Science, Technology and Society Seminar: STS Circle at Harvard


Monday, April 22, 2019, 12:15pm to 2:00pm


CGIS South Building, 1730 Cambridge Street, Room S050

"Materializing Time: The Techno-Scientific Transformation of Olive Agriculture in Israel/Palestine"


Natalia Gutkowski, Academy Scholar, The Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies. PhD, Porter School of Environmental Studies and the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Tel Aviv University, Israel.


Tito Carvalho, Fellow, Program on Science, Technology and Society, Harvard Kennedy School.


Sheila Jasanoff, Faculty Associate. Pforzheimer Professor of Science and Technology Studies, Harvard Kennedy School.

Co-sponsored by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.


Tito Carvalho
Lunch is provided if you RSVP via our online form before Thursday afternoon, April 18th.


The creation of future risks to society, health and the environment has been a major concern of STS scholarship that attended to novel scientific developments in food and agriculture. However, mid-scale technoscientific interventions and their socio-political impacts are more prevalent and have yet to be theorized. This talk offers such discussion. During the last three decades, science, technology and policy advanced by the Israeli state have dramatically changed olive oil agriculture in Israel/Palestine. State officials and scientists’ socio-technical imaginaries have facilitated the creation of industrialized olive breeds, changes in harvesting techniques, new marketing tactics in parallel with claiming of olive terraces as ‘biblical’ landscapes. Altogether, these imaginaries facilitated the emergence of newly claimed Zionist-Jewish olive agriculture that slowly dispossesses Palestinian citizens’ olive agriculture. These technoscientific transformations solidify Israel’s moral claims to territorial belonging and materialize the state’s time through olive trees. Such mid-scale technoscientific developments are not a spectacle event that challenges ‘the natural order’ (like GMOs) but they drastically alter the social-politics of agricultural production and belonging. STS scholarship concerned with food and agrarian democracy should turn its attention to such trends.


Natalia Gutkowski is a Post-Doctoral Scholar at the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies. She is completing her book manuscript “Make Time Matter: Agrarian Sustainability and Survival in Israel/Palestine”. The book examines the formation of recent sustainable agriculture policies and their significance to Palestinian citizens’ agriculture, arguing that Israel governs through time. The materialization of time through the agrarian environment explains why agriculture is amenable to governance through time. The book suggests that the Israeli state should be understood not only as expanding its governance and colonization through space but also through time. It calls to shift our attention from sovereignty and state-making through territory and space to time. Gutkowski’s second book project, “Bodies that Count: Animals as Political Actors on International Borders”, examines the politics revolving agro-ecological bodies such as pests and insects-allies and their techno-scientific management in Israel/Palestine and Jordan in the climate change era.

The Harvard STS Circle is co-sponsored by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.
A complete list of STS Circle at Harvard events can be found on our website.
Like us on Facebook : STS@Harvard
Follow us on Twitter: @HarvardSTS

Copyright © 2018 Harvard STS Events List: Program on Science, Technology and Society, All rights reserved.