Aarhus University Seal

Roundtable with Sheila Jasanoff

Info about event


Thursday 2 June 2022,  at 13:00 - 15:00


Room 120 in building 5347 (the Wiener building, AU)

Sheila Jasanoff, Harvard University and a recent winner of the Holberg prize, is visiting Aarhus on June 2-3. Human Futures is delighted that we can host a roundtable discussion on June 2 from 13-15 with short kickoffs by Cathrine Hasse, Maja Hojer Bruun and Jacob Wamberg. We look forward to two intense hours on technology and future-making.

There is a limited number of seats, so please sign up as soon as possible.

Venue: room 120 in building 5347 (the Wiener building)

Signup: send an e-mail to kb@cc.au.dk. 

Sheila Jasanoff is Pforzheimer Professor of Science and Technology Studies at the Harvard Kennedy School. A pioneer in her field, she has authored more than 130 articles and chapters and is author or editor of more than 15 books, including The Fifth Branch, Science at the Bar, Designs on Nature, The Ethics of Invention, and Can Science Make Sense of Life? Her work explores the role of science and technology in the law, politics, and policy of modern democracies. She founded and directs the STS Program at Harvard; previously, she was founding chair of the STS Department at Cornell.


13.00 Mads Rosendahl Thomsen: Welcome

13.05 Sheila Jasanoff: Short introduction

13.10 Cathrine Hasse: "Cultural sociotechnical imaginaries"

13.40 Maja Hojer Bruun: "Engaging publics in emerging technologies through experimental ethnographic interventions"

14.10 Jacob Wamberg: "Whole and broken tools: Are Harman and Heidegger reconcilable?"

14.45 Concluding remarks.

15.00 End of roundtable.


Cathrine Hasse: Cultural sociotechnical imaginaries

  • All over the world people are encountering the same kinds of science and technology, which are deeply entrenched in engineering visions for collective futures of AI and robotics. Based on a project on robot creations in EU2028-2020 I ask about the cultural implications of these sociotechnical imaginaries and how humans invest in alignments processes and lifelong learning processes to connect local practice (rather than state-based) imaginaries with technological imaginaries of visions for a better future. Key words: cultural learning, sociotechnical imaginaries, robotics, engineers visions

Maja Hojer Bruun: Engaging publics in emerging technologies through experimental ethnographic interventions

  • Governments and technology companies sometimes invite lay publics to contribute their knowledge, habits and values when new technologies are introduced in societies and markets, typically through public hearings or consultations of small groups of individuals in isolated, transient settings such as focus groups. This may lead to insights and dialogues that are disconnected from the lived experiences of everyday living with technologies. In this short presentation I will draw on two examples of experiments with emerging technologies that engage citizens on their own turf.

Jacob Wamberg: Whole and broken tools: Are Harman and Heidegger reconcilable?

  • In Tool-Being (2002), the point of departure for his Object-Oriented Ontology (OOO), Graham Harman buries Heidegger’s whole tool with its unconscious presence, the so-called Zuhanden, in a subterranean and inaccessible domain, far away from the specifics of technology and indeed the human world. At the same time, he bundles any relations of the tool, from causation to sensation, under an umbrella that collapses Heidegger’s otherwise clear distinction between the still practice-derived reflections of the broken tool and the radically remote and solely theoretical mode of Vorhanden. In this paper, integrating Harman’s thoughts on Heidegger’s so-called fourfold, a doubling of the V-Z division according to matter in general and specific thing, I will attempt to reconcile Harman and Heidegger, both respecting Heidegger’s human-bound V-Z division and expanding it with Harman’s idea of objects beyond human relations.