(Imagining) Science for Troubled Times: A Mouse, a Bird, and a Threshold for Collaboration


  • Rebecca Carlson Toyo University, Japan




Although biological life and human social complexity are fundamentally interdependent, biological and social researchers continue to perceive each other from across divides of theoretical, methodological, and institutional skepticism. This paper considers conversational boundary work between qualitative and quantitative scientists as an institutionalized rhetorical performance which throttles their cooperation, even in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic when it is most urgently needed. As an example, I look at the way familiar epistemological conflicts emerged out of collaboration between myself and a bioscientist during the spring of 2020, when co-participating in the Massive Microscopic Sensemaking Project, a 21-day international auto-ethnographic writing experiment.

Author Biography

Rebecca Carlson, Toyo University, Japan

Rebecca Carlson is a media anthropologist and Associate Professor at Toyo University in Japan in the department of Information Sciences and Arts. Her current interest in the borders and bordering of science and medicine grew out of a parallel interest in the boundaries that shape the circulation of videogames and their fans. Currently, she studies bioinformatics and efforts to globalize biomedical scientific research in Japan, supported by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science’s Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research.


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How to Cite

Carlson, R. (2022). (Imagining) Science for Troubled Times: A Mouse, a Bird, and a Threshold for Collaboration. Imaginations: Journal of Cross-Cultural Image Studies, 12(2), 171–200. https://doi.org/10.17742/IMAGE.MM.12.2.9