WTMC PhD Workshop Care as Concept, Method, Ethic, 22-24 June 2020

Conference Centre Soeterbeeck, Deursen-Dennenburg, The Netherlands


While STS has a long tradition of studying ‘care’ as an object of research, of talking about care, recent approaches challenge the conventional readings and uses of ‘care’. For example, Joan Tronto proposes to “explore its significance as an ethical and political obligation for thinking in the more than human worlds of technoscience and natureculture” in her endorsement for Matters of Care. For while STS has profoundly questioned the categories of human/non-human, nature/culture, it has so far largely failed or refused to take this questioning and its consequences onto itself: while our objects of study have become hybrid and messy, STS still seems to assume ” that our own research is not directly related to these more than human worlds it is situated in” (Jerak-Zuiderent, 2018, p. 56).

In this workshop, we will engage with care as proposed by the ground-breaking writing of Haraway, Puig de la Bellacasa, Tsing, and Nading and others. This work aimed to explore the possibilities of care in/with our multispecied and diverse world. Here, care is about the responsibilities of STS researchers to attend to the (often invisible) labour that gets us through the day, to articulate the work it takes to live in this world as well as possible – and to do research as well as possible. Care is also about an ethic that contrasts with engagement with matters of fact or matters of concern. Can care further help us explore how human-machine associations (machine-learning, care-robots, tracking devices) tend to train us to leave unquestioned the human care-work? Can attention to care help clarify the risks we run, if care is rendered useless or largely transformed into data for others?  In addition, the workshop will address how to re-engage with affect: is care an alternative to critical distance between ourselves and those we study? Engaging with care is thus not only about revealing invisible care-work beyond situations we are used to associate with care, but also about generating care by pausing over these engagements. It is also about exploring the epistemic potential of “the affective, ethical and hands-on agencies of practical and material consequence” (Puig de la Bellacasa, 2017, p. 4). We will look at what it means to move from thinking and writing about care, to (critically) thinking and doing with care.

Guest lecturers: Israel Rodríguez Giralt (UO de Catalunia), Iris Wallenburg (EUR), Christian Ernsten (UM), and Esha Shah (WUR).

The workshop is residential. It starts on June 22nd at 10.30 AM and ends on June 24th at 4 PM.

The registration form for this workshop has been closed.

After their acceptance, participants will receive an email with an invoice and online-payment request and receipt. To participate, you must pay the fee via the online payment request. Registration to the workshop is final after the advance payment has been received by WTMC.

Costs for WTMC members: meals 10 EUR /day.
Costs for everyone else: 695 EUR, including fee, accommodation and meals.


If you have any content-related questions regarding this workshop, please feel free to contact the training coordinators Anne Beaulieu: [email protected] or Bernike Pasveer: [email protected]
For practical questions please contact Elize Schiweck: [email protected]

Jerak-Zuiderent, Sonja (2018), Review of Matters of Care. Science & Technology Studies, 31(2), 55-58.
Haraway, Donna (2015). Anthropocene, capitalocene, plantationocene, chthulucene: making kin. Environmental Humanities 6, 159-165.
Puig de la Bellacasa, Maria (2017). Matters of Care: Speculative Ethics in More Than Human Worlds. University of Minnesota Press.
Nading, Alex (2014). Mosquito Trails. Ecology, Health, and the Politics of Entanglement. Oakland, CA: University of California Press.
Tsing, Anna (2015). The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins. Princeton University Press.