A list of key terms for CSIS, like "Commons," "Archives," and "Experiments"

The Center

(For events, updates, videos, and other content please subscribe to the CSIS newsletter)

"Innovation" is now synonymous with "novelty" -- something innovative is something new. We study innovation in this sense, looking at how new practices, discoveries, and systems come to be, but also in its older, deeper sense: innovation as renewal and restoration, variation, experiment, iteration, and change to an established pattern. Therefore, along with studying what produces and constrains new developments in science and technology, we also explore how concepts, practices, techniques, and technologies are modified, maintained, adapted, abandoned, and recovered over time.

In broadening the concept of science and innovation, we at CSIS hope to create a space for conversation and collaboration across the disciplines at our university and beyond, while taking advantage of our particular areas of expertise here at Davis. Areas of research interest for CSIS include:

  • The translation, importing, and exporting of objects, techniques, and systems of knowledge across cultures, languages, and borders
  • Circulation and ownership of information and knowledge: intellectual property, patents, commons, "piracy," secrecy, sharing and publication, and shadow libraries
  • Preservation, maintenance, stewardship, and transformation of information and knowledge over time: databases, archives, seedbanks, laboratory culture, tacit knowledge, persistence of techniques
  • Innovation outside the context and geography of "Big Science" and technology: local and vernacular science and knowledge production; hacking, tinkering, bricolage; "outsider science"

The primary format of CSIS is the conversations with scholars, artists, and technologists on our podcast (launching shortly). To receive updates on CSIS conversations, videos, and other news, you can subscribe to our newsletter.


"You must say the new and, just as clearly, the old." / Du mußt Neues sagen und doch lauter Altes. Wittgenstein