‘The Lab Book’ Receives a Glowing Review in ‘Theory, Culture & Society’

We are proud to share that The Lab Book: Situated Practices in Media Studies, co-authored by Milieux Institute’s interim director Darren Wershler (Concordia University), alongside Lori Emerson (University of Colorado) and Jussi Parikka (Aarhus University), has received a glowing review in Theory, Culture & Society. The review, written by Roger Whitson, Assistant Professor of English at Washington State University, explores the book’s important contribution to understanding the complex dynamics of humanities laboratories and their institutional settings. The Lab Book explores the intersection between science, technology, and media studies, presenting a robust heuristic for investigating the complex relationship between space, infrastructure, and the human element within these hybrid environments. Whitson’s review provides a profound analysis of the authors’ exploration of various lab scenarios, the position of science in our current ‘post-truth’ era, and the pressing necessity of Science and Technology Studies considering these contemporary challenges. We encourage you to delve into the full review to appreciate the depth of critical acclaim this book has earned.

“In an age when peer review seems too slow to counter the new COVID variant and a consensus of scientists not powerful enough to implement even the weakest of climate change reforms, it is hard to imagine that the quasi-public space of Boyle’s laboratory would enable a robust production of matters of fact. “Hobbes was right,” say Shapin and Schaffer in the last sentence of their book, suggesting that no group of scientific experts can overcome the Leviathan of power and politics (344). Even Latour, in a 2018 New York Times profile, says that people “need to defend the conditions in which science can thrive.” But do we really want science to exist in its current form? As the many examples of hybrid labs presented by the authors suggest, varying conditions might also give rise to something new and unpredictable. “And this takes time,” they say (248). In the lapse we have The Lab Book: a work that isn’t afraid to experiment with the hybrids emerging before us.”

Read the full review on the Theory, Culture & Society journal website here.

You can also check out the article about The Lab Book featured in our latest Annual Report (2021-2022), here.

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