Science and Technology Studies Collective

The STS Collective is an intellectual home for UBC Okanagan faculty members working on research topics connected to critical science and technology studies.

As an interdisciplinary group of scholars, we approach the social and cultural study of science and technology through historical, sociological, gender studies, critical race studies, anthropological and literary frameworks. Our research and teaching explore how science and technology shape human lives and how power and social structures, in turn, shape science and technology. Each of us focuses on specific cultural, historical, material, and socioeconomic contexts to critically interrogate the broader implications of technoscientific knowledges in these spaces—from studying the sites and methods of technoscientific knowledge production to tracing their modes of delivery and mobilization within society. Central to our work is a recognition that technoscientific knowledge can become complicit in sustaining social hierarchies, promoting colonialism, and fostering oppressive ideologies. As a Collective, we seek to gain a better understanding of how science and technology at times re/produces these structures of inequality and exploitation, and we work to build more equitable technoscientific futures in line with UBC’s commitment to anti-racism, decolonization, and social justice.

The group began in 2019/20 as the STS Reading Group, convened by Heather Latimer (Gender & Women’s Studies) and Natalie Forssman (Community, Culture and Global Studies), and focused on texts that challenged the naturalization of kinship, as defined through hereditary, biological relations and legal regimes. In 2020-2021 our theme was nature/artifice and the group was led by Heather Latimer and Margaret Carlyle (History & Sociology).

For 2021–2022 our theme was reproductive technologies and the group session included several guest speakers, including a lecture series funded by the provost’s anti-racism initiative.

The STS Collective’s goal is to support individual and collaborative research, teaching, and outreach in science and technology studies at UBC Okanagan. It is administered using consensual, democratic, and participatory strategies.

Feminist horror festival

Join us September 26 to Halloween for a series of film screenings, art activities, speaker series, book club and more.

SEE UPCOMING events

Feminist horror festival written in spooky font.

Team bios

Learn more about the faculty members that make up the Science and Technology Studies Collective and the milestones they’ve achieved thus far.

Margaret Carlyle came to UBC Okanagan in 2020 from the University of Chicago’s Institute on the Formation of Knowledge, where she was also a faculty undergraduate honours and graduate supervisor on the Committee on the Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science (CHSS), which operates in collaboration with the Fishbein Center for the History of Science and Medicine. She previously held a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Cambridge (2013–15) and was an Affiliate of Christ’s College, was a Molina Fellow in History of Medicine & Allied Sciences, Huntington Library (2014), and held a visiting assistant professorship in the Department of History at the University of Minnesota (2015–17). Her research focuses on the intersection of gender, the body, and technology in the rise of modern medicine. She pays particular attention to the historic role of women—as healers, midwives, innovators, and artisans—in the formation of medical and scientific knowledge. Her work draws on diverse archival sources, including medical objects and instruments; imagery and visual culture; and printed and manuscript records.

Margaret has published in a variety of journals, from the well-established The Lancet to the recently founded KNOW: A Journal on the Formation of Knowledge. She has co-authored a special journal issue on Anatomical Things (2022) with art historian Katherine Reinhart and has a co-edited volume (with Scottie Buehler) on “Obstetrical Objects” under review at the Bulletin of the History of Medicine. She has an advanced book contract for her monograph on Women and Anatomy in Enlightenment France with McGill-Queen’s University Press and is currently preparing her second book project funded by a SSHRC Insight Development Grant on Reproductive Technologies in the French Atlantic World (in conversation with University of Chicago Press). As a member of a UBC-based research group led by Dr. Fuchsia Howard focusing on educational tools for chronic pelvic pain, Margaret currently holds funding from the Innovation Funding Investment (HIFI) and Convening and Collaborating Michael Smith Health Research BC (MSHRBC). Margaret is the recipient of a UBC Curricular and Teaching Innovation Grant (2023–24) that will be used to support a course in which students will create a podcast on reproductive technologies.

Agnieszka Doll is a socio-legal scholar in law, health, science, and regulation and an Assistant Professor at the Department of History and Sociology at the University of British Columbia Okanagan. Her research agenda centers on critical engagement with regulatory spaces, professional power and processes of knowledge production in medico-legal borderlands, specifically at the nexus of law and mental health. She has a book, tentatively titled Unaccountable Legalities: Mental Health Law, Legal Aid Lawyering and Institutional Entanglements, under contract with the University of Toronto Press and a co-edited volume, Political Activist Ethnography: Studies in the Social Relations of Struggle, forthcoming in the Fall 2023 (Athabasca University Press). Currently, Agnieszka is completing an ethnographic project informed by science and technology studies on the regulations of psychedelics in Canada and is currently developing a project on technopsychiatry.

Natalie Forssman is Assistant Professor of Teaching in the Department of Community, Culture and Global Studies, teaching and engaging in educational leadership in the Anthropology program and Bachelor of Sustainability degree. She received her PhD in Communication and Science Studies from the University of California, San Diego, where she researched histories and practices of knowledge production, particularly the roles of objects, mediational technologies, landscapes, and human and nonhuman bodies in constructing environmental knowledges. She was part of a transdisciplinary research project on the Anthropocene, bringing anthropology, environmental history, biodiversity and conservation, and arts practice methods into contact to understand human-altered landscapes. Before joining CCGS, she taught communication at UBC Okanagan’s School of Engineering, with a focus on equity, justice, participatory methods, and interdisciplinarity in engineering research, design, and professional practice. She has co-authored publications and presentations both in the scholarship of teaching and learning, and in interdisciplinary environmental humanities and science and technology studies methods, including a recent chapter in Rubber Boots Methods for the Anthropocene: Curiosity, Collaboration, and Critical Description in the Study of Co-Species Worlds (University of Minnesota Press).

Catherine Higgs is professor of History in the Department of History and Sociology at UBC Okanagan. She earned her PhD in colonial and modern African history at Yale University. She is the author of two monographs, including Chocolate Islands: Cocoa, Slavery and Colonial Africa (2012), and co-editor of another two volumes, including In India and East Africa/E-Indiya nase East Africa: A Travelogue in isiXhosa and English (2020). A new book on women’s activism in apartheid South Africa is under review by the University of Wisconsin Press. Her approach to the study of practices of labour, technology, colonialism, and agricultural production is interdisciplinary and transnational. She has also authored additional articles and chapters that explore the intersections of politics, religion, labor, and activism. Her newest project will explore the environmental aspects of science and technology studies, focusing on the intersections between vegetarianism, food access, race and class in urban South Africa.

Heather Latimer teaches in Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies in the Department of Community, Culture and Global Studies. Her research seeks to understand and explain the history of reproductive politics and technologies by studying representations of reproduction, mostly in science fiction and film. She has published essays in leading journals such as Social Text, Modern Fiction Studies, Feminist Theory (2021); Atlantis: Critical Studies in Gender, Culture & Social Justice (2020); Journal of Intercultural Studies (2019), and, most recently, in Feminist Studies (2022; 2023). She has also recently published essays in the anthologies Representing Abortion (2021) and Rewriting the Abortion Narrative (2023). Her first book is entitled Reproductive Acts: Sexual Polities in North American Fiction and Film (McGill-Queen’s, 2013) and she is currently writing a new book on the role of dystopian fiction in contemporary reproductive politics. She teaches classes on reproduction, biopower, feminist epistemologies, and critical sexuality studies.

Laura A. Meek is a cultural and medical anthropologist whose primary research centers around counterfeit pharmaceuticals, fugitive science, and the politics of healing in East Africa. She is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Community, Culture and Global Studies at the University of British Columbia, Okanagan. Before joining UBC in 2022, she spent three years as a faculty member in the interdisciplinary Centre for the Humanities and Medicine at the University of Hong Kong. Dr. Meek received her Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of California, Davis, and an M.A. in Women’s Studies from George Washington University. She teaches courses on embodiment and body politics, African fiction as world-making praxis, global health and international development, fugitive science, decolonizing the anthropological canon, and critical medical anthropology.

Dr. Meek’s first book project, Pharmaceuticals in Divergence: Radical Uncertainty and World-Making Tastes in Tanzania, is based on over three years of ethnographic fieldwork in Tanzania, and explores the bodily epistemologies and fugitive sciences through which interlocutors assess, decipher, and challenge biomedical claims, while also demonstrating how they transform pharmaceuticals, allowing these substances to act outside the logics of biomedicine. Her second project, The Grammar of Leprosy: Temporal Politics and the Impossible Subject, is a multi-sited and interdisciplinary research project on the temporal politics of leprosy elimination campaigns across historical archives, scientific knowledge production, and global health initiatives. Her work has appeared in leading cultural and medical anthropology and STS journals, including Feminist Anthropology; Medicine, Anthropology, Theory; Science, Technology, and Human Values; Anthropology and Humanism; and Medical Anthropology Quarterly, as well as in the edited volumes Reimagining Indian Ocean Worlds (2020) and Covid Conspiracy Theories in Global Perspective (2023). Dr. Meek recently co-edited, with geographer Abigail Neely, a special issue of Medical Anthropology Quarterly (2023) on the limits of medicine and healing. She also regularly publishes public-facing scholarship in venues such as Platypus, Somatosphere, and Africa Is A Country.

Sajjad Nejatie is Assistant Professor at UBCO’s Department of History and Sociology. He obtained his PhD in Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations from the University of Toronto where he specialized in the history and culture of the Islamicate world, with a focus on Persianate Asia. While his interests encompass the history of science and technology in the Islamicate world more broadly, his current research focuses on the development of occult-scientific imperialism in 18th-century Iran and South Asia.

Mike Zajko’s interest in STS began when studying controversies over climate science that were prominent in the years around 2009, and became an important voice in this field after publishing an article in Society in 2011. Since then, Dr. Zajko has authored several works on telecommunications policy and infrastructure, including debates over internet regulation, privacy, surveillance, and cyber security. Since coming to UBC in 2018, he has published the most recent of these, a book entitled Telecom Tensions, (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2021). He also studies various forms of social inequality and how these relate to algorithms, artificial intelligence, and the use of digital technologies to provide government services, with articles appearing in Surveillance and Society, AI & Society and Sociology Compass, one of the top-ranked Sociology journals in the world.