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Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs

Nancy Webber
Office of the Provost

Last modified: Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awards funding of prestigious Sawyer Seminars to IU faculty

July 28, 2009

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded more than $140,000 through the prestigious Sawyer Seminars to Indiana University faculty members.

The award supports a year-long seminar series titled "Rupture and Flow: The Circulation of Technoscientific Facts and Objects." Invited experts from around the world, as well as local specialists will speak. The seminar will be divided into four eight-week sessions corresponding to four themes addressing how and why cultural, social and material forces interrupt the circulation of technoscientific objects, and with what consequences for what kinds of communities. The following IU faculty have received this honor:

  • Ilana Gershon, assistant professor of performance and ethnography, Department of Communication and Culture and adjunct professor, Department of Anthropology
  • Rebecca Lave, assistant professor, Department of Geography
  • Eden Medina, assistant professor, School of Informatics and Computing, and adjunct assistant professor, Department of History
  • Jutta Schickore, associate professor, Department of History and Philosophy of Science and adjunct professor, Department of Philosophy
  • Kalpana Shankar, assistant professor, School of Informatics and Computing

Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs and Rudy Professor of Sociology Tom Gieryn, who has done research in the interdisciplinary field of science and technology studies (STS) for more than three decades, will serve as convener for the seminar.

"It is a special delight for me to work with these five outstanding scholars, each near the beginning of her professional career," Gieryn said. "We are so pleased to have support from the Mellon Foundation, so that we can advance our intersecting interests in the culture and politics of modern science and technology."

Jutta Schickore

Jutta Schickore

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Jutta Schickore
Jutta Schickore is associate professor in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science and adjunct professor in the Department of Philosophy at IU Bloomington. Before coming to IU, she held research fellowships at the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom; the Dibner Institute for the History of Science and Technology at MIT; and the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin. She works on methodological aspects of scientific experimentation, the history of physiology and vision studies, and the problem of error in science. Her publications include Going Amiss in Experimental Research (co-edited with G. Hon and F. Steinle), Dordrecht (2009); The Microscope and the Eye: A History of Reflections, 1740-1870, Chicago (2007), which won the Paul Bunge Prize of the German Chemical Society; Revisiting Discovery and Justification: The Context Distinction in Historical and Philosophical Perspective (co-edited with F. Steinle), Dordrecht (2006), as well as several articles in history and philosophy of science journals. Recent awards include a year-long membership at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton (2007-8) and the Outstanding Junior Faculty Award, IU Bloomington (2006).

Ilana Gershon
Ilana Gershon is assistant professor of performance and ethnography in the Department of Communication and Culture and adjunct professor in the Department of Anthropology at IU Bloomington. She received her Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from the University of Chicago in 2001. Gershon has edited several special issues of journals, including "The Symboli Capital of Ignorance" Social Analysis (2000), and has published articles in American Anthropologist, Anthropological Theory, and Anthropology Today, among other journals. In her current project, she is studying how people end relationships using new technologies. By focusing on break-ups, she offers insights into the ways that people experience these new media as "new," particularly as they try to develop shared social etiquette for these innovative technologies. Gershon foregrounds the social dilemmas that emerge when shared expectations and etiquette are not yet in place for new communicative artifacts.

Kalpana Shankar

Chris Meyer

Kalpana Shankar

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Kalpana Shankar
Kalpana Shankar is an assistant professor in the School of Informatics and Computing at IU Bloomington. She received her Ph.D. in library and information science at the University of California, Los Angeles, where she studied with Anne Gilliland (archival studies), Sharon Traweek (history, STS), and Leah Lievrouw (new media, STS). Her research projects focus on the uses of data and information (digital and otherwise) in scientific pedagogy, practice and policy. She has published in Journal of the American Society of Information Science and Technology, the Journal of Documentation and other journals. She is also a co-principal investigator on ETHOS (Ethical Technologies in the Homes of Seniors), a National Science Foundation-sponsored project to investigate privacy, aging and home-based technology. In 2008, she received a Multidisciplinary Research Opportunities for Women grant from the Computing Research Association. She was invited to be a visiting researcher at the Virtual Knowledge Studio in Amsterdam, where she pursued her current interests on the use of Web 2.0 and nontraditional data sources (such as amateur records and data) in scientific research.

Medina photo

Photo by Chris Meyer

Eden Medina

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Eden Medina
Eden Medina is an assistant professor in the School of Informatics and Computing and an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of History at IU Bloomington. Her research bridges the history of technology and the history of Latin America and asks how studies of technology can enrich our understanding of broader historical processes. Medina received her Ph.D. in the history and social study of science and technology from MIT in 2005 and completed an interdisciplinary dissertation on the history of Chilean computing and its relationship to state formation. Her current book manuscript Cybernetic Socialism tells the history of the Chilean Cybersyn Project, an early computer network designed to regulate Chile's economic transition to socialism during the government of Salvador Allende. She is the recipient of a 2007-2008 National Science Foundation Scholar's Award and the 2007 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. (IEEE) Life Member's Prize for the best article of the year in electrical history. In 2005, she transformed her research into a multipart installation at the ZKM Center for Digital Art and Media as part of the "Making Things Public" exhibition curated by Bruno Latour and Peter Weibel. Medina is currently associate editor for the IEEE Annals of the History of Computing.

Rebecca Lave
Rebecca Lave received her Ph.D. in 2008 from the University of California at Berkeley, under the supervision of Michael Watts and Michael Burawoy. She is an assistant professor in the Department of Geography at IU Bloomington, teaching courses on political ecology, environmental conservation, social theory and ecological restoration. Her work focuses on nature/society relations, particularly in relation to fresh water systems in the U.S., and the political economy of scientific expertise. Lave has written several articles and book chapters about the shifting boundary between public and private science. Her current research addresses the tensions among science, markets and the state in the nascent stream mitigation banking industry in North Carolina.

Andrew W. Mellon Foundation's Sawyer Seminars
The Mellon Foundation's Sawyer Seminars program was established in 1994 to provide support for comparative research on the historical and cultural sources of contemporary developments. The seminars, named in honor of the Foundation's long-serving third president, John E. Sawyer, have brought together faculty, foreign visitors, postdoctoral fellows and graduate students from a variety of fields mainly, but not exclusively, in the humanities and social sciences, for intensive study of subjects chosen by the participants.

A small number of universities world-wide are invited to compete for the Sawyer Seminar, and this is the first time that Indiana University has submitted a successful proposal.

For more information on the seminar, e-mail