Dr Maria Dębińska
Centre for Ethnology and Modern Anthropology
My scientific experience includes research from the field of anthropology of the body, sex and sexuality also anthropology of the city. Presently my interests concern primarily the anthropology of science and technology. I take interest in social fields in which new relations between humans and non-humans are created, particularly modern biotechnology and bio-art.
Current research project
The project "Slime mold as method. Ethnography of scientific practice" is financed by the National Science Center (OPUS 2019/33/B/HS3/02332).
The project is designed as an ethnographic study of human engagements with the slime mold Physarum polycephalum. It has two aims: the empirical aim is to provide an ethnographic description of a variety of scientific and artistic practices related to the slime mold; the theoretical aim is to formulate an intervention in the discussions on the „ontological turn” in anthropology by analyzing the slime mold assemblage and the particular knowledge-practices generated by the slime mold.
Due to the relative easiness of culturing, Physarum polycephalum is popular among DIY biologists and biohackers and is a staple organism in the increasingly popular open wetlabs run by non-governmental organizations. Since the organism became famous for finding a way out of a maze, re-tracing the Tokyo subway scheme, and controlling a robot, it has been employed to solve countless tasks and puzzles by amateurs and professional biologists alike. Ethnographic description of scientific and bio-artistic practices using Physarum polycephalum will map an emerging field of social practice and provide a glimpse into a number of current social developments, such as the increased accessibility of biotechnology, intensified exchange of concepts and ideas betweeen biology and humanities and the unprecedented popular interest in biology which has spawned a growing number of biohacking collectives, open wetlabs, citizen science initiatives and DIY biology groups.
Dębińska M. 2021. Diagnosing transsexualism, diagnosing society: the blurred genres of Polish sexology in the 1970s and 1980s, w: Queers in State Socialism. Cruising 1970s Poland, red. Tomasz Basiuk, Jędrzej Burszta, Routledge, London, New York.
Dębińska M. 2012. Queer i polityka cierpienia. Strategie narracyjne i polityczne osób trans w Polsce [w:] A. Stasińska, M. Drozdowski, M. Kłosowska (red.), Strategie Queer. Od teorii do praktyki (226-244). Warszawa: Difin.