Colloquium & Events

The STS Graduate Program at UBC draws on a rich set of resources at UBC, in Vancouver, and at our sister universities, Simon Fraser University and the University of Washington


STS Colloquium Schedule (2023/4)


Thursday, September 12, 2023 / 5:00-6:30 pm / Buchanan Tower 1112

Dr. Dan Steel, Associate Professor, School of Population and Public Health, UBC and Dr. Paul Bartha, Professor, Department of Philosophy

We use an interpretation of the precautionary principle (PP) based on lexical utilities to explore how differences in climatic and economic vulnerability influence targets for climate change mitigation. We use novel precautionary arguments to derive two main results: all countries should favor some degree of mitigation, and each has a minimum level of mitigation that varies depending on its susceptibility to climate impacts and economic risks of mitigation. Our proposal improves on previous applications of PP to climate change, and advances climate ethics more generally by drawing attention to moral complexities arising from the intersection of climatic and economic vulnerabilities.


Friday, October 13, 2023 / 5:00-6:30 pm / Buchanan Tower 1112

Dr. Rafi Arefin, Assistant Professor, Department of Geography, UBC

With the outbreak of COVID-19, wastewater surveillance rapidly emerged and expanded globally as a non-invasive and unbiased public health surveillance tool. In this article we chart the variegated ecosystem of private biotechnology startups and established life sciences firms that work closely with public and nonprofit entities to create new multi-institutional spaces of public health governance. We find that these emerging partnerships present concerning transformations in health governance where profits displace public health needs, proprietary technologies blackbox public health decisions, and vulnerable populations are experimented on for prototyping technology.


Thursday, November 9, 2023 / 5:00-6:30 pm / Buchanan Tower 1112

Dr. Eric Conway, Historian, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology

Title: The Big Myth: How General Electric Helped Sell Americans the Myth of the Free Market

Abstract: In our recent book, The Big Myth, Naomi Oreskes and I trace the efforts of big business to fight economic reform by promoting the myth of the free market. To be an American meant to believe that free markets were indivisible from religious and political freedoms–a “tripod of freedom.” In that view, banning child labor would lead straight down a slippery slope into totalitarianism. In this talk, I’ll trace one thread of that story, the role of the General Electric Corporation in spreading the gospel of the market.


TBD / 5:00-6:30 pm / Buchanan Tower 1112

Dr. Heidi Lawrence


More details to come shortly. 23W2 colloquium speakers / dates coming soon!