Speculative Diction: Invention vs. innovation – Edison meets Tesla? [November 28, 2011]

We hear the word “innovation” regularly in discussions about the role of universities, and in particular in Canada where there is said to be an “innovation gap” in the economy. Building on a previous piece, in this blog post I raise the rivalry between Edison and Tesla, since those two figures are oft-cited in the discussion of how scientific advances happen and how they’re turned into commercial success. What is the key to “discovery”, and how can we best facilitate it? Can we move beyond these categories (invention, innovation) and find a more helpful way of thinking about how knowledge becomes “economised” in this way (turned into marketable objects)?

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Conference Presentation: Most Excellent Dudes – Gender, Meritocracy, & Media Coverage of the Canada Excellence Research Chairs [June 1 2011]

This is the first Prezi I ever tried using for a conference presentation. Thankfully both the Prezi interface and my skills at using it have improved since 2011. The presentation is about the media coverage of the announcement about the Canada Excellence Research Chairs in 2010. There were protests that no women were even shortlisted for these prestigious and lucrative awards, and the ensuing debate reflected some of the major themes in the arguments about women and (their absence from) science. I discuss two of those themes, the one being “meritocracy” with as idea of excellence as transparent, and the other being essentialist and binary notions of gender.