and tries to identify the role philosophy and especially philosophical ethics must play in a world so rapidly changing as ours. Click here for Professor Michael Hauskeller profile. If you wish to attend the lecture and drinks reception please email: ssis-events@exeter.ac.uk. Full details
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8 February 201615:30

"Epistemological Lessons from the Automation of Science" Prof Alexander Bird (University of Bristol)

Science is increasingly automated. Automatic weather stations and satellites have for some time collected raw data which is supplied directly to computers for analysis, whereupon weather maps are published on the web while the analysed results are also fed into meteorological and climate models. DNA sequencing, once a lengthy and expensive process involving considerable human input, is now almost entirely automated, where automation includes both the bio-chemical intervention with a sample and also the statistical analysis of the results of the biochemical assay. In this paper I focus on two sets of questions: 1. How should we understand `observation' in automated science? I argue for a functional rather than aetiological notion of observation. 2. What is scientific knowledge? I argue for a social conception of knowledge, where the `social' includes scientific infrastructure as well as scientists.. Full details
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1 February 201615:30

“Phenomenology of the We: Reciprocal Empathy, Self-alienation, and Plural Self-awareness” Prof. Dan Zahavi (University of Copenhagen)

SPA Departmental Seminar. Full details
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25 January 201615:00

"Measurement in Early Modern Science & Medicine" Dr Matteo Valleriani (MPI Berlin) & Dr Fabrizio Bigotti (University of Exeter)

Philosophy, technology and experimentation in Santorio Santorio (1561 - 1636) & Galileo Galilei (1564 - 1642). Dr Matteo Valleriani - "The Changing Epistemic Function of Measurement in the Early Modern Period. Tartagelia's Quadrant and Galileo's Thermoscope" and Dr Fabrizio Bigotti - "Santorio on the the Use of Quantity in Logical Demonstration and Diagnosis". Full details
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22 January 201611:00

Global Access to Open Software: Fostering Uptake - Sabina Leonelli (University of Exeter) GYA & Data Studies, Exeter)

This workshop showcases results of a recent survey conducted by the GYA Working Group “Global Access to Research Software” in collaboration with the GYA Working Group “Open Science” and the INASP Institute in Oxford, which explored the conditions for access to and use of Open Software in middle and low income countries. The survey targeted specifically researchers in Bangladesh, Nigeria and Ghana. Within the workshop, results will be presented and discussed, and participants will have the opportunity to inform the writing of a report and a publication emerging from this research. These results will also be used by the Global Young Academy to inform current science policies concerned with Open Science. For more information, see http://globalyoungacademy.net/activities/open-science/.. Full details
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11 January 201615:30

"On The Movements & Value of Scientific Data" Prof Sabina Leonelli (University of Exeter)

This paper reports on an ongoing effort to study the movement of scientific data from their production site to many other sites of use within or beyond the same discipline, from both an empirical and a philosophical standpoint. Empirically, the study is grounded on the reconstruction of specific data journeys within four research areas: plant biology, model organism biology, biomedicine and oceanography. Philosophically, the study aims to analyse the conditions under which data travel across what I call, following John Dewey, “research situations,” and what implications this has for the epistemology of science. I focus in particular on online databases as infrastructures set up to facilitate data dissemination and their multiple re-interpretations as evidence for a variety of claims across different settings; and on the wealth and diversity of expertise, resources and conceptual scaffolding used by database curators and users to expand the evidential value of data thus propagated. Through the reconstruction and careful analysis of data journeys, a great deal can be learnt about the multiple roles and valences of data within research, ranging from their essential function as evidence to their importance as currency in trading, tokens of identity and means to foster the legitimacy, accountability and value of scientific research within a variety of contexts. These insights inform a philosophical analysis of knowledge production that is attentive to the processual, dynamic nature of research, as well as its embedding in social, political and economic settings that have a strong bearing on what comes to be viewed as scientific data, by whom, and why.. Full details
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14 December 201515:30

“Bringing Biology into the Fold” William Goodwin (University of South Florida)

Though there have been many important insights and modifications, the basic approach of structural organic chemistry, has been in place since about 1880. Much of the progress in organic chemistry since then can be thought of as the result of articulations of the foundational concept of ‘structure’. In this talk I will consider two such articulations of ‘structure’ that resulted in consistent extensions of the practice, allowing for the solution of a whole new range of problems employing the explanatory concepts of structural organic chemistry. I will focus on developments that first made possible the use of structural organic chemistry to explain the physical and chemical features of biomolecules, thereby making some biological phenomena explicable in chemical terms. Full details
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30 November 201515:30

CANCELLED - Sara Green (University of Copenhagen)

Egenis Seminar - "Explaining Cancer Across Scales". Unfortunately, this seminar has been cancelled. We hope to re-scheduled for a future date. Full details
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19 - 20 November 2015

'Symbiotic Processes' workshop, organised Prof John Dupre and Dr Stephan Guttinger

This workshop is part of the ERC-funded project, “A Process Ontology for Contemporary Biology (ProBio)” led by Prof. John Dupré. The project explores the advantages, problems, and implications of a fully processual understanding of living systems. The near omnipresence of symbiosis has been one of the main motivations for the project. The dependence of most life cycles on profound inter-connections with other symbiotic life cycles has been recognised by many philosophers and biologists as problematizing standard assumptions about the nature and boundaries of the organism. This poses ontological questions that, we believe, are much more tractable for a process ontology that is not committed to unambiguous boundaries between entities. This workshop will bring together scientists with various interests in symbiosis and philosophers concerned with biological ontology with a view to an in depth exploration of these basic issues.. Full details
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16 November 201515:30

"Place of Birth: Evidence and Ethics" Leah McClimans (University of South Carolina)

In the UK and US Births in obstetric units vastly outnumber births that take place outside of an obstetric unit. Still non-obstetric births are increasing in both countries. For example, in 2004 only .87% of US births occurred in non-obstetric units (home or midwifery units), but by 2012 1.36% babies were born in a non-obstetric unit. In the UK they have seen an even steeper increase, with only .9% of births occurring at home between 1985-8 rising to 2.4% in 2011. Is it professionally responsible to support a non-obstetric birth? It is morally permissible to support women in choosing where to give birth? These are the kinds of questions that shape the debate over place of birth, and for those who answer no to these questions, the increase in non-obstetric births is alarming. Given the emphasis on evidence-based policy and evidence-based medicine it may not be surprising that the current discussion of place of birth takes the shape of empirical studies investigating the relative riskiness of different birth place choices. This debate has become heated with those on both sides finding empirical support for their positions—sometimes within the same study. While to some this debate over the evidence is a distraction from what is genuinely at stake, namely different non-epistemic values, I will argue in this paper that the way forward is to take a closer and more fine grained look at the evidence. I am interested here in how the debate over place of birth is most fruitfully conducted; I will not attempt to answer the morally loaded questions that shape the debate itself.. Full details
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2 November 201515:30

"Modeling Systems Biomedicine" Dr Annamaria Carusi (University of Sheffield)

In this presentation I shall give an overview of my research on modeling processes and practices in systems biomedicine. The focus of my talk is on the social and technological epistemology of computational modeling and simulation. The example I discuss is the conceptual framework of the MSE system (Model-Simulation-Experiment system) developed in my collaboration with scientists. I discuss the ambivalence and ambiguity of terms such as ‘representation’ and ‘comparison’ in the intensely social context of model construction and use, as modelers attempt the difficult passage to clinical implementations in the face of issues such as physiological variability. I propose a re-focusing on how grounds for comparability are instituted, and on the epistemic role of iteration.. Full details
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21 October 201513:30

Careers that make society work - panel discussion

Our panellists will talk about their roles in social work and the social work post-graduation qualifications available and give you an insight in to what it is really like to work in their field, the opportunities and rewards, but also the challenges. Between them they work across the spectrum of society to help individuals and communities to work better. The discussion will be followed by drinks and nibbles, and an opportunity to talk to the panelists individually. Full details
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19 October 201515:30

"Seeing Cellular Debris, Remembering a Soviet Method" Dr Ann Kelly (University of Exeter)

A microphotograph of a mosquito taken in the 1962 in a mountain laboratory in what was then Tanganyika provides a prompt to consider the socio-political salience and affective power of scientific images. Drawing inspiration from anthropological work on photographic practices, the paper excavates the context of the image’s production—both the geopolitical machinations of the global malaria eradication program and the domestic research station—to apprehend the relationship scientific work and lives. As much souvenir as ‘epistemic thing’, the microphotograph provides new directions in thinking about the materiality of memory in tropical medicine. Full details
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12 October 201515:30

Michela Massimi (University of Edinburgh) "Four Kinds of Perspectival Truth"

In this paper, I assess recent claims in philosophy of science about scientific perspectivism being compatible with realism. I clarify the rationale for scientific perspectivism and the problems and challenges that perspectivism faces in delivering a form of realism. In particular, I concentrate my attention on truth, and on ways in which truth can be understood and, has indeed been understood in perspectival terms. I offer a cost-benefit analysis of each of them and defend a version that in my view is most promising in living up to realist expectations.. Full details
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5 October 201515:30

Working with Model Systems - Robert Meunier & Nina Kranke (University of Kassel)

The epistemic roles of models in science have been subject to much discussion in recent philosophy of science. While large parts of the discussion focus on the notion of representation adequate for an understanding of models, we will follow those who emphasized modelling as an activity and then ask what the consequences of such a view are for understanding models as representations. We will proceed in two steps. First, we will argue that the adequate units of analysis are model systems. In a second step, we address the question of representation. We argue that it is misleading to say that a model represents the world, as it is sometimes put in the literature. Full details
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28 September 201514:00

Seminar: "Mixing or Matching: Hybridization and Taxonomy in the 19th Century" - Harriet Ritvo (MIT)

The possibilities offered by hybridization or crossing engaged the energies of animal experts from stockbreeders to zookeepers in the 19th century; it also attracted the fascinated or horrified attention of the general public. Motivations were equally various, from the pragmatic desire to improve agricultural breeds to idle curiosity. Since the results (and non-results) of these activities were unpredictable, they also provided a way of challenging the limits of individual species and, consequently, the definition of the category itself. Full details
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10 - 12 August 2015

Anthrozoology Student Conference

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1 July 201515:00

“Neurodiversity & the politics of autism diagnosis” - Dr Ginny Russell (University of Exeter)

Autism diagnosis is a site of political mobilisation, as well as biomedicalisation. While some patients seek diagnosis, others argue diagnosis is damaging to their integrity. One new alliance that sometimes contests autism diagnosis is known as the neurodiversity movement. The movement comprises politically mobilised adults with autism who frame their neurological difference as a valuable aspect of human variation and argue against medical diagnosis and treatment claiming it pathologizes normal behaviour. The label of autism provides a good illustration of some of the issues within ‘sociology of diagnosis’. Here diagnosis is not only as a method of categorisation, but also a social transactional process; an intervention in itself with consequences for health. In the case of autism, diagnosis dichotomises a series of normally distributed traits, such as reciprocal social ability, communication etc. Increased application of autism diagnosis comes with clear costs and benefits; and its use is frequently contested. This talk is centred on the content of a recent grant application to the Wellcome Trust. I will present an overview of a proposed programme of work covering theoretical issues, research questions, proposed design and methods.. Full details
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17 June 2015

POSTPONED until 1st July - Dr Ginny Russell (University of Exeter)

“Neurodiversity & the politics of autism diagnosis” This seminar has been postponed until Wednesday 1st July 2015. Full details
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13 - 14 June 2015

The Seventh British Wittgenstein Society Annual Conference: Wittgenstein and the Social Sciences

Speakers: Jeff Coulter (Boston) John Dupré (Exeter) Raimond Gaita (Melbourne / King's College London) John Gunnell (UC, Davis) William Kitchen (Belfast) Sabina Lovibond (Oxford) Albert Ogien (CNRS Paris) John Searle (UC Berkeley) Wes Sharrock (Manchester) James Thompson (Halle-Wittenberg).. Full details
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10 June 201515:00

"POSTPONED"- Dr Louise Bezuidenhout (University of Exeter)

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8 June 201515:00

"King Philip Cried Out For Goodness Sake, no longer" and "Learning from our mistakes: Convergent simplification and the kingdom Fungi" - Dr Jeremy Wideman (University of Exeter)

Dr Jeremy Wideman (EMBO postdoctoral fellow, Biosciences) gives two talks with discussion time. "King Philip Cried Out For Goodness Sake, no longer" and "Learning from our mistakes: Convergent simplification and the kingdom Fungi" Abstracts attached. Full details
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3 June 201515:00

Dr Mattia Gallotti, University of London "Shared Intentionality and Social Understanding"

Abstract: Human life flourishes in a world of common habits and perspectives. In an influential paper, Jane Heal (2013) argued that considerations about the relevance of acts of shared intentionality, or ‘co-cognition’, suggest that the notion of mental content recommended by (social) anti-individualism enjoys pride of place in accounts of psychological knowledge. This claim draws upon a body of literature in social ontology and social cognition, which has improved understanding of the mechanisms and processes whereby people achieve knowledge of things by sharing mental resources. According to Heal, in discussions of the nature and mechanism of folk-psychological attributions, in particular, talk of shared mental states slips into natural descriptions of the externality of thought. I shall challenge this view by providing a different interpretation of the scope and philosophical significance of acts of shared intentionality for psychological knowledge. There are two meanings to claims about shared intentionality: although both are consistent with the anti-individualistic notion of content, neither recommends anti-individualism as the privileged view of the content of thoughts about others’ thoughts. Full details
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27 May 201515:00

"Things are Material Processes" - John Pemberton (London School of Economics)

I suppose an ontology, such as that of Aristotle, in which powers in suitable contact over some period give rise to changing over that period within the bearers of the powers, and hence a process of change, e.g. a star gravitationally attracting a planet (giving rise to its movement through an elliptic orbit), a fire heating a kettle, a heart pumping blood. I show how this ontology of change fits well with contemporary science, and how it licenses an account of things (e.g. organisms, atoms, molecules, larger chemical structures, bundles, mechanisms, artefacts, stars) as being material processes: functional parts performing functional roles at each stage so as to bring about the next stage of the process. This process view stands in opposition to the received view that things can be adequately characterised by a list of properties, e.g. things are co-instantiated universals, bundles of properties, collocated tropes, bare particulars with properties, collections of powers, etc. The list-of-properties view offers a static and discretised reconstruction (often reifying point-in-time entities) which misrepresents the complex inter-twining of dynamic processes apparent in the world, I argue. I show how recognising that things are processes provides a solution to van Inwagen’s ‘Special Composition Question’, and helps to address some major challenges within the philosophy of science. Full details
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21 May 201511:00

Eben Kirksey - seminar talk “Species: A Praxiographic Study” and Roundtable Discussion on Multiple Ethnography.

“Species: A Praxiographic Study” - Taxonomists, who describe new species, are acutely aware of how political, economic,and ecological forces bring new forms of life into being. Conducting ethnographic research among taxonomic specialists - experts who bring order to categories of animals, plants, fungi, and microbes - I found that they pay careful attention to the ebb and flow of agency in multispecies worlds. Emergent findings from genomics and information technologies are transforming existing categories and bringing new ones into being. This talk will argue that the concept of species remains a valuable Sensemaking tool despite recent attacks from cultural critics.. Full details
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20 May 201515:00

"Processes and Powerful Persistence" Dr Anne Sophie Meincke (Spann), (University of Exeter)

Recent years have seen a revival of the idea that the entities existing in our world possess irreducible dispositions and powers by means of which they cause changes in the world. No longer being an outsider position, dismissible as obsolete and at odds with science, dispositional realism (‘dispositionalism’) has established itself as a viable and commonsensically appealing alternative to the hitherto predominant anti-realistic accounts of causation in the Humean tradition and, what is more, as a promising new approach to metaphysics in general. In my talk, I shall take these latter ambitions seriously by exploring the implications of dispositionalism for persistence theory. Given that things have irreducible powers and dispositions, how ought we to think about the way they exist over time? In particular, should we assume they persist by being wholly present at different times (‘endurance) or rather by having different temporal parts (‘perdurance’)? Dealing with two opposing proposals recently put forward by Stephen Mumford and Neil E. Williams, I will argue that the profile of ‘powerful’ persistence crucially depends on how one conceptualizes the processes involved in the manifestation of powers. As this is obviously not determined per se by subscribing to some view labelled ‘powers view’, further discussion is needed as to what processes are and to which kind of process theory a powers metaphysics should commit itself in order to be convincing.. Full details
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13 May 201515:00

"Pathogenicities and the spatialities of disease situations" - Prof Steve Hinchliffe (University of Exeter)

What would a geography of emerging infectious diseases look like? A familiar answer to this question is based on a map or surface upon and across which diseases emerge and travel. The language is one of hotspots and viral traffic. It’s a contagionist as well as topographical disease imagination. In this paper I want to trace out alternatives that are based on what can be called a disease situation. In social theory, situations borrow from what might be called site ontologies. Situations link sites, but in ways that are non-coherent, and certainly fall short of any free-floating whole or emergent property. Situations are, I will argue, spatially and materially composite; they are, after Stengers, ecologies of practices that may well be eventful. To illustrate, I engage with a particular disease situation called avian flu. The aim is to demonstrate the spatial multiplicity that is involved when the object of concern flips between a pathogen and pathogenicity. The latter is a configurational issue, and invites a range of topological sensibilities. These sensibilities in turn seem to invite a form of abductive logic, a tacking back and forth between evidence and speculation. Whether this abductive logic reproduces a security neurosis or opens up new ways of addressing the emergence of disease emergencies is, I argue, an empirical question and requires engaging with disease events as reconfigured situations. Full details
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6 May 201515:00

Prof. Rob Hagendijk, Amsterdam. "The politics of rare diseases and orphan drugs"

Abstract: In 2012 a major controversy started in The Netherlands after a proposal was leaked to the media to stop reimbursing patients with Pompe or Fabry disease under the public health system. The high prices for drugs (between 150,000 and 800,000 Euro annually) and their low cost-efficiency inspired the proposal, then a draft to be discussed in the College for Public Health Insurance. The prime time TV coverage of the news caused public outrage and negative responses from all corners of society, including patients, professionals, columnists, members of the general public and politicians. The controversy calmed down a bit six weeks later, yet it took until late 2013 for a temporary solution for the next two years only to be arranged by the Minister for Public Health. The solution comprises price reductions, post-marketing research to improve cost-efficiency and increased European and international collaboration. In my presentation I will look at the controversy from a co-productionist perspective (Jasanoff, 2004, Hilgartner et al. 2015) and analyse how the biosciences and informatics become increasingly interwoven with major political and economic struggles. This controversy and associated ones elsewhere constitute public spaces in which broader legal, ethical, economic, political and technoscientific configurations are negotiated and defined. Looking at regulatory struggles about rare diseases and orphan drugs amounts to looking at the frontier of the new public health shaping up in an increasingly global order and political-economy. Full details
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29 April 201515:00

POSTPONED " - Dr Daniele Carrieri (University of Exeter)

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25 March 2015

CANCELLED - Dr Ann Kelly (University of Exeter)

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23 March 201515:00

"Ethical harmonization across space: logistic and regulatory issues in implementing a multi-national clinical trial" - Prof Christine Hauskeller & Nicole Baur (UoE)

In this talk we report findings from an empirical investigation of the process in which a stem cell clinical trial is being implemented across 10 European countries. As part of a clinical trial team, we had the unique opportunity to study implementation – including its events and problems - while it happened. Obstacles for swift patient recruitment across clinical sites arose for a variety of reasons, but most are related to the minute standardization of practice which is the basis for the scientific approach in medicine that identifies clinical trials as ultimate evidence for clinical efficacy. We identified differences in resource management and in locally entrenched daily routines of patient care, but also in the practical implementation of regulations and insurance requirements, for example, which as such relate back to specific understandings of best practice in clinical care. Our findings show that the policies developed to harmonise medical practice and clinical trials in Europe can lead to serious delays before patient recruitment even starts. We especially focus on problems with the logistics and technological requirements following European Medicines Agency (EMA) regulations and the effects of the Voluntary Harmonisation Procedure (VHP), a protocol aimed at simplifying multinational ethics approval of general agreements which depend on both trust and coherence in other policies. Full details
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18 March 201515:00

"Stress and the Midlife Crisis" - Prof Mark Jackson (University of Exeter)

The story is familiar, perhaps timeless. A middle-aged man falters. The family begins to crumble. Or the reverse: his wife is frustrated and turns away. Their children have left. The home is empty, or perhaps filled with a common sadness. No one is surprised that a marriage is over. In 1965, this process of individual and family trauma acquired a new name. That year, a Canadian sociologist and psychoanalyst more famous for his studies of work, human capability and social justice introduced the world to the `midlife crisis’. For Elliott Jaques, the concept signified a crisis of confidence, a period of intense psychological uncertainty triggered by awareness of death and the fear of declining, or possibly too late flowering, creativity. Over subsequent decades, the meaning of the term expanded to include a variety of stereotypical features: dissatisfaction with work; disillusionment with life; a desperation to postpone the mental and physical decline associated with advancing age; shifting fashion sense; the replacement of the comfortable family saloon with a two-seater sports car or motorbike; a gradual detachment from family responsibilities; and, perhaps most catastrophically, sex with a younger, more athletic accomplice. This paper explores two contrasting explanations for the `midlife crisis’ that emerged during the 1960s and 1970s: a continuing psychoanalytical focus on internal psychological conflict; and the growing emphasis of stress researchers on external situational factors, or `stressful life events’. Although seemingly incongruent, both approaches were rooted in the experiences and understandings of inter-war and post-war populations in terms of: demographic shifts: marital relationships; biological clocks; situational stress; and spiritual fulfilment.. Full details
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12 March 201515:00

"Developmental symbiosis: We are all lichens" - Prof Scott Gilbert (Swarthmore College, USA)

Professor Scott Gilbert, one of the leading figures in evolutionary developmental biology (eve-devo) and the pioneer of its expanded reformulation as eco-evo-devo, (see his groundbreaking book, S.F.Gilbert and D. Epel, Ecological Developmental Biology: Integrating Epigenetics, Medicine and Evolution, Sinauer 2009) will be visiting Egenis at 3.00 p.m. on Thursday March 12th, where he will give a talk entitled "Developmental symbiosis: We are all lichens". If you are interested in attending this talk, could you please contact John Dupre (J.A.Dupre@exeter.ac.uk), copying Chee Wong (S.C.Wong@exeter.ac.uk), as space will be limited.. Full details
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4 March 201515:00

“Causation, Convention and Individuation” - Dr Amber Carpenter (University of York)

This paper will consider two rival accounts of the relationship between causation and individuation. On both accounts, familiar individual things have a reality relative to purposes and conventions, making our everyday metaphysical presumptions matters of moral import. On one view, there are pre-conventional individuals which cause, and thus warrant, our practices of everyday individuation. On the other view, there are no such realities, and causation is itself merely conventional. Through contrasting the two views, we will assess the viability of tying individuation to causation, exploring the theoretic advantages and principle pitfalls. Full details
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25 February 201515:00

"What do biologists mean when they talk of 'things'?" - Dr Stephan Guttinger (University of Exeter)

Egenis seminar. Full details
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18 February 201515:00

POSTPONED - Prof Christine Hauskeller and Dr Nicole-Kerstin Baur (University of Exeter)

This Egenis seminar has been postponed until Monday 23 March. "Ethical harmonization across space: logistic and regulatory issues in implementing a multi-national clinical trial". Full details
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16 February 201513:30

"Understanding in Scientific Practice: Reasoning, Cognition, Mechanisms" organised by Prof Sabina Leonelli & Dr Adam Toon (University of Exeter)

The workshop is funded by the European Research Council, through the project DATA_SCIENCE. No advance registration needed. For information, contact the workshop organisers: Sabina Leonelli (s.leonelli@exeter.ac.uk) and Adam Toon (a.toon@exeter.ac.uk).. Full details
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11 February 2015

POSTPONED until March - Dr Ann Kelly (University of Exeter)

Postponed until Wednesday 25th March 2015. Full details
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4 February 201515:00

Prof. Ilana Loewy, Paris. Snowball effects of prenatal diagnosis: sex chromosomes anomalies and deletions

SPA Research Seminar. Full details
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28 January 201515:00

"Human Nature, Human Processes, and Human Kinds" - Prof John Dupre (University of Exeter)

Egenis seminar. Full details
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21 January 201515:00

Prof. XiaoWei, Tsinghua University, Beijing. "Confucian Culture, and Bioethics"

SPA Research Seminar Chinese culture is based on Confucianism, which still influences the thinking and behaviours of Chinese in many ways. Contemporary China has been facing many ethical issues, especially in the fields of Bioethics. Confucian ethical culture is a system of reflecting on ways of addressing these problems. In this talk I will firstly, discuss the characteristics of Confucian Ethical thinking. Secondly, I will discuss Bioethics and the features of Confucian Bioethics. Thirdly, I will talk about some practical bioethical issues and how they are framed in the perspectives of Confucian Bioethics. This talk is also a contribution to the ongoing debate “Is Confucianism similar to Feminist Ethics of Care?”. Full details
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16 January 201514:00

Professor Aaron Gross (Uni of San Diego) "The Question of the Animal and Religion: Theoretical Stakes, Practical Implications"

Drawing from a recent book project, this presentation argues for a reconfiguration of the category of the animal in the study of culture and religion.. Full details
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12 January 201515:00

"The changing natures of natural medicines, as seen by regulatory scientists" - Dr Jennifer Cuffe (University of Exeter)

Please note change in date, was 14/1/14. Nature, as Raymond Williams remarked, “is perhaps the most complex word in the language” (1976). Nevertheless, the word (as a qualifier) was used, in Canada, to create a new legal category of commodified medicines: that of ‘natural health products.’ With this change in law, regulatory scientists were mandated to segregate out medicines that would be regulated as natural health products, from those that would continue to be regulated as drugs. Needless to say, which medicines should be considered natural for the purposes of regulation was not always self-evident.. Full details
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7 January 201515:00

Dr. Rachel Jarvie, Exeter. '''Maternal Diabesity: The Disconnect between Policy/Practice and the Material Realities of Women's Lives'

SPA Research seminar: Abstract: There is increasing prevalence of ‘maternal obesity’, Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM) and Type Two Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM) in pregnancy. Increasing prevalence of diabetes in pregnancy is widely attributed to dramatically increasing levels of ‘obesity’ in women of childbearing age. Co-existing ‘maternal obesity’ and GDM/T2DM, or ‘maternal diabesity’, complicates increasing numbers of pregnancies in the UK. These ‘conditions’ are associated with adverse maternal and fetal outcomes. Recent research indicates an ‘obese’/diabetic ‘intrauterine milieu’ may epigenetically programme the foetus to obesity/diabetes in later life. This is considered to be an important factor in the perpetuation of the ‘diabesity epidemic’. Biomedical/policy discourses emphasise the necessity for women to effect lifestyle changes in order for this public health issue to be ameliorated. Full details
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17 - 19 December 201412:30

"What is Data-Intensive Science?" - Dr Sabina Leonelli

This workshop is the first event in the project DATA_SCIENCE (www.datastudies.eu ). It brings together the key participants in the project, with the aim to start long-term discussions around what constitutes data-intensive science, compare the ways in which different scholars and fields conceptualise and enact data practices, and agree on the set-up, methods and themes to be pursued by the project team and collaborators over the next four years. Speakers will be presenting the specific sciences that they are researching, the methods that they use and the themes that they are interested in exploring in the future. The workshop is meant to provide an informal occasion for discussion, and will therefore not showcase full papers except from the keynote lecture provided by Professor Luciano Floridi, which will target the intersections between philosophy of science and philosophy of information in ways that will stimulate data-related discussions.. Full details
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15 - 16 December 20149:00

"DARK DATA: ABSENCES, INTERVENTIONS AND DIGITAL WORLDS" - Organised by Sabina Leonelli, Gail Davies, Brian Rappert, Kaushik Sunder Rajan and Neal White

Programme attached. Full details
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10 December 201415:00

Prof. George Marcus, UC Irvine. title tbc

SPA Research Seminar. Full details
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8 December 201415:30

"Studio Interventions in Fieldwork Along the Way: Contemporary Collaborative Environments of Ethnographic Research. “ - George Marcus (University of California)

Egenis Seminar. Late addition. Full details
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3 December 201415:00

Prof. Malcolm Cowburn"Ethical issues in (qualitative) research with sex offenders"

Abstract: This paper reflects on some ethical and epistemological issues involved in conducting qualitative research with sex offenders that is respectful to all parties involved in the offence. It considers three issues: • Hegemonic knowledge and the shaping of research agendas. Most research about sex offenders is conducted on/with convicted populations. Most sex offenders only receive one conviction for sexual offences. The number of sexual offences continues to increase. The ethical difficulties in researching ‘unconvicted’ offenders restrict research in an area that may be most helpful in reducing sex crimes. • Dilemmas related to the development of new knowledge whilst not contributing harming others. Central to this problem is the issue of confidentiality; traditionally criminological research has operated within a context of offering total confidentiality to research participants. In researching sexual and violent offences this is potentially problematic where participants may disclose unreported offences or the intention to harm others in the future. • Constraints and possibilities of the qualitative interview – recognising and managing interpersonal/dialogical issues. Two issues are considered here, and they both relate to the issue of ‘objectivity’ in interview practice. The first area briefly considers the problem of ‘value’ dissonance where interviewers are required to listen to material that strongly conflicts with their own values. The second area is the managing of distress in a qualitative interview. Whilst principle based ethics can provide guidelines for conducting research they potentially restrict respectful dialogue between researcher and research participant. Character relationship based approaches (e.g. ‘virtue ethics’, ‘ethics of care’ and ‘post-modern ethics’) may offer greater scope for developing respectful research practice.. Full details
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28 - 29 November 2014

"Concerning Relations: Sociologies of Conduct, Care and Affect" - Prof Michael Schillmeier

This interdisciplinary symposium, funded by Foundation for the Sociology of Health and Illness (FSHI) and Exeter University, aims to interrogate the implications of shifting the focus of health care away from delivery towards care as an ongoing everyday accomplishment. This symposium examines spaces of collisions, elisions or alignments of social worlds, within which the affective dimension of social life in healthcare may be fruitfully examined. Drawing upon relational concerns as a distinct and distinctive mode of sociological inquiry, the symposium seeks to develop an understanding of care and its consequences that help us get beyond the economics of care as a commodified and managed form of engagement with the other.. Full details
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27 November 201417:00

Book launch - Michael Schillmeier's "Eventful Bodies: The Cosmopolitics of Illness"

‘Bodies may indeed be everywhere in contemporary social theory, but rarely are they articulated with such feeling and conceptual rigour as in this beautiful and insightful book. The cosmopolitical approach to bodies under challenge that Schillmeier develops here looks certain to set the agenda for social approaches to embodiment for some time to come.’ Steven D. Brown, University of Leicester, UK. Full details
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26 November 201415:00

“The epistemological problem of cryptic genetic variability in Waddington’s canalization of development.” - Ms Flavia Fabris (La Sapienza University of Rome/University of Exeter)

The concept of canalization, coined by Waddington to illustrate the complex functioning of all developmental processes, is now subject to some neopreformationist interpretations centred on the role of the notion of cryptic genetic variability. Waddington attributed to this concept the evidence of the genetic assimilation of the acquired characters, claiming that all organisms developed specific abilities to influence their evolutionary pathways through the regulation of buffering mechanisms of genetic variability. However, the contemporary approach of biotechnology has misrepresented the original content of the concept of cryptic genetic variability, transforming its sense to a mere genetic informationism. Consequently, the heuristics value of the concept of canalization has been reduced to a static representation of an “a-contextual developmental system”, closed with respect to its environment. The following presentation will analyze the contemporary assumptions of canalization in Molecular Biology researches with the aim to recover the original whiteheadian meaning of the concept as an open process of interaction between the organism and its environment. Full details
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20 - 21 November 20149:00

"Process Philosophy of Biology" - Prof John Dupre and Dr Dan Nicholson

This is the first workshop for the EU grant project PROBIO organised by Professor John Dupre.. Full details
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12 November 201415:00

"Biomimetic science and the politics of pluripotent life" - Dr Elizabeth Johnson (University of Exeter)

This talk presents an overview of my current book manuscript on the implications of the growing but controversial field of biomimicry. Biomimeticists bridge the biosciences with technological engineering, finding inspiration for innovation in nonhuman life forms. In doing so, I suggest that the field creates a new class of natural resources through experimentation with biological organisms, opening up new interfaces between socio-political institutions and biological systems. Among other examples, I’ll explore the study of gecko foot adhesion, which has advanced the development of commercial adhesives and inspired ‘Geckoskin,’ military gear that enables urban soldiers to scale walls. The paper works to illustrate how this and other projects remake life as a set of what I call ‘pluripotent’ capacities—capacities that can be redistributed within global networks of economic production and geopolitical security. I’ll discuss the political implications of these transformations, particularly at the changing interface between ‘life’ and ‘production.’. Full details
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10 November 201416:00

Careers that make Society Work

The discussion will be followed by drinks and nibbles, and an opportunity to talk to the panelists individually. To sign up to this event, please visit: http://ex.ac.uk/A9.. Full details
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5 November 201415:00

Prof. Dominic Bartmanski, Yale. "Vinyl: The Analogue Record In the Age of Digital Reproduction"

SPA Research Seminar Recent years have seen not just a revival, but a rebirth of the analogue record. More than merely a nostalgic craze, vinyl has become a cultural icon. As music consumption migrated to digital and online, this seemingly obsolete medium became the fastest-growing format in music sales. Whilst vinyl never ceased to be the favourite amongst many music lovers and DJs, from the late 1980s the recording industry regarded it as an outdated relic, consigned to dusty domestic corners and obscure record shops. So why is vinyl now experiencing a 'rebirth of its cool'? Dominik will present his continuing research on the above topic. He has sent the following link to his article with Ian Woodward on the subject published last year in the Journal of Consumer Culture which you may find a useful background reading: http://joc.sagepub.com/content/early/2014/07/13/1469540513488403 Dominik Bartmanski completed his M.A. in Exeter in 2005. He earned his PhD in sociology at Yale University, USA and currently teaches at Bard College Berlin, Technische Universität Berlin, both Germany, and Masaryk University in Brno, Czech Republic.. Full details
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29 October 201415:00

"Dynamic Individuation Across Scales" - Mr James DiFrisco (University of Leuven / University of Exeter)

What is the most appropriate background ontology for thinking about biological systems at different levels of organization? This paper develops the rudiments of a hierarchical process ontology inspired by some ideas of the theoretical biologist K. L. von Bertalanffy, in which biological individuals are modelled as recurrent processes stabilized across different time scales. This perspective is then contrasted with more standard object-oriented and essentialistic approaches in terms of two central issues: (1) individuation and (2) identity over time, or persistence. Full details
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27 October 201415:00

"Knowledge byproducts in the mouse laboratory: Learning about environments while doing genetics" Nicole Nelson (University of Winconsin)

Scholars in Science and Technology Studies, have long noted that laboratory work produces much more than the officially recognized facts that end up in scientific publications. Investigations of local or tacit knowledges, as well as more recent calls to examine non-knowledge and processes of unknowing, draw attention to the many ways of knowing present in scientific work. This paper examines how the production of "knowledge byproducts" (a term I use to encompass the many non-privileged knowledges of ways of knowing present in the laboratory) interacts with the production of sought after scientific facts and privileged epistemic objects. Using ethnographic data from an animal behaviour genetics laboratory, I argue that (somewhat ironically) researchers end up accumulating much more knowledge about the effects of the environment on behaviour than they do about the effects of genes -- although knowledge about the interactions between animals and their environments is not explicitly valued or sought out, it accrues gradually in the laboratory through the process of working with animals and creating a controlled experimental setting. Taking the accumulation and distribution of knowledge byproducts into account helps to better understand animal behaviour genetics practitioners' stances on the certainty (or uncertainty) of their scientific findings.. Full details
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23 October 201416:30

Antoine Hennion "Demanding Objects: Taste as a Care for Things in Process of Making"

Antoine's theoretical focus is on mediation and attachment and this topic will draw these notions together. As he puts it: 'The world of taste is constructed on the basis of organized places, trained bodies, texts, instruments and various material objects. Taste does not exist without these systems of collective and materialized appreciation that make it part of a history. It constantly produces its own questioning on what determines it, on the quality of objects, on the nature of the attachment itself. Thus defined, it is less an object to explain than a key area in which to grasp the combined formation of subjectivities and collectives, the objects that make us and the others with whom we live, relations between ourselves and our bodies.' http://www.csi.ensmp.fr/en/equipe/chercheurs/antoine-hennion. Full details
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22 October 201415:00

"Evolution, Dysfunction and Disease: A Reappraisal." Prof Paul Griffiths, University of Exeter / University of Sydney

An evolutionary approach to function and dysfunction is common in the broader philosophical literature, but it remains a minority view in the philosophy of medicine. Instead, recent work on the definition of disease has been dominated by the biostatistical view of function and dysfunction. Criticism of the biostatistical view (BST) has led its adherents to embrace increasingly complex versions designed to accommodate problem cases. The theoretical rationale for adopting and retaining with this view of dysfunction in the context of medicine has become increasingly unclear. An evolutionary approach to function in the context of medicine has many advantages over the BST. Most importantly, the strong theoretical rationale of the evolutionary approach means that, rather than assessing this account of dysfunction by asking whether it is intuitively satisfying, we can use it to improve our understanding of dysfunction and disease. We illustrate the advantages of the evolutionary approach with a life-history theory perspective on diseases of old-age. Full details
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15 October 201415:00

Heather Strange: "Non-invasive prenatal testing", Cardiff,

The rapid scientific development and clinical implementation of non invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) technologies, which make use of fetal DNA found circulating in the mother's blood from an early stage of pregnancy, presents exiting new opportunities for the application and practice of both prenatal screening and diagnosis. Diagnostic tests for fetal sex (and a small number of specific disorders) are routinely used within clinical genetics and fetal medicine. NIPT screening tests for Down's syndrome have been made available to the population at large, via purchase from a number of private prenatal clinics, and are also being trialled within the NHS. With the publication of research proving that screening of the whole fetal genome is also possible via NIPT, there is much speculation over how quickly and how broadly NIPT tests may expand in scope. Building on a rich history of sociological research which highlights the significance of issues such as the routinisation of testing technologies (Rapp, Rothman), the medicalisation of pregnancy, and the normalisation of eugenic practices (Duster, Shakespeare), this study tracks the development of NIPT from its earliest stages, reflecting on how NIPT, as a technology around which healthcare, technology and capital align in specific ways, may shape experiences of pregnancy, diagnosis, disease and clinical practice. Drawing on interviews with scientists, clinicians, and parents, I will show how early encounters with NIPT shed light on how a new technology becomes aligned with routine, everyday practices, and how participants' (bio)political and moral interrogations give rise to complex and contested processes of division, classification and categorisation. I will show how encounters with this emerging technology become entangled with discussions around already-stigmatised practices and 'public secrets' (Taussig), revealing some of the complex ethical and social issues that lie at the heart of prenatal screening and diagnosis.. Full details
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8 October 201415:00

What is the Impact of Big Data on the Science of Metabolism? Dr Nadine Levin (University of Exeter)

In this seminar, I discuss how big data or the so called rise of bigger, faster, and better technologies and ways of using data is impacting the science of metabolism. In other words, I discuss how scientific efforts to re-configure metabolism with big data are impacting understandings of cells and metabolic processes, and are also leading to new ways of intervening into health and disease. This is important in the contemporary biomedical landscape, because knowledge of metabolism is central to emerging disease interventions and medical systems, as well as to how people experience their bodies, environment, and health. Full details
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26 - 27 June 201410:30

'The "Artificial" and the "Natural" in the Life Sciences, c. 1850-1950'

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23 June 201411:00

Symbiology Workshop III. Speakers - Prof Hans-Joerg Rheinberger (Max Planck Institute, Berlin), Prof Sally Shuttleworth (University of Oxford), Prof Clare Hanson (University of Southampton), Prof Steve Hughes (University of Exeter)

Recent developments in molecular biology imply that classic distinctions between nature and nurture or biology and culture are not applicable to the human ecological niche. Research in epigenetics shows that the effects of culture on nature go all the way down to the gene and up to the stratosphere, and the effects of biology on culture are similarly inextricable. Living systems almost invariably involve the interaction of many kinds of organisms with a diversity of technologies. The anthropocenethe age of human cultures and technologies interacting with natural environmentschanges rapidly, and to understand and manage its functioning requires perspectives from each domain. We propose the study of Symbiology, the post-organismic study of relation. The kinds of relations we study include mutualism, parasitism, domination, recognition, separation, solubility, symmetric mutuality (relations among equals in power or status), asymmetric mutuality (relations among unequals such as parents/offspring, teacher/pupil, human/nonhuman animals), reciprocity, alienation, isolation, autonomy, and so forth, and these relations are discernible throughout nature and all cultures. Full details
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20 June 2014

Thinking about a career in teaching: PGCE taster day

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16 June 2014

Speaker: Elizabeth Johnson - Reproducing Bees: Value and Bricolage in Biomimetic Practice

CANCELLED.. Full details
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9 June 201415:00

Dr Matthew Smith (University of Strathclyde) - 'Hyperactive around the World? The History of ADHD in Global Perspective'

A recent study out of Brazil has claimed that the global rate of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is 5.29%. Any variation in such rates in specific studies, argued the authors, was likely due to methodological problems, rather than differences in the actual distribution of the disorder. According to the authors, such findings give weight to the disorder's 'identity as a bona fide mental disorder ... as opposed to a social construction'. Such reports also strengthen the flawed notion that ADHD is a universal and essential disorder, prevalent in human populations regardless of cultural context, and consistently represented throughout history by the same characteristics.While it is true that the concept of ADHD has spread from the USA, where it emerged during the late 1950s, to most corners of the globe, as suggested by the membership of the ADHD World Federation, such superficial pronouncements mask profound differences in how ADHD has been interpreted in different countries and regions. In this paper, I will compare ADHD's emergence in a number of jurisdictions, including the USA, UK, Scandinavia, China and India, arguing that, while ADHD can be considered a global phenomenon, it remains very much a product of local historical, cultural and political factors. Full details
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2 June 201415:00

Prof Sarah Franklin (University of Cambridge), 'Notes Toward a General Theory of Reproductivity'

SPA Research / Egenis / Symbiology Lab seminar. Using the case study of IVF, this talk contrasts two models of reproduction inside-out, and outside-in to ask where and how reproduction takes place, exactly. By examining how we situate reproductivity in relation, for example, to structure, agency, organisation, discourse, or materiality, we can usefully consider the uses of this concept. Like 'the question concerning technology', with which it arguably has much in common, how we model reproductivity is at once an obvious and under-analysed question, and one that is deservedly receiving much greater attention across the disciplines. Full details
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2 June 201415:00

Speaker: Prof. Sarah Franklin (University of Cambridge) 'Notes Toward a General Theory of Reproductivity'

Using the case study of IVF, this talk contrasts two models of reproduction inside-out, and outside-in to ask where and how reproduction takes place, exactly. By examining how we situate reproductivity in relation, for example, to structure, agency, organisation, discourse, or materiality, we can usefully consider the uses of this concept. Like 'the question concerning technology', with which it arguably has much in common, how we model reproductivity is at once an obvious and under-analysed question, and one that is deservedly receiving much greater attention across the disciplines. Full details
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27 May 201415:00

Speaker: Pierre-Olivier Methot, Universite Laval, Quebec, Canada, 'Mirko Grmek's investigative pathway'

Trained as a physician and well-versed in Ancient medicine, Croatian-born historian of science Mirko D. Grmek (1924-2000) was also a world reference on French physiologist Claude Bernard, a scholar on 17th and 19th century sciences of life, a leading thinker of the emergence of AIDS, and a commentator on the collapse of Yugoslavia. A member of the Resistance during the war, he directed the first Institute for the History of Medicine in Croatia before establishing himself in Paris where he worked under the guidance of Alexandre Koyre, Fernand Braudel, and Georges Canguihem, prior to becoming professor at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes (1973-1989). Despite his scholarly achievements and international recognition - he received the Sarton Medal in 1991 - Grmek, as an intellectual figure, remains little known outside France. Focussing on his theoretical reflections deriving from his historical studies, this paper considers how these have led Grmek into an engagement with contemporary social and political problems, and examines more broadly the cultural and scientific currents that contributed in making him an influential figure in the intellectual history of science and medicine during the second half of the 20th century.. Full details
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20 May 201415:00

Speaker: Mathias Grote, Technische Universitt Berlin - Neither natural, nor species? Ways of classifying in 20th century microbiology

Is a phylogenetic classification the only scientific way of putting bacteria in order?. Full details
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19 May 201415:00

Dr Adam Toon (Exeter), Situating Science

SPA Research Seminar: Dr Adam Toon (Exeter), Situating Science. Full details
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12 May 201415:00

Dr Julian Kieverstein, U of Amsterdam Life-Mind Continuity and the Limits of Mechanistic Explanation.

Abstract: The starting point for my paper will be a debate about the limits of mechanistic explanation in neuroscience (and in the biological sciences more generally). Proponents of dynamical systems approaches to cognitive science have argued that brain processes exhibit system level dynamical properties that resist description in mechanistic terms (Silberstein & Chemero 2010; 2013). Neural systems are made up of component parts that systematically and continuously affect each other in a nonlinear fashion. Moreover, oscillations, feedback loops and recurrent connections play an essential role in understanding system-level, network properties in brains. Systems exhibiting these properties do not admit of functional decomposition and localization of functions to components parts that are the signatures of mechanistic explanation. Defenders of mechanistic explanation (Craver, Kaplan, Bechtel) have responded that a system can exhibit the type of emergent behaviours that make it resistant to localisation and decomposition, and still be susceptible to mechanistic explanation. Ill focus on the recent arguments of Bechtel in my talk (Bechtel 2008; forthcoming). He has been arguing that the lesson to be drawn from the arguments of the dynamists is that we need to update our view of biological mechanisms. In particular we must view biological mechanisms as functioning in the context of dynamically, active, living systems. This has led Bechtel to agree with dynamicists that the defining properties of living systems such as self-organisation, circular causality and autopoiesis are also the defining properties of cognitive systems. I will follow Godfrey-Smith and others in labelling this the life-mind continuity thesis. Some dynamicists (e.g. those defending an enactive theory of cognition) have argued that the life-mind continuity thesis means embracing a form of teleology that is unacceptable to the mechanist (Thompson 2007). The life-mind continuity thesis points to the limits of mechanistic explanation. The question I want to take up in my talk is whether one can endorse a life-mind continuity thesis without accepting this further claim that self-producing, self-organising beings make living systems fundamentally different from machines. I will pursue this question through the example of work in systems neuroscience that points to the interdependence of emotion and cognitive processing in the brain. I will suggest that this interdependence is naturally interpreted as supporting a life-mind continuity thesis but it can also be naturally understood by appeal to Bechtels concept of active mechanisms. Full details
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6 May 201414:00

Krithika Srinivasan (University of Exeter). Caring for collectives: Biopower in wildlife conservation.

This Paper explores the complicated manners in which animal wellbeing is constructed and pursued in contemporary wildlife conservation. Using insights from Foucault's work on biopolitics to examine turtle conservation in India, it offers an account of conservation as population politics, questioning the entanglement of harm and care that infuses this space of more-than human social change. In doing this, the paper elaborates the concept of agential subjectification in order to track the mechanisms that underlie the asymmetric circulation of biopower in human-animal interactions and to critically reflect on present-day manifestations of the 'will to improve'. Full details
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10 - 11 April 201413:00

Quo Vadis Namomedicine? Organiser: Prof Michael Schillmeier

The aim of this two day workshop is to bring together leading nanomedicine researchers and scholars from the Science and Technology Studies to reflect and discuss the past, present and future of nanomedicine. Full details
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10 April 201412:00

Speaker: Warwick Anderson (University of Sydney) 'Getting Ahead of One's Self?'

This open seminar is part of a meeting on 'Immunitary Geographies', jointly organised by the Departments of Geography, History and Sociology, Politics and Anthropology and will be followed by a small workshop at Byrne House 'Topologies of Immunity' with further papers and more opportunity for discussion. Full details
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10 April 2014

Workshop - Topologies of Immunity (organiser - Prof Gail Davies)

This workshop will seek to understand the spaces and places associated with alternative ways of thinking about immunology. We seek to bring together, scientific, social theoretical, artistic and wider public experiments with understandings of immunological relations to encourage on-going and inventive exchange about these new species, sites and spaces of immunology. The workshop follows a seminar by Warwick Anderson in Building One. For further details and programme please see attachment. Full details
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31 March 201415:00

Speakers: Paul Griffiths & Karola Stotz: Causal Foundations of Biological Information

CANCELLED (20/3/14).We hope to reschedule this seminar for the next academic year. Full details
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27 March 201415:30

Professor Karima Bennoune (UC Davis) '"Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here": The human rights struggle against Muslim fundamentalism.'

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24 March 201415:00

Dr John Danaher (Keele University), The Design of Social Epistemic Systems: Lessons from the Legal Trial

Abstract: Social epistemic systems are systems in which agents and institutions send and receive signals, and generate judgments of truth or falsity. The legal trial is a paradigmatic example of such a system. Taking this characterisation onboard, this paper sets out to provide a taxonomy of the different epistemic interventions into the legal system, and to develop a framework for evaluating such interventions. The taxonomy identifies four types of intervention, which vary in how they treat human agency (information hiding, instrumentalising, enhancing, and by-passing). The framework works from a multi-dimensional theory of legitimacy conditions. To illustrate the advantages of this framework, a specific case study is analysed. The case study is the increasing use of data-mining algorithms in legal decision-making. It is argued that the increasing use of such algorithms poses a new type of legitimacy threat to the legal system (the threat of algocracy). The paper concludes by evaluating three proposed solutions to this threat. Each is found to be lacking. Full details
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17 March 201415:00

Dr Tom Roberts (University of Exeter), Emotion Regulation and Responsibility

Abstract:Often, we hold individuals responsible for the emotions they undergo - for instance, we criticize a person for finding a racist joke amusing, and we praise someone for feeling righteous anger when she encounters injustice. Two competing approaches to the nature of emotional responsibility have emerged in the literature, whose defining disagreement is over the extent to which a subject must exert voluntary control over her emotions in order to be an appropriate target of praise or blame for them. On the one hand, Aristotelian accounts hold that a person's responsibility lies in the cultivation of character traits over time - the (often deliberate and self-conscious) development of emotional tendencies and responses over the course of a life. On the other hand, reasons-responsiveness views hold that what matters is the agent's rational sensitivity to appropriate kinds of reason, a sensitivity that reveals or discloses her values and identity. For example, a person is responsible for episodes of fear just when these states respond in a suitable way to dangers or threats. On theories of this kind, the historical provenance of an individual's emotional capacities, and the extent to which she has exerted voluntary control over them, is largely immaterial to the question of whether she is responsible for their outputs.I argue that these two approaches to understanding the nature of emotional responsibility have paid insufficient attention to our powers of emotional self-regulation, which offer a degree of short-term voluntary control over our affective states that is not the same as the long-term cultivation of character promoted by Aristotelian views, and which is not captured by reasons-responsiveness as typically understood. Our capacities of emotion-regulation come in several forms, including situation-selection and modification; cognitive change; attention-direction; and modification of expression. These powers permit us to modulate, suppress, initiate, or encourage emotional states in the course of our moment-to-moment affective responding. Regulatory powers can be exercised in such a way as to be in opposition to the subject's rational assessment of her situation (for instance, she can control her fear even though she takes herself to be in peril), or they can be deployed in order to bring her emotional response into line with that assessment (for example, to bring forth her grief at the loss of a loved one). Self-regulation contributes to our emotional responsibility, then, by offering ways of voluntarily affecting our emotional states that do not rely on long-term cultivation of character, and which do not always align with our rational assessment of relevant reasons. A thoroughgoing theory of emotional responsibility must attend to self-regulation.. Full details
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6 March 201410:00

Workshop - Epigenetics: Assessing the evidence & its implications (organiser - Dr Ginny Russell)

This workshop will briefly review the various understandings of epigenetics and review the designs used to assess epigenetic evidence, and whether the claims made about this new field are reasonable.We are also interested in asking questions about the social and philosophical implications of Epigenetics and this workshop is designed to be a platform to discuss what these might be. Full details
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10 February 201415:00

Speaker: Gemma Anderson (University of the Arts London and Falmouth University) Isomorphology; Artistic research as scientific critique

I will discuss how extensive research and collaboration with the Natural History Museum and Imperial College has developed the concept and practice of Isomorphology. A methodology which incorporates both artistic and scientific methods, Isomorphology reaches beyond conventional scientific understanding, and critiques the contemporary system of scientific order. I will discuss the creative possibilities of Isomorphology in both artistic and scientific contexts. Full details
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3 February 201416:00

How to use your Social Sciences degree where it counts

The College of Social Sciences and International Studies Employability team in conjunction with SOCANTSOC welcome Jamie Piriou to hold an interactive session for Social Sciences students, especially Sociology and Anthropology, to discuss how you can translate the skills and knowledge you gain from your degree into an area of work. This will be an informal talk and discussion. Jamie's Biography: Jamie Piriou, Senior Service Manager, Humanitarian Action and Youth, British Red Cross. Jamie's work history includes, European Commission, Civic Education Project Manager, Zambia; OSCE, Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights;organising International Election Observation Missions in Bosnia, Montenegro, Serbia, Ukraine, Russia, Estonia, Belarus Kyrgyzstan United Nations Volunteer - Development Programme Human Rights Observer and Press Officer. Full details
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3 February 201415:00

Professor Joanna Latimer (Cardiff), "Unsettling Conditions? Motility, human division and posthuman imperatives"

SPA Research Seminar: Abstract:Contrasting two trajectories of the posthuman debate, I explore how their different imperatives challenge humanisms binding binaries through the creation of new libratory imaginaries of hybridity and connection. The first longstanding trajectory of the posthuman debate arises out of concerns overtechnology. Utopian visions of human-technology hybrids that extend peoples powers to carve out their own futures run up against a lineage going back to Heidegger and Foucault - one that unpicks notions of the discrete, self-contained and autonomous individual, but nonetheless views the fall or disappearance of the human as dangerous and even dystopian. Drawing on ideas of relational extension that de-centre the subject, my own field studies show how the proliferation of technologies inside contemporary health care are not so much medical as they create materials for managing how care is conducted. Supporting Stratherns critique of the culture of enhancement - and her observation that technology works us as much as we work it - my findings suggest many technologies diminish peoples power; many are turned on practitioners and patients alike in ways that exaggerate the individuation of responsibility and intensify the precarity of identity and belonging. Contrastingly, the second trajectory derives from the DNA revolution in biology and the mapping of the genome. Debates here stress substance in common, affording possibilities for connection and new biosocialities that undo division in humanisms dualisms. Specifically, postgenomic imaginaries are seen to have the potential to change the conditions of possibility for the production and reproduction of humanisms central figure: the autonomous individual capable of living the ethical life. In my recent field studies of genetic medicine and ageing biology Ihighlight how humanist and posthumanist imperatives actually work together in ways that reject any totalising narrative. Instead of a new start that abandons the dividing practices that hold human exceptionalism in place, we see cultural performances within the clinic and the laboratory that are adept at shifting people and their grounds, back and forth, across both human and posthuman imaginaries. What comes into view in my work across both of these trajectories of the posthuman debate is elicitation for humans to be motile as much as mobile, moved by human and posthuman imperatives alike. The over-riding imperative though is to be on call, continuously switching extensions and shifting the world to hand; an endless condition of never being allowed to settle. Full details
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28 January 201416:00

Speaker: Dr Helen Curry (University of Cambridge) - 'Tinkering with Genes and Chromosomes in the Lab and Garden, 1930 - 1960'

This talk will consider the history of a few techniques used to modify the genes and chromosomes of agricultural and horticultural plants in the mid-twentieth century. These include exposure to radiation from x-rays and radioisotopes and the application of chemical mutagens.. Full details
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20 January 201415:00

Speaker: Professor Peter Simons (Trinity College, Dublin) 'Why Process Metaphysics?'

Process metaphysics is a species of metaphysical view according to which the most fundamental entities in the natural universe are processes rather than things or substances. While a minority view in the history of metaphysics, it has enjoyed supporters from Heraclitus to Whitehead, its most frequently cited 20th century advocate. Whiteheads own view, influential though it has been, chiefly in North America, is in fact somewhat eccentric in its understanding of the term process. Process metaphysics has made something of a comeback in recent years under the names perdurantism and four-dimensionalism. In this talk I will consider reasons from science and philosophy for and against subscribing to the priority of processes, finding some good and some less so, and concluding with an argument to the effect that, while processes are arguably the fundamental entities, there is a further layer of metaphysical ultimates below that of processes. Full details
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13 January 201415:00

Eva von Redecker, Institute for Philosophy, Humboldt University Berlin, "Disobedience as association: Butler with Arendt on radical change."

Abstract: Usually, "subversion" or "resignification", the post-structuralist concepts for change put forward most prominently in the work of Judith Butler, are seen as the constricted, if not defeatist vocabulary of a political theory beyond hope for radical change or revolution. Contrary to this, I want to reconstruct Butler's notion of performative critique as a key term to account for social transformation.The norm-changing effect of a particular local practice was initially construed in Butler's analysis of the Drag Queen at the end of Gender Trouble. Interestingly, Butler gives there an account of critique closely mapped on acts of civil disobedience, especially as they were performed by ACT UP protesting the AIDS crisis. Yet within her own framework, Butler cannot account for the felicity conditions of the performative she envisages. Hannah Arendt's critique of individualist conceptions of civil disobedience provides the cue to solve this dilemma: only if we consider the collective dimension of deviant acts can we account both for their precarious stability and their transformative impact.Speaker Bio: Eva von Redecker works in the area of critical theory and social philosophy, both in the tradition of the Frankfurt School and from the perspectives of feminist and queer theory on social change, history, gender, property, recognition and power. Eva has authored an introduction to the work of Judith Butler and a monograph on Hannah Arendt's moral philosophy. Full details
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16 December 201314:00

Nightshades: You say potato, I say patata

Part of the HASS-funded project Symbiology Lab: The Arts of Living Together the workshop is the first in a series of events to address questions of form, design, and creativity in the applied biosciences, and to contribute to new ways of thinking about and engaging with the interface between culture and nature in the postgenomic age. Full details
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12 - 13 December 201314:00

The Value of Open Science

This workshop brings together biologists, social scientists and philosophers to explore the challenges and opportunities presented by the recent RCUK policy on Open Access. We will discuss the impact of Open Access mandates on scientific practice and the ways in which they foster research and innovation, particularly in the fields of systems and synthetic biology.. Full details
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25 November 201315:00

Data labours: Looking after the sequence universe

How are we to practically engage with distributed information infrastructures in order to address questions of form, design, and creativity?. Full details
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11 November 201315:00

Symbiology Lab Seminar with Dr Astrid Schrader

This paper explores the relationship between scientific responsibility and nonhuman contributions to agency in experimental practices. Full details
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4 November 201315:00

Prof. John Eade, (UCL), 'Desecularisation in the Global City: Religious Diversity and Growth in Contemporary London'

Abstract:During the last 60 years three forms of mobility have played a crucial role in the process of home-making across London global migration, suburbanisation and gentrification. While these mobilities have been extensively analysed in terms of secular processes, the role of religion is becoming ever more evident as Christian congregations revive and a variety of mosques, temples and gurudwaras transform local landscapes. This talk will explore the continuing, albeit changing, relevance of religion in London by analysing the involvement by Christian, Muslim and Hindu congregations in the making of multiple homes across the metropolis. I will link this process of diverse home-makings to current debates about post-secular cities. While global migration, suburbanisation and gentrification operate here in specific local contexts across a particular city, these modes of mobility operate around the globe and encourage comparison with American and Australian cities. Hence, the talk will conclude by referring to the global context of both desecularisation and secularisation in urban conditions. Full details
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18 October 201319:00

Dr Christine Hauskeller will take part in a debate organised by the University of Exeter Debating Society

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14 October 201315:00

Dr Samantha Hurn (University of Exeter) - Baboon cosmopolitanism: other-than-human moralities in a multi-species community

Egenis Seminar: Human conflict with other-than-human animals (henceforth animals) is a regular occurrence where species meet and compete for access to resources (Knight 2005). This paper focuses on a specific example of inter-species conflict; that which occurs between humans and Chacma baboons (Papio ursinus) on South Africas Cape Peninsula. While baboons are widely regarded by locals and wildlife managers as part of South Africas wildlife heritage, the conservation of these animals is controversial because they are not classified as an endangered species. Moreover, their ability to adapt to increased urbanization through, amongst other techniques, the exploitation of non-traditional foodstuffs appropriated from their human neighbours, places them in often mortal danger of retributive attacks they have, quite literally, become victims of their own success.. Full details
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10 October 201312:00

Consultancy workshop for Sociologist

Consultancy is a career choice that is well suited to social scientists, focusing on project based roles with some of the highest profile national and international clients. Deloitte is one of the big four professional services firms. They offer fantastic opportunities for bright graduates on their graduate training programmes. To get an idea of what consultancy is like, Ben Steward (BSc Psychology 2006) will be leading a workshop and Q&A session so you can experience the role of a consultant with Deloitte. There will also be information about applying for the graduate programme intake for September 2014. Applications need to be in soon, so before you get weighed down with work, take a step towards securing your career now!. Full details
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7 October 201315:00

Dr Jean Harrington (Kings College London), Title TBC

SPA Research Seminar: Dr Jean Harrington (Kings College London), Title TBC. Full details
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30 September 201315:00

Iconic Representations and Representative Practices

Egenis Seminar.A discussion of Peirces philosophy, and in particular his distinctive formulation of pragmatism. Full details
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12 - 14 July 2013

Joint Session 2013

The Joint Session is a philosophy conference run by the Aristotelian Society in conjunction with the Mind Association. It is a key event in the annual philosophical calendar, attracting prestigious UK and international speakers working in a range of philosophical areas. The 87th Joint Session will be held at the University of Exeter from 12 - 14 July 2013. Full details
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4 - 5 July 2013

British Society for the Philosophy of Science Annual Conference 2013

The purpose of the British Society for the Philosophy of Science is to study the logic, the methods, and the philosophy of science, as well as those of the various special sciences, including the social sciences. The annual conference of the British Society for the Philosophy of Science for 2013 will be held at the University of Exeter on 4-5 July. The conference comprises plenary sessions and sessions of contributed papers. Full details
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26 June 201313:00

Prof Jeffrey Alexander (Yale), Title TBC

SPA Research seminar - Prof Jeffrey Alexander (Yale), Title TBC. Full details
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10 June 201316:00

Department seminar with Prof Gavin Kitching (De Montfort)

Department of Sociology, Philosophy and Anthropology seminar. Full details
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20 May 201315:30

Dr Javier Lezaun: Screens and filters: curating the open archive

Egenis seminar with Dr Javier Lezaun. Full details
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10 - 11 May 2013

The SSIS Annual Postgraduate Research Conference

On Friday 10th and Saturday 11th May the SSIS Annual Postgraduate Research Conference will be held. The event will bring PGR students from across the college together to discuss their current research. Full details
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9 May 201313:30

Annual SSIS Research Methods Festival

The Annual College of Social Sciences and International Studies Research Methods Festival has been designed to complement the PGR research seminar training sessions which take place across the academic year. The event aims to introduce delegates to a range of contemporary research projects and methodological issues and to allow students further exploration and discussion of research related issues. Our keynote speaker for the event will be Professor Gaby Weiner, who will be speaking about her recently published text: Deconstructing and Reconstructing Lives. The event will end with a mock viva, which will enable students an insight into this process of examination. A drinks reception will also be held after this session. Full details
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29 April 201315:00

Dr Shane Glackin, (Exeter), "The Publicity of Language and the Species Concept"

Dr Shane Glackin, (Exeter), "The Publicity of Language and the Species Concept". Full details
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25 March 201315:30

Egenis seminar with Ann-Sophie Barwich (Egenis)

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18 March 201315:30

Egenis/CMH seminar with Professor Holger Maehle

Professor Holger Maehle is Director of the Centre for the History of Medicine and Disease, Durham University. Full details
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11 March 201315:30

Egenis seminar with Professor Barry Barnes

Professor Barnes, formerly co-director of Egenis, is known for his pioneering work on the sociological study of knowledge generation and evaluation in science. Full details
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6 March 201315:30

Prof. Victor Caston (Michigan) - Title TBC

Prof. Victor Caston (Michigan) - Title TBC. Full details
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28 February - 1 March 201313:00

The Anthropology of Kinship(s): Imagine Kinship

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18 February 20133:30

Professor Julie Kent - Blood relations: Gender, maternity and blood safety

Egenis Seminar with Professor Julie Kent (University of the West of England). Full details
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28 January 201315:00

Dr Stephen Burwood (Hull) "Head, Brain and Self: a Phenomenological Entanglement"

Dr Stephen Burwood (Hull) "Head, Brain and Self: a Phenomenological Entanglement". Full details
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28 January 20139:30

ESRC Seminar Series: The role of diagnosis in health and wellbeing: Diagnosis, technologies and innovation

A social science perspective on the social, economic and political costs and consequences of diagnosis. Key speakers include: Andrew Webster, Sally Wyatt and Katie Featherstone. Full details
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18 January 201310:30

Expert workshop: Understanding Evolvability and Robustness

This workshop brings together biologists, philosophers, engineers and mathematicians interested in systems and synthetic biology, in order to discuss the central notion of evolvability: the capacity of organisms for adaptive evolution, which secures the emergence of beneficial traits that can undergo natural selection.. Full details
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17 January 201317:00

An evening with Deloitte with drinks reception for Sociology and Philosophy students

Format of the event:Hot topics session on Deloitte's involvement in large capital projects such as the Olympic Games / Q&A session with a manager in this area by a Senior PresenterPresentation on how Sociology/Exeter helped Claire get a career in Consulting An overview of Deloitte's application process and top tipsThis lecture will be followed by drinks / canapes to allow students to speak to recent social sciences graduates about their experiences at Deloitte and ask questions.Please note: the drinks reception will be held in the Mezannine area of the business school. We have been asked to inform you that drinks are not to be placed on the ledge of this are due to potential injury to those below. Full details
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3 December 201215:00

CANCELLED: Sociology & Philosophy Research Seminar: Dr Stephen Burwood, University of Hull, "Phenomenological Reasons for Thinking that the Brain is the Self"

Please note this event has been cancelled. Full details
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21 November 201213:00

Understanding Business for Social Scientists

We show how social sciences students can demonstrate business acumen to employers. Business awareness applies to a variety of careers- even teachers need commercial awareness! This session will provide the tools to enable you to discuss your understanding of business more confidently at interview. This event is part of a series of talks delivered by the Careers team in the College of Social Sciences and International studies. Full details
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5 November 201215:00

Sociology & Philosophy Research Seminar: Dr Ed Skidelsky: 'Happiness and Pleasure

Abstract: In the utilitarian tradition, happiness and pleasure are not usually distinguished. I argue that this is a mistake. Happiness typically entails beliefs about the world; pleasure typically does not. Once the distinction between happiness and pleasure is recognised, utilitarianism as an ethical system becomes considerably less attractive.. Full details
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24 October 201212:00

What job would suit me?

Careers consultant Tom McAndrew will talk through how you can find out what your strengths and weaknesses are, what skills and attributes you possess and how you can match them to potential careers. This event is part of a series of talks delivered by the Careers team in the College of Social Sciences and International studies.. Full details
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16 October 201213:00

What Career can I do with a Social Sciences Degree?

Careers consultant Tom McAndrew will run through some of the ways you can research careers, find out what may suit you. This talk is aimed at penultimate and final year social sciences students - especially if you have no idea what you want to do! Materials will also be available. This event is part of a series of talks delivered by the Careers team in the College of Social Sciences and International studies.. Full details
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12 - 13 July 2012

Making Data Accessible to All

Data curation, use and publication in plant science. Plant scientists are often required to donate data to open access databases (for instance, by the BBSRC data management policy). They are also encouraged to make use of these databases in order to boost their research and speed up discovery. It is not yet clear, however, whether and how these practices are affecting experimentation within the plant sciences, and whether data donation and use on a large scale has been effective in fostering innovative research. The focus of this workshop is to discuss issues surrounding data donation, data use and publication from the viewpoint of plant biologists, with the aim to produce a series of recommendations about the problems involved in data dissemination in plant science. Full details
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12 June 201215:00

Egenis Seminar: title to be confirmed

Egenis Seminar. Full details
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31 May 201215:30

Robert & Edward Skidelsky present & sign their new book, "How Much is Enough?"

Book presentation and signing by Robert & Edward Skidelsky, with commentaries from Ian Hampsher-Monk and Richard Seaford. Full details
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21 May 201215:00

Egenis Seminar: Growing meat with stem cells: In vitro meat in context

Egenis Seminar. Full details
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14 May 201215:00

Egenis Seminar: title to be confirmed

Egenis Seminar. Full details
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7 May 201215:00

Interactive Origins of the Socially Extended Mind

Sociology and Philosophy Departmental Seminars 2011-2012. Full details
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30 April 201215:00

Rethinking the Patentability of Human Genes in view of the recent US and EU Judicial Resolutions

Egenis Seminar. Full details
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2 April 201214:00

Egenis Seminar: title to be confirmed

Egenis Seminar. Full details
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26 March 201215:00

Producing Sound Judgments: Inside the Music Adjudication Process

Sociology and Philosophy Departmental Seminars 2011-2012. Full details
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15 March 201214:00

The Leadership Journey

David Wood is Strategic Director, Criminality and Detention Group, UK Border Agency. He will talk about his rise through the police and how the qualifications he gained along the way helped him to get from police constable to Deputy Assistant Commissioner.. Full details
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12 March 201215:00

Music Therapy and Health Humanities

Professor Brian Abrams, Department of Music, Montclair State University, USA. Full details
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8 March 201214:00

Careers Options within the University

Tess Nixon is a sociology graduate from 2003. She became heavily involved in student life including sitting on Guild Council, volunteering with Community Action and societies and representing Sociology students. After three years employed by the Students' Guild as Community Action Coordinator she joined the DARO team in September 2007. Her current role is to develop and strengthen relationships with our Alumni and supporters and secure major gifts.Tess will talk about working in charities and the third sector as well as talk about opportunities within the University. Full details
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20 February 201212:00

What to do with a degree in Philosophy?

Ruth Porter, Communications Director at the Institute of Economic Affairs will talk from her own experience about the interaction of think tanks and trade associations with the government and talk about communication and media roles.This event is for students in the Philosophy department. If you would like to attend this event, please email Julia Paci. Full details
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6 February 201215:00

Research and Pedagogy. A History of Quantum Physics through its Early Textbooks

Sociology and Philosophy Departmental Seminars 2011-2012. Full details
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9 January 201215:00

Moral Enhancement

Sociology and Philosophy Departmental Seminars 2011-2012. Full details
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5 December 201115:00

Critical Theory in the Neo-Liberal Age

Sociology and Philosophy Departmental Seminars 2011-2012. Full details
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7 November 201115:00

Muslim/non-Muslim relations in the UK

Sociology and Philosophy Departmental Seminars 2011-2012. Full details
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