Engineered Worlds

Free and open to the public.

Friday, October 2 - Saturday, October 3

Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society
5701 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60637

Thinking across carbon, plastics, synthetic chemical, and nuclear economies, this conference brought together interdisciplinary scholars working on the co-production of society and nature today. A core undertaking of this ongoing Neubauer Collegium initiative is to contemplate the kind of social theory needed to evaluate planetary scale ecological changes that have differential effects for both populations and localities.

Presented by Neubauer Collegium Fellow and University of Chicago Professor Joseph Masco, in collaboration with Tim Choy (Science and Technology Studies, University of California-Davis), Jake Kosek (Geography, University of California-Berkeley), and Michelle Murphy (History, University of Toronto).

Conference Agenda

Friday October 2

09:30am -- Coffee
10:00am – Engineered Worlds Introduction (Joe Masco)

Panel I – Life in Industrial Environments
10:15am – David Bond - “Environment: A Disastrous History of the Hydrocarbon Present”
10:45am – Michelle Murphy - “Alterlife: Futures in the Aftermath of Industrial Chemicals”
11:15am – Discussion

12:00pm-1:00pm Lunch

Panel II – The Laboring Body

1:00pm – Elizabeth Johnson – “Re-placing Labor in the Engineered Ecologies of the Anthropocene”
1:30pm – Alex Blanchette – “De-Skilling Life: Industrial Hormones and the Overworking of the Modern Pig”
2:00pm – Discussion

2:45pm– 03:15pm Coffee

Panel III -- Modified Living
3:15pm – Elaine Gan – “Rhythms and Cycles: Aleatory Attunements of Miracle Rice”
3:45pm – Jake Kosek – “Bio-chemical Industrial Complexities: The Making of the Modern Honeybee”
4:15pm – Discussion

5:00pm  Reception - drinks

Saturday, October 3
09:30 -- Coffee
Panel I -- Inhabiting Infrastructures

10:15am – Deborah Cowen – “Engineering Logistical Life"
10:45am -- Nicholas Shapiro – “Dwelling in Late Industrialism: Domestic Formaldehyde from the Surreal to the Sublime”
11:15am – Discussion

12:00-1:00 – Lunch

Panel II – Contagious Environments

1:00pm – Gregg Mitman  -- “Parasites of Capitalism: Tales of Ecology and Disease in a Neoliberal Age”
1:30pm – Nicole Starosielski – “Ecologies of the Undersea Network”
2:00pm – Discussion

2:45pm – 3:15pm Coffee

Panel III – Living In, and Through, Engineered Worlds
3:15pm – Tim Choy – “Drawing Breath Together”
3:45pm – Beth Povinelli – “Toxic Sovereignties”
4:15pm – Discussion
5:00pm -- Concluding Comments
5:15pm -- Reception – Drinks 

Audio Files:

October 2, First Recording
October 2, Second Recording
October 2, Third Recording
October 3, First Recording
October 3, Second Recording

​October 3, Third Recording