Visiting Scholar at Berkeley’s Center for Science, Technology, Medicine and Society

Campanile

Two of Berkeley’s landmarks: The Campanile (in the back) and the Doe Memorial Library.

It has been a while since this blog has received an essential update. This happened mainly because I moved to the U.S. to begin my time as a visiting scholar at the University of California, Berkeley. I have been here for exactly two months and will stay for almost another half a year. I also maintain blog that covers my spare time experiences and is updated more frequently – it is written in German, since it is intended for my family and friends at home.

I am affiliated with the Center for Science, Technology, Medicine and Society at the University of California, Berkeley – or short CSTMS (in informal language, it is also called “customs”). The CSTMS is a vivid research hub that attracts researchers from all kinds of disciplines. It has only a few employees but draws from an incredible network of scholars from all over Berkeley and the world. Although the time and the setting here are very different from my summer last year at the Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society, I enjoy the events, discussions and spaces the center has to offer very much. If you are also interested in becoming a visiting scholar, feel free to get in touch or read how you can apply.

sanfrancisco_eastbay

The bay from a plane: San Francisco (in front), Oakland (back right) and Berkeley (back center).

I spend most of my days in the beautiful libraries of Berkeley, writing the publications for my dissertation. Additionally, I audit two classes for graduate students. One is an introduction to science and technology studies, lead by Massimo Mazzotti, the director of the CSTMS. It gives a historic overview of the development of the field. The second seminar, supervised by Cori Hayden, now dean of Berkeley’s Anthropology Department and the former director of the CSTMS, is about “Cloud and Crowds”. We revisit historic and current crowd theory (Le Bon, Canetti, et al.) and discuss these texts in relation to today’s crowd phenomena in ICT and elsewhere.

What is different at Berkeley compared to the universities where I have studied previously is the sheer incredible number of events and activities one can sign up for. In average, every day there are more than two workshops, talks, working group meetings, movies or panel discussions that are of interest to me. I try to participate in some of these event, but with a slightly bad conscience since I came to advance with my PhD thesis.