The Annual Conference of the German IPCC coordination in Nauen, Germany

Nauen, Germany
January 29th – March 1st, 2016

We took the opportunity to participate in the Annual Conference of the German IPCC coordination unit in Nauen (near Berlin), „experiencing the science-policy interface“ – as mentioned in the opening statement. It was interesting to follow the discussion after the successful COP21 in Paris last december and to digest the consequences for science policies: what kind of science and knowledges do we need to implement the ambitious goals? What is now the role of the natural sciences when it’s actually about transition? What are the pitfalls and challenges? How do we look at the 1,5°C target from a natural or a social science perspective? What about the humanities? Exciting questions – also for CCP.

Presentation at Rice University Houston (Texas) – Society for Literature, Science and the Arts SLSA

Rice University Houston, Texas – Society for Literature, Science and the Arts SLSA 29th Annual Conference: After Biopolitics
12th – 15th November, 2015

Panel with Christoph Engemann (MECS | Leuphana) and Stefan Höhne (TU Berlin): The Governmentality and Media of Survival

Abstract Talk: Areas of Invulnerability. From Survival to Resilience
Areas of Invulnerability. From Survival to Resilience
By the early 1970s distributed network thinking already seemed to have penetrated other fields of research – like for example systems ecology. The Canadian ecologist Crawford S. Holling conceptualized ecosystems as „spatially heterogeneous distributions [with] time lags“ and as a „mosaic of spatial elements with distinct biological, physical, and chemical characteristics that are linked by mechanisms of biological and physical transport“ (Holling 1978, Holling 1973). Rather than focusing on the survival of a particular species he was more interested in the persistence of a system as a whole and it’s ability to absorb certain  amounts of change and disturbance. By the use of computer simulations he explored the impacts of external shocks, the response space of a system and its „areas of invulnerabilities“, for which he defined the measure of resilience. Shocks and changes can threaten survival, but they can also be seen as learning opportunities – a surprising but consequent perspective in the light of nuclear deterrence. My paper will reconstruct the Cold War origins of resilience thinking and discuss the transition from survival to resilience that conceptualizes life as an epiphenomenon of infrastructures. I will link the discussion to contemporary biopolitics of resilience in the context of global environmental change.

For more information see here.


Conference participation at Oxford University – Controlling Environments

Oxford University – School of Geography
15th October, 2015

Talk: The Obergurgl Model – An Integrative Approach to Environmental Modelling at IIASA

Controlling Environments was a one-day interdisciplinary workshop addressing the historical and contemporary significance of the cybernetic sciences as an array of related disciplines that have, and continue to, inform the environmental sciences and other disciplinary conceptualisations of human-environment relations. It was organized by Tom Turnbull, Helge Peters and Joe Shaw. Isabell presented the case of the Obergurgl model from 1974, an interactive and participatory modeling exercise developed at IIASA in collaboration with the UNESCO MAB Programme and the University of Innbruck. The goal was sustainable development – avant la lettre – of the Tyrolean mountain village of Obergurgl.

For more information see here.

Contribution at Aarhus University, Denmark – 1970s: A Turn in the Era of the History of Science

Aarhus University – Center for Science Studies
September 14th – 15th, 2015

Talk: Cooperation without Consensus? Integrated Scientific Approaches at IIASA, 1972–1978

Matthias Heymann and his colleagues organized this rich workshop on the sciences and their relationships to broader themes of political crisis and cultural transformation in the 1970s. Many questions were raised: How did the events of the 1970s impact the sciences and their perception in broader culture? To what extent were scientists affected by changing economic and political contexts and social interests? How did scientists view society during the 1970s, and how did they seek to portray themselves in light of broader social and political unrest? In what ways did scientists contribute to change in the 1970s? Broader historiographic questions, too, were of interest: How do Cold War science narratives help or hinder to understand the 1970s? Which concepts can serve to investigate the rise of environmental interest in science and broader culture? What continuities and discontinuities in the (environmental) sciences are visible from the pre-1970s to the post-1970s? Isabell presented her research project on the IIASA and how the political context of its establishment shaped the epistemological mentality of the interdisciplinary and international research teams.

For more information see here.

The conference report can be found here.


Research Trips to the Presidential Archives of LB Johnson (Austin, TX) and the Rockefeller Archive Center (Sleepy Hollow, NY)

November 2015

For her PhD on the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) Isabell travelled to the Presidential Archives of LB Johnson in Austin and the Archives of the Ford Foundation, which are held by the Rockefeller Archive Center in Sleepy Hollow, New York. She collected documents that provide information about the role of international scientific collaboration for the bridge-building policies of the Johnson administration.