Program on Science, Technology and Society at Harvard

Harvard Kennedy School of Government | Harvard University
Gabriel Dorthe

Gabriel Dorthe

gabriel.dorthe (at)

Gabriel is a postdoctoral researcher funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation for a research project entitled “Shadows of Geoengineering: The co-production of competing regimes of expertise in climate governance”, co-hosted by the Harvard STS Program and the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies Potsdam. He holds a PhD in philosophy and environmental humanities (University of Lausanne & University Paris I Panthéon Sorbonne).

In 2019-2020, he has been a postdoctoral researcher and teacher at Lille Catholic University (ETHICS, Chair Ethics & Transhumanism). He has also been a Visiting Research Fellow with the Harvard STS Program in 2014-15 (Swiss NSF Doc.Mobility grant), and invited Research Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies Potsdam for two 4-month stays in 2016-2017 and 2018.

His dissertation was an ethnographic account of the transhumanist movement, which confronted the movement’s publicized narratives and its activists’ everyday practices. He shows that the people who get involved in transhumanist associations are almost never scientists nor engineers. They are citizens of various backgrounds, and constitute a largely disempowered public of technoscientific promises who try to make sense of the future of humanity, when major upheavals seem to be expected due to emerging technologies.

Gabriel has long been deeply involved in the dialogue between science and society through his participation in various initiatives, such as the Interface Science-Society of the University of Lausanne, the Festival francophone de philosophie, the Groupe vaudois de philosophie, and the Projet Socrate, which looks at what philosophy can bring to work organizations to make them more responsive and responsible in today’s world.

Summary of his actual research project:

Since the late 2000s, solar geoengineering (injecting reflective particles into the stratosphere to increase the planet’s reflectivity) has been gaining traction as part of a general portfolio of possible responses to global warming. However, current debates on the feasibility and potential consequences of solar geoengineering risk short-circuiting necessary democratic deliberation on this grand-scale project, as well as on other measures to be taken in an age of global environmental crisis. This project will conduct an ethnographic study of two groups of actors, one voicing opposition and the other advocating for (careful) support of solar geoengineering. The goal is to open up a contrasting analysis of the competing visions and blind spots of this debate. Three lines of inquiry shall be explored: vulnerability towards the consequences of global warming, scales of climate governance, and temporalities of democratic deliberation. This analysis is expected to shed light on the co-production of competing and differentially justified regimes of expertise in climate governance, generating scholarly contributions as well as policy advice.

Academia profile: