News

Current developments of interest

Button factories and international negotiations

I have long heard that Khrushchev once commented how ridiculous export controls were, saying that anything could be a militarily significant technology, even trouser buttons.  “How do you expect a military to fight if they can’t hold their trousers up?” is along the lines of what he is reported to have said.  No one seems to have the original statement however, which makes it dubious to use in academic writing. … Read More »Button factories and international negotiations

Ambiguity as a tool for both changing and stabilizing classification systems

Last weekend, I attended a conference at Stanford University on “Uncertainty: Ambiguity and doubt in knowledge production”.  At it, I presented a paper on how the Wassenaar Arrangement uses ambiguity to both stabilize and change the classification system.  For instance, it was by purposefully creating ambiguity in the areas of concern for Wassenaar that countries such as Russia were able to buy into the Arrangement.  By not being directed at… Read More »Ambiguity as a tool for both changing and stabilizing classification systems

Heading to Harvard

In the Autumn of 2009, I will take up a Postdoctoral Fellowship at Harvard University.  The post is divided between the Kennedy School of Government (and in particular the Program on Science, Technology, & Society) and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS). My job will involve building links between the two schools, helping to design an undergraduate course in Technology & Society, publishing at least one journal article, and… Read More »Heading to Harvard

California trip

I recently got back from a trip to California, where I met a few people at UC Berkeley and UC Santa Clara’s Center for Science, Technology, and Society, and gave a talk at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, part of the Monterey Institute for International Studies. The talk, I think, went quite well. I outlined how the Wassenaar Arrangement, and export controls generally, are based on three assumptions:… Read More »California trip