Marianne de Laet

Professor of Anthropology and Science, Technology, and Society

As an anthropologist of science and technology, I engage scientists and engineers as if they were a foreign tribe, so to speak. I consider science and engineering in culture – as among its constitutive elements; but also asculture – as cultural spaces in their own right, with attendant idiosyncratic practices and conventions. I am keen on destabilizing frameworks that are easily taken for granted, and categories hold special fascination for me: how categories are made, how they do their work, how they become stable and solid, and what happens if we probe their conditions of production and their consequences, so as to imagine how ordering might be done differently.

My current research concerns explores three themes: Subjectivities: Practices of Sensing, concerns faculties of the body – such as tasting, sniffing, touching, and knowing. Material Relationalities has to do with material objects and the practices they engender. Innovation and/in engineering practices investigates the material relationalities of the collaborations that make for innovation in STEM fields.

All of these endeavors are unimaginable without the input and the collegiality that my students bring.