Guests LOST Group


Helen Verran is professor of the history and philosophy of science and works as a senior researcher in a project on transdisciplinary research and indigenous knowledge systems at Charles Darwin University. Helen Verran is particularly interested in philosophical aspects of liaising disparate knowledge traditions and the relationship of epistemological and governmental techniques. In Halle she gave a talk on the past and present of social studies of numbers and speculated about future ontologically focused investigations, meaning studies that unravel the ontic saliences of numbers and show their ordering effects.

Amy Field is a PhD student at the Department of Anthropology of New York University. Her dissertation research - "Bauernhöfe statt Agrarfabriken" - investigates the development of animal- and environmentally-friendly husbandry practices, their relationship with protection laws and regulations, and working as transformative agents of rural livelihoods in Germany.

Theodore Porter is professor at the Department of History of the University of California (Los Angeles). He is the author of The Rise of Statistical Thinking (1986), Trust in Numbers: The Pursuit of Objectivity in Science and Public Life (1995), and Karl Pearson: The Scientific Life in a Statistical Age (2004). As a historian of science he worked on objectifying practices and the history of quantification. In his extensive work on statistics he historically traces the emergence of technologies of standardized calculative reasoning, and the growing importance of such technologies for political rule. Understanding statistical techniques as a response to a political culture of distrusting experts and elites, he shows us how statal administration and procedures of political decision making became ever more entwined with scientific numerical demonstrations.


Marko Monteiro is professor at the Institute of Geosciences of Campinas State University. He is an anthropologist of science and technology being particularly interested in the work of visualization. More recently he has done research on the production of scientific evidence in medicine, by analyzing the interaction between scientists and digital images. His current ethnographic project engages with politics and remote sensing practices in Brazil. It tries to better understand the interrelations between technologically mediated forest reconnaissance, policies of resource governance and concerning matters like deforestation.

Uli Beisel holds a PhD in Human Geography. Her previous research was concerned with malaria control in Ghana, looking at health politics, the social ecology of malaria, and the complexities of mosquito-parasite-human interactions.

Anne Fleckstein is a PhD Candidate at the Graduiertenkolleg Mediale Historiographien of the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar. Her PhD project "Establishing as complete a picture as possible" is concerned with performativity, mediality and the constitution of "truth" in the public hearings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa.

Satyel Larson is a PhD Candidate at the Department of Rhetoric of the University of California (Berkeley) finalizing her dissertation Bearing Knowledge: Law, Reproduction and the Female Body in Modern Morocco, 1912-Present. By analyzing the protracted pregnancies known throughout the Maghreb as ‘the sleeping baby in the mother’s womb,’ this dissertation challenges assumptions of a natural reproductive body in liberal feminist theories of law and medicine to offer a new account of the relationship between historical modes of reproductive expertise and the performance and regulation of the female reproductive body.

Amade M’charek is associate professor at the department of Anthropology of the University of Amsterdam where she acts as the co-director of the research program group Health, Care and the Body. Her focus of research is particularly on genetic diversity, population genetics and forensic DNA practices. Her interest is in the ir/relevance of race in such practice, the ways in which race is enacted in them, and the relation that is established between the individual and the collective. She has published on these topics, e.g. The Human Genome Diversity Project: An ethnography of scientific practice (2005, Cambridge University Press).She is currently working on a project called “Dutchness in Genes and Genealogy” a project on technologies of belonging and the collaborations between geneticists, archaeologists and genealogists.

Andreas Eckert is professor at the unit of African Studies at the Humboldt University Berlin. In January he gave a presentation about "How does one write a history of Africa since 1850?".


Pamela Feldman-Savelsberg, Professor of Anthropology at Carleton College (USA), is spending her 2010-11 sabbatical conducting fieldwork on ways African migrants to Europe manage the complications of belonging and exclusion through their childbearing and childrearing strategies. Extending prior research on rural-to-urban Bamiléké women migrants’ social networks and reproductive decisions in Cameroon, it studies how Bamiléké migrants to Berlin use childbearing to affect the ways they and their children belong to families, to cultural communities, and to countries.
Pamela Feldman-Savelsberg is also spending this year with the LOST group, and with the Arbeitskreis Medical Anthropology at the Free University-Berlin. She is participating in the LOST weekly colloquium, and will present papers both at the MPI seminar and at the LOST weekly colloquium.
Pamela Feldman-Savelsberg received her PhD in Anthropology from Johns Hopkins University in 1990. Her research develops the concept of "reproductive insecurity," focusing on fertility/infertility, gender, social networks, and rumor in the context of an intensifying politics of belonging. She investigates these issues across time, through investigations of collective memory, and across space, through comparing domestic and transnational diasporas. In December 2010, she gave a talk on "Birth and Belonging in an African Diaspora".

Johanna Crane is an Assistant Professor at the University of Washington-Bothell and a Stetten Postdoctoral Fellow at the National Institutes of Health in the United States. She spent two months with the LOST group in June and July of 2010. She attended the Conference on "Bodies and Bodiliness in Africa" in Moshi, Tanzania, where she presented the paper, “Doing Global Health: The Value of Bodies in Place.” She also participated in the LOST weekly colloquium, where she presented the paper “Scrambling for Africa? AIDS and the Rise of Global Health Partnerships in the American Academy.” In July 2010, she presented the paper “The Politics of Participation” at an MPI seminar.
Johanna Crane received her PhD in Medical Anthropology from the University of California San Francisco/Berkeley in 2007. Her research interests include HIV/AIDS in the United States and Uganda, biomedical science in postcolonial settings, and science and social inequality.

Amade M’charek is associate professor at the department of Anthropology of the University of Amsterdam. In July she presented a paper called „The HeLa Error: On the aesthetics of wholeness and the materiality of race“.


Manjari Mahajan, a postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Social Science Research Council in the United States, spent three weeks with the LOST group in June 2009. While at the Max Planck Institute, she presented a paper titled "Evacuating the Public Out of Citizenship" at the LOST conference on "Governance and Biomedicine in Africa". She additionally presented the papers "Governing through the Non-Governmental: Shifting Terrains of Public Health in India" and "Designing Epidemics: Models, Policymaking, and Global Foreknowledge in Indias AIDS Crisis" at MPI seminars.
Manjari Mahajan's research interests include science and technology studies, public health, law, and humanitarian emergencies. In particular, she is interested in the politics of knowledge that underlie shifts in the conceptualization of public health. Her dissertation work focused on the politics and sociology of the AIDS epidemics in India and South Africa. She earned her doctorate from the Department of Science and Technology Studies at Cornell University in June 2008, and holds a Masters from the Science Policy Research Institute (SPRU) at Sussex University, and a B.A. from Harvard University.


Noa Vaisman, a Postdoctoral Lecturer in the Human Rights Program at the University of Chicago spent almost a month (November-December 2008) with the LOST group where she was exploring avenues for a new research topic. The project she is developing centers on the complicated relations between conceptions of the body and the psyche in sites of pharmaceutical drug trials in South Africa. Specifically, how do pharmaceutical companies and their representatives negotiate and articulate different and sometimes contradicting understandings of the relations between the body and the psyche in test trials of psychiatric medicine. What conceptions of the psyche and its “functioning” are embedded in these test trials and how are they negotiated and reshaped in and through the interchange with local explanations and treatment of different states of the psyche. Dr. Vaisman also participated in the theory reading group discussions and was a commentator in the bi-weekly research colloquium of Prof. Rottenburg.

Sheila Jasanoff, from the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University gave a lecture on “Making Objectivity in Regulatory Science: Sites and Practices”. (18th June 2008)


Susan Reynolds Whyte from the Department of Anthropology, University of Copenhagen gave a lecture on "Revealing the Hidden: HIV testing and divination compared”. (03rd July 2007)

Steven Robins from the Department of Sociology & Social Anthropology, University of Stellenbosch gave a lecture on “From 'Rights' to 'Ritual': AIDS activism in South Africa”. (13th June 2007). He was a DAAD guest professor at the MLU on the initiative of the LOST Group for the summer semester April to July 2007

Lauren Muller from the University of Stellenbosch spent 4 months (April to July 2007) to work on a journal article and doctoral chapters on the role of technology and discourse to produce the emergent field of global mental health.

Jessica Mesman from the Department of Technology & Society Studies, University of Maastricht was invited to join a workshop on Science and Technology Studies. (7th June 2007)

Viola Hörbst from the Department of Social Anthropology, University of Munich was invited to join a workshop on Science and Technology Studies. (7th June 2007)


Sheila Jasanoff from the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University gave a lecture on “Biotechnology and Empire: Reflections on science and political culture”. (6th July 2004)

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