Science, Technology & Society :: STS Symposium 2010

Agricultural Acts: On the Futures of Farming and Food

:: Click here for the schedule of events ::

STS Symposium 2009 - click for PDF.On Thursday, April 22, 2010, the Morrisville State College Science, Technology and Society (STS) program will present its fourth annual symposium, this year entitled "Agricultural Acts: On the Futures of Farming and Food." The symposium brings together the various elements of the debates on farming and food in order to take an interdisciplinary look at our collective food and farming futures. The title is taken from a Wendell Berry quote, which states that “eating is an agricultural act.”

The symposium engages current technological trajectories exploring modes of producing food: e.g., genetic modification vs. heirloom varieties (plants and animals); organic vs. conventional farming. Combining technical explanation with tours of existing facilities and nearby farms, interested groups can see the kinds of agricultural practices in use in central New York. Additionally, a local food network will be represented, along with other local ag-based businesses.

The symposium also confronts more conceptual issues surrounding the problems of food and agriculture. A panel discussion held on the Colgate University campus the evening before the technical tours will approach “The Limits of Local” as a response to food and agriculture issues. The panel will be composed of two historians of food and agriculture, a sociologist who studies agricultural extension practices, a local ag extension officer, and an artist whose work engages the social meaning of food. The panel discussion will be streamed live on the web on Thursday, April 22 @ 4:30pm from the following address:

:: Click here for the full schedule of events at the 4th Annual STS Symposium ::

Participants will include:

  • James E. McWilliams, PhD (History, Johns Hopkins University), Associate Professor of History at Texas State University, and author of Just Food: Where Locavores Get It Wrong and How We Can Truly Eat Responsibly , and American Pests: The Losing War on Insects from Colonial Times to DDT , among others.

  • Christopher Henke, PhD (Sociology/Science Studies, UC-San Diego), Assistant Professor of Sociology and Anthropology at Colgate University, and author of Cultivating Science, Harvesting Power: Science and Industrial Agriculture in California.
  • Benjamin R. Cohen, PhD (Science and Technology Studies, Virginia Tech), Assistant Professor of STS at University of Virginia, and author of Notes from the Ground: Soil, Science and Society in the American Countryside.

  • George Hobor, PhD (Sociology, University of Arizona), Visiting Assistant Professor of Sociology at Hamilton College, will be discussing the relationship of local agricultural initiatives (like farmers’ markets) to urban grown and development.

  • Wyatt Galusky, PhD (Science and Technology Studies, Virginia Tech), Assistant Professor of Humanities at Morrisville State College, will be discussing the developments in the genetic manipulation of farm animals and the resultant ethical relationship humans have to these animals.

  • Fernando Mastrangelo (MFA Sculpture, Virginia Commonwealth University), is a professional artist whose work has engaged the politics and place of food. His sculptural works have employed corn and sugar, among other organic products, as a means of highlighting tensions between the food that people eat and the politics they endorse. Mr. Mastrangelo will also be producing an artwork as part of the symposium program.

    :: Click here for the schedule of events at the 4th Annual STS Symposium ::

    In conjunction with the STS Agricultural Acts Symposium, the Morrisville State College Mustang Alley eatery will be featuring Pride of New York foods at its daily specials counter.

Second Life
Also, an Agricultural Acts virtual Cyberfarm can be found in Second Life hosted by Kurt Karsin (Dr. Reymers). The Cyberfarm features educational displays, videos, and hyperlinks, as well as a virtual chicken farm and vegetable/mushroom gardens. The Cyberfarm investigates nature and culture at a crucial intersection, food. The STS program has continued representation in Second Life at the island of Macmillan Publishing Group (publishers of the scientific journal Nature).

Click here to teleport to Kurt Karsin's virtual Cyberfarm in Second Life
(a free account registration is necessary).

We hope you join us for this opportunity to discuss the future of farming and food!

The organizers of the 2010 STS Symposium wish to thank the following sponsors for their support:

The Sheila Johnson Institute

Colgate University

Upstate Institute