IFPA Annual Conference “Fetus and Placenta: A Perfect Harmony”

I will have the privilege and pleasure of attending the upcoming International Federation of Placenta Associations (IFPA) conference entitled “Fetus and Placenta: A Perfect Harmony” held in Santiago de Chile this October. I’m looking forward to hearing the many talks and meeting with the diverse delegates at the conference. I’m also keen to talk about my project on the sociology of the science of the placenta with any delegates that are interested.

If social scientists and scientists were to collaborate more meaningfully, significant gains could be made in fields such as maternal and fetal health. Yet as it stands, such collaborations face significant barriers, as social scientists and scientists struggle to understand the approaches, languages, and priorities of the other. I’m motivated to find out “how science works” and to bring this knowledge back to sociology in the hopes of removing some of these barriers; likewise, I try to bring sociological approaches and knowledge to my scientific collaborators and colleagues. To this end, I am working on elucidating the ways in which scientific knowledge about the placenta is developed and employed, finding out what motivates scientists to study the placenta, exploring the history of the science of the placenta, gauging public understandings of the science of maternal and fetal health, and forging transdisciplinary collaborations between scientists and social scientists.

I conduct interviews with scientists and do participant observation in scientific laboratories that study the placenta. I’d be very pleased to share more about my study and hear any perspectives and ideas from scientists (including graduate students) working with the placenta. I can be contacted at 7rjs@queensu.ca.

Update: I had an exceptionally rich experience at the conference. I could not be more appreciative of the many people I met and talked to at the conference. I look forward to the conference next year!