Stick to the science – an interview with Bruno Latour

[Unedited writedown from an interview to Bruno Latour @ Festivaletteratura 2018 on occasion of Scienceground 2, Mantova, Sunday September 9th, 2018. Edited Italian version on iltascabile.it]

[On the dispute with Sokal-Bricmont] A big one I had in a big theatre in the middle of London. Eight hundred people screaming, half of them against me and half of them against Sokal. Sokal is a nice guy actually, he was defending the last stand of the old epistemology. But now all of that is gone, actually Sokal wrote that we won. He was interrogated about climate skepticism, and everyone realized that the ones that were defending the scientists were us, and that the whole epistemological defense of science was no use against the big corporations and big deniers. So, the Sokal affair was the last ditch, so to speak, the last effort of the traditional epistemology to defend itself, and then we realized it was a very bad defense, because when you are attacked, seriously, by a denier of climate science, you need another version of science.

[On postmodernism] All of these disputes are 20th century. We’re in another century. Sokal is a 20th century question, postmodernism is a 20th century question.… Read the rest

SCIENCEGROUND 1.5 – Microbes

The program of Scienceground 1.5 @Festivaletteratura 2019, Mantova 4-8 September. All the references are to the program of the festival,  which can be downloaded at www.festivaletteratura.it.

Drawings by Andrea De Franco

A COMMON GROUND FOR EXCHANGING IDEAS ON THE SCIENTIFIC WORLD

Organized by Piccola Comunità Scientifica ExTemporanea

«When you try to observe microbes or viruses, you end up finding links that are part of what people call “society”. They are two sides of the same coin. This is why it is not necessary to get out of science to explain its social aspects. We need to enter into the various disciplines – and then it will be the connections between the scientific objects themselves to define society, for you and us.»

Bruno Latour, interview at Scienceground 2, 2018

If we had to rebuild Palazzo Te now and decide the subjects to depict, how would we fresco the walls? We could certainly dedicate one room to the microorganisms that populate our environment and bodies – even larger in number than our own cells! So, just as the rooms of Palazzo Te are dedicated to giants, emblems and metamorphoses, the Isabella d’Este high school will host THE BACTERIA HALL, THE MOULD ROOM, THE YEAST ATRIUM AND THE VIRUS CLOISTER.… Read the rest

Big Food

As part of the activities organized around the visit of Gyorgy Scrinis, together with Centro di Salute Internazionale and Dipartimento di Storia Culture e Civiltà we have organized this focus group on corporate influence on the public health agenda.

December 6, 3:30 pm – Aula Capitani – Department of History and Cultures
BIG FOOD. CORPORATE INFLUENCE ON THE PUBLIC HEALTH AGENDA

The incidence of nutrition-related disorders such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension and cardiopathies is on the rise, as well as the concerns about the impact of ultra-processed food on our health. The multinational corporations of food industry, collectively known as Big Food, have answered to these concerns by shifting the attention from the quality of the food to the individual nutrients, identified as both the problem to solve and the answer to nutrition-related disorders. Ultimately, this strategy serves the purpose to shift the attention from the structural causes of the nutrition-related pathologies, including the role of Big Food itself in creating an unhealthy food environment via the production of ultra-processed and packaged food. In parallel, food corporations have used various strategies to influence the political and governance processes in order to create and maintain a regulatory environment that is favourable to their practices and the commercialization of their products.… Read the rest