Symbiology Lab Seminar with Dr Astrid Schrader
Reaction, Response, and Responsibility in Experimentation with Toxic Dinoflagellates: And Say the Microorganisms Responded?
This paper explores the relationship between scientific responsibility and nonhuman contributions to agency in experimental practices.
|An Egenis, the Centre for the Study of Life Sciences seminar|
|Date||11 November 2013|
|Time||15:00 to 16:30|
Drawing on research with toxic marine microorganisms that thrive in polluted coastal waters and periodically kill a large number of fish, this paper explores the relationship between scientific responsibility and nonhuman contributions to agency in experimental practices. Building on Karen Barad’s framework of ‘agential realism’ and Jacques Derrida’s deconstruction of ‘our’ anthropocentric notions of time and history, I explore how assumptions about nonhuman species beings affect the ecological/political relevance of experiments that seek to provide evidence for the toxicity of fish-killing dinoflagellates. In elaborating on the phantomatic character of the dinoflagellate Pfiesteria piscicida, whose ecological histories matter to what they become, the paper proposes a new ontology for scientific objects and a notion of responsibility in scientific experimentation that hinges on the capability of the object of study to respond, that is, the microbe’s response-ability.