Event: Secrecy and Ignorance: SPIN Colloquium 2022

July 19, 2022

SPIN Colloquium

Monday 19th September 2022



Mural in Arizona created by Raul Gonzales and youth groups



Please join us for Secrecy and Ignorance: SPIN Colloquium 2022, co-hosted with the South West Doctoral Training Partnership.


What does it mean to study knowledge, information, interpretations and memory-making from the position of absence, gaps, limitations and un-doing? While the general underlying assumption within social sciences, and indeed sciences more broadly, is to consider information and knowledge to be cumulative, and often universal and objective, developments across multiple disciplines, sub-disciplines and approaches, including the politics of knowledge, the sociology of scientific knowledge, education, intelligence studies, subaltern studies and feminist scholarship, secrecy studies, and ignorance studies, to name only a few, have sought to challenge these assumptions explore the more complex understanding of how knowledge and information is generated, flows and is erased in more uneven ways, especially in relation to unequal distributions of power.


In short, we seek to explore and discuss:


  • What does it mean to study secrecy, ignorance and knowledge unmaking?
  • What processes or practices of secrecy, ignorance or other kinds of unknowing require attention?
  • What is the state of our knowledge about knowledge unmaking to date?
  • What can a secrecy/ignorance approach offer scholarship more broadly, within a discipline or across disciplines? What unique concepts and methods are associated with these approaches?
  • What challenges (conceptual, methodological, theoretical, practical or otherwise) are associated with the study of secrecy and ignorance?


This colloquium therefore brings together scholars from across disciplines to share their thoughts and research on how and why knowledge is un-made. Together, we will hear different disciplinary perspectives on key concepts, ideas and challenges of working ‘against the grain’ in relation to knowledge and information.


Provisional programme themes include:


  • Ignorance studies
  • Scandal, inquiries, memory and forgetting
  • The politics of (un)education
  • Roundtable: Evasion and surveillance studies
  • Intelligence studies and organisational secrecy
  • Secrecy studies
  • Crime, insecurity, and unknowing
  • Political economy of unknowing
  • Resistance and unknowing
  • Conspiracy theories, mis/disinformation
  • Methodological, intellectual and ethical challenges of studying unknowing


The format for each session will be roundtable discussions with no expectation of formal presentations (though we will have facilities for this should participants prefer that option). Instead, panellists will be encouraged to prepare an informal 5 minute overview on their thoughts on key ideas, concepts and cases related to their research and/or discipline. Once an initial overview is offered, a facilitated discussion will then take place, including questions and involvement of the wider colloquium. Participants are encouraged to join more than one panel in the hope that the conversation will flow and develop over the course of the day.  Early career researchers and postgraduate researchers are warmly welcome to attend.


In-person but with a hybrid option, the event will be well catered with time for networking and socialising.


To attend, please register at Eventbrite

Please contact us for more information.



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