Research Seminar: Change of scale – Change of nature (2022)

The generalist and interdisciplinary seminar “Change of scale – Change of nature” is organized by the CSI and the Eco-anthropology laboratory of the Natural History Museum by Léo Mariani (MNHN, Eco-anthropologie), Julien Blanc (MNHN, Eco-anthropologie), Brice Laurent (CNRS, CSI) and Jean Goizauskas (Mines Paris, CSI).

Argument of the seminar 

Changing scale, as Olivier Rey or Anna Tsing argue, is not only changing proportions but also changing nature. Postulating that changes in scale (re)condition the nature of things as well as the observations made of them, this seminar intends to raise the issues of measurement and commensurability, of growth and degrowth. What are we referring to when we speak of change of scale: of a circulation that unfolds? Of a variation in size and/or measurement? Hence, what precisely happens when a project, a group, a feeling, a relationship, a technique, a concept, a law, a knowledge or a form of life is caught in a change of scale? How can we characterize what changes in the operation, or what is called to do so? What issues do these changes raise for scientists, in epistemic and methodological terms, but also in prospective and speculative terms? How can they grasp them, and what are the concrete implications upon their objects and their projects?

The Nature of modernity has the distinct advantage of being valid for all and everywhere, but there is no longer any doubt today that this quality of universality is the outcome of a purification whose cost is considerable. Considering that no change of scale is trivial, we will focus on everything that is gained and lost in such an operation; raising the issue of the links between the universal and the particular, and, consequently, that of the integration of differences and singularities, in science and/or in society. 

Details and registration

The seminar will be held (in French) on the 2nd Thursday of the month, from February to June 2022 (from 3 to 5 pm), alternately at the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle and at the École des Mines Paris.

  • MNHN, 45 rue Buffon, 75005 Paris. The seminar will be held in the “grand amphithéâtre d’entomologie” located at the entrance of the site on the first floor of the first building on the right.
  • École des mines, 60 Boulevard Saint Michel, 75006 Paris. Room numbers are indicated in the program (below) for each session.

The seminar is open to the public upon registration.

Due to the health protocol currently in place, we are required to restrict participation in person to the seminar to people attached to the institutions organizing the seminar (Ecole des Mines, MNHN). The Seminar will thus be held in a hybrid format, with in person and videoconference participation. A link to a videoconference will be provided to registered participants a few hours before the event (an online registration form will be available on this website for each session).

For further details please contact Léo Mariani or Jean Goizauskas

2022 Program

March 10 at MNHN, grand amphithéâtre d’entomologie

Circonscrire, tracer, zoner… Ce que la radioactivité fait à la nature [Circumscribe, trace, zone… What radioactivity does to nature], Sophie Houdart (CNRS, LESC)

March 24, at MNHN, grand amphithéâtre d’entomologie

Une question de taille [A matter of size], Olivier Rey (CNRS, IHPST)

April 14  at École des Mines, room Chevalier

Du pilote au programme à grande échelle : gouverner la pauvreté globale [From pilot to scaled-up program: governing global poverty], Nassima Abdelghafour (CSI) & Fiona Gedeon Achi (Mohammed VI Polytechnic University)

May 12 at MNHN, grand amphithéâtre d’entomologie

Les vaches laitières sont-elles scalables ? [Are dairy cows scalable?], Catherine Mougenot (Université de Liège)

June 16 at École des Mines, room L213 – 10:00-12:00

De la salle des machines au data center : effets de seuil et industrialisation de la production informatique [From the machine room to the data center: threshold effects and industrialization of IT production]Guillaume Carnino & Clément Marquet (UTC, COSTECH)

June at École des Mines (session postponed to a later date)

Faire des phages des entités thérapeutiques [Making phages into therapeutic entities], Charlotte Brives (CNRS, CED)