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Forskningsenheden for videnskabs- og teknologihistorie og filosofi


HPST is devoted to the study of the history and current development of the sciences, technology and medicine. The disciplinary focus of the group is the history of science, history of ideas, STS and philosophy and sociology of science. The purpose of the unit is to firmly anchor this field of research and teaching at the department for philosophy and the history of ideas. The working language of the group is English and we welcome all colleagues with an interest in this field of research.

The Unit activities are announced at the beginning of term and include:

-          Research presentations by invited speakers

-          HPST/CSS Term Seminar (jointly organised with the Centre for Science Studies, AU)

-          Work-in-Progress sessions and brown bag seminars based on the research of group members.

Journal Club and information sharing regarding conferences, funding opportunities, new publications field, etc.

Begivenheder E2020

De fleste aktiviteter vil i dette semester foregå via zoom. Kontakt gerne enhedskoordinator Casper Andersen (ideca@cas.au.dk) hvis du ønsker at deltage i et seminar. 

Onsdag d. 9. september, kl. 11-12.

Helene Scott-Fordsmand (Ph.d.-scholar, Medical Museion, Copenhagen University)

Material encounters in medical practice  – The power of materiality and epistemic relations to the body

Abstract: In medical practice we can think of the body as an epistemic object. Physicians often have routine practices to handle, control and determine the body, but at times the body presents itself as indeterminate. In different ways this switch between routine and indeterminacy mirrors notions from the recent practice turn of philosophy of science: of control and negotiation (from Simons 2017), routine and resistance (Knorr Cetina 2001), or techniques and epistemic things (Rheinberger 1997). While these different notions have come a long way from a generalist (naïve realist) philosophy of science in helping us make sense of epistemic encounters, I will argue that there is more work to be done in developing a full theoretical framework. And that looking at the body as an epistemic object in medical practice may help us do so. Particularly, I think there is a need to move still further away from ideas of materiality as passive matter and towards an idea of material power, where bodies in medical practice are not merely passively delimiting or shaping our practices, but can, potentially, actively disrupt them.Drawing on Lacanian and Kristevean thoughts, I build on the vocabulary from the practice turn in order to develop a notion of material power that may help us describe and understand ‘abject encounters’ in epistemic practices. That is, encounters that can neither be characterised by a compliant object or unproblematic object relation (routine), nor by an indeterminate but open object or dialogical object relation (indeterminacy), but in which the object shuts itself off from further investigation, refuses to cooperate.The presentation will be philosophical of nature, but will also draw on examples from ethnographic fieldwork carried out in medical practice.


Følgende medlemmer af programmet deltager regelmæssigt i enhedens aktiviteter. De fleste aktiviteter er åbne for andre interesserede. Kontakt koordinatoren for yderligere information.