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Intersecting Processes New England Workshop on Science and Social Change

May 30 2017 | Old Fire Station, Woods Hole MA,

Updated: April 09 2017

In this four-day workshop participants will create spaces, interactions, and support in formulating plans to extend our own projects of inquiry and engagement around "intersecting processes."

(*a limited number can participate from a distance via google+ hangout)

Taylor and García Barrios (1995; following Wolf 1982, 387 ) introduced the term to capture the ways that social and environmental change involves processes operating at different spatial and temporal scales and drawing on elements as diverse as the local climate and geo-morphology, social norms, work relations, and national political economic policy. Such intersecting processes are interlinked in the production of any outcome and in their own on-going transformation. An equivalent picture fits the changing structures we face in many areas, such as biomedicine and epidemiology, agriculture and ecological restoration, political economy and mental illness, science and social theory, project-based learning and fostering creativity. To understand such complexity requires our attention to the ways the intersecting processes transgress boundaries and restructure “internal” dynamics, thus ensuring that the situations do not have clearly defined boundaries and are not simply governed by coherent, internally driven dynamics. Engaging with such complexity invites agents to link "transversally" across different kinds of agents and scale, not to focus on one class or place or dynamic.

Activities during the workshop will, as they have at NewSSC since 2004, build on what the particular group of participants contribute and employ a range of tools and processes for "connecting, probing, and reflecting" so as to support and learn from each others' inquiries. The workshop format, in brief, includes an activity together as a group each morning and again for an hour at the end of the day. In between, time is spent in independent research related to the workshop topic, in conversations, and in other pursuits that participants find helpful for advancing our projects.

The intended outcomes include: a) products that reflect our inquiries and plans, conveyed in work-in-progress presentations (10-15 minutes) and revised in response to feedback so as to be shared outside the workshop, b) experiences that motivate us to take our individual projects beyond their current scope or level of activity, and c) stock-taking towards developing the workshop format. This year, with a view to assembling and distributing a collective product that can engage and influence wider audiences, the expectation of a shareable product is emphasized. In this spirit, travel subsidies will be guaranteed for participants who submit a draft working paper in advance and revise it by the end of the workshop.

Applications are sought from teachers, researchers, graduate students, and activists who are interested in facilitating discussion, reflection, avid learning, and clarifying one's identity and affinities in relation to the workshop topic. The workshop format allows for a limited number of participants over the internet. Newcomers and return participants are welcome.

Registration is on a sliding scale--$125 (for those with low incomes and lack of travel support) up to $300 (for those with a decent income and institutional/grant support). Registration covers meal costs, but not accommodation, which is at a local, moderately priced motel. The funding available to help get people to the workshop is modest, but we have managed to subsidize travel and accommodation in past years according to need (which favors graduate students and independent scholars). Online participant registration is on a sliding scale: $50 - $125. Some funding support may be supplied by The Pumping Station. For an extra charge, 1-3 graduate credits are available for workshop participation and completion of a related project.

Applications via the weblink. (Spaces still available as of 3/6/17) For more details, see Participants should talk to the organizer or assistant before the workshop to explore ideas for developing projects making good use of the workshop format.

Organizer: Peter J. Taylor, University of Massachusetts Boston, Science in a Changing World graduate track,

Program Wikipages for participants (password-protected) Evaluations and reports (to be posted here after the workshop)

References Taylor, P. J. and R. García-Barrios (1995). "The social analysis of ecological change: From systems to intersecting processes." Social Science Information 34(1): 5-30. Wolf, E. (1982). Afterword. Europe and the People Without History. Berkeley, University of California Press: 385-391.