Clark and Smith speak at STS-Africa meeting in South Africa
Norman Clark (Open University) and James Smith (University of Edinburgh) recently addressed the delegation of the STS-Africa meeting, ‘Mapping Science and Technology in Africa: Traveling technologies and global disorders’, which took place 12 – 15 February 2014 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The conference, in response to experiments in both modernity and technological development in post-colonial Africa, sought to better understand the four novel developments of: new strategic visions, articulated in both new development paradigms and analyses of the growing levels of global investment in African economies; new conceptions of modernising interventions at the intersection of development, capital accumulation and global concerns; the proliferation of new technologies of impartial governance in political and economic management; and, the rise of African self-reliance and determination, involving the heightened prominence of African actors, ideas and choices in the project of modernisation at all levels.
As part of this event, Smith presented a talk on ‘Tracing African Trypanosomiasis: Complexity and Continental Configuration.’ His discussion underpinned the argument that, “elimination in Geneva does not translate into elimination in Uganda,” and examined the scale, expertise and systems necessary for tracing global assemblages of neglected tropical diseases.
Clark also spoke on “Technology Development for the Low Income African Farmer: Science Policy Implications for Overseas Aid.” He explored how British bilateral aid in the natural resources sector became concerned about the productive value of scientific research it had been funding, which led to the RIU programme that was designed to put scientific “knowledge” into productive use. He summarised the rational and inception of the programme, with particular focus on its “Best Bets” component, which set out to involve the private sector as a key component of technology development in small scale African agriculture.