Ecologies and Material Politics of the Inorganic
Organizers: Manuel Tironi, Nerea Calvillo & Max Liboiron
Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) images of  aerosol particles, including black carbon from Posfai et al. (1999).

Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) images of aerosol particles, including black carbon from Posfai et al. (1999).

Open Session CFP for the Joint Meeting of Society for Social Studies of Science (4S) and Sociedad Latinoamericana de Estudios Sociales de la Ciencia y la Tecnología (ESOCITE) 
August 20 – 23, 2014 | Buenos Aires, Argentina

Minerals, chemicals, aerosols and other inorganic entities sustain, expand and interfere with life on Earth. Their incessant activity shapes – and disrupts – ecosystems, atmospheres and landscapes. STS scholars have studied how different devices spark these entities into being, but less attention has been paid to the systematic way such materials exceed, sometimes with harmful and even lethal results, the structures set up for their measurement, valuation and management. Recognizing the permanence and recalcitrance of these materials means imagining new regimes of co-habitation, provoking new experimental modes of material/human engagement, and intervention. It also entails redefining our understandings of hazards, harm, contamination, risks and uncertainties. Chemical and geological things open up questions about the materiality of political life that, despite the recent turn to the Anthropocene, STS has not fully addressed. In this open panel we are interested in thinking about the agency of inorganic entities, and the political configurations they unbound, create, and necessitate. We seek to go beyond analyses of performativity to speculate about the autonomy of materials, even as they are entangled in multiple wider systems, and their role configuring public life and politics: we look beyond mere descriptions of the activities of these materials, towards how they operate on the ground, and how we, as STS scholars, can use our research to intervene into the processes, politics, and social lives they engender. We are interested in experiments and applications that articulate mineral-chemical/human relations in novel ways so that new vocabularies, imaginaries and modes of action become possible. We invite papers working on, but not limited to, the following issues:
• Chemical and geological unpredictability and harm.
• New modes of mineral-chemical/human conviviality.
• Affects and effects of chemicals.
• Cosmopolitics of/with the geological.
• Political experiments in/for the Anthropocene.
• Temporal and spatial organizations of 21st century materials.
• Alternative schema and practices for apprehending and knowing the inorganic.
Deadline for submissions March 3, 2014. 
Submission abstracts should be up to 250 words. Paper titles should not exceed 10 words.
Languages accepted: English/Spanish/Portuguese
To apply, submit an “individual abstract” via the 4S portal at
Once you have a user name and password, go to submit proposal > submit new proposal > paper abstract. After entering your details, check the box beside Open Session #54 Ecologies and Material Politics of the Inorganic. 
Methylmercury in liquid form.

Methylmercury in liquid form.