Richard Rottenburg

Richard Rottenburg

Richard Rottenburg is professor of science and technology studies at WiSER at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg (SA). At his previous university in Halle (Germany) he has founded a research network 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-semiotic orderings and their institutionalizations are at the heart of his current work. His inquiries foreground evidentiary practices (experiments, tests, measurements) and multilayered infrastructures, which solidify and circulate evidence. He asks how they are mobilized to design and critique specific futures.

Current position
Professor
University affiliation
Wits

Research

Richard’s current project is situated at the intersection of several disciplines (anthropology, science and technology studies, organizational studies, political philosophy, and general social theory). He focuses on the production and disputation of facts in knowledge infrastructures by investigating how evidence is made, challenged and comes to matter. He suggests that examining how certain matters of fact are confirmed, certified, contested or rejected, provides insight into imaginaries, 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.

Publications

  • McHardy, Julien, Oulimata Gueye and Richard Rottenburg (eds.) (forthcoming) (2019) "Digital Imaginaries."
  • Moradi, Fazil & Richard Rottenburg, eds. (2019) "Acts of Evidence: On the Translatability of Genocidal Violence." in Critical Studies Special Issue (forthcoming).
  • Rottenburg, Richard (2018) "Name und Benanntes. (Un)disziplinierte Verschiebungen." in What’s in a name – Wofür steht die Umbenennung der ehemaligen Deutschen Gesellschaft für Völkerkunde in eine Deutsche Gesellschaft für Sozial- und Kulturanthropologie?https://blog.uni-koeln.de/gssc-whatsinaname/2018/07/10/name-und-benanntes-undisziplinierte-verschiebungen/
  • Calkins, Sandra and Richard Rottenburg (2017) "Evidence, infrastructure and worth." in Infrastructures and Social Complexity. A Companion, 253-265 , edited by Penny Harvey, Casper Bruun Jensen, and Atsuro Morita. London: Routledge.
  • Behrends, Andrea, Sung-Joon Park, and Richard Rottenburg (2016) "Replik auf Röhl." in Zeitschrift für Rechtssoziologie 35 (2):313-317
  • Riedke, Eva and Richard Rottenburg (2016) "Introduction." in The ordering power of narratives, Working Paper of the DFG Priority Programme 1448, Nr. 21, PP: 5-16. , edited by Riedke, Eva → https://lost-research-group.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/SPP1448_WP21_Riedke.pdf
  • Calkins, Sandra, Enrico Ille, and Richard Rottenburg, eds. (2015) "Emerging orders in the Sudans." Bamenda and Buea: Langaa
  • Rottenburg, Richard, Sally Engle Merry, Sung-Joon Park, and Johanna Mugler, eds. (2015) "A world of indicators: The making of governmental knowledge through quantification." Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
  • Calkins, Sandra, Enrico Ille, Siri Lamoureaux, and Richard Rottenburg (2015) "Rethinking institutional orders in Sudan studies: the case of land access in Kordofan, Blue Nile and Darfur." in Canadian Journal of African Studies 49 (1):175-195
  • Calkins, Sandra, Enrico Ille, and Richard Rottenburg (2015) "Emergence and contestation of orders in the Sudans." in Emerging orders in the Sudans , edited by Sandra Calkins, Enrico Ille and Richard Rottenburg, 1-22. Bamenda and Buea: Langaa
  • Ille, Enrico, Guma Kunda Komey, and Richard Rottenburg. (2015) "Tragic entanglements: vicious circles and acts of violence in South Kordofan." in Sudan's killing fields: political violence and fragmentation , edited by Laura Lyantung Beny and Sondra Hale, 117-137. Trenton: Red Sea Press
  • Rottenburg, Richard, and Sally Engle Merry (2015) "Introduction: a world of indicators: the making of governmental knowledge through quantification." in A world of indicators: the making of governmental knowledge through quantification , edited by Richard Rottenburg, Sally Engle Merry, Sung-Joon Park and Johanna Mugler, 1-33. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press
  • Behrends, Andrea, Sung-Joon Park, and Richard Rottenburg, eds. (2014) "Travelling models in African conflict management: translating technologies of social ordering." Leiden: Brill
  • Gertel, Jörg, Richard Rottenburg, and Sandra Calkins, eds. (2014) "Disrupting territories: land, commodification and conflict in Sudan." Woodbridge: James Currey
  • Behrends, Andrea, Sung-Joon Park, and Richard Rottenburg (2014) "Travelling models: introducing an analytical concept to globalisation studies." in Travelling models in African conflict management: translating technologies of social ordering , edited by Andrea Behrends, Sung-Joon Park and Richard Rottenburg, 1-42. Leiden: Brill
  • Calkins, Sandra, and Richard Rottenburg (2014) "Getting credit for what you write? conventions and techniques of citation in German Anthropology." in Zeitschrift für Ethnologie 139:99-130 → https://www.wcaanet.org/downloads/dejalu/feb2016/Zeitschrift%20für%20Ethnologie.pdf
  • Calkins, Sandra, Richard Rottenburg, and Jörg Gertel (2014) "Disrupting territories: commodification and its concequences." in Disrupting territories: land, commodification and conflict in Sudan , edited by Jörg Gertel, Richard Rottenburg and Sandra Calkins, 1-30. Woodbridge: James Currey
  • Rottenburg, Richard (2014) "Experimental engagements and metacodes." in Common Knowledge 20 (3):540-548
  • Kaufmann, Matthias, and Richard Rottenburg (2013) "Translation and cultural identity." in Homelands in translation: summer school in Naples , edited by Michele Bernardini, Stefania De Lucia and Camilla Miglio. Civiltà del Mediterraneo, N.S, 229-348. Naples: Edizioni di Storia e Letteratura
  • Rottenburg, Richard (2013) "Ethnologie und Kritik." in Ethnologie im 21. Jahrhundert , edited by Thomas Bierschenk, Matthias Krings and Carola Lentz, 55-76. Berlin: Reimer
  • Geissler, Paul Wenzel, Richard Rottenburg, and Julia Zenker, eds. (2012) "Rethinking biomedicine and governance in Africa." Bielefeld: Transcript
  • Geissler, Paul Wenzel, Richard Rottenburg, and Julia Zenker (2012) "21st century African biopolitics: fuzzy fringes, cracks and undersides, neglected backwaters, and returning politics." in Rethinking biomedicine and governance in Africa , edited by Paul Wenzel Geissler, Richard Rottenburg and Julia Zenker, 7-19. Bielefeld: Transcript
  • Schramm, Katharina, David Skinner, and Richard Rottenburg, eds. (2011) "Identity Politics and the New Genetics: Re/Creating Categories of Difference and Belonging" Oxford: Berghahn
  • Rottenburg, Richard (2011) "Sozialexperiment als neue Figuration von Wissenschaft, Politik und Markt im postkolonialen Afrika." in Globalisierung Süd , edited by Axel T. Paul, Alejandro Pelfini and Boike Rehbein, 156-183. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften
  • Schramm, Katharina, David Skinner, and Richard Rottenburg (2011) "Introduction: Ideas in Motion: Making Sense of Identity and the New Genetics." in Identity Politics and the New Genetics: Re/Creating Categories of Difference and Belonging , edited by Katharina Schramm, David Skinner and Richard Rottenburg, 1-29. Oxford: Berghahn
  • Rottenburg, Richard (2009) "Far-fetched facts: a parable of development aid." Cambridge: MIT Press
  • Rottenburg, Richard (2009) "Social and public experiments and new figurations of science and politics in Africa." in Postcolonial Studies 12 (4):423-440