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After long deliberation and a difficult decision between several truly excellent papers, the Mullin's Prize committee of the Society for Social Studies of Science is pleased to announce Daniel Williford of the University of Michigan as this year’s Mullins Prize winner, for his paper “Seismic Politics: Risk and Reconstruction after the 1960 Earthquake in Agadir, Morocco” published in the October 2017 issue of Technology and Culture.
Following the work of teams of Moroccan and international experts in the aftermath of the Agadir earthquake, Williford’s careful scholarship shows how seismographic data, eye-witness accounts, and observed patterns of destruction were mobilized to (re)allocate blame and risk in the wake of disaster: away from the legacies of colonial and early post-colonial rule, and towards a causal emphasis on “natural forces” and primitive” building practices in the poorest neighborhoods most devastated by the event. In the process, Williford shows how risk itself was reconfigured as a technopolitical object – and how such efforts “gave rise to projects aimed less at controlling nature than at redistributing vulnerability and authority among experts, administrators, and inhabitants.”
2018 Mullins Prize Committee (all members of 4S Council): Gloria Baigorrotegui, University of Santiago of Chile; Anita Say Chan, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; Steven J. Jackson, Cornell University.