Summer School on the Cartography and Pedagogy of Controversies

The preliminary program for the FORCCAST Summer School on the Cartography and Pedagogy of Controversies in Paris is now available online ( The summer school is organised in collaboration with the SciencesPo médialab and will be hosted by the Ecole des Mines ParisTech. It takes place from the 27th to the 29th of August 2014 and is tailored to early career researchers and university teachers who are interested in using controversies as new vectors of pedagogical intervention. Interested applicants should send their applications (max 2 pages) to including name, academic affiliation, and motivation for participating in the school. Please note that the deadline for applications has been extended to June 6th 2014.

Preliminary program

This year the summer school will address the question of what constitutes a ‘good’ controversy for controversy mapping? The past forty years have seen techno-scientific controversies invested with a lot of potential. Hailed and denounced as both a solution to and a source of a shifting range of problems they have been studied in a variety of contexts, and for a variety of reasons. But what makes controversies controversial in the first place? What sets them apart from mere disagreements and misunderstandings? Why are they of particular interest to us? What can we learn from them? And how?

As a participant in the summer school you will work with the FORCCAST team and a number of invited speakers to construct a typology of controversies that will help us answer three essential questions to the cartography and pedagogy of controversies, namely: What are the virtues and affordances of different types of controversies? What are the goals and visions behind different approaches to the study of controversies? And how can we assess the usefulness of tools and methods for controversy mapping in view of such differences?

We have invited Bruno Latour, Noortje Marres, Trevor Pinch, and Sarah Whatmore to help us deploy these questions;  we have invited a number of the leading tool advocates to help us understand how digital methods may or may not be useful for the cartographer; and we have the FORCCAST team on hand to help us translate our improved understanding of what controversies are good for, and how different tools can be of aid, into concrete teaching practice.

Participants will be asked to read a set of classic controversy studies and experiment with a selected set of tools as a preparation for the school.

Wednesday 28/8

On the first day of the summer school we will concentrate on how to assess the morphology of a controversy and linking this assessment to the hopes and aspirations associated with different types of controversy study. The goal is to have a first draft of a typology of controversies ready by the end of the day.


  • Introduction to the FORCCAST project and the idea of using controversies to teach science and technology studies.
  • Introduction to the summer school assignment: produce a typology of controversies.
  • Presentations by invited speakers. We have asked them to give us their take on the following questions:
    • Why should we study and engage with controversies?
    • What are their respective virtues and affordances?
    • What sets them apart from other forms of disagreement?
    • What could be relevant ways of distinguishing different types of controversy from one another?
    • What kind of interventions can we realistically hope to make by engaging with controversies?
    • And what are the main challenges in doing so?


  • Bruno Latour presents his concept of controversy mapping and is interviewed by participants and invited speakers. Together we will clarify the specific stance of the controversy mapper in the wider spectrum of controversy studies.
  • Participants work with invited speakers on the summer school assignment.


  • Working dinner

Thursday 28/8

On the second day of the school we will concentrate on how to assess the usefulness of different tools and methods for controversy mapping. The goal is to link the insights from day one to the specific potentials and limitations of specific tools.


  • Introduction to the FORCCAST tool database.
  • Invited tool advocates present a selection digital methods for controversy mapping and discuss with participants how these might be useful for teaching controversy mapping at different stages, in different contexts, and with different goals. We will deal with tools from the following domains of digital methods:
    • Text mining
    • Web cartography
    • Social media
    • Scientometrics


  • Summer school participants work with invited speakers and tool advocates to plot tools and methods on the emerging typology of controversies.


  • Drinks and (non-working) dinner

Friday 29/8

On the third day of the school we will work with the question of how to structure a controversy mapping project and a controversy mapping course. The goal is to make informed choices based on an appreciation of the scope of the project/course, the stance of the controversy mapper, the character of the controversy we are dealing with, and the tools we have at our disposal to so.


  • Completion of typologies.
  • Discussion of potential ways of structuring a course in controversy mapping, allowing students to select suitable controversies to map, suitable methods for doing so, etc.


  • Presentation of results


  • Goodbye drinks