Science and (semi)peripheries

Our series of seminars tackle the problematic role of science in the semi-peripheries—zones considered to play a crucial transmitting function between the centre and the peripheries of science. Today, in the networked and globalised world of science, such a bridging function of economic and scientific semi-peripheries seems to be evaporating.  

We do not want to limit our understanding of such semi-periphery functions by narrowly focusing on their functional aspect, either for the centre or the peripheries. Our interest in the global semi-peripheral science systems and organisational modes of scientific enterprise stems from the recognition of the creative potential of the alternative modes of modernising (alter-modernisation) science and modernising through science. As both modes were historically present in the global semi-peripheries, we want to explore how their potential may be revitalised and recovered.

Therefore, in our seminars we will be grappling with the issues of alternative approaches to modernisation through science, measuring science, and experiencing science present at the peripheries. We will focus on the positive and tangible aspects of the materiality of semi-peripheral scientific enterprise, whether institutionalised or lived through the different epistemological projects. We will encourage the participants and our guest speakers to go beyond the simple neither/nor false alternative and explore the alter-modern character of the forgotten semi-peripheral science.

First Seminar: “Geopolitics of scientific collaboration”

16 March 2021 at 14:00 CET

This seminar will take place as the first of the series “Science and (semi)peripheries”. Our guests will be Adam Płoszaj and Andrzej W. Nowak and our starting point will be the book The geography of scientific collaboration, which is co-authored by Adam Płoszaj. We will focus on the most important patterns in modern research collaboration and the ways they shape the knowledge production in the (semi)peripheries.

While we can observe an increase in scientific collaboration, it does not seem to lead to an end of the division on the center and the peripheries. Increased collaboration can even strengthen international academic hierarchies, although it can also weaken them. We will discuss the recent trends in scholarly collaboration and how they shape the international hierarchy of knowledge. We will also try to answer the questions: How does studying changing trends in collaboration could help us to overcome limitations of the modern international science? And what are the possible ways of initiating scientific collaboration that will lead to more equal academia?

The seminar is open for everyone interested and it will take place on Zoom.
Registration required. Register here.

 Tuesday, 16 March 2021 at 14:00 CET.

We encourage all participants to read the book The geography of scientific collaboration (A. Olechnicka, A. Płoszaj, D. Celińska-Janowicz, 2018, Routledge)and join the discussion during the seminar.

Adam Płoszaj is an assistant professor at the Centre for European Regional and Local Studies EUROREG, University of Warsaw. He specialises in interdisciplinary studies of regional and local development, R&D policy, science of science, and policy evaluation. Visiting scholar at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada (2011), the University of Groningen, the Netherlands (2014), University College London, England (2014), and Indiana University Bloomington (2016), Adam frequently advises national and international institutions―including the European Commission, World Bank, UNDP, National Centre for Research and Development, National Science Centre, Polish National Agency for Academic Exchange, and Polish Agency of Business Development―on regional development and research policy.

He is the co-author of the book The geography of scientific collaboration (2019) published by Routledge and the author of the book Networks of institutions of the business environment (2014, in Polish).



Andrzej W.Nowak is a professor in the Philosophy Department of Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań, Poland. His current research focus is on (social) ontology and social studies of science and technology. He is a propagator of Immanuel Wallerstein’s theory of the modern world-system and is particularly interested in the study of semi-peripherality. He published books Ontological imagination. Philosophical (re)construction of phronetic social science (2016, in Polish), Agency, system, modernity (2011, in Polish) and is the co-author of Whose fear? Whose science? Structures of knowledge and socio-scientific controversies (2016, in Polish). He also writes articles for the LeftEast (