Walking in High Heels in New York City
School of Management, Politecnico di Milano
This talk is intended as an introduction to Chris Hesselbein’s academic research both past and present. After a short overview of the particular theoretical concerns, methods, and concepts in the field of Science and Technology Studies (STS) that inform his research, we proceed to the major topic of today’s talk, namely a presentation of a segment of his dissertation research on the wearing of high-heeled shoes in New York City. Here the focus is particularly on how his approach addresses several key theoretical issues in the fields of Fashion Studies, STS, and Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, and how his study might contribute to future research in these fields. After this discussion, we conclude with a brief introduction to his current research project here at the Politecnico in which he examines the relationship between scientific expertise and public participation in digital spaces.
Chris Hesselbein is an ethnographer who studies how knowledge and technology, both digital and more mundane, are co-constructed with conceptions of social order and self-identity. Chris is particularly interested in exploring how the production and consumption of technoscience inform, and often naturalize/normalize, our understandings of embodiment, materiality, and aesthetics. His dissertation research focused on the co-construction of gender and technology in the world of fashion through the wearing and making of high-heeled footwear. Other research projects examine how (expert) knowledge is established as (un)authoritative in digital spaces, and how ‘alternative arti/facts’ are enacted on digital platforms through algorithmic processes. He is about to receive his PhD from the department of Science and Technology Studies at Cornell University, and has just started a postdoc in the Department of Management, Economics, and Industrial Engineering at the Politecnico di Milano.
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