Placing Outer Space: An Interview

What kind of object is a planet? Lisa Messeri’s new book asks and addressed this question in a fascinating ethnography that explores how scientific practices transform planets into places and helps us understand why that matters not just for how we understand outer space, but also for how we understand the Earth and ourselves. Based on 15 months of participant observation in 2009 and 2010 that included interviews, involvement in research projects, conferences, email exchanges, informal chats, and more, Placing Outer Space: An Earthly Ethnography of Other Worlds (Duke University Press, 2016) guides readers through four different field sites in order to analyze the significance of four different activities of place-making therein: narrating, mapping, visualizing, and inhabiting. We spoke about it for the New Books in STS podcast and you can listen to our conversation by clicking this link.