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Richard Rottenburg holds a chair in anthropology at the University of Halle, where he heads a research group focusing on the anthropology of "Law, Organization, Science and Technology" (LOST). Inspired by social studies of science and technology and renditions of pragmatist social theory, the emergence of material-semantic orderings and their institutionalizations are at the heart of his current work. These inquiries foreground evidentiary practices (experiments, tests, measurements) and multilayered infrastructures, which solidify and circulate evidence, and ask how they are mobilized to design and critique specific futures.
Current Research Project
Richard Rottenburg’s current project is situated in anthropology/sociology of knowledge, anthropology/sociology of law, science and technology studies, political philosophy, and general social theory. He focuses on the production and disputation of expertise in knowledge infrastructures by investigating how evidence is made and comes to bear meaning in a material and semiotic sense. He suggests that examining how certain matters of fact are confirmed, certified, contested or rejected, provides insight into moral worlds and the kinds of accountabilities important for the making and retaining of a negotiable level of predictability in human affairs. His project investigates the ways in which evidence-making does onto-epistemological work on the future by dis/approving matters of fact and thereby permitting juridical attribution of accountability to legal persons. While evidence-making, facticity and accountability depend on and enable each other, this triangular relation locks world-making into particular futures by preventing others from becoming imaginable. One of the burning questions of the contemporary is how to unlock this situation and strengthen the conditions of possibility for unexpected futures to emerge.