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4S in Copenhagen

Last week I gave a talk at the annual meeting of 4S, the Society for Social Studies of Science, in Copenhagen. It was a great excuse to visit a city I'd never been to before, and a nice change of scenery from an autumn devoted to reading for my comprehensive exam (and in York's STS program, is it ever comprehensive!)

After giving myself permission to enjoy my trip and not feel guilty for not keeping up the reading pace, I ended up doing much more work than I expected; mainly writing notes on pdf files of papers in my Documentary Film list. I use GoodReader to read and annotate files on my iPad, which was much easier than lugging stacks of printed papers or books on a transatlantic flight. The difficulty is that I find the iPad sluggish when I try to type notes and work off the pdf file at the same time, so I just wrote in my moleskin notebook and typed them up later.

The conference itself was vibrant and well-designed, much like Copenhagen. Based on the theme of "Design and Displacement" many talks dealt with the phenomenon of the "Copenhagenization" of sustainable urban planning which attempts to replicate the city's successes. We also were exposed to the phenomenon of the "New Nordic Diet" through both the presentation of research on its beneficial effects and being offered conference lunches and a banquet. New Nordic food feels both light and hearty, and very tasty, although some of the more bitter herbs and salty seaweed were too pungent for me. The link between academic work and food was brought home by my friends Cam and Ali, whose website playfully details their ongoing projects in the realm of embodied and reflexive sensory experimentation.

The New Nordic Diet in action

The sixth issue of Spontaneous Generations, whose focused discussion on Visual Representation and Science I coedited with Ari Gross, was published a few weeks before I left. Coming to the end of that kind of collaboration was really satisfying, and I'm thrilled at the response from the HPS and STS community. Work has already begun on the seventh issue, and it's a bit of a relief to no longer be at the reins, especially since my reading schedule has ramped up for the final 5 weeks.

In order to streamline my reading efforts, I've scaled back my social networking, extracurriculars, tv, and travel. I'm trying to use my jetlag-induced early rising to get a jumpstart on the day's reading, which has been pretty successful so far. I'm also making exciting post-exam plans to make up for this temporary exile from fun. Procrastination still emerges in the form of alternate projects (like this blog post, or cooking elaborate breakfasts from scratch) but it's much easier to control when I have a definite sense of the amount of work I need to get done in a day as I count down the days to the exam...

I'd better get back to work.


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