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Techniques of the Corporation

May 04 2017 to May 07 2017 | University of Toronto Technoscience Research Unit

Deadline: January 13 2017

Updated: November 10 2016

Conference organization Justin Douglas, Bretton Fosbrook, Kira Lussier, Michelle Murphy

How do corporations know themselves and their world? Over the last 150 years, corporations, like universities and laboratories, have generated an abundance of knowledge-making techniques in the form of psychological tests, efficiency technologies, scenario planning, and logistical systems. As dominant forms of the last century, corporations are assembled with instruments, infrastructures, and interventions that arrange and rearrange the dynamics of capitalism. These techniques of the corporation have filtered into our daily lives, influencing everyday understandings of self, inequality, environment, and society.

Techniques of the Corporation will assemble an interdisciplinary network of established and emerging scholars whose work contributes to the critical study of the techniques, epistemologies, and imaginaries of the 20th-century corporation. This conference aims to foster a timely conversation between Science and Technology Studies (STS) approaches and the recent histories of capitalism. We treat the corporation in the same way that historians of science and STS scholars have approached science, colonialism, and militarism as generative sites for knowledge production, value-making, and technopolitics. The conference takes as its starting place North American corporations with the understanding that corporations are multinational forms with complex transnational histories. Building from the recent history of capitalism, we attend to the entangled genealogies of corporations with slavery, exploitation, environmental destruction, colonialism, and inequality.

Hosted by the Technoscience Research Unit at the University of Toronto, this event will be an intimate multi-day conversation between established and emerging scholars in the fields of STS, history of science, and the history of capitalism. Techniques of the Corporation will be headlined by keynote speaker Joseph Dumit, and features invited talks by Dan Bouk, Elspeth Brown, Deborah Cowen, Orit Halpern, Louis Hyman, Michelle Murphy, Martha Poon, and Elise Thorburn. The conference will be an immersive experience in the Greater Toronto Area with meals and cocktails provided.

We invite emerging and established scholars in diverse fields (including business history; labour history; anthropology; geography; economic sociology; media studies; critical race studies; architecture studies; feminist and sexuality studies; environmental studies; and cultural studies) to explore the techniques, epistemologies, and imaginaries of corporations. Our overall goal is to crystallize a new field, culminating in a field-defining publication. We welcome work on corporate practices that exceed calculative logics, such as work on social relations, affective and psychological states, and speculative futurities. In addition to traditional papers, the conference encourages creative methods to query corporate forms, including art installations, videos, interactive multimedia projects, and role-playing games. Applications for travel assistance will be arranged after acceptance.


Corporate practices, include, but are not limited to:
management. sharing economy, data management, marketing, risk management, corporate culture. planning, corporate responsibility, consulting, infrastructure, sustainability, research and development, logistics, corporate design,
intellectual property, gaming, precarity, affective labor, racial surveillance, architecture,transnational capital,
Please submit abstracts of no more than 300 words and a CV to the conference organizers at corporatetechniques@gmail.com by 13 January 2017.