Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Institut für Europäische Ethnologie


A selection of my talks, events & presentations
  • 14.4.2022. “Nature after Europe: Provincializing Collections and Their Institutions”, Keynote at workshop ‘Anthropocenic objecs: collecting practices for the age of humans’, Museum für Naturkunde Berlin (virtual)
  • 3.5.2022. “The Genome as Informed Matter”, Paper presented at workshop ‘Situating the African Genome’, Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study, South Africa
  • 30.11.2021 “Knowledge Creation in Museums”, Presentation and panel discussion, CAS Munich, (virtual)
  • 27.10.2021 “Data Natures at the Natural History Museum”, Keynote at Inaugural Meeting of STSing Germany, Museum für Naturkunde Berlin, 27 October
  • 24.09.2021. “Data Natures: Research in Collection Digitization”, Presented at the Utopias of (Non)Knowledge: The Museum as a Research Hub, 8th Garage International Conference, Moscow, 24 September (virtual)
  • 19.04.2021 “Science Studies and Open Science: From Strong Objectivity to Cognitive Justice”, BUA Ringvorlesung ‘Open Science und Forschungsqualität in Theorie und Praxis’, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, 19 April (virtual)
  • 23.11.2020. “Semantics and Beyond: Modeling and Enriching Longue-Durée Biocultural Data for Answering Interdisciplinary and Epistemic Research Questions Convened”, Panel at symposium ‘Collect & Connect: Archives and Collections in a Digital Age’, Naturalis, Leiden (virtual)
  • 26.-31.10.2020. “The Shape of a Practice: Archiving”. With Ego Ahaiwe Sowinski. Workshop convened at the HKW Berlin (virtual)
  • 18.09.2020. ‘“Big Literature”. Möglichkeiten Und Grenzen Einer Partiell Automatisierten Hermeneutischen Textanalyse Am Beispiel Der Politischen Problematisierungen Innerhalb von STS Publikationen’. With Arno Simons and Ingmar Lippert. Paper presented at the Kongress der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Soziologie (virtual)
  • 19.08.2020. ‘Methods in Studying Data/Natures’. Session organized at the EASST/4S Annual Conference, Prague (virtual)
  • 18.08.2020. ‘Prototyping Nature’s Data Futures in Emerging Database Architectures’. With Hagit Keysar, Filo Bertoni and Felipe Mammoli, Paper presented at the EASST/4S Annual Conference, Prague (virtual)
  • 15.01.2020 ‘Whole Earths Cataloguing’. With Sybille Neumeyer. Performative Lecture at symposium ‘Biodiversity and the Cultural Landscape’, Universität Wien, 15 January
  • 08.11.2019. “Problematisations in environmental STS: quanti-quali patterns of political premises in conference abstracts”. With Ingmar Lippert and Arno Simons. GTWF Jahrestagung, TU Berlin
  • 20.3.2019. “Data Creatures”, Paper presented at workshop ‘Anthropology of Data’, University College London
  • 25.-26.7.2018 “Meeting (in) Data”, with Antonia Walford, panel organized at the European Association for the Study of Science and Technology Conference, Lancaster University
  • 1.-2.9.2018. “Data Worldings and Post/Colonial Connectedness”, with Antonia Walford, panel organized at the Society for the Social Studies of Science Annual Conference, Sydney


Art collaborations & exhibitions


The Influencing Machine

November 2018 – January 2019
nGbK, Berlin

Curated by: Vladimir Čajkovac, Kristina Kramer, Bettina Lehmann, Sophie Macpherson, Tahani Nadim, Neli Wagner


Bots (from ‘robot’ and Czech ‘robota’, socage, forced labor) are inconspicuous computer programs that perform tasks automatically.

Bots manipulate the masses, turn ‘fake news’ into facts, supersede human labour, colonise our objects and lead us into temptation: Based on digital code, bots perform thousands of minute routines which supplement and at times displace human agency and labour, thus shaping virtual and analog structures. They are often given human features––names, voices, bodies on occasion. Yet even when remaining invisible, they are increasingly becoming part of our everyday.

“The Influencing Machine” examines these diffusions and formations. Clustered around a series of famous bots, the exhibition assembles contemporary artistic positions examining the automation and datafication of our life worlds and work environments. Here, bots are understood as socio-technical phenomena; their efficacies requiring and provoking novel and manifold relations and imaginations:

How do bots and data form politics? In what ways do they transform political orderings of participation, accountability and knowledge? Why do racist or sexist logics reproduce and intensify on digital platforms, social networks, and data-driven expert systems? What does it mean for the value of labour and, more generally, human agency if transactions, communication, and decisions are increasingly carried out by fully automated devices? Which cultural imaginations shape the design and function of human-machine interfaces?

The exhibition provides insights into the socio-material ecologies of this new influencing machine and seeks to problematize the figure of the bot beyond the dominant narratives of society and technology.

The publication “The Influencing Machine” is addressing the exhibition’s various questions, extending its focus to historical continuities and social contexts, with contributions by Geoffrey C. Bowker and Susan Leigh Star, Simone Brown, Wendy Hui Kyong Chun, Kashmir Hill, Lilly Irani, Lee Mackinnon, Tahani Nadim, Lucy Suchman, Cher Tan, and Neli Wagner.







Tote Wespen fliegen länger
Faktische und fantastische Reisen dreier Protagonisten aus den Sammlungen des Museums für Naturkunde Berlin

March - May 2015, Museum für Naturkunde Berlin

Tahani Nadim & Åsa Sonjasdottir


In dieser Ausstellung präsentieren die Wissenschaftssoziologin Dr. Tahani Nadim und die bildende Küns- tlerin Åsa Sonjasdotter faktische und fantastische Reisen von drei Protagonisten aus den Sammlungen des Museums für Naturkunde: einer Grabwespe, kosmischem Staub und Pflanzensamen. Hinter der scheinbaren Ruhe der Präparate verbergen sich bewegte Geschichten und Beziehungen. Sie rücken unser Verständnis vom Museum und von Natur in ein anderes Licht und regen zum Nachdenken an, wie wir mit unseren Welten umgehen. In drei Interventionen im Ausstellungs- und Sammlungsbereich werden die Umlaufbahnen dieser Dinge nachgezeichnet und erweitert, um den Verkehr zwischen Räumen, Zeiten und Ordnungen sichtbar zu machen. Dabei wird gefragt, wo Sammlungsobjekte her- kommen und wie sie ins Museum gelangen. Dem Aufruf der Wissenschaftsphilosophin Donna Haraway „stay with the trouble“ („folge den Schwierigkeiten“) folgend werden so kosmopolitische Probleme reflektiert, die sich durch diese Bewegungen eröffnen.