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Department of Social Anthropology


Philomathia 5th Annual Symposium is convened by five Philomathia Fellows in the Philomathia Research Programme, School of Social Sciences at the University of Cambridge


The Department of Social Anthropology is delighted to announce the details for the Philomathia 5th Annual Symposium on April 27th in Cambridge. Two of the Philomathia Fellows are Social Anthropologists: Dr. Juan del Nido (PI Prof. Joel Robbins) and Dr. Ignacia Arteaga (PI & Chair of the Philomathia Steering Committee – Dr. Perveez Mody).

The Keynote speaker will be Professor Gina Neff who is Executive Director of the Minderoo Centre for Technology & Democracy, University of Cambridge.

Entitled, Technologies: uncertainty, ethics and change, the Symposium will be hosted in Keynes Hall, King’s College, Cambridge on Thursday 27 April 2023.

Transitoriness and uncertainty are inherent conditions of modern life. Work, health and medicine, infrastructures, climate, and human and non-human lives are increasingly characterized by rapid change and instability. Technological change in those domains promises to improve living conditions and make life sustainable, in the process transforming the human experience into a paradoxical condition characterised by permanent uncertainty –a sense of continuous transition. What does it mean to live in uncertain and transitory times? This symposium interrogates the promises, ethics, and limits of technological innovation. Often seen as fixes to emerging problems, new technologies are fraught with failure, reproducing old divides and creating unintended challenges of their own. This loop of sociotechnical problems and solutions offers rich possibilities for critical scholarship. Building on the longstanding interest across diverse disciplines about the relationships between technologies and human living, this multi- and inter-disciplinary symposium brings together perspectives related to technologies, uncertainty, ethics, and transitoriness in Anthropology, Development Studies, Geography, History, Sociology and cognate disciplines.

The symposium is sponsored by the Philomathia Social Sciences Programme at the University of Cambridge.  For full details of the days programme, please see here.

This is a hybrid event, tickets to attend in person or virtually are available hereThe programme also offers a few student bursaries (up to GBP 200 each) for part reimbursement of travel and living costs for graduate / PhD students registered at another University to travel to Cambridge for the day event.   

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