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Technoscience, Postcolonialism, and the Return of Difference

Gender Studies & CFR Spring 2013 Noontime Lecture Series

Dr. Kavita Philip interrogates technoscience, postcolonialism, and lived histories of difference.

Why look at science, technology and postcolonialism? Is Indian technological modernity a good model for thinking these together? And what’s feminism got to do with it? There are powerful resonances, in secular modernizing India, between the buzzwords of technological innovation and the dominant religious modes of representing religion, nation, nature and gender. This paper articulates a framework through which we might interrogate the constitutive intersectionality of technoscience, postcolonialism, and lived histories of difference. It argues that, while India is only one among many possible spaces from which to theorize, the issues of postcolonial technopolitics that are emerging across the postcolonial world are of central and practical (rather than marginal and theoretical) importance to a range of issues that cut across the humanities & the social, computational and natural sciences. What might it mean to think South Asian studies (and, in general, Areas Studies) together with Technology Studies? Thinking through the uncertainty and sense of crisis that has gripped US technocrats since the beginning of the 21st century, along with the emergence of the myth of the Indian computer programmer, I suggest that we are immersed in an assemblage that calls for the development of new forms of interdisciplinarity.