Reflection on the FORCCAST Summer School!

The first FORCCAST Summer School on the cartography and pedagogy of controversies took place at the Ecole des Mines (Paris) from the 27th to the 29th of August 2014. Thirty participants from a broad range of international universities (such as the University of Copenhagen, the Queen Mary University of London, the University of Coimbra, the University of Vienna, Cornell University and the University of Oxford) and several members of the médialab and FORCCAST project attended this special event. Over the course of three days, participants worked hard on thinking about what constitutes a good controversy and (re)designing their controversy courses.


session_27Augpresentation_PinchFORCCAST Summer School
August 2014, Ecole des Mines (left)

Introduction to controversy mapping by Trevor Pinch (right)


This first Summer School was a collaboration between the participants, the FORCAST team, tool advocates, and three specialists of controversy mapping: Trevor Pinch (Cornell University, New York), Noortje Marres (Goldsmiths, University of London) and Bruno Latour (Sciences Po Paris). Participants came from different backgrounds: some had taught multiple courses for several years, others were planning to teach their first course in mapping controversies; some came from engineering and computer science, others from sociology and anthropology…

The three days were divided into three types of activities for participants to discuss how to design a good controversy course and raise questions about the scope and purpose of controversy mapping, as well as the choice of appropriate case studies and the potential benefits and problems and related to different tools and methods.

groupwork_27Aug_01  groupwork_27Aug_02  groupwork_27Aug_Marres groupwork_27Aug
kokDiDiscussions with B. Latour                          Pedagogical scenarios, D. Boullier              Team work, V. Lépinay                     Criteria, N. Marres.

1/ Tool advocacy sessions. Duration: 8h (2h/tools). The aim of this session was to consider, with the concrete restraints of course design in mind, how a tool for controversy mapping may or may not be useful, or indeed feasible, as a pedagogical instrument. Tool advocates presented specific digital methods such as web-crawling tools  (Hyphe and ScienceScape by T. Venturini), social network analyser (DMI TCAT –Twitter Capture and Analysis Toolset – by N. Marres), textual analysis (CorText by J-P. Cointet and Prospero by J. Debaz).

2/ Team work sessions. Duration: 7 h30. Participants were divided into six working groups. By exploring the bibliography they had received in July, participants discussed the virtues of categorizing or typologizing controversies. They then presented their ideas during a working dinner on the first night of the school. They also created new teaching scenarios using the FORCCAST course design method developed by FORCCAST teaching and learning researchers (ingénieurs pédagogiques), which helps to identify pedagogical sequences, tasks and sub-tasks.

3/ Conferences, discussions. Duration: 6h. These were opportunities for reflection on the virtues of controversy mapping, and also on the different pedagogical experiences, the didactic content of STS teaching in France and abroad, and the challenges and difficulties we face

The engaging and interesting talks, the strong level of participation from our attendees, and the pertinence of the questions considered lead us to consider that this first Summer School was a success in many respects. The FORCCAST team wishes to thank all the participants, supervisors, partners, the médialab at Sciences Po and the Ecole des Mines.

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