Paper submissions to open panels

Abstracts open: Dec 1st, 2017. Abstracts close: Feb 1st, 2018.

Over 100 open panel proposals have been accepted for 4sSydney. A full description of the Open Panels are listed below, and will be available in the submission system.

The purpose of calling for Open Panel proposals is to stimulate the formation of new networks around topics of interest to the 4S community. For 4S 2018, Open panels have been proposed by scholars working in every continent and relating to just about every major STS theme. Open panel paper submissions should be in the form of abstracts of up to 250 words. They should include the paper’s main arguments, methods, and contributions to STS.

When submitting papers to open panels on the abstract submission platform, you will select the Open Panel you are submitting to. Papers submitted to an open session will be reviewed by the open session organiser(s) and will be given first consideration for that session.

At the time of submission, you will also be asked to nominate two alternative open panel preferences for your paper. In the event that your paper is not included in the open panel of your first preference it will be considered for the alternative panels indicated in your submission.

List of Accepted Open Panels

1. Critical Digital Health Studies

Deborah Lupton, University of Canberra
Digital health technologies have been part of medicine, healthcare and public health domains for decades. Older forms of digital health include telemedicine and telehealth, blogs and online discussion forums about illness experiences, websites offering information and digital scanning technologies. More recently, a new range of technologies have become available: social media sites, apps, wearable self-monitoring devices, patient self-care technologies, diagnostic tools, video doctor visits, insertible devices, ingestible smart pills, robotic surgery and caregiving, 3D printing technologies, virtual and augmented reality, massive digital datasets (big data), and more. A set of compelling sociotechnical imaginaries have presented digital health technologies in a favourable light as the healthcare of the future. Many promises are made for the potential of digital health technologies, including better and more cost-efficient healthcare delivery, engaged patients and connected healthcare providers. Yet the realities of enacting digital health technologies, whether as patients or providers, can often be messy, uncertain and complicated, in ways often unanticipated by technology developers, policy-makers, government agencies and other advocates.
STS researchers have been in the forefront of developing critiques that have elucidated these dimensions of digital health. This panel builds on this work, inviting papers from participants who are interested in using STS and related theoretical and methodological approaches to analyse digital health technologies across the full range that are currently offered or in development. Papers are welcome that: explore the lived experiences of using, resisting or tinkering with digital health technologies for both lay people and healthcare providers across a range of spatial/geographical/national locations; analyse the sociomaterial affordances of the technologies; or theorise their sociocultural implications.

2. Is there such a thing as Asian science?

Anju Paul, Yale-NUS College, Singapore
Asia’s share of the world’s research and development investment is now larger than that of the Americas and Europe, and it continues to grow. When combined with the increasing return of Western-trained Asian scientists and the rise in prominence of Asian research universities and institutes, there is growing talk of the globalization of science. However, within STS, there is recognition that the production of knowledge is contingent upon the context in which the research is carried out. This panel will explore the idea of an ‘Asian’ approach to scientific research, recognising the unique role played by Asian developmental states, and the cultural and structural characteristics of the region in shaping the relative priorities given to basic vis-a-vis applied research, reporting and funding structures, the degree of transparency in decision-making, the recognition of women as scientists, and so on. This panel is looking for empirically grounded papers that highlight parallels and contrasts in the socially and culturally embedded practice of conducting scientific research in contemporary Asia (defined broadly). Papers that focus on a single case study or that involve comparative work between different Asian societies or between systems in the so-called ‘East’ and ‘West’ are welcome. Through these papers, the panel hopes to address various questions including: What are the politics of scientific research in Asia? Who are the key actors in this space? How does the Western training of most Asian-based scientists affect their research practice upon return? How do scientists perceive and value scientific research from and within Asia?

3. The impact of outsourcing and contracting on accident prevention in complex sociotechnical systems

Jan Hayes, RMIT University; Stéphanie Tillement, IMT Atlantique, Nantes, France
Social studies of disasters in complex sociotechnical systems are well established (for example, analyses of the Challenger Explosion, Deepwater Horizon & Fukushima). As outined in work in ‘high reliability theory’, and other similar theories of accident causation and prevention, such events are best seen as ‘organizational accidents’, where attempts at prevention require a focus on how work is structured at an organisational level. Many of these theories originate in the 1990s or earlier. Since that time, the way work is organised has changed substantially with outsourcing and subcontracting becoming the norm. These practices introduce new forms of distribution of work and labour, and bring new spatial, temporal and inter-organizational boundaries that must be managed. The impact of global trends to outsourcing and contracting on the potential for disaster has been little studied. Keeping a complex sociotechnical system safe is a long term endeavour that requires more and more articulation of work between organizations. Such a ‘dynamic non-event’ poses particular challenges given the potentially short term and transnational nature of contract relationships and the variety of interests involved. This panel aims at better understanding how safety (and reliability) can be achieved in these distributed (and often singular) settings.
We invite papers that consider this issue including (but not limited to):

  • The nature of boundaries that contracting introduces and the impact on safety.
  • Transformation of models of safety to take into account new organisational boundaries.
  • How these boundaries can be collectively “equipped” in order to control risks.
  • Precarity of work and learning from accidents.
  • Governance and effective regulation in this context.

4. Emerging forensic technologies

Rafaela Granja, Institute of Social Sciences, University of Minho and Centre for Social Sciences, University of Coimbra; Gabrielle Samuel, Department of Global Health and Social Medicine, King’s College, London, UK
Forensic technologies are increasingly important tools to identify individuals in criminal investigations, in the management of borders, and in the wake of disaster and atrocity. In the last few years, there has been an expansion of the possibilities offered by human identification by such systems, with the development of technologies such as forensic face and voice recognition systems, forensic genetic massive parallel sequencing and forensic DNA phenotyping. Research in STS and beyond has begun exploring the development, regulation and implementation of such emerging technologies; their associated scientific, legal, and ethical controversies; the questions they raise about, for example, identity, privacy, and meanings of race and populations; and their differentiated regulation across different jurisdictions.We invite contributions that draw on case studies to critically engage with the socio-cultural and techno-political dimensions posed by emerging forensic technologies in ways that illuminate some of the following (non-exhaustive) questions: How are emerging forensic technologies involved in the re-shaping of governance? How do they lend themselves to creating new dynamics of individualization and collectivization? Which social actors and epistemic cultures have been playing the leading role in the development, implementation and regulation of emerging forensic technologies? What types of legal, ethical and social questions do these technologies raise? How do controversies over forensic technologies frame issues of structural inequality, and vice versa? How do they reflect notions of privacy, if at all? How do these technologies shape, reinforce, or modify particular notions of identities and bodies? How are different socio-technical imaginaries inscribed in each technology?

5. The Politics of Science and Technology in International Development

Shobita Parthasarathy, University of Michigan; Manjari Mahajan, New School University
In the post World War era, the idea and enterprise of international development has been central to organizing relations between the global North and South. It has also captured the aspirations of decolonized nations seeking to ameliorate poverty. However, the field of development, and its institutional, policy, and epistemic manifestations, are experiencing enormous flux at a time marked by the contradictory exigencies of globalization, resurgent nationalism, retreat of traditional superpowers, and rise of economic powers in the South. This panel interrogates the changing world of development, with a focus on the politics and policies of science and technology. It seeks to map continuities and changes in the types of expertise, technological interventions, and scientific knowledge that are central to the development enterprise. Some questions that the panels hopes to probe include: how are interventions being developed and designed; who funds them, and according to what values and political commitments; how are data for development constructed, and with what understandings of relevant knowledge and expertise; what are the consequences for both the poor and the world? We welcome a range of papers that analyze the politics of science and technology in development policy, practice, and theory. Papers could focus on development initiatives across different scales, spanning the global, the national, and the local. We are especially interested in papers that illuminate new modalities and institutions that are changing older logics of development, whether through discourse and practices of big data, randomized trials, humanitarian technologies, philanthropic logics, or much else.

6. Producing Transformations: Drugs, bodies, and experimentation

Kane Race, University of Sydney; Kiran Pienaar, Monash University, Dean Murphy, University of Sydney
Throughout history, drugs and medications have been used to produce transformations. Experiments with different substances have taken place in diverse contexts: individual, subcultural, communal, scientific, medical, commercial, criminal/illicit and transnational. Despite the immense diversity and heterogeneity of these experiments, each is subject to specific norms, protocols, evaluative criteria, and concerns; and each often entails assembling publics to validate their findings or assess whatever emerges from them. This Open Panel invites papers about the transformations (intended or otherwise) associated with different practices of drug experimentation and consumption. Against commonplace understandings of drugs as stable entities with unique chemical properties that act to produce identifiable effects, the ontological turn in STS inspires a growing number of drug researchers to conceive the action of drugs and their purported effects to be produced in relation to various other actors, arrangements and networks. How do the practical arrangements devised to put drugs to the test in different places and times tally with the historical, cultural, technological and material processes in which drugs are implicated, and which undoubtedly mediate, extend, and complicate their effects? How are those transformations that extend beyond the experimental apparatus accounted for? What gets neglected? What criteria render specific experiments legitimate, and others illicit, and how are these criteria contested, changed, and/or adapted over time? What is unique about the adventures such experimental subjects undertake? What matters to them? What can be learned from situating their activities? How are their findings translated to other situations, and with what implications?

7. Global Animals: Science and Technology

Brad Bolman, Harvard University
While much of the literature on nonhuman animals in science has tended to focus on model organisms in (mostly American) laboratories or the analysis of human-animal relations in laboratory settings, there is growing interest in studying the movement of animal bodies through laboratories across national and cultural boundaries. This nascent mode of analysis is crucial to understanding the ways that animal matter(s) continue to shape and define science and society far into the twenty-first century, even as the invisibilization of animals has seemingly accelerated within contemporary capitalism. This panel seeks answers to questions like the following: How have globalization and new technologies of movement and communication transformed laboratory animal science? How have novel assemblages of lab, field, ecosystem, and more shifted and blurred the traditional boundaries of scientific activity? How are relations between the Global “North” and “South” reconfigured and reinforced by the movement of laboratory specimens across geographical and national borders? Lastly, how do conditions of the ‘anthropocene’ or the ‘sixth extinction’ transform the nature and practice of animal experimentation? The panel seeks to bring together a transnational set of scholars studying the ‘global animal’ from both multi-national and multi-sited perspectives, shedding new light on this important development in science and technology.

8. Environmental Visualizations: Connecting Images, Knowledge, and Politics

Alastair Iles, University of California at Berkeley; To be added.
We welcome papers that explore the creation, design, use, and societal politics of visualizations in the environmental context. Visualizations are images or representations that communicate information in accessible formats to specific audiences. In 1990, Woolgar and Lynch published Representation in Scientific Practice, which examined the use of diagrams, drawings, and graphs to depict scientific data. This work has been updated (e.g. Pauwels 2005; Coopmans, Vertesi, Lynch, and Woolgar 2014) to include medical imaging, economics graphing, and other applications. However, relatively little work has concentrated on visualizations of environmental and social issues, their production and character, and their role in civil society discourses, government policy-making, and industry practices. Over the past 30 years, visualizations have become influential artifacts in reshaping both public knowledge and citizen agency. Increasingly, visualizations are designed to be interactive and to convey narratives. This panel will look critically at the nature and politics of visualizations as ways to know and learn about environmental matters. A key area of interest is to compare visualizations and interpretive conventions across diverse cultural and national settings, especially in the Asian region. Examples of potential topics include the rise in participatory mapping of air pollution in urban areas, the graphical representations of biomonitoring data, the use of GIS to track environmental hazards, and the real-time coverage of wildfires. Visualizations also play a central role in climate change science and politics—such as mapping droughts, sea level rise risks, and changing disease ranges. Visualizations can connect land use, health, ecosystems, and industry in novel ways.

9. Diversifying Agri-food STS scholarship Across Transnational Borders

Alastair Iles, University of California at Berkeley; To be added (as participants join).
We welcome papers on a wide range of agricultural and food topics, with a view to expanding STS scholarship into new areas. To date, much STS work on agri-food topics has focused on genetically engineered foods, the Green Revolution, and industrial agriculture. However, as Iles, Graddy-Lovelace, Montenegro, and Galt (2017) suggest, food systems are complex, multi-dimensional, and involve long supply/trade chains that stretch around the world. Agri-food STS is rapidly growing to encompass many ‘new’ sites, geographies, and agricultures. Possible topics include the regulation of food safety and pesticide risks, the politics of agroecological knowledge production vis-à-vis industrial food regimes, farmer-to-farmer learning exchanges, the growth of automation (e.g., drones and mechanized harvesters), and new generations of genetically engineered crops (e.g. CRISPR). The connections between nutrition and health are of interest. Corporations are developing and marketing an array of foods and diets for developing regions. Standards also continue to coordinate across huge agri-food infrastructures, and to define what sustainability means for supermarkets. Ongoing corporate consolidation is having a major impact on the nature of S&T in agri-food systems (e.g., seeds, chemicals, labor). In particular, we encourage contributions regarding agriculture and food systems in Australia, New Zealand, and the Asian region more broadly. We will organize specific panels around clusters of key themes and concepts, paying attention to stimulating transnational conversations between scholars working on these themes. We are especially interested in papers that critically appraise (1) efforts to foster sustainable intensification and (2) the development of alternative, sustainable agricultures.

10. Neurosocieties: Interdisciplinary Explorations of the Brain, Culture and Ethics

John Gardner, Monash University; Cynthia Forlini (The University of Sydney) on behalf of The Neurosocieties Group
In the last two decades the neurosciences have become a highly prestigious and influential force in contemporary societies. The significant symbolic and financial resources invested within neuroscience research (e.g. the EU’s Human Brain Project, and the US’ BRAIN Initiative) as well as its translation into practice and policy raise a number of pressing issues for social scientists, bioethicists and STS theorists in particular. Thus, the Neurosocieties interdisciplinary open panel will address themes such as: the influence of brain-based explanations of personhood, health and behaviour in contemporary communities; how these explanations align and conflict with other ways of making sense of personhood; new social forms emerging in response to the rising prestige of neurosciences; and the responsible management of the expectations of patients, families and carers regarding promising neuro-interventions. Additionally, recent developments within the neurosciences – particularly the emerging interest in culture and social context – have created new opportunities for productive engagement between neuroscience, social science and ethics. Accordingly, the interdisciplinary panel will call for papers from STS, anthropology, philosophy, bioethics and related disciplines that explore new options for conceptualising: the relationship between brain, body and environment; the relationship between thinking, feeling, mood and cognition; understandings of agency and moral responsibility; and interdisciplinary perspectives more generally, on the brain, personhood and culture. The panel will prepare the ground for an interdisciplinary special issue on Neurosocieties.

11. Political transformations of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD) and epigenetics in the Global South

Megan Warin, University of Adelaide; Michelle Pentecost (University of Oxford); Fiona Ross (University of Cape Town); Maurizio Meloni (University of Sheffield)
DOHaD and epigenetics have growing relevance to the health programs around the world and are a key platform in global health initiatives such as the World Health Organisation and United Nations. Issues of nutrition, living and working conditions, environmental exposures, poverty and inequality are key to conceptual understandings of health across the lifecourse and in postgenomic programs such as environmental epigenetics and microbiomics. This panel invites papers that interrogate the ways in which DOHaD and epigenetics intersect with local knowledge and local biologies in the Global South, and the broader politics of governance and biopower that such programs may entail. We envisage themes such as: how DOHaD and epigenetics are translated into cultural practices of reproduction, eating, care and kinship; the uptake of notions of biological plasticity; and how the politics of race, colonialism and violence are imbricated and negotiated in encounters between life science, history and daily lives, particularly in the Global South. These themes are not exhaustive and we welcome other contributions in this field.

12. STS Underground: Investigating the Technoscientific Worlds of Mining and Subterranean Extraction

Roopali Phadke, Macalester College; Abby Kinchy (RPI) and Jessica Smith (Colorado School of Mines)
The panel aims to bring together international scholars whose work addresses technologies, practices, and forms of knowledge related to the mining of minerals, groundwater and fossil fuels. Recent technological developments such as high-volume hydraulic fracturing to extract oil and gas from shale, solar technologies that require rare earth metals, and even the pursuit of minerals found in asteroids have all been of interest to STS scholars, but have not typically been treated as an identifiable domain of research. This panel will seek to highlight the theoretical and topical commonalities as well as disagreements and debates that make the study of mining and extraction a vibrant, emerging subfield of STS. Researchers are encouraged to submit abstracts on a wide range of topics, including: research and development on extractive technologies, environmental health and grassroots activism, extraction and indigenous communities, climate change and the Anthropocene, historical perspectives on extractive industries, labor and workers’ rights, and mining and extraction infrastructures.

13. Collating publics in collections of human biological material and data

Nina Amelung, University of Minho; Erik Aarden, University of Vienna; Torsten Heinemann, Universität Hamburg
This panel seeks to explore how particular ‘publics’ – of citizens, stakeholders, populations, or otherwise – are put together through collections of human biological materials – such as blood, DNA, fingerprints, etc. – and data. We encourage contributions which study how publics are co-produced in technoscientific, social and political orders that shape the formation of repositories containing human biological materials and data (as applied in e.g. the medical, forensic, migration policy context). Papers address, but are not limited to, the following questions:

  • how database systems and their classifications configure ontological entities with particular normative ascriptions of publics;
  • how practices of taking samples, producing, storing and exchanging materials and data, and governing databases enact, affect or mobilize notions of citizenship;
  • how political issues produced by and reflected in such databases are negotiated and thereby (re)make affected publics and forms of (biological) citizenship;
  • how the materiality of database infrastructures and networks that make databases work enable or constrain imaginaries of collectives;
  • how such databases give rise to ecologies of participation that mobilize human rights groups, patient groups, migration activists, etc.

We invite colleagues to present empirically rich and conceptually informed reflections on the relations between the collection of human biological materials and data, and the formation of diverse publics and forms of citizenship, across different cultural locations, contexts of application and forms of storage. With the contributions to this panel, we thereby explore the empirical, theoretical and political significance of how human collectives are imagined in practices of collecting.

14. How do STS Studies Translate Numbers

Helen Verran, Charles Darwin University, Casurina, NT; Ingmar Lippert, IT University, Copenhagen; Radhika Gorur, Deakin University, Melbourne
Popular discourse imagines numbers as self-evident signs, not needing translation. Relating to the ubiquitous presence of numbers and numbering, STS has been developing and drawing on a range of analytics in generative studies of numbers and numbering (e.g. Lave 1988, Porter 1995, Verran 2001). Among recent innovations, at least four lines of ‘translation’ work can be identified: Asdal’s approach to studying the relation between (non-)use of numbers and authority, the conversations between Cochoy, Callon and Law on the intersection of quantification and qualification and the analytical promise of the neologist term qualculation, the study of valuation in the context of Helgesson and Muniesa’s Valuation Studies that involves engaging how quantifying values and how valuing something relates to numbering it, and Verran’s investigations of numbering and enumerated entities. There are other such lines, we do not propose this list as exhaustive.
We are interested in ‘dual-folded’ projects. First, we are looking for studies that address and interrogate the doing of numbers and enumerated entities in situated and always also political practice, e.g. numbering and calculation, and/or to explicate the achievement of central dichotomies in the discourse of numbers, such as quality vs quantity (“What is translated in the doing of numbers?”). Second, we would like these studies to discuss the analytical possibilities and limits configured with or through recent innovations in STS analytics of numbers, i.e. to investigate such innovations for their inter- and intra-analytical convergences, differences, harmonies and contradictions (“How do STS analytics of numbers translate the doing of numbers?”).

15. Latin American Science, Technology and Society: Women, Gender, and Sexuality Issues

Sandra Harding, Univ. California Los Angeles (UCLA)
Latin American feminisms have addressed an array of historical, sociological, medical and other issues focused on women, gender and sexuality. These include historical and present day still–colonial enganglements of gender and sexuality with race, ethnicity, biological, pharmacological, medical and other issues about the treatment of women, men, lesbian, gay, and trans peoples. How do these issues effect government, economies, political activism and other social and cultural policies and practices? The focus is on issues IN Latin America, but also FROM Latin America. The emphasis is on making Latin America the subject of global thought, not just an object of other people’s thinking. How does and should Latin American thinking, policies and practices have effects elsewhere around the globe, and how do policies and practices elsewhere have effects in Latin America.

16. Smart homes in everyday life: Labour, leisure and pleasure

Yolande Strengers, RMIT University; Jenny Kennedy, RMIT University; Melissa Gregg, Intel Corporation
The smart home has long been a fascination for social scholars of technology, who have sought to uncover its imaginaries and anticipated effects in everyday life (e.g. Berg, Heckman, Spigel). This Open Panel will bring together empirical research on everyday experiences with, and reflections on, contemporary smart homes and their associated devices. We invite international contributions around three interrelated themes which focus on lived interactions with smart home devices, home automation platforms, home voice assistants, and household robotics:

  1. Labour and productivity, including the gendered dimensions of the anticipated and actual ‘work’ and ‘play’ associated with the smart home, along with its ‘digital housekeeping’ (Tolmie et al. 2017) and productivity outcomes.
  2. Leisure and companionship, associated with the increasing prevalence of robotic and (gendered) digital voice assistants in the home (such as Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home).
  3. Pleasure, encompassing the desires, aspirations, and aesthetic and sensory experiences of the smart home, including its potential hedonistic orientations and sustainability effects.

We invite papers drawing on diverse methodologies and disciplinary perspectives (such as media studies, digital anthropology, feminist theory, disability studies, sociology, leisure studies, and computer science) that provide international insights into the emergence and effects of new smart technologies in households.

17. Platform Practices and Predictive Seeing

Adrian Mackenzie, Lancaster University; Anna Munster, UNSW
Large image collections ranging from Sloan Sky Survey, through to ImageNet play a vital role in contemporary economies of knowledge. Yet actual image practices, operations and techniques pertaining to such collections remain relatively occluded. How do data-oriented visual cultures also re-organise ‘seeing’ in the light of prediction? This panel invites contributions dealing with routine, habitual and everyday data practices that have developed in relation to large image collections in contemporary sciences, industry, media, government and cultural institutions. We welcome research working with or analysing image-sets in their predictive transformations across these domains. Here contributions might address how the formatting and processing of images collections and streams – for border control facial recognition, discrimination of objects in robotic manufacture, earth system observation, smart city urban infrastructure and so on – create the material conditions for predictive models. Everyday data practices concerned with collecting, archiving, ordering or moving through image collections or images streams would be relevant topics. How do STS concepts of knowledge infrastructure, platform, centre of calculation, algorithm or large technical system help us understand changes in the operational role of images in prediction, whether, for example, in earth science or social network media? Re-conceptualisation of ontologies of seeing, image, data, model, prediction and knowledge are important to the aims of the panel. The panel aims to support conversation traversing some of the different disciplinary approaches coming from media and cultural studies, art-design and STS to this topic.

18. Science, technology and society in the polar regions

Justiina Dahl, KTH Royal Institute of Technology; Juan Salazar, University of Western Sydney
Despite Antarctica being widely regarded as the paradigmatic “continent for science” since the late 1950s and the Arctic being narrated as one of the most important laboratories for studying environmental change in the age of the anthropocene, STS scholarship on the polar regions remains comparatively underdeveloped. The aim of this panel is to explore more analytical discussions concerning science and technology as agents of authority and power over both people and places, considering how the Arctic and the Antarctic are governed, controlled, and exploited. We are particularly concerned with challenging the notion that the polar regions are conceptually separate from the rest of the globe and with, alternately, emphasizing how practices, prejudices, and preoccupations flow across lines of latitude. The kind of questions relating to the co-production of science, technology and global and local societies which the panel aims to contribute to include: How do national science programs enact sovereignty within legal frameworks that either complicate or sideline territorial claims? How does environmental monitoring construct images of fragility? What work does the rhetorical conflation of science with environmental protection do in obscuring other connections, such as those between science and subsurface mineral extraction? To what extent does traditional ecological knowledge in multilateral Arctic governance influence epistemological formations in Arctic sciences? Submissions are warmly encouraged from across the broad church of STS, including perspectives drawing from media studies, anthropology, geography, history, and political science.

19. Social studies of politics: state affect?

Jan-Hendrik Passoth, MCTS, Technical University of Munich (TUM); Nicholas J. Rowland (Pennsylvania State University)
Whether in post-industrialized settings of the Global North or the rapidly industrializing contexts of the Global South, a distinctive feature of our contemporary world is the reconfigured but nonetheless pervasive presence of states. The state remains a key mode of societal organisation, despite scholars announcing its “death” or decrying that it is “hollowed-out” as states purportedly contribute to their own undoing in the context of ever-advancing globalization and the contruction and transformation of inter- and transnational modes of governing. Research in Science and Technology Studies (STS) tends to privilege technoscientific advances organized through deliberate (nation) state intercession, either through co-shaping of science and society (Jasanoff) or through intervention into the material environment and through the establishment of infrastructure (e.g., Carroll, 2009; Mukerji, 1997). An under-explored though essential facet for understanding contemporary politics is affect. How is state affect marshaled in the face of pressures to retreat and to expand? The care and attention that laypeople and officials direct at operations of the state and bureaucratic labor offer a means of locating the sustenance of the state in terms of affect. Bringing this conceptual terrain into prolonged conversation with Science and Technology Studies (STS) affords scholars the opportunity to examine how the ‘sensibility’ of states is produced even in transnational configurations and how a range of affective dimensions (aesthetic, aural, optic, and even olfactory) come to be entangled with diverse regulatory and administrative processes in the ‘care’ of national, international and transnational government work.

20. ‘Evidence-making intervention’: transforming implementation science

Kari Lancaster, Centre for Social Research in Health, UNSW; Tim Rhodes (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine & Centre for Social Research in Health, UNSW)
‘Evidence-based’ policy and practice has become the dominant organising paradigm for health care and medicine in the western world. Within this, implementation science has emerged as a sub-discipline with a focus on developing methods which promote the integration of ‘evidence’ into healthcare policy and practice. Implementation science aims to understand how social contexts shape the delivery of ‘evidence-based’ health interventions, however such aims rely on a range of ontological assumptions about the stability of ‘evidence’ and ‘interventions’ as it investigates the ‘transferability’ or ‘translation’ of these presumed-to-be fixed objects into new sites. This panel invites papers which seek to return questions of ontology to the field of implementation science, grapple with ‘evidence’ and ‘interventions’ as objects in-the-making, and reflect critically on practices of evidence-making. We propose engagement with an ‘evidence-making intervention’ approach which assumes there to be no clean distinction between knowledge and practice, or context and content, and takes both ‘evidence’ and ‘interventions’ as objects produced and remade locally through implementation practices. Here, ‘evidence’ can be said to emerge immanently, a transient effect of its connections and disconnections with multiple other bodies of knowledge and a range of material-discursive practices, including those associated with science and policy. In keeping with the conference theme, this panel aims to bring together a transnational network of scholars with interests in the development, trial, transfer and promise of new health technologies, with the goal of transforming one of the dominant health policy and practice paradigms of our times.

21. Concepts and Practices of ELSI: Exploration of its plurality

Koichi Mikami, University of Tokyo; Arisa Ema (University of Tokyo); Jusaku Minari (Kyoto University); Go Yoshizawa (Osaka University)
Almost three decades have passed since the program on ethical, legal, and social implications (ELSI) was first conceived in the United States as part of the Human Genome Project. Scientists and policymakers increasingly accept the idea that major scientific breakthroughs and/or the development of novel technologies ought to be accompanied by deliberation of their ELSI, and ELSI has been a domain of valuable STS contributions. However, both understandings of what counts as ELSI and the practices intended to address it seem to differ considerably across places, times, and topics. This panel therefore explores such plurality of ELSI in terms of both its concepts and practices.
Following this year’s conference theme, we invite papers that examine trans-forming and/or trans-formed features of ELSI since its original conception. The questions they address may include how the idea of ELSI has been translated into a local practice, how discussion on ELSI transformed the way science or technology is done, how transnational ELSI initiatives differ from those at a national level, and how transferable the outcomes of ELSI deliberation can be. There is no restriction on the ‘techno-scientific contexts’ of ELSI presenters might engage – from genomics and regenerative medicine to artificial intelligence, synthetic biology, and space science. We are also interested in reflexive takes on ELSI and STS, which may include: the ways STS scholars influenced and were also influenced by initiatives to undertake ELSI deliberation locally; or, how ELSI relates to other approaches in science/technology governance, such as Technology Assessment and Responsible Research and Innovation.

22. Beyond boundary objects and immutable mobiles: new ways of thinking about the movement of knowledge

Corinna Kruse, Department of Thematic Studies – Technology and Social Change, Linköping University; Hannah Grankvist, Department of Thematic Studies – Technology and Social Change, Linköping University; Jenny Gleisner, Department of Thematic Studies – Technology and Social Change, Linköping University
Knowledge production and dissemination has been a central focus in Science and Technology Studies for quite some time. To talk about these subjects, STS scholars have developed concepts like boundary objects, immutable mobiles, and trading zones; concepts that draw attention to the knowledge objects that offer flexibility or stability or are being exchanged. This open panel calls for papers exploring new and other ways of tracing in detail the everyday practices, structures, and relations that make knowledge travel from one site to another. How can we acknowledge epistemic differences and how they are (or are not) overcome in the movement of knowledge? Is it fruitful to talk in terms of for instance translations, mediations, or perhaps infrastructures? We welcome both empirical and theoretical contributions.

23. The invisible aspects of infrastructure

Sally Wyatt, Maastricht University; Tim Jordan, Sussex University
Infrastructure has long been of interest to STS scholars with different types (transport and communication) studied from different perspectives (historical, economic, ethnographic). One standard definition is that infrastructures are only noticed when they do not work. But, much infrastructure is very present; it’s hard to miss road and rail networks, and digital networks depend on massive investments in cables, satellites and servers. In this panel, we focus on the ‘invisible’ aspects of infrastructure, such as the work of maintenance done under the cover of darkness. Clinical research and testing often relies on the work of people and organisms not visible to patients. Knowledge work depends not only on classification (in labs, databases, libraries) but also on the work of technicians, software engineers and information professionals. But this is the point: what work is visible to whom, when and where? This is particularly the issue with the rise of the ‘gig economy’ in which the infrastructure of the internet becomes embedded within what are seemingly separate platforms.
This panel aims to open up discussion about the invisible aspects of contemporary infrastructures of knowledge, consumption and production, by bringing together insights from STS about socio-technical ensembles together with ideas from (Marxist) sociology and political economy. Scholars are invited to reflect on the meaning of hidden infrastructures and the extent to which STS can recover the significance of infrastructure that has disappeared, because it is taken for granted, as in debates around the ‘post-digital’ that posit the internet as being ‘taken for granted’.

24. Animals and Technology Around the World, Past and Present

Christena Nippert-Eng, Indiana University Bloomington; Patrick Shih, Indiana University Bloomington
Across time and space, our relationships with nonhuman animals have involved a staggering assortment of technologies. In addition to the technologies we have developed to use with or against animals, animals also have been used *as* technologies, and they continue to serve as inspiration for even more. This panel welcomes papers on animals and technology, from reflective essays and case studies to systematic overviews of past and present practices. We welcome papers focused on any cultural region or historical period of time and those reporting on obscure, esoteric, or failed technologies as well as common, persistent, and/or successful ones.

25. Risks, Standards, and Knowledge Circulation in Nuclear and Radiation Science and Technology for Development

Clarissa Ai Ling Lee, Jeffrey Sachs Center on Sustainable Development, Sunway University; Maria Rentetzi, National Technical University of Athens in Greece
This panel explores the role of standards and risks in nuclear science and technology in the context of the United Nations’ early and current agenda of science and technology for development. It brings focus to linkages to other disciplines as well as to developmental issues and issues of security. Standards and standard-setting have played major roles in the development of modern sciences since the nineteenth century. Nuclear science and technology has been the center of attention in the development of safeguards, data management standards, protocols, and operational facilities (including of nuclear power plants). In addition, science and technological diplomacy has been involved in the transfer of knowledge among nations, with consideration of methods of knowledge transmission and science communication. Possible paper topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. How standards organize and govern the development and understanding of risks in the operation of nuclear-related technologies? What roles do regulatory institutions play in managing safeguards?
  2. What are the sociotechnical configurations of standards in radiation technology and risks, how have these configurations changed over time? What what is the role of science and technological diplomacies since the mid-twentieth century until the present age?
  3. The relation between citizen science and science communication in the communication and circulation of understanding pertaining to myths and realities?
  4. What is the role of responsible research and knowledge transfer in nuclear and radiation sciences?
  5. How have natural disasters in recent years shaped the development of precautionary measures regarding radiation risks and safety?

26. Climate Technologies and Unintended Consequences

Jonathan Marshall, University of Technology, Sydney
Climate technologies’ can be defined as those technologies which are designed to help prevent or deal with climate change. This includes technologies such as renewables, biofuels, geoengineering, carbon trading, carbon capture and so on. The purpose of this panel is to explore the likely unintended consequences of these technologies for society, ecologies, other technological systems and so on, and the unintended effects of social processes on these technologies. What might we have to look out for? How do we factor in unexpected consequences? How do we limit such factors? Approaches from any theoretical and disciplinary perspective are welcome.

27. How do they understand the science? Communicating science, risks, and disasters

Inez Ponce de Leon, Ateneo de Manila University; Anto Mohsin, Northwestern University in Qatar
Recent disasters have put science into the spotlight and have allowed non-scientists to see how science operates in their daily lives. Climate change, earthquakes, violent storms, wildfires, and epidemics have been a few of the disasters that cross borders and dominate our headlines. Scientists have their own understanding of these disasters, and work on a bedrock of science that is comfortable with uncertainty (be it in reporting a margin of error, or in talking about approximations rather than absolutes) and tend to expresses risk in terms of numbers and statistics. In turn, science communication, as well as disaster communication, often operates on the principle that people do not know the facts well enough and need to be informed about them (the so-called “deficit model”). Recent research, however, shows that such a model takes little account of the culture and perceptions of risk of the audience. Research likewise shows that the process of communicating scientific knowledge to reduce risk in disaster-prone areas, or of getting a disease or a health hazard, is usually carried out with little understanding of how the community would understand and act on such knowledge. We invite researchers who work in science and risk communication, especially those who examine the audiences who received information about risk and disaster to contribute to our panel. We look for papers that would shed light on the unique epistemologies of our audiences, and how these understandings can change how they view the world, and the role of science in it.

28. Digital imperialism: colonizing everyday lives in the Global South

Marine Al Dahdah, Cermes3 (CNRS/INSERM/EHESS/Paris Descartes); Mathieu Quet, Ceped-IRD, CSSP JNU-Delhi
Digital objects have become a central topic for STS scholars with the importance of data centered models of governance, digital tools of identification, growing economic flows circulating through digital payment, and the pervasive use of electronic devices in fields such as health and education. Locations and places are crucial for the analysis, as multiple technological developments and transactions between the global south and north bring to the fore the importance of interlinked flows of humans, technology and finance. This panel proposes to analyze digital objects with two sets of conceptual and analytical tools: those offered by Science and Technology Studies on one hand, and those given by Postcolonial Studies on the other. In particular it aims to question the North-focused approach, dominant in the study of digital technologies; and to insist instead upon geopolitical power relations and inequalities, as well as techno-cultural hybridization processes and actors that are normally invisibilized by dominant discourses. Building from these areas of research, the main goal of the panel is to revisit the notion of imperialism. The panel intends to describe some of the central aspects of contemporary imperialism, not only as a nation-to-nation process of domination, but also involving development, market and technology actors, and as a more general process of intensification of technological and capitalist reasons. Case studies from diverse areas are expected, such as (but not limited to) digital health, financial inclusion policies, digital citizenship, web-based social movements or media consumption.

29. Unsettling STS

Tom Ozden-Schilling, Johns Hopkins University; Denielle Elliott (York University)
How do contemporary forms of indigenous life, scholarship, and activism unsettle the political stakes and scholarly methods of STS? Recognizing that the 4S meeting of 2018 will be held on the historical and stolen lands of Australian indigenous peoples, this series of panels will explore the possibilities, the productive irritants, and inescapable problematics of thinking through the social study of science, medicine and technology in settler colonial societies. Settler colonialisms and technopolitics share long and complicated histories, histories which have only recently begun to receive critical attention within STS and related disciplines. Technoscience has pervaded indigenous engagements with the state, corporations, academics, and experts, generating paradoxical tests of legitimacy and new sites of wealth extraction, underscoring the entanglements between the nation, citizenship, knowledge claims, and land. Attending to specific sites of engagement and resistance demands new ways of doing (and undoing) STS scholarship. We seek papers that complicate the articulation and circulation of sociotechnical imaginaries; illuminate the ways archival and biomedical technologies shape claims to identity and belonging; and defy prevailing models whereby individual experts enroll allies and cultivate power. We are particularly interested in papers that speak to the legacy of colonial epistemologies in the history and philosophy of science and medicine, new innovative projects that work to decolonize medicine, science and technology (and science and technology studies itself), and speculative visions of an indigenous science studies. We also welcome submissions that subvert the conventional conference paper format, whether through video, audio, or literary productions or live performances.

30. Being religious, being scientific: the dynamics of science and religion in the laboratory

Joseph Satish Vedanayagam, University of Hyderabad, India; Renny Thomas (Jesus and Mary College, University of Delhi)
While popular imagination of the relation between science and religion continues to be dominated by either “conflict thesis” or “complementarity thesis”, emerging scholarship in the social studies of science has brought to light the many ways in which science and religion interact. Anthropological studies have challenged the assumption that scientists should necessarily be atheists. Today, world religions and science co-exist in ways that have not been explored widely in the literature e.g. Jewish rabbis and scientists together determine what foods are kosher (ritually “pure”), and laboratories in India routinely launch research projects with a puja (ritual offering) to Hindu deities. In this panel, we would like to discuss how science shapes, and is shaped by, religious beliefs, in an age of transnational ecological challenges, political upheaval and socio-economic turmoil. This panel would explore questions like: How do scientists negotiate their religious beliefs with their scientific careers (and vice versa)? How do the products of scientific research transform the religious beliefs of consumers? What are the consequences of religious ethics (and atheistic ideas) for developing research projects? What role do national governments play in designing science policy that (does not) supports dominant religious doctrines? What influences do religious leaders and organizations have on science? What are the social implications of these factors for scientific practice and religious beliefs? We invite contributions from scholars who have explored these and related questions, from the perspectives of STS, Religious Studies, and History of Science across local, national and transnational units of analysis.

31. Innovation and shades of blue economy

Nick Lewis, University of Auckland
Innovation is a keyword in STS. It has also become a keyword in debates about the potential of a blue economy. Like innovation, the idea of a blue economy has been thoroughly co-opted into the techno-science imaginaries of national development projects. This panel will ask whether exploring innovation in a blue economy might help to rescue either or both of these concepts and social practices from this particular national-scale framing and the interests that go with it. As social practice blue economy is an approach to stewarding the socio-ecological resources of marine environments and coastal communities. Innovation is always a crucial dimension of economy. Actualised blue economies will mobilise all manner of innovations. They will be scaled from the micro-local of an oyster-bed to the global fishery or pathway of a cruise-liner, with all manner of fluid configurations in between. If we are driven to understand blue economies as national, what does that mean for innovation, what gets categorised and counts as innovation and what gets excluded, and who benefits? Does a restricted techno-scientific, national development interpretation of innovation restrict or foreclose upon wider experimentation and other non-technoscientific forms of innovation and other possible economic and environmental futures at various scales? What innovations are being developed in coastal and marine economy and how are they reshading and rescaling the blue? Are there high-tech or otherwise charismatic socio-technical devices at work shifting social practice and human nonhuman relations in the blue? What does it mean to fish, humans, fish-human relations, and our imaginaries of the ocean and its creatures and environments to be farming fish off-shore in huge floating cages or catching them in giant plastic socks? What might be the consequences of ‘discovering’ that vibrations in the water control the reproductive activities of mussels or seeding mussel spat into the ocean commons? How are indigenous peoples practicing innovative blue economy? Is there anything novel or unexpected that considering innovation in the context of blue economy might add to our knowledge of innovation? Do we need to reconsider the relationship between innovation and blue economy, and what might that mean for value of the term ‘blue economy’? This panel invites papers that address these or related questions, or questions of innovation in biological economies more broadly.

32. Affordances and Architectures: A Materialist Approach to Digital Design

Jenny Davis, Australian National University; Timothy Graham (Australian National University); Baptiste Brossard (Australian National University)
The design of technological objects and systems cannot be separated from the social structures within which they arise and operate. People and things are mutually influential and co-constitutive. This simple idea—that people shape technologies and technologies shape people—undergirds recent advancements in affordance theory and platform/infrastructure studies. Across disciplines, scholars are developing precise language and robust frameworks for understanding how social dynamics are built into socio-technical systems and how socio-technical systems structure social dynamics. These theoretical advancements arise through and alongside critical work on digitization and automation as an integral component of personal and public life (see especially Nagy and Neff 2015; Plantin et al. 2016; Davis and Chouinard 2017; and Evans et al. 2017). This panel seeks to implement, build on, and apply clear conceptualizations of “affordance” to better understand how the architectures of digital platforms and infrastructures take shape and exert force. An affordance perspective on digital architectures fosters questions about the social antecedents to design decisions as well as questions about social and institutional effects. For instance, what is the interplay between administrative medical interfaces and physician-patient relations? How do dating apps with “swipe” functions (re)formulate intimacy and courtship rituals? What agendas are embedded in digital maps, and how do these mappings inform experiences of space and place? How do vote-based visibility algorithms encourage or discourage dissent? We seek to strengthen a theoretical orientation towards the materialist study of digital design through serious treatment of technological affordances.

33. Science and Technology Studies on Transnational Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM)

Jenny-Ann Danell, Umea University, Sweden; Caragh Brosnan, University of Newcastle, Australia; Pia Vuolanto, University of Tampere, Finland
CAM has not only become more popular and frequently used in western societies, it has also become a key topic in the sociology of health and illness. The main focus has been on individual use of CAM and on various aspects of professionalization and integration of CAM in conventional health care. As the concept itself indicates, CAM is almost always discussed and interpreted in contrast to conventional medicine and established science. Moreover, the focus on CAM in the west has downplayed its transnational character. It is framed as Other in relation to a ‘western’ biomedicine, with little exploration of the ways that both systems constitute knowledges and practices that move and are continually transformed through their translation in different geographic contexts, and through their relation to each other. This panel aims to move beyond these dichotomies and to explore CAM from STS perspectives. For example, how can we understand aspects of knowledge production, professionalization, standardization, globalization, and integration of CAM – if focusing on material practices, hybridity, actor networks, or boundary work? How is the movement and glocalisation of CAM implicated in transnational knowledge exchange? The panel will seek to bring together scholars working on CAM in a wide range of national settings to foster a transnational STS approach to CAM.

34. How does mobility change researchers, research groups and scientific communities?

Grit Laudel, Technical University Berlin; Carolina Cañibano (INGENIO (CSIC-UPV), Valencia); Richard Woolley (INGENIO (CSIC-UPV), Valencia
Spatial mobility – the movement of researchers between organisations and countries – has become a ubiquitous phenomenon and a major concern of science policy. It is assumed to foster learning and the recombination of ideas and thus to accelerate scientific progress. At the same time, it puts a strain on researchers, may lead to clashes of different research cultures (Sabharwal and Varma 2017), and forces research groups to cope with the loss of competencies when members leave. Many science systems create “forced mobility” (Ackers 2008) by the succession of fixed-term positions. International mobility may turn into migration, which raises fears of a loss of expertise and of a national community’s elite, a fear which is shared by developing and developed countries.
Our session will bring together research on the consequences of mobility for those who are mobile and the groups between they move. We invite researchers to submit papers on epistemic, social and cultural dimensions of mobility. Papers may address, but are not limited to, the following questions: How does mobility change the knowledge of those who are mobile and their host groups? What is gained and what is lost when researchers move which between groups? Under what conditions is mobility the best way to gain knowledge, and when is it better to stay put? What frictions does mobility cause in terms of cultural differences between researchers and their groups? How do individuals and groups cope with such frictions? How is mobility built into career scripts (Barley 1989)?

35. Constituting the health research participant: value, assetization and data practices in health research

David Wyatt, Kings College London; Christopher McKevitt, King’s College London
The rise of genomic research, big data, and practices that attempt to harness the research potential of routinely collected patient data, present a complex landscape where the role, status and value of the patient or citizen as a research subject is configured in numerous ways. STS scholars have drawn attention to the potential for health research participation to constitute exploitation, empowerment as well as part of contemporary citizenship, while also acknowledging the significance of social context. Others have considered the results of participation in terms of the (bio)value attached to bodily samples through, for example, commodity exchange or the assetization of patients, samples and/or data. Participation in health research has multiple forms, from trial subject to patient advisory group member, from biobank donor to the infinitely searchable database entry. Each of these forms could be understood differently, complicated further by research practices becoming more globally collaborative and thus dealing with multiple local contexts. To date, however, little work has explored how participation is understood across these local and national borders. This panel examines the varying ways the contemporary health research participant is constituted, valued and assetized from a global perspective. We invite theoretical and empirical contributions from single and multiple healthcare settings to facilitate discussion within and across national borders to explore the changing landscape of health research participation, citizenship and (bio)value.

36. The social epistemology of inclusion: mobilizing citizens and ideals of science and research

Dick Kasperowski, University of Gothenburg; Christopher Kullenberg, University of Gothenburg; Niclas Hagen, University of Gothenburg
Preoccupied in processes of ordering inclusion, citizen science is a practice going beyond the ‘nation’. When science and research configure themselves to include the outsider what is the social epistemology of inclusion? For some an ideal has been the unification of the sciences as a whole. Representatives for logical positivism argued at the beginning of the 20th century that science and research should be unified according to a shared methodology, in theory accessible to all.
In this open panel, we would like to explore the social epistemology of inclusion in the “citizen turn” when volunteer contributors are mobilized in the name of science. What epistemological assumptions are present in the current ”citizen turn”? I am text block. Click edit button to change this text. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.
This turn can be understood as a form of trans-national technology transfer, in terms of platforms, applications and protocols used for engaging the outsider. The deemed success of such projects has to a large extent been a question of data quality and design of participatory protocols, constructing the contributor on par with the researcher as an observer of the world. The use of protocols, as mediating technologies of perception, to produce valid data, while also being inclusive enough to mobilize contributors, is often put forward as a challenge to citizen science. To enable the perceptual qualities of the contributor in mass observations, the cognitive thresholds are kept low, constructing the citizen as possible to include in the scientific process. So, what do you have to know to be included, what can you discover as an outsider?

37. Bioeconomies – Life, Technology, and Capital in the 21st century

Vincenzo Pavone, Institute of Public Goods and Policies (IPP), Consejo Superior Investigaciones Cientificas (CSIC), SPAIN; Sara Lafuente, IPP-CSIC, SPAIN; Tess Doezema, Arizona State University, US
Rather than a politically innocent designation of a set of economic (and/or scientific) activities, the bioeconomy has been introduced as a unique solution to urgent problems, reshaping democratic and scientific institutions, expanding the role and rights of private capital, and modifying the meanings of citizenship. Contributing to the debate opened by the recent edited volume Bioeconomies: Life, Technology, and Capital in the 21st Century (Pavone and Goven, 2017), we welcome empirical and conceptual contributions that examine the ways in which bioeconomy projects cross borders, engage with conventional ideas of sovereignty, articulate particular visions of globalism, and engage with one or more of the following questions:
What is the bioeconomy project doing to, as well as with, science? How are parallel changes being rendered differently in different places?
How is value conceptualized, generated, appropriated, and distributed in various bioeconomies?
How do particular bioeconomies construct and mobilize—or, contrarily, disentangle and deny—relations between or among, e.g.: scientists, government, and capital; scientists and their research subjects; family members; members of political communities; and humans and other beings?
What can we learn from the conflicts that underpin and shape bioeconomy initiatives? How do particular bioeconomies depend upon, mobilize and/or reinforce existing inequalities? How are transferences of biological material and capacities being settled?
How might we engage in a research practice of constructive resistance with those who are, in effect, targets of the bioeconomy?

38. Science and Technology Studies and Science Education: ‘High’ vs. ‘Low’ Church Tensions

John Bencze, OISE, University of Toronto; Jesse Bazzul, University of Regina; Sara Tolbert, University of Arizona
Scholars and others have long encouraged infusion of research from science and technology studies (STS) into school science. Since at least the mid 19th century, for instance, educators like Spencer (1861) have recommended that science knowledge be learned through science inquiry activities informed by references to history, philosophy and sociology of science. Nevertheless, science education systems have tended to emphasize instruction in widely-accepted knowledge claims of the sciences and, associated with that, idealized conceptions of these fields. Struggles with authenticity of representation in science education (e.g. of phenomena, the social world, and ontological and epistemic groundings) seem to mirror STS publications (Breyman et al. 2017) – which have noted tensions between so-called ‘High Church’ and ‘Low Church’ STS (Fuller, 1993), the former emphasizing academic studies to represent the nature of science and technology while the latter prioritizing studies reforming these fields in ways benefiting societies and environments. Such tensions seem evident in, for example, nature-of-science education approaches – along with many ‘STEM’ (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) education initiatives – that avoid problems associated with capitalist influences on scientists and engineers and socioscientific issues education that prioritize students’ reasoned personal choices about controversies over actions they might take to engage global crises (locally and globally). ‘Low church’ approaches might also be said to value minoritized, rhizomatic flights away from staunch universalist, dominating understandings of science and phenomena. Papers in this Panel will, accordingly, address ‘High-Low Church’ tensions from a diversity of perspectives as they pertain to STS infusion in science education.

39. Metabolic Relations, Subjects and Differences

Sandra Widmer, York University
To metabolize is to be alive. To metabolize is to be connected to specific foods, movements and environments. Metabolism is at once an abstraction representing a host of chemical processes and a powerful social metaphor. It is a way of studying the material and energy of the body and the body’s relationship to consumption, transformation and destruction. In short, metabolism is good to think with. With the expansion of knowledge of the microbiome in public and scientific contexts, metabolic relations open new questions about obesity, mental health and digestive issues, among others. This panel invites a wide array of papers that build on the work of scholars like Hannah Landecker and Harris Solomon to consider practices of metabolism research as well as the care for human metabolism as ways into apprehending the human body as a site of emerging relations, subject formations or notions of human difference.
Papers might consider:

  • Practices of collection and storage of biological materials in metabolism research;
  • Emerging metabolic therapies in and outside of the clinic;
  • Individual and social implications of direct to consumer DNA testing for nutrition;
  • Caring for metabolic life through food preparations like fermentation;
  • Metabolism research practices and insights in global health initiatives.

40. Trans/national Politics of Race, Racism, and Anti-Racism

Anne Pollock, Georgia Tech; Melissa Creary, University of Michigan; Jonathan Metzl, Vanderbilt University
Race and racism emerge in distinctive locally-specific ways in particular sites with particular histories, and diverse forms of antiracist knowledge-making projects and political movements are also highly local. At the same time, structures of inequality and their contestation are also intertwined with both global histories of colonization and with contemporary transnational liberation movements. What can scholars in science and technology studies contribute to understanding how ideas of race, racism, and antiracism travel within and between nations? This open panel welcomes a broad range of approaches to this question. Papers might explore how scientists and social justice advocates mobilize data about the impact of racism for trans/national antiracist projects; how scientists articulate their own experiences of racial inequality and their ideas about possibilities of change; how nationalizing and globalizing rhetorics of whiteness are used to justify oppression; the future of identity politics for health in shifting political landscapes in specific countries and transnationally; the roles of pharmaceuticals and other products of global capital in ameliorating/exacerbating inequality; the ways that pseudo/scientific racial narratives operate within and beyond scientific spheres; and more. This open panel invites papers that make empirical and theoretical contributions to the intersectional, interdisciplinary viewpoints of how race, racism, and antiracism are at stake in politics within and across national scales. It seeks to generate new networks and conversations among STS scholars to interrogate these vital questions.

41. Global STS in Deglobalization of the World

Sulfikar Amir, Nanyang Technological University; Lyle Fearnley, Singapore University of Technology and Design
The proliferation of STS as a scholarship outside Euro-American spheres has gradually changed not only the structure of STS institutions and networks, but also brought implications on the epistemology of STS as an transdisciplinary field. As more contributions are made by non-EuroAmerican STS scholars to the field, the contents and concepts of STS are becoming more diverse, both empirically and theoretically. Thus, a Global STS is now emerging as a result of this dynamics. It is a notion that is getting more acknowledged by both outside and inside of Euro-American centers of STS. Ironically, the formation of Global STS as a new direction is facing a counter-movement from the trend in which the world is retreating from globalization. The rise of racially-based nationalist sentiments around the world, especially in the United States and the United Kingdom where STS was born, has serious implications on how science and technology are produced within compartmentalized geographies and ever restricted borders. This panel brings up the challenges raised by deglobalization on Global STS. It asks (1) how Global STS will manage to produce new insights on transnational production of scientific knowledge and technological systems, (2) what strategies should be pursued to strengthen networks of individuals and institutions across the borders, and (3) what theoretical resources should be mobilized to transform the meanings of STS for a global society.

42. Flammable futures: encountering combustion in a changing climate

Timothy Neale, Deakin University; Lauren Rickards (RMIT)
There are growing signs that the incidence and severity of wildfires are increasing due to climate change. This issue is compounded in many fire-prone countries – including Australia, Chile, Canada, Portugal and the US – by increasing enclosure within forest interfaces. Such trends not only raise questions about the sustainability of life in the spaces where ‘fuels’ and human populations intermingle but also, more broadly, how we should coexist with combustion on an increasingly flammable planet. Humans have ‘appropriated and advanced a technics that was the planet’s own,’ as Nigel Clark notes, forcing global changes through a capacity for combustion.
In line with STS’s commitment to understanding science and scientific knowledge as situated, this panel seeks contributions that consider how our knowledge of combustions’ present and future are being assembled. Possible topics include: combustion and markets; quantifying combustion; cultures of combustion; distributing combustion risks; and, the biomedical consequences of combustion.
This raises a broader set of questions about how our lives are entangled with these and other combustive practices that condition the planet’s flammability. For proof of these entanglements we might look not only to the ongoing extraction and consumption of fossil fuels, but also the broad-scale fires intentionally lit by agriculturalists to aid food and commodity production. We might look, more microscopically, to the carcinogens that various combustive arrangements sediment into our lungs and bloodstreams. Linking all of these concerns is the question of how combustion is rendered discursively and materially containable.

43. A Critical Look into the Classification of Emerging Entities

Tomiko Yamaguchi, International Christian University; Eunjeong Ma, Pohang University of Science and Technology
A novel entity, be it synthetic, genetic or phytochemical, emerges as a result of advances in science and technology. At the level of public policy, the classification of such an entity is considered in the context of existing legal and regulatory categories for the securing of public safety. As both goods and services increasingly travel across national borders, it becomes imperative to understand how classificatory system for such goods and services are formulated and put into practice, and the contradictions that arise as a result. The proposed panel aims to understand and map diverse ways of defining an emerging entity across a range of commodities, as exemplified by shifting boundaries such as food versus drug, medical versus cosmetic interventions, as the new entity comes into contact with regulatory agencies and consumer markets at the national and global levels. Following on a body of literature in STS that examines classificatory systems, the departure point for this panel is the observation that a classificatory system is inevitably interlinked with cultural, historical, social, economic and political circumstances. Sharing research concerns about the ways in which official classifications with regards to food, drugs, and environmental matters have far-reaching consequences in many areas of public life (such as public policies, health food markets, and consumer perceptions), the contributors to this panel are expected to explore questions hinging on shifting boundaries of commodified objects.

44. Composting Feminisms & Environmental Humanities

Lindsay Kelley, UNSW; Susie Pratt (University of Technology Sydney), Astrida Neimanis (University of Sydney), Jennifer Mae Hamilton (University of Sydney)
Imagine the process of reading and writing as composting. Matters break down and re-emerge as new matters. In the spirit of a feminist politics of citation, how might we attune ourselves to the ways in which new ideas are always indebted to writings, readings and practices that have come before? What and how are feminist genealogies composted in and through the Environmental Humanities? What concepts are especially fruitful, and why? In what forms do these ideas re-emerge? How are these genealogies acknowledged? What ideas are yet to be added to the Science and Technology Studies (STS) compost pile? We encourage submissions that compost feminisms with Environmental Humanities and STS in a transnational context.
Composting, as a feminist practice, has been taken up by a University of Sydney-based reading and research group of cross-institutional, trans-disciplinary scholars exploring the traces, legacies and intersections between inclusive feminisms and broad Environmental Humanities. Started by Dr Astrida Neimanis and Dr Jennifer Mae Hamilton in September 2015, the Composting Feminisms and Environmental Humanities group wishes to connect with transnational composting kin through this open panel at 4S. STS & Environmental Humanities share many key feminist interlocutors and this panel is an opportunity for discussion of similarities and differences. We cannot envision feminisms without attending to queer, indigenous, anti-racist, anticolonial, crip, and other intersectional perspectives. In the spirit of a more expansive, transnational conversation, submissions that queer the traditional paper presentation format and offer creative provocations which embody the research are also encouraged, including performances, ficto-criticism, video-art and speculative design. Compost piles are, after all, emergent multispecies wonderlands.

45. The Medicalization of Aging

Peta Cook, University of Tasmania
World-wide, the population is aging. Despite this demographic change, aging continues to be viewed as undesirable, with older age associated with loss, decline, and decrepitude. To counter this, medical research has focused on ‘correcting’ or ‘managing’ aging, including the signs of aging (such as wrinkles), diseases that have been associated with the biological changes of older age (such as cancer and dementia), or aging as a process in itself (for example, anti-aging research). Such ongoing scrutiny and surveillance of aging and older age reflects medicalization, which embeds medical control and power through knowledge, intervention, surveillance, and medical technologies. The extent to which this occurs, however, may be influenced by a range of social factors including social class, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, geographical location, living arrangements, and so on. In addition, medicalization can be desirable through improvements made to quantity or quality of life, and may be actively sought by consumer and lobbyist groups. In this session, the presenters will explore the different ways in which aging has been medicalized and how this generates and creates knowledges and understandings of aging. Potential topics include anti-aging treatments and technologies, the ways in which medical knowledges and treatments construct older age and reflect ageist values, the benefits and risks of associating diseases with aging and older age (including how this may change social relationships and networks), the impact of the medicalization of aging on professions and professional practices, and how social groups and communities may resist, or lobby for, the medicalization of aging.

46. Experiments in Infrastructure

Heather Lovell, University of Tasmania, Australia; Dan van der Horst (University of Edinburgh), Andrew Harwood (University of Tasmania), Anthony Levenda (University of Calgary)
This Open Panel invites scholars to contribute papers and panel presentations on the topic of learning from infrastructure innovations, including, but not limited to, water, energy, and transport. In particular, we are interested in issues related to international learning from ‘smart’ or innovative infrastructure experiments (variously termed trials, pilots, and demonstration projects), arising from environmental problems or other factors. Fitting with the conference theme of Transnational STS, we invite scholars to ask critical questions regarding the role of power in infrastructure experiments, and to productively consider new ways of collaborating across contested borders and boundaries to enable more just transitions. In addition, scholarship on infrastructure innovations and learning might explore connections with themes such as inequalities, indigenous politics, adaptation to environmental change, and disruptive ‘clean’ technologies and the impacts of resource extraction to produce such technologies. The session will address pertinent questions related to learning and infrastructure innovations: Who is learning what from infrastructure experiments, and with what outcomes? Where are these experiments emerging (geographical location, type of organization)? What is the effect of learning and knowledge exchange (in development of new standards, policies, etc) arising from experiments? Who leads infrastructure experiments, and who benefits? This panel contributes to a growing area of interdisciplinary scholarship regarding the mobility of policy and knowledge about infrastructural experiments, and its relation to governance.

47. Scaling up critical indigenous analytics: addressing toxics in settler colonial energy development

Thomas De Pree, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; Dana Powell, Appalachian State University
There is a profound human rights crisis associated with energy development around the world that contours national and international histories of settler colonialism. International modernization schemes have promoted the growth and development of nations through specific energy regimes, which produce new forms of imperialism. The by-products of global energy development disproportionately affect communities that are geographically remote, economically dispossessed, and structurally minoritized; and recognized indigenous peoples. The materiality of settler colonial relations is inherently toxic, and the sociocultural affects contaminate indigenous political autonomy and territorial sovereignty, which suggests that contamination is an inherent part of settler colonial logics of elimination; toxics signal its uneven global historical formation. This panel will discuss how critical indigenous perspectives of “development” can contribute to understanding the succession of technopolitical regimes that colonize the past and the future. How can subaltern analytics and indigenous skeptics of high modernist ideology contribute to critical understanding of national and global energy development and regional struggles for environmental health? This panel appeals to an anthropology of sciences and engineering by describing how critical indigenous perspectives can be “scaled up” to displace the dominant representations, discourses, and practices of international industrial scientists and engineers, and present alternative possibilities for global technopolitical change. How can postures of ethnographic refusal open invitations to “study up” from the purview of marginalized and minoritized standpoints? The panel will nuance the broader conference theme of “TRANSnational STS” by imagining how indigenous nested sovereignties can be cultivated through alternative forms of technopolitics and specific energy infrastructures.

48.  Lives in STS “as a series of failed political experiments”

Peter Taylor, UMass Boston

This open panel invites exploration of how to make sense of the biographical changes in changing contexts of radical scientists and of critics of science since the 1970s, as well as of STS interpreters of science influenced by them. The panel hopes to “encourage[e] looser attachments, greater irony and a sense of humour when undertaking these engagements,” as Gary Werskey, following up the quote in the panel title, advocated when asked to reflect on transitions in his own life since his Visible College, a history of an earlier generation of radical scientists in the UK. The panel also hopes that contributions will apply back on STS itself Atsushi Akera’s emphasis in Calculating a Natural World on STS “avoiding the determination of any layer of… the complexity [of changing contexts]; capturing the interpretative openness (as against hermeneutic closure) for actors; and conveying the contingency and indeterminate quality of changes and of failed initiatives…” Formation of new professions, Akera notes, “often occurred at the intersection of multiple institutions and disciplines,” and involved “recombining prior knowledge and preexisting institutional forms,” and various actors “letting go” of some commitments in order to forge new associations. Contributors are welcome to try to make sense of their own biographies in and around STS in relation to what Kelly Moore has described as the “proliferation [since the 1970s] of new institutions of deliberation, participation, activism, enterprise, and social movement mobilization.”

49.  Viewing Cultural Traces of Science and Technology in Africa: Linking Past to Future for Appropriate Innovation

Aimé Dafon SEGLA, Université d’Abomey-Calavi Benin Republic West Africa

During the 18th and 19th centuries, Western sciences were deployed in the new colonies. They were designed to be rational and then to serve the economy of imperialism, while the practices of colonized peoples were deemed irrational and therefore uninteresting scientifically. Yet, our own view on knowledge and science is that science has no nation, but nations have science. This session aims to contribute to current debates on science and technology practices beyond European borders, and “evolving status of ‘nations’” / ‘’global ordering” regarding the role of techno-scientific developments and infrastructures in Africa south of Sahara. Questions include: By paying close attention to socio-linguistics and onto-epistemologies, how can the traces and paths of inherited knowledge from the past be outlined without a simple distinction between “African philosophy” and “Other modes of knowing”? How to acknowledge the ideas of important organic African intellectualism that develops and describes concepts and appropriate technologies locally that have universal applicability and help to suggest new approaches to a theory of knowledge from the South? The other questions might also be: How does science tackle the unexpressed, the unformulated, the paranormal, and the implicit (tacit) knowledge within African societies today? How does research within universities consider people with expertise in the local and in different ontologies? In other words, how might we bridge the gap between researchers and local, lay innovators and industry pioneers of knowledge production?

50.  Automation and the transition to the Robotocene

Roger Søraa, NTNU Norwegian University of Science and Technology; Dr Håkon Fyhn

“A robot may not injure a human being” Moore’s 1st law states, but robots are certainly having a broad socio-technical impact on our human cosmologies, ontologies and epistemologies. The Antropocene has been recognized by STS- and transhuman scholars to be a groundbreaking concept, but the human supremacy over the biosphere – achieved through technology – is fast becoming eclipsed by robotization. Robot technology, digitalization and automation are centrally embedded in humanity, on individual, group and societal level. The human species is transitioning to an automated species, but as humans are changing, will some aspects of our core remain human? The panel will propose an understanding of the “Robotocene,” a world where robots are increasingly dominating our world.

If humanity can traverse the “Uncanny Valley” – where robots strongly resembling us results in an uncanniness – will we then no longer be “Alone together”, as we are accompanied by robots? By discussing the User-Technology symbiosis and robots’ places within the Social-Construction of Technology, the panel will explore how a Robotocene framework for contemporary and posthuman societies can form new socio-technical entanglements and Nexus of Practices. Consideration of the Robotocene is novel in that it invites us to consider the effects of technology on a grander scale. We ask not only how robots are changing humanity, but also how are they changing the planet? We encourage creative presentations, especially involving novel “robotic” ways of presenting. The panel aims to put robots back on the STS agenda, by encouraging robust collaboration between paper presenters.

51.  Travelling knowledge: theories, methods and empirical research made in circulation

Leandro Rodriguez Medina, Universidad de las Americas Puebla

Despite opposite forces recently observed, globalization still seems to be a driving force for much of current trends in science and technology. The increase of internationalization of scientific and technological practices, from faculty/student mobility to co-authorship of articles, is an indicator of a process that still needs further understanding. In this panel, we want to explore in depth how the circulation of knowledge between different spaces of production transform such knowledge, the actors involved, the procedures through which it travels and the means of diffusing the outcome of research. In particular, we want to illustrate how asymmetries between groups, institutions, and countries play a crucial role in shaping the circulation of knowledge. In this sense, this panel builds upon a long and fruitful tradition of studies in de/post-colonial technoscience, but it is not limited to this theoretical approach since we understand that asymmetries are not necessarily connected to the configurations of regions after the colonial period. Instead, we think of asymmetries as more or less structural conditions for knowledge circulation, which are permanently reinforced by new devices such as rankings, accreditations agencies, and local policies on S&T. Empirical research from different theoretical/methodological traditions are welcome, as well as critical reviews of literature on the topic and analyses of ethical and public-policy implications. At the same time, we are interested not only in the natural sciences, medicine, and engineering but also in the social sciences and humanities.

52.  E/valuative Actions: Exploring the doings of e/valuation in evaluative systems

Sarah de Rijcke, Leiden University; Iris Wallenburg, Erasmus University Rotterdam;  Tjitske Holtrop, Leiden University; Roland Bal, Erasmus University Rotterdam

New forms of evaluation are reconfiguring professional and organisational life in ways we are only beginning to understand. Not only has the number of evaluations multiplied; multiple evaluative agencies often co-exist. Recent sociological research has therefore emphasised the empirical importance of focusing on the dynamics that occur when activities in an organisation become subject to multiple (sometimes competing) e/valuation registers (Brandtner 2017; Pontikes 2012; Stark 2009). This research also suggests that the plurality of e/valuation registers to which an organisation is subject may actually strengthen the ‘resilience’ and ‘creative potential’ of that organisation. In this track, we wish to bring into awareness the multiplicity of e/valuation practices and how these influence organisational practices, including practices of knowledge production and healthcare.

Expanding STS insights in the enactment of e/valuation in contemporary society, this track attends to evaluative actions; exploring the ‘critical multidimensionality’ of how professional work is assessed and configured numerically, verbally and visually through the use of metrics – both by ‘outside’ actors and practitioners themselves. Metrics allow for experimenting; using performance measurement to enhance healthcare quality, or arranging a more sensitive and nuanced process of intellectual production assessment in which metrics are embedded in wider practices of valuation (de Rijcke et al. 2016, Bal 2017). Yet, e/valuation may also involve strategic ignorance (Pinto 2015, Gross & McGoey 2015); rendering certain aspects invisible, while strengthening others. We are interested in these evaluative actions, and seek to raise questions about their practices and consequences for public and professional life. Questions that may be raised: How to analyse the complex relationship between evaluative knowledges and practices? Which valuation practices and commitments (professional, ethical, material) are we ourselves entangled with in our own work? What ‘comfortable’ and less fitting subjectivities are interpellated in certain evaluative systems? Whose voice is or becomes legitimate?

53.  Show me the money! Science and Technology in the Age of Mega-Philanthropy

Hebe Vessuri, CONICET-Argentina/ UNAM-Mexico

The funding of science and technology has been a research interest in STS for a long time. Its relevance does not only reside in the influence that it has on the organization of scientific and technological activities but also, and more importantly, in the research agendas of groups, institutions and countries. In a nutshell, funding seems to direct where science and technology aim at. In the last years, however, a phenomenon emerged that may be the cause of profound transformations of the flow of resources for science and technology: the consolidation of mega-philanthropic organizations that challenge (or merge with) government S&T policies. From the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the new billionaires who are replacing an old generation of philanthropists (e.g. Rockefeller, Carnegie, Ford) have devoted billions of dollars to influence the directions of scientific and technological investigation during their lifetime. They have argued that poverty, diseases, global climate change and gender inequality, among many other urgent problems, are challenges that should be faced and can be solved in an over-optimistic approach with important political and epistemic implications. In this panel, we want to discuss some of the consequences of the involvement of these organizations: new agendas, new theories, new ways of producing knowledge (e.g. practices of internationalization and transdisciplinary research), new institutional articulations, and new means to diffuse the knowledge produced and engage stakeholders. We invite papers that bring a critical review and insightful perspectives on these issues, as well as those focused on public policy and ethical implications.

54.  Transnational Mathematics

Michael Barany, Dartmouth College

This panel seeks presentations analyzing how mathematics has crossed national borders and defined national and transnational communities in the past and present. We take as our starting point that the appearance of mathematics as a universal form of knowledge is an image that must be created and sustained through local practices of mediated communication that are integrally tied to individual knowers’ contexts and identities. When mathematics crosses borders, it provokes challenges of language, culture, and practice that offer potent inroads for understanding just how practitioners of such a deeply local and personal discipline can lay claim to such seemingly universal and placeless knowledge. Through systems of correspondence, pedagogy, publication, translation, and travel, mathematicians have built far-reaching disciplinary infrastructures and institutions defined and shaped both directly and indirectly around problems of national and transnational coordination. The study of mathematics as a discipline and profession is thus intimately joined to the study of mathematics as a way of knowing. Such studies can also challenge prevailing views of what mathematics is, especially by identifying local mathematical knowledges (sometimes articulated as such, sometimes latent in other embodied, practical, or cultural guises) that do not travel with such ease and surety. Contributions to this panel will put mathematics in its many local places and then ask what happens when mathematics is on the move.

55.  National Identities and Nationalism in Transnational Science and Technology during the 20th century

Barbara Silva, Universidad Catolica de Chile

Although the emerging post Cold War globalization process seemed to undermine the legitimacy of national categories, nationalisms and national identities are far from being surpassed. This is part of a broader public concern regarding the interactions between national identities, cultures, and transnational relations in a new global order. Similarly, History of Science, STS, and Policy Studies have expanded new questions about the means and mechanisms that produce, transfer, and transform expert knowledge within communities and political systems at different scales.

Even when the history of science and technology, and national identities studies have increased their production and scope, there are still several questions on the connections and tensions between these disciplines. On the one hand, nations were considered projects in which societies articulated their vision of future. On the other, national identities were the places where individuals identified themselves collectively, and developed a sense of belonging. During the 20th century, within these national projects, science and technology helped nations come closer to that imagined future, and at the same time, nations linked themselves with processes of international and transnational scientific circulation.

Although historiography has not traditionally addressed the links between science and technology, and nation and nationalism, STS has much to say regarding how development in science and technology has questioned, enhanced, promoted or criticized the persistence of national identities within transnational relations.

This panel examines theoretical, methodological, and epistemological problems, combining History and STS with the dynamic notion of nations and national identities to discuss how transnational science and technology have been entangled within processes of nation building during the 20th century.

56.  Public engagement in science and technology policy

Franz Seifert, ; Camilo Fautz, Institute for Technology Assessment and System Analysis (ITA)

The massive promotion of certain emerging technologies and research fields is increasingly accompanied by measures that do not only observe and analyse a potentially unruly public, but also seek to mobilize and involve the public in the policy discourse. Deliberation and participation in technology policy, or simply “public engagement” (PE), is supposed to shed light on social and ethical aspects of future developments, to anticipate and defuse potential social controversies about these technologies, and render communication between decision-makers and the public more egalitarian and democratic.

Participatory PE formats which have been developed to function as democratic and epistemic add-ons to established democratic procedures in specific national contexts have diffused into new national and transnational political-institutional contexts with new political and epistemic requirements and demarcations. This trend that is visible across the OECD and has brought about a wealth of social science theorizing and, often, the practical involvement of the social sciences in PE events raises several issues that will be examined by this panel.

First, from a structural perspective, the following questions arise: which mechanisms explain why and how the trend toward PE manifests itself in different national political cultures? Is PE creating new epistemic and political demarcation lines between the public and the science and policy subsystems?

Second, social scientists may be both the analysts and designers of PE events, and mediators between society and technology. How can the role/agency of the social sciences in PE processes be conceptualized? Which role conflicts or normative dilemmas arise from it?

57.  How do governance mechanisms for science and technology travel across borders?

Koen Beumer, Utrecht University; Noela Invernizzi, Universidade Federal do Paraná

A major theme in transnational STS is technology transfer; highlighting that one cannot take a technology from one place to another and expect it to function in the same way. Technologies may fail, attain different functions, or be altered entirely. Not only do technologies travel, but so do the mechanisms for governing science and technology. Models of innovation, frameworks of risk assessment, blueprints for public participation, and metrics for technological performance all travel from country to country.

In this panel, we explore what happens when governance mechanisms for science and technology travel across the globe. Literature from policy studies often departs from linear models of policy transfer and predominantly focuses on international organizations like the European Union and OECD. We aim to take a more symmetrical view, building upon recent literature on travelling imaginaries (Pfotenhauer and Jasanoff, 2017) and risk colonization (Beumer, 2017), to understand what exactly happens when governance mechanisms for science and technology travel from one place to another. We invite papers that help to feed critical discussions about the way science and technology governance travels, answering questions such as: how do actors draw upon practices from other places and adapt them to local conditions; what actor constellations are involved in making governance mechanism travel in different countries; what happens to governance mechanisms once they are appropriated in different contexts; how do travelling governance mechanisms abate or exacerbate inequality; and what kind of international governance mechanisms for science and technology are being developed?

58.  The Transnational Politics and Poetics of Regulating Science in South Asia

Nayantara Sheoran Appleton, Victoria University of Wellington; Bharat Venkat (University of Oregon)

In South Asia, scientific activity has long been subject to the laws and regulatory frameworks of the state, both to curtail what is presumed unethical or unproven and to validate the everyday practices of normative science. Such regulations are often the product of a simultaneous anxiety about and aspiration to a globally recognized science. There is a particular poetics and politics to engagements between the state and science in South Asia— for example, through the resistance to transnational influences that sit uncomfortably alongside attempts at securing treatment, technology, or trade via those very same networks. Rather than taking regulation as a straightforward exercise of power, we aim to think carefully and critically about the ambivalences, reversals and paradoxes inherent to any possibility of regulation. This panel, organized by the Science and Medicine in South Asia (SMSA) Special Interest Group (SIG) of the Society of Medical Anthropology (SMA), invites papers that draw on research in South Asia that examines how science, technology, and medicine are shaped by and give shape to such politics and poetics of scientific regulation. Possible topics might include the regulation of reproductive technologies for population management, stem cell science, laboratory practice, patent law, citizen-scientists, novel therapeutics, research funding, and the right to clinical trials.

59.  Sensing beyond borders

Nicole Charles, University of Toronto Mississauga; Christy Spackman, Harvey Mudd College

What happens to the sensorial when it intersects with the spatio-temporal circulations, exchanges, and politics of late industrial governance (Fortun 2012, 2014)? In conversation with feminists M. Jacqui Alexander and Chandra Talpade Mohanty (2010), this panel explores how the entwining of space, time, and sensing contributes to, upholds, and/or undermines the seductive corporeal illusion of a clearly bounded nation-state, while calling attention to the ways that spaces and bodies operate in systems of global power (Agard-Jones 2013). Motivated by a transnational feminist praxis committed to mapping the geopolitical, (neo)colonial and imperial genealogies of power that undergird knowledge production around health, belonging, and citizenship, we seek contributions that think with (and think to push), how sensing is imbricated in or resists the uneven asymmetries of power and privilege. We are particularly interested in scholarship that traces how affective intensities, bodily senses and moral sensibilities are palimpsestic, contagious, fluid, and circulatory; how they move, not only across and between borders over time, but with multiple effects that are oftentimes bound up in and responsive to the sedimentation of conquest and colonialism. What contexts and technologies shape the management of sensorial experience between and within nations, territories, regions, cities? Similarly, how do the sensory politics (Spackman and Burlingame 2018) of managing whose sensing matters cross individual and state boundaries? We welcome contributions that unsettle the ways the sensorial is enmeshed in historical and contemporary transnational circuits, residual memories and/or histories of different places, spaces and time.

Agard-Jones, Vanessa. 2013. Bodies in the System. small axe. 17, 3 (42): 182-192.

Alexander, M. Jacqui; Mohanty, Chandra Talpade. 2010. Cartographies of knowledge and power: transnational feminism as radical praxis. In Lock Swann, Amanda; Nagar, Richa, eds. Critical Transnational Feminist Praxis. SUNY Press.

Fortun, Kim. 2014. From Latour to Late Industrialism. Hau: Journal of Ethnographic Theory. 4 (1).

Fortun, Kim. 2012. Ethnography in Late Industrialism. Cultural Anthropology 24 (3): 446-464.

Spackman, Christy; Burlingame, Gary. 2018. Sensory Politics: The tug-of-war between potability and palatability in municipal water production. Social Studies of Science. Forthcoming.

60.  Doing STS in post-Soviet world: The regression of the progress

Olga Bychkova, European University at St. Petersburg;

Due to the lack of funding in “hard” sciences and industry in the 1990s, post-Soviet countries are a brilliant case to study the disassembling techno-scientific networks. They have suffered the collapse of, and have overcome, the breakdown of Soviet science and industry; it is time now to make use of former disasters and to explore the social outcomes. The experience and empirical data of post-Soviet countries, are unique in terms of regression and breakdowns of many black boxes originated in Western culture, such as vital infrastructures and research and development (R&D) models. To date, the analysis of regression in techno-scientific development in post-Soviet cases has been largely overlooked by STS scholars, yet it presents fruitful theoretical and empirical space. This panel will explore S&T development in the post-Soviet world, focusing on the role of the state, cultural practices of R&D, shifting policy priorities between basic and applied research, and so on. This will include theoretically and empirically grounded papers, which will include a comparative focus between post-Soviet and “West” experiences. The panel addresses various questions, including the theoretical charge to modify existent STS concepts for the specific context of the S&T development as well as the practical task to bring STS scholars interested in post-Soviet cases together.

61.  Markets, morals and minds: Tech ethics and cognition

Cordelia Erickson-Davis, Stanford University; Alexa Hagerty, Stanford University

Increasingly, industry is bringing in academics to “help technologists put ethics into practice.” This is especially the case within the domains of artificial intelligence and cognitive enhancement (i.e. internal and external information processing technology such as brain machine interface devices), where ethical concerns regarding autonomy, control, privacy, bodily harm, and access present alongside more philosophical questions such as “what counts as cognition, mind, intelligence?”

Since the 1970’s, tech-ethics has been primarily undertaken by social scientists and other scholars who have sat outside the purview of the industry who are developing the technologies of interest. In-step with the growth of the translational science movement, however, has been the formation of ethics-industry partnerships in new and varied forms, from industry-funded internal think tanks, to in-house ethicists and “product philosophers.”

What kind of collaborations are taking root and what effects are they having – both on the technologies being produced, as well as the discussions surrounding their use? What is enclosed, and thus disclosed, from the domain of “the ethical”?

While these questions are common to critical social inquiry of any technology, this panel is focused on technologies that are intended to amplify, extend or otherwise enhance what are considered core capacities of human cognition.

Proposals are invited that present case studies, theoretical frameworks and modes of expression that will help us think both more expansively and creatively about what counts as ethical inquiry, as well as pragmatically regarding ways of interfacing with industry.

62.  Exploring Approaches to Catalyzing Transdisciplinary Engagement

Stephanie Vasko, Center for Interdisciplinarity, Michigan State University; Michael O’ Rourke: Center for Interdisciplinarity, Michigan State University

Interdisciplinary approaches to scholarship and teaching traditionally combine experts from different academic disciplines to provide innovative responses to complex problems; transdisciplinary approaches, by contrast, extend expert combination out beyond the walls of the academy. Academic institutions are increasingly interested in transdisciplinary combinations that engage community partners and non-academics in longitudinal partnerships. This transdisciplinarity has assumed a variety of forms, such as participatory action research or citizen science, but missing in these forms is the participation of the arts and the humanities. This panel seeks international contributions that reflect on previous and current approaches to transforming infrastructure to support transdisciplinarity, especially those approaches that involve building communities. This panel is interested in exploring the following questions: What is the role of interdisciplinary units or programs in work that expands beyond the bounds of the academy? What critical infrastructure is necessary for transdisciplinary research? To what extent should local communities be involved in shaping and programming an academic institution’s approach to transdisciplinarity? What are the best ways to involve local arts and maker communities in transdisciplinary efforts? How do we prepare students and postdocs for transdisciplinary careers outside of academia through engaged research and coursework? How do we transform the traditional institutional infrastructure around reappointment, promotion, and tenure in order to support transdisciplinary collaboration and education?

63.  Collecting as a hobby: An STS exploration

Ravi Shukla, Centre for Studies in Science Policy, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi

Collecting as a hobby has several dimensions that are of interest from an STS perspective. From the Library of Alexandria of yore to the present day, depending on what is being collected (books, stories, coins, match box labels, films, computer games, books etc.), who is collecting them (kings, musicians, hobbyists, dealers, museums, experts etc.), their intended social purpose and the motivations of the collector, these objects are interpreted differently by the associated communities.

The artifacts in a collection encapsulate the scientific and technical knowledge and the class, culture and geography of a particular time. At the same time its journey as a “collectible” cuts across these same boundaries, not only preserving but possibly leading to newer connections and articulations.

While the activities associated with collectibles are specific to their own universe; the activities of seeking, locating, acquiring, organizing, cataloging, displaying, storing, and maintaining artifacts are common across collectibles. Expert knowledge too plays an important role, being as rigorous and less formal than established academic disciplines. The form of a collectible provides another interesting dimension, a collection of stories for instance, may be stored in oral tradition, as drawings, pictures, words on paper, sound or video. These common characteristics suggest that collecting as an area for STS engagement may lead to interesting and insightful inter-connections in relatively newer areas.

The papers on the panel may be as diverse in form and content as the collectibles themselves. The questions may range from being specific to a hobby or collectible or general in nature.

64.  Digital sexualities, biomedical practice, and queer realities

Stephen Molldrem, University of Michigan; Jean Hardy, University of Michigan; Roderic Crooks, University of California-Irvine

There is now a rich body of literature dedicated to exploring how sexualities are experienced in digital spaces and how digital technologies affect the formation of queer identities and the sexual lives of individuals, groups and communities. Further, sexuality studies and queer studies have generated a great deal of knowledge about how sexual categories generated in biomedical contexts are historically produced and internalized through biomedical discourse and clinical practice. However, scholars are just starting to bring these areas of inquiry together to describe how technoscientific practices (e.g. interface design), biomedical advances such as Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis for HIV/AIDS, and digital technologies (from commercial physical activity trackers to clinical electronic health records) are productive of new queer realities and conditions of sexual possibility.

In this open panel, we ask: how can we think about queer sexualities as both a product of digital technologies and technoscientific practices, and as phenomena that recursively influence shifts in biomedicine, digital design trends, and uses of clinical and non-clinical digital technologies to represent or shape queer life? How do digital technologies and biomedical discourses produce novel sexual minority identities or subjectivities, queer subcultures and counterpublics, modes of punishing sexual deviance, or relations between sexual pleasure and risk? We invite submissions that address any of these topics, but encourage papers that place studies of digital technology and biomedicine in conversation with sexuality/queer studies. We particularly encourage papers that situate themselves within the emergent field of Queer STS.

65.  Transnational Risk and Information

Gregory Leazer, UCLA Dept of Information Studies; Robert Montoya, Indiana University, Bloomington; Safiya U. Noble, USC Annenberg School of Communication

Ulrich Beck, in World Risk Society, characterizes risk as “the modern approach to foresee and control the future consequences of human action, the consequences of modernization … The risk regime is global, intimately connected with an administrative and technical decision-making process.” Of particular concern in recent modernity are the problems of transnational risk, such as terrorism, financial crisis, and, in particular, environmental catastrophe, including the biodiversity crisis, climate change, and other issues related to the Anthropocene. According to Enlightenment presumptions, information will be key to preventing future catastrophes. We are interested in interrogating these presumptions. We are seeing particularly that risk can be manufactured for political gain. How is information (inter alia, knowledge, information systems, cyber-infrastructures) related to various forms of transnational risk? How do information and information systems not only fail to mitigate catastrophe, but perhaps contribute to it? Are various forms of information or knowledge themselves a form or locus of risk? Globalization, on the one hand, threatens localized forms of information, while traditional forms of national antagonism are expressed in deliberate information campaigns to undermine trust and sow dissent. How does the control of information and information systems facilitate, exacerbate or mitigate such problems, particularly in relation to issues surrounding intellectual property, surveillance, knowledge classification, or information access. We are particularly interested in the interplay between the local and the global to identify transnational problems related to information, and for the development of solutions.

66.  Indigenous Knowledges and Technologies

Tiago Ribeiro Duarte, University of Brasília; Claudia Magallanes Blanco (Universidad Iberoamericana Puebla)

Indigenous knowledges and technologies, i.e. knowledge and artefacts produced by native people from around the world, such as Amerindians, Aboriginal Australians, and so on, are a marginal topic in STS. Few studies, articles, and books have been published on the topic in spite of the array of experiences and approaches from other fields such as media studies, anthropology, telecommunications, human rights, to mention a few. About the late 1980s and early 1990s there was a turn in STS towards the science-policy interface, which resulted in local knowledges and expertises becoming an emerging topic in the area. Nowadays, citizen and open science are popular research topics and receive growing attention from STS scholars. However, indigenous knowledges and technologies remain a marginal topic in the field. STS appears to still be in need of a process of decolonisation as to a large extent it is still insensible to knowledges, technologies, and epistemologies that have arisen from indigenous people around the globe. This panel seeks to bring together researchers interested in a range of topics related to indigenous knowledges and technologies, including, but not restricted to: a) the appropriation of Indigenous knowledges and technologies; b) Indigenous knowledges and biopiracy; c) Indigenous knowledges and technological policymaking; d) Uses and developments of information and communication technologies (ICT) by indigenous peoples; e) Decolonial and Postcolonial indigenous STS; f) Clashing ontologies between indigenous and modern societies.

67.  STS Institutes and Programs: What’s working and what do we want to do next?

Allison Marsh, University of South Carolina

The newly endowed (July 1, 2017) Ann Johnson Institute at the University of South Carolina is dedicated to building diverse communities for the study of technology, medicine and science in past and present societies. Such communities are important because contemporary and future problems are complex and traditional universities are not structured well to respond. At the AJI we have the flexibility to do things differently, and we would like to reach out to the STS community to see what’s working and what can be done better. In this session, we invite representatives from STS programs, departments, and institutes from around the world to share their experiences. What are the pitfalls to avoid? What are potential blue sky opportunities? In this session the AJI wants to hear from you to help us set up the best programming possible. We want to build communities from the bottom up, seeding and positioning them to question and reframe STS problems, as well as seek to solve them.

In the classroom, the AJI wants to support innovative pedagogical approaches that are ambitious and promote interdisciplinary. In the University, we want to bridge disciplinary silos. We also recognize and want to aid the fundamentally important work that faculty and staff perform as mentors, friends and advisors. Beyond the University the AJI wants to be an enjoyable destination where individuals meet to collaborate on creative approaches to solving complex social and environmental problems.

How do we do this?

68.  Time of Predictions: Temporality Within Climate and Weather Sciences

Sébastien Nobert, Université de Montréal; Timothy Neale (Deakin University)

Following calls from scholars in the social sciences and humanities to critically understand anticipatory governance and the constitution of ‘the Anthropocene,’ this panel seeks to explore how various processes of time formation (e.g. rhythms, durations) are experienced, invoked or ignored in what defines time within different atmospheric and environmental sciences. While the temporal categories that are the past, present and futures are used and reproduced through a rich variety of applications, ranging from daily forecasts, radar maps, natural hazard risk maps to climate services and decadal forecasts, what constitutes time in the fabric of global circulation models (GCMs), numerical weather predictions (NWPs), and other predictive technologies remains largely free from critique. Underlying univocal understandings of time and temporality, one finds a temporal diversity that hinders the ends of anticipation, acceleration, and pre-emptive action in an age of incipient crises.

This panel seeks to bring together an interdisciplinary conversation on the topic of ‘temporal dissonances,’ combining histories of climate and weather prediction with applied research of the social lives of prediction today in order to track differential understandings and experiences of time across different contexts. Possible topics may include: the construction of time in weather and climate modeling; temporality within historical or contemporary climate epistemologies; and/or, experienced time in natural hazard or disaster management and climate forecasting.

69.  Science and Activism: Trans-Disciplinary STS Approaches

Judy Motion, University of New South Wales, Sydney; Alice Williamson, University of Sydney;  Laura McLauchlan, University of New South Wales, Sydney

Science and activism have multifaceted, challenging and often controversial interactions. Within scientific disciplines, activism may play out in cultural upheavals, destabilized conditions of knowledge production, contested funding regimes, and democratization of processes or outcomes. Alternative narratives, diverse methodologies, and public debates may underpin struggles for increased transparency in science and preservation of a meaningful, critical role for science institutions. Interventions from outside the discipline may include critique, dissent, protest, threats or total disruption. By opening up the politics of representation, sense making and engagement in relation to science, activism potentially plays a catalytic role in the STS quest for justice and social transformation. The aim of this panel is to examine the intersections of science and activism, to offer new perspectives on science agendas, interests, policies and practices, and to foster mutual knowledge exchanges. The following questions are suggested as possible avenues for exploration: How do science and activism intersect, challenge, transgress and dismantle particular valuing systems to engender social change? What kinds of trans-disciplinary STS justice perspectives advance our understanding of the politics of science? How can the politics of scientific representation be reconfigured – in other words, how are authority, expertise, interests, and media implicated in public controversies and transformations? In what ways do scientific and activist popularization strategies open up and close down opportunities for interventions, mutual exchange, and engagement? Contributions that explore trans-disciplinary possibilities for new modes of thinking and action are particularly welcome but not the sole focus of the panel.

70.  Science, Technology, and the Regulation of Food and Agriculture

Andrew Ventimiglia, University of Queensland; Susannah Chapman, University of Queensland

Food and agricultural production have long been shaped by scientific and technological innovation. Technologies designed to increase crop yield, produce novel traits, maintain biodiversity, and improve the global transport of goods significantly transform the food ecosystem from production and processing to transport and consumption. Simultaneously, these transformations prompt new regulations that often evoke broader ethical concerns about the future of food. Today, almost every technological innovation in food involves some type of novel regulatory response. These regulatory interventions not only shift how people access, interact with, and understand food, but also iteratively transform the spaces in which techno-scientific innovation takes place.

This panel explores how the science of food and agriculture intersects with emergent regulatory regimes. Regulation may refer specifically to the law and its application, but might also encompass the institutional practices that shape scientific research, the organization of agricultural production, or the socio-cultural norms that determine what foods can or should be eaten. Some of the questions that might be asked include: How has intellectual property – from patent and plant variety protection through to trademark and trade secret law – reconfigured contemporary food production? How are foods categorized, packaged, and labelled, and how do those regimes shape the materiality of the food itself? What do new developments in biotechnology and gene editing mean for key regulatory food categories like ‘GM’ or ‘organic’ food? What resources are available for local communities to resist or reconfigure the regulatory landscape in a manner suitable to their divergent needs?

71.  Revisiting Feminist Technoscience: Exploring Disciplinary Diversity and Translocal Issues in/of Gender in/of Academia

Knut H. Sørensen, Norwegian University of Science and Technology; Sharon Traweek, UCLA

Feminist technoscience studies has developed alongside STS for at least four decades, generating critical accounts of the making and doing of gender in technoscience, including post-colonial and intersectional issues. This panel invites papers that go further, exploring diversities, disunities, and translocal aspects of gender in/of academia and that transcend the dominant focus on biosciences and computer science, to investigate empirically and theoretically the doing of gender in physical sciences, engineering, and human sciences.

STS has for a long time been concerned with diversities in/of the technosciences through concepts like epistemic cultures and cultures of evaluation. This panel will discuss how such insights may be brought to bear on feminist analyses while critically reflecting on its own concepts and theoretical strategies. For example, most feminist technoscience has invoked biomedical metaphors in the construction of social theory, running the risk of all such theories: essentialism, binaries, anthropomorphism, etc. To expose the limits of that work we invite contributions that explore the building of feminist technoscience theoretical work, first, with physical and chemical concepts like equilibrium, spectra, acceleration, catalyst, scale, and branes, and secondly, by thinking technoscience outside these 18-20c strategies for building social theory. An empirical grounding will be appreciated in addressing the dynamics of multi-dimensional and translocal gender balances and gender articulations across disciplines, professions, organizations, and infrastructures. What kind of subpolitics and catalyst actors are introduced in gender reforms in/of academic institutions? What are the effects of migration and diaspora?

72.  Artificial Intelligence and Cognition as Social Praxis

Bidisha Chaudhuri, International Institute of Information Technology Bangalore; Sachit Rao and Janaki Srinivasan (International Institute of Information Technology Bangalore)

Artificial intelligence (AI) today spans diverse domains: education, healthcare, skills training, etc. A fundamental thread tying together the application of AI is human and machine cognition and learning. Most theories of learning used in AI research emphasize individual cognition as an abstract representation of the real world through formal rules. What such an understanding of cognition and learning misses is that this very act of representation is socially constructed, i.e., it is dependent on social settings, relations, and practices. Further, it is not abstract representations that reside as end products in our mind or in our language; instead, they emerge as representational meanings in a situated manner (Lave 1996; Andersen 2003). Thus, building on interdisciplinary research about AI and cognition (Chaiklin and Lave 1996; Suchman and Trigg 1996; Andersen 2003), this panel will explore how situated and social practices shape cognition and the process of learning. To this end, we invite papers dealing with theoretical understanding of “situated” or “embedded cognition” and also papers researching practical implications of such theoretical understanding while developing domain specific AI platforms. For example, how a chat bot developed for a Health Application in India will learn differently from a similar bot developed in China. The motivation of this panel is to bring together interdisciplinary research on cognition to improve human-machine interactions.

73.  (Re)Thinking Mobilities and Chinese STS: The Politics, Practices, and Cultural Logics of Diasporic Chinese Scientists in Technosciences, 1919-2018

Diane Gu, UCLA; Dr. Vivian Wong, Data Share Fellow, Research Data Alliance; Subject Specialist Archivist and Filmmaker;,

Our panel invites papers about diasporic Chinese in the technosciences from 1919-2018. We are particularly interested in interdisciplinary work and projects that emanate from gender, ethnic, and global studies, examining Chinese diasporic women scientists’ and engineers’ careers, education, and webs of relationships. We also welcome papers that address the representations of Chinese scientists in media, art, and popular culture, and explore their professional identities, experiences, and solidarities. Focusing on the period 1919-2018 is a challenge to rethink the mobilities of Chinese technoscientists across a spectrum of historical, political, and cultural pasts and presents without assuming conventional periodizations. We seek papers that undertake topics historically, as well as in contemporary times, and call for projects that use a variety of methodically and theoretic approaches to queries like:

  • How are notions of modernity, scientific progress, and intellectualism reimaged through diasporic Chinese technoscientists, their international careers, and TRANSnational Chinese STS?
  • How do dispersed communities of Chinese technoscientists disrupt current debates about cosmopolitism, internationalism, nationalism, globalizations, diasporas, transnational migration, and indigeneity?
  • How do Chinese scientists disrupt the ways we understand the unequal, varied, and complex practices of technosciences globally?
  • What are the innovative theoretical and methodological ways to investigate Chinese scientists’ continuing, strategic renegotiation of class, ethnic, gender, and minority status as they circulate translocally amid globalization?
  • How have diasporic Chinese scientists’ interventions differed across the technosciences and STS genealogies?

74.  Messing with Methods in More-than-Human Worlds

Jaz Hee-jeong Choi, QUT; Anne Galloway, Victoria University of Wellington (NZ),  Larissa Hjorth, RMIT (AU)

A multitude of political, technoscientific and ecological disruptions are challenging the ‘myth’ of human exceptionalism, forcing researchers to find new ways of understanding—and intervening in—a range of human/nonhuman encounters. From reconfigured definitions of ‘agency’ and the ‘social’ to renewed explorations of ‘co-presence’ and ‘mutual becoming,’ more-than-human approaches (see for e.g.: Kirksey & Helmreich, 2010; Buller, 2015; Despret, 2016; Bastian et al., 2017) can exemplify Haraway’s (2016) invitation to ‘stay with the trouble’ of human/nonhuman entanglements. But actually doing this research is hard. There is still a tendency, as Abram (2011) puts it, to speak “about such entities only behind their backs” instead of actively calling out and listening to them. And when we do succeed with that task, we still face the challenge of how to (re)tell these stories, or even trickier, how to ‘take action.’ This panel is a hopeful call for a collective, transdisciplinary effort to consider these methodological possibilities and limitations, and to share even our messiest experiments in creating and communicating knowledge necessary for thriving in more-than-human worlds. We welcome papers that think through these, and other, questions: What does it mean to do more-than-human participatory research? How does taking the more-than-human seriously reconfigure both notions and practicalities of ‘open,’ ethical research? What kinds of more-than-human (cosmo)politics are made public through different methods of ‘engagement’ and ‘impact’? What is the role of design and/or creative practice as both process and product in more-than-human research? How can indigenous ways of knowing revitalise human/nonhuman encounters, and serve to decolonise both ethnographic and creative practice?

REFERENCES: Kirksey, S. & Helmreich, S. (2010) ‘The emergence of multispecies ethnography.’ Cultural Anthropology 25(4): 545–576; Buller, H. (2015) ‘Animal geographies II: methods’. Progress in Human Geography. 39 (3): 374-384; Despret, V. (2016) What would animals say if we asked the right questions? Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press; Bastian, M. et al. (eds.) (2017) Participatory Research in More-than-human Worlds. London: Routledge; Haraway, D. (2016) Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene. Raleigh: Duke University Press; Abram, D. (2011) Becoming Animal: An Earthly Cosmology. London: Vintage.

75.  Without borders? The future of global health and transnational humanitarianism

Darryl Stellmach, University of Sydney; Sara de Wit, University of Oxford; Marlee Tichenor, University of Edinburgh

Global health is a cheerful term. It conjures images of a healthy planet and people, speedy cross-border collaboration and medical innovation: a vision of pan-human wellness. But underlying global health are the spectres of global risk and global illness; jet-speed pandemics; networked dependencies and cascading crisis: the pathogenicity of globalisation.

Just as global health captures the imagination, so transnational humanitarianism occupies a central place in contemporary rhetoric and governance. Humanitarian action has become a de facto model for global crisis response. The problematisation of “the future” as one of planetary crisis has been met with anticipatory action. Where Homo sapiens is a scientific category, “the human” and “humanity” are social and political designations, subject to re-negotiation. Attempts to redefine the human—and potential tiers of humanity—are visible in phenomena as diverse as the resurgence of ethno-nationalism, the response to the global migrant and refugee crisis, new genetic technologies, and in posthumanist and transhumanist discourse.

This panel questions the Anthropocenic futures of global health and transnational humanitarianism: how emerging science, technology and morality might play out in entangled health and humanitarian crises. Coordinating a diverse array of scholars and themes, the panel seeks to enliven and extend STS discourse on technology, ethics, ecology and health, particularly in the global South.

How will evolving health and humanitarian technologies respond to, and anticipate planet-wide social, ecological and political upheaval? What are the performative effects of rendering the future omnipresent? And, in the age of transhumanity, will there be a trans-humanitarianism?

76.  STS as method? (Meta)dimensions of the STS (trans)nations

Martin Perez Comisso, Arizona State University; Joshua Loughman, Arizona State University

Methodologies are a relevant question for Science and Technology Studies. As a transdisciplinary field, the codes and practices that researchers engage in with their own practices are diverse and plural. For a long time this question was tangentially discussed, giving an open space to creation and experimentation. But, in the fourth Handbook of STS (Felt, Fouche, Miller and Smith-Doerr, 2017), the editors focus on the field’s methods for first time. John Law (2017) introduces in the first essay the idea of STS as a method, looking in several dimensions of our own practices as case studies, rooted in the history of Science and Technology, trying to differentiate national and disciplinary traditions and influences. This panel extends this discussion and explores how we understand these methods (and others). Considering ourselves members of different ‘nations’ of researchers, we reflect on how the coexistence of diversity, for different nationalities and epistemic cultures and trajectories (Knorr Cetina, 1995), configures expressions about utility, reliability, participation, and hegemony that keep open to conversation and research about these scholarly practices for STS. Is STS a single method, as Law indicates? What are our present methods? Are all the methods situated in their countries and cultures? Who are the ‘nations’ in these methods? Where are the boundaries to ‘hidden’ methods? What is the future of these methods? We expect the panel to embrace these questions and to unravel, a bit, the questions that the focus on method(s) offers.

77.  TRANS-disciplinary research through STS practice: The co-creation of knowledge and collaboration

Casimir MacGregor, BRANZ; Ruth Berry, BRANZ;  Jessica Hutchings, BRANZ

STS has a key role in helping to create transdisciplinary research programmes that encourage collaboration and shared knowledge creation. Transdisciplinary research programmes are needed if we are to address the greatest challenges of our times, such as climate change. In attempting to understand the process of transdisciplinary research, we must first come to terms with different forms of knowledge. In the creation of transdisciplinary research programmes, such as the New Zealand Government’s National Science Challenges, what makes these collaborations effective, productive and satisfying programmes for all participants? How do different experiences and understandings of the world, such as indigenous knowledge and neoliberal governmentalities interact and co-exist in transdisciplinary research? How can pre-existing ideas (disciplinary concepts or policy) that may underpin transdisciplinary research be re-configured to respond to current social, economic and environmental issues? This panel seeks to explore how knowledge is co-created within transdisciplinary research through STS practice, and it seeks to examine the opportunities, challenges and the reality of engaging in transdisciplinary dialogue and collaboration to create meaningful change in our world.

78.  Environmental Risks in Transnational contexts

Wei Hong, Tsinghua University; Jian Yang,Tsinghua University;  Chenggang Zhang, Tsinghua University

The environmental burden of China has increased to an unpreceded level. Various environmental risks, from the Beijing smog that often makes headlines in newspapers worldwide, to the widely polluted water and soil that significantly threaten people’s health, and the growing waste incineration plants in people’s backyard, have aroused public concern over their health and safety.

According to Douglas and Wildavsky (1982), environmental risks are not objectively determined by scientific assessments. Our view of risk is socially constructed and culturally selected. In her edited book “States of Knowledge”, Jasanoff (2004) also emphasized the idea of the co-production of science and social order. The understanding and perception of a scientific fact, such as risk, needs the support from a compatible social order. Risk communication with a public is never a pure intellectual process of accepting scientific knowledge. People experience this process in real social relationships, social interactions, and social interests. Their definition and judgement of risks are embedded in the whole social process. Drawing upon these foundational concepts and theories, STS scholars could delve into this area with unique approaches.

The Institute of Science, Technology and Society at Tsinghua University, Beijing has been engaging in a wide array of studies related to air pollution, water pollution, waste incineration technologies, and other environmental risks in China. We are proposing this open panel to exchange findings and ideas with colleagues facing similar challenges in their societies.

79.  Cultures of fact travel

Heather Ford, University of New South Wales; Professor Christopher W. Anderson (University of Leeds), Dr Lucas Graves (University of Oxford)

This panel invites research that addresses how facts and knowledge claims are represented in online spaces, how they are evaluated and verified, the ways in which they face opposition or reach consensus, and/or how they travel through the infrastructures of the Internet. A large variety of sites and practices have emerged to host and distribute facts in online environments. New facts are born digital in the form of databases, data visualisations, online dictionaries and encyclopaedic entries while facts that existed before the Internet are digitised and encoded using the rules and grammar of software. In this environment, facts are produced and represented using software for visualising data and exporting visualisations into Web-friendly formats, where facts are verified on fact checking platforms and where facts are distributed and shared using software such as the ‘share this’ button at the end of a newspaper article, a ‘cite this’ button on a scientific journal article, or a retweet function on Twitter. In order for a fact to travel, it needs to move from beyond its origins in the lab, the institution, company, field, or community to new audiences. Sometimes this translation happens between institutions, sometimes it happens between fields, or between countries, continents or languages. This panel will host different approaches to the production, evaluation, and distribution of facts in digitally-mediated environments.

80.  Trans-elemental fire & water

Jessica Weir, Western Sydney University; Cleo Woelfle-Erskine, University of Washington

Fire and water are very different elements and are often considered separately by researchers and research teams, whether within traditional disciplines or transdisciplinary research. There are logistical reasons for this, such as time, capacity and methods; however, the influence of the hyper-separated nature/culture binary is also at work here – seeking to secure a legible nature for human use and management, including by defining discrete elements (Plumwood 1993, Latour 1991). For example, in settler-colonial societies environmental managers aim to prevent floods and wildfires, but rarely coordinate land management activities to account for the interaction between both elements, or are stymied in such work by institutional norms. And yet the destructive spatio-temporal power of catastrophic floods and wildfires is a generative opportunity for societies to re-think the conceptual terms of human-nature relations. Indigenous people are critical collaborators in this work, not just as land owners, knowledge holders, risk mitigation practitioners and at-risk citizens; but also as party to the work of settler-colonial atonement for wounded country. Engaging with the natural and physical sciences, including tracking their use and misuse in policy and practice, is central to understanding trans-elemental knowledge and authority. This panel invites papers that uncover fire-water relations and diverse ways of knowing and living with them. We are particularly interested in papers that involve case studies and research partnerships motivated by ecological and social justice.

81.  Trans-organisational collaboration in different sectors: epistemic values and the dynamics of co-production

Jane Bjørn Vedel, Copenhagen Business School; John Gardner, Monash University;  Andrew Webster, University of York

The aim of this panel is to explore the co-production of research agendas in inter-organisational public/private relationships. Co-production here reflects two processes: increasing epistemic and organisational practices between public and private sectors as new science and technology platforms develop (Keating and Cambrosio, 2003), and state-driven programmes that are based on mobilising public science for accelerated innovation and wealth generation. In this panel we ask how such co-production is reflected in the metrics used to assess the value(s) of co-produced science. We invite papers that consider this issue in different science and technology sectors as we expect great variation in how co-production takes place. In the spirit of the conference theme we call for papers that explore this issue within and across different national contexts. This panel contributes to STS debates and those working in innovation and science and technology policy analysis.

82.  Well years, good years, quality years – calibrations and aggregations of daily living

Ayo Wahlberg, Department of Anthropology, University of Copenhagen; Katherine Kenny, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, School of Social Sciences, University of New South Wales;  Tiago Moreira, Professor of Sociology, School of Applied Social Sciences, Durham University; Jieun Lee, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department of A

Throughout the world low fertility, ageing and chronic disease are transforming how health/care is organised and practiced. Healthcare programmes are being reconfigured to address the challenges of treating and managing long term conditions just as persons with chronic conditions, family members and loved ones grapple with daily tasks of (self-)care. In low fertility societies there are fewer young people to care for elders, who are increasingly living with various co-morbidities and may require assistance in their daily lives. A wealth of instruments, indices and scales have emerged which take daily living as their object. Despite their differences, their commonality lies in their normative differentiation of the activities of daily living along better-worse continuums. Certain ways of living are valued as of better (in terms of quality, fulfilment, life satisfaction, etc.), based largely on a person’s functional ability, levels of experienced discomfort, and experiences of isolation. Contributors to this panel will critically examine how daily living, itself, has become the object of measurement as healthcare programmes, professionals, carers and patients seek to improve the daily lives of those living with chronic conditions. Ethnographic, policy-oriented and historical analyses of how daily living is made knowable and calculable on the one hand, and negotiated and tinkered with on the other, are welcome. The panel will contribute to STS scholarship on health metrics, health interventions and (self-)care and will further conceptual innovation at the nexus of medical anthropology, medical sociology and STS.

83.  Energy Transition for a Sustainable Future in East Asia

Sun-Jin Yun, Seoul National University

Many countries are suffering from climate change, air pollution, energy insecurity, energy-related social conflicts and so on. These problems are jeopardizing the sustainability of global ecosystems, pushing beyond thresholds of survival for economic systems and human life itself. If we would like to reconstruct an ecologically sustainable and socially just society worldwide, we must deal with the issue of “energy transition.” Energy transition is not only an issue of individual countries but also of regional and global societies. It covers diverse aspects, including reduction of pollutants and greenhouse gases, nuclear safety, ethical consideration about technology choices, energy governance and democracy, all of which are trans-boundary, trans-disciplinary, and trans-regional. Energy transition has become a part of globalized trans-boundary policies and movements, posing great challenges to governance for all countries. In particular, it is an essential issue in East Asia which accounts for 21.4% of the worlds population, 24.0% of global GDP (ppp), 27.7% of world TPES, and 34.1% of CO2 emission from fuel combustion. This session deals with challenges to, and opportunities for, energy transition in East Asia including China, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.

84.  States of matter/matters of state: Amphibious scholars in technoscientific space

Aftab Mirzaei, York University

Throughout his work, Michel Serres asserts that different periods of history are not defined by transformations between elements but instead, by transformations between different states of the same element. Serres suggests that the dominant state of matter in the contemporary Anthropocene has changed phase from the solids of classical physics, to a fluid flux exemplified in Bergson’s philosophy and the gaseous transmissions of information technologies. This panel welcomes scholars of STS and affiliated disciplines to explore how the current atmosphere (taken both as the ambient medium of air and as the omnipresent mood of the volatile and uncertain political present) makes for the materialization of different states of matter and matters of state, in scholarship and polity alike. This provocation frames the global, national and local, as well as the social, technical and cultural, as co-evolving topological systems and surfaces capable of behaving spatially—thus as capable of having atmospheres. This panel aims to engage with ideas of atmosphere as medium and mood, and with its ability to shape and be shaped by that which passes through or exists within it. How do we understand different states of matter and mattering as we write about them, as well as their transformations in and between atmospheric spaces? How do different atmospheres cultivate different states of space, and spaces of state, beyond territories? As scholars, how can we become amphibious, moving between states and spaces? What does it mean to think transnationally and transplanetarily at the same time that we attempt to capture the molecular, the genetic, and the digital?

85.  Governing Toxic Waste

Soraya Boudia, Université Paris Descartes; Tania Navarro-Rodriguez, University Paris Descartes

The development of industrial production and mass consumption has led to massive waste production and accumulation. As a consequence, toxicants, including heavy metals, PCBs, hydrocarbons and plastic, are widely dispersed polluting environment and toxifying bodies. If waste impacts life on a global level during the age of the Anthropocene, consequences are likely to be most dramatic for specific communities experiencing deep economic, social and racial inequalities. This panel aims to analyse the political economy of toxic waste. STS research on waste such as works on the quantification of flows, environmental justice movement, expertise and regulation studies, is often only loosely interconnected. This panel aims to bringing together these different approaches and open up a discussion about new frameworks for waste’s politics within its material, social and economic dimensions in the global North and South. Relevant questions include: what are the various regulation regimes and infrastructures of hazardous waste management? What are the dynamics of waste globalization and what are the role of corporates, nation states and transnational organizations? How is the legal and illegal international circulation of waste organized? What are the conflicts related to waste on various levels? How does the concentration of hazardous waste in specific spaces and facilities impact workers and people’s bodies so as to exert a slow violence on the most discriminated communities? We are interested in papers that analyse the production and management of various types of toxic waste (hydrocarbons, heavy metals, chemical waste, e-waste, nuclear waste…) in different geographical areas, including papers adopting comparative or transnational approaches.

86.  Global Perspectives on Responsible Innovation: Widening the Gaze

Sebastian Pfotenhauer, Munich Center for Technology in Society, Technical University Munich; Nina Frahm, Munich Center for Technology in Society, Technical University Munich;  Stefan Kuhlmann, Department of Science, Technology, and Policy Studies, University of Twente; Annapurna Mamidipudi, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science

Responsible Innovation (RI) has become a prominent umbrella term for a range of concerns, instruments, and practices related to the better alignment of society with emergent technoscience. There are increasing calls to globalize “mainstream” RI frameworks because of the global impacts of many technologies and the shifting international landscape of innovation. Yet, the main premise of RI is precisely that innovation should not be de-coupled from the concrete local needs and concerns of societies, which differ vastly around the globe. STS research has thus far paid little attention to how regions conceive and implement ‘responsibility’ differently with regard to innovation, and what these differences mean for our conceptual frameworks and the governance of innovation systems.

This track aims to put the regionally and culturally situated nature of “responsibility” in innovation front and center. It aims to explore the conceptual and practical questions associated with mainstreaming RI across different contexts, strengthen comparative perspectives on RI, and inform the development of new concepts, instruments, and policies. We invite papers addressing:

  • What different understandings and practices of “responsibility” exist (or are emerging) across the globe with regard to innovation?
  • How can we explain, compare, and utilize these differences for innovation governance?
  • How does RI relate to/neglect/collide with other discourses, e.g. inclusive, frugal, or grassroots innovation?
  • How do RI frameworks travel around the world? What new dependencies and hegemonies are being created?
  • What opportunities and limits exist for mainstreaming or standardizing RI?
  • Who are the actors and institutions responsible for the globalizing RI discourse?

87.  Data worldings and post/colonial connectedness

Tahani Nadim, Natural History Museum and Humboldt University of Berlin; Antonia Walford, UCL

Data infrastructures have taken centre stage in many of the strands which comprise the environmental, bio- and geosciences: from biodiversity assessments and conservation efforts to environmental monitoring and the development of “urban biomes”. Data infrastructures are producing unprecedented amounts of data and figures, advancing a primarily data-based understanding of worlds and compelling the coming together of different rationalities, imaginaries, economies and agencies in the pursuit of ever more integration across and connection between data.

Having worked in the context of the biological and ecological sciences, their infrastructures and institutions, we observe that these rationalities, imaginaries, economies and agencies are deeply enmeshed with historical yet enduring imperial relations. Indeed, we would suggest that current desires to apprehend a totalised world at all scales—including bio- and atmo-spheres, cosmos, inner spaces and outer surfaces of bodies—exclusively through data need to be understood as constituted in and through colonial relations and their shifting material realities. STS-inflected scholarship on data and data infrastructures has provided useful insights into making, sharing and mobilisation of data as efforts to govern the furthermost reaches of the “natural empire” (Bowker 2000) and into their participation in racialising asymmetries. With this panel we wish to further problematize emergent data worldings drawing on postcolonial critiques of the “universal” and “global” to examine how data worldings are contingent on and enact specific colonial relations. We also want to explore how attending to data worldings can help us understand the ongoing unfolding and transformation of neo-colonial logics and practices.

88.  Air pollution governance: Histories, sites, styles

Aalok Khandekar, Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad; Rohit Negi, Ambedkar University Delhi

This open panel will bring together researchers focused on ways air pollution has been governed in different contexts. In keeping with recent sensibilities in the literature, this panel takes governance to include both state as well as a wide array of non-state actors, with a particular interest in understanding the various roles that techno-scientific communities across varied contexts play in governance processes. The panel therefore invites reflections on a broad range of topics: presentations can focus on different kinds of air pollution (indoor or outdoor), and on different scales of governance — for example, the development of national laws, urban planning initiatives, or citizen mobilization against a particular polluting facility. Presentations can also vary in where they focus on the source-to-impact continuum, possibly examining, for example, the thought styles of air pollution scientists, the public relations strategies of polluting corporations, or ways nurses come to understand and treat respiratory problems associated with air pollution. Other topics of interest include science-to-policy pathways, new data collection and visualization practices, air pollution education, and environmental injustice. The panel will include research and researchers based in settings around the world, helping advance TRANSnational STS by developing a nuanced and comparative understanding of governance styles across different historical and cultural settings.

89.  Transgressing the Intersection of Science and Food

Rachel Ankeny, University of Adelaide; Heather Bray, University of Adelaide

This panel aims to bring together diverse STS approaches to explore attitudes, perceptions, and understandings of the use of science and technology in food production across the value chain, and implications for food policy. Scientifically-based interventions have typically either been considered to be unnatural, unhealthy, and unnecessary, or rendered relatively invisible to consumers, such as those which have been fundamental to providing access to affordable, safe, convenient, and nutritious food. Many believe that “modern” food, often equated with being scientifically or technologically altered, is making us “sick.” Recent growths in various political and ethical consumer movements emphasize choice, often in the form of resistance to corporate efforts to control the food supply including via technological interventions, thus inadvertently reinforcing the very neoliberalism they seek to protest. These tensions are particularly critical in contemporary Australia, given its history as an agricultural nation, and it is hoped this panel can explore these issues within the Australian context and beyond, with focus on policy implications. Topics for presentations might include but are not limited to: use of antibiotics in food animals, automation in agriculture, additives and preservatives, food packaging including nanotechnologies, and use of gene editing or GMOs.

90.  Organisms and Us in Dialogue

Rachel Ankeny, University of Adelaide

This panel seeks to explore methodologies utilised by STS scholars to study research on non-human organisms. We aim to foster productive dialogue about prospects and limits for various methods for engaging in STS and related research including but not limited to participant observation, multispecies collaborations, following the things, and geographic and larger scale mapping techniques, and are particularly interested in the affective relations as well as the roles of practitioners and the organisms studied.

91.  Politics, Numbers, and the Politics of Numbers

Fredy Mora-Gamez, Linköping University; David Moats, Linköking University

Numbers and official statistics regularly figure in highly politicized debates, from scare mongering about the influx of migrants in the British EU referendum to Trump’s implication of high incidents of rape, “last night in Sweden”. In Colombia, impressive official numbers resulting from the registration of so called ‘forced migrants’ have been widely used in campaigns promoting narratives of post-conflict statehood.

STS is accustomed to unveiling the small ‘p’ politics of how numbers are constructed through situated practices and socio-technical devices but what are we to do when these numbers enter the big P political arena? How do we research numbers that regularly cross borders and circulate widely? How do we square our own political commitments with our roles as participant observers, critics or collaborators?

In this panel we explore the relation between politics and the production and circulation of government data, particularly about migration, and how they relate to the mobilization of state-nation projects and political campaigns. We welcome abstracts addressing different forms of expert knowledge, valuations through assessment technologies, and practices that extend beyond geographical and geopolitical boundaries. We are particularly interested in exploring the tensions which arise between official statistics and our own ways of knowing.

We welcome abstracts addressing, the materiality of borders; the role of big data in official statistics; migration, citizenship and nation-state projects; valuation devices and politics.

92.  Climate change in context: Local use, creation, and interaction with science

Nicholas Weller, Arizona State University; Michelle Sullivan Govani, Arizona State University

Climate change is often framed as a national and international concern, but entities sensitive to local climate change impacts, like cities and protected areas, must also contend with how, if at all, to respond. The availability and role of expertise, varied institutional structures, and deep uncertainty in potential impacts and responses complicate if and how people at local scales might use scientific assessments such as projections of species extinctions or flooding frequency. However, local responses to climate change present an opportunity for learning about varied institutional responses for decision making under uncertainty in the face of the challenges laid out above. As such, this panel seeks submissions regarding how local entities (taking a variety of institutional shapes from across the globe) create, use, respond to, and interact with scientific knowledge in the context of climate change impacts. Relevant questions include: How are local entities using science to plan for climate change impacts and why? Who is (un)welcomed in these conversations? How do local entities adapt to varied access to resources and expertise regarding climate change assessments? How do competing scientific frameworks, assessments, or models complicate applications of science in the context of local climate change impacts? How do local social norms or policies interface with or influence climate change impact assessments? How do the dynamics of climate science and politics unfold at the local level compared to the national or international level?

93.  Turning (More) Things into Assets: Techno-economic TRANSformations

Kean Birch, York University

What is an asset? How is something made into an asset? How is the boundary of an asset defined? What is the role of technoscience in this transformation? Assets can include things like intellectual property, land and natural resources, personality, emissions, infrastructure, etc. More and more STS scholars (and others) are puzzling over the specific techno-economic transformations entailed in the creation of an asset (e.g. Birch 2017a, 2017b; Birch & Tyfield 2013; Cooper & Waldby 2014; Muniesa 2014; Lezaun & Montgomery 2015; Doganova and Karnoe 2015; Doganova and Muniesa 2015; Martin 2015; Chiapello 2015; Boltanski & Esquerre 2016; Gardner & Webster 2017; Hogarth 2017; Muniesa et al. 2017; Vezyridis & Timmons 2017; Birch & Muniesa submission). Such work has stimulated an important debate on the importance of the asset form and assetization process in understanding an array of emerging phenomena in contemporary, technoscientific capitalism. They raise questions about the techno-economic implications of socio-technical platforms (e.g. Uber, Airbnb), digital business models (e.g. Google, Facebook), innovation financing and their financial logics (e.g. Silicon Valley ‘unicorns’), emerging accumulation strategies based on forms of ‘rentiership’ rather than entrepreneurship, and so on. The aim of this panel is to contribute to this ongoing research agenda by (1) inviting further case studies of assetization and (2) focusing on the specific techno-economic transformations involved in the turning of things into assets. It has a further aim to consider the implications of the asset form and assetization process for our the future of contemporary, technoscientific capitalism.

94.  Something from nothing: exploring non-discovery and negative claims

Helene Sorgner, Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt; Sophie Ritson, Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt

Discovery claims dominate popular imaginations of progress and innovation in science. How such claims are assembled from mundane practices and situated in complex historical and material conditions has been a long-standing interest of STS research. One insight is that much of the day-to-day work of researchers is directed towards establishing ‘negative knowledge’ i.e. the limits of knowledge as a precondition for positive claims (Knorr-Cetina, 1999).

Building on these insights, we would like to explore ‘negative claims’, i.e. assertions of non-existence or the exclusion of (expected) results. Negative claims are not only ‘by-products’ of research, but can be conceived as transformative. Both ‘successful’ episodes (such as, the claim that humans do not behave according to the predictions of rational choice models) and ‘unsuccessful’ episodes (such as, a shift in research strategies in high-energy physics following a potential new particle turning into a statistical fluke) illustrate the transformations of knowledge and practices following negative claims.

After a discovery claim is established, the world is reported to be different; in contrast, when you lose something you never had, seemingly nothing has changed. We suggest the exploration of the question ‘what has changed’ from a different angle, based on the observation that negative claims often violate expectations and thus need to be accommodated practically and conceptually. In this panel, we invite contributions that explore negative claims, broadly construed. We are looking for case studies from all fields of research and conceptual contributions that engage with the various ways in which the ‘negative’ is transformative.

95.  Technopolitics of integration. Charting imaginaries of innovation in the European Union

Luca Marelli, European Institute of Oncology; Giuseppe Testa, European Institute of Oncology;  Ine Van Hoyweghen, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven

Ever increasingly since the launch of the Lisbon Agenda at the turn of the millennium, the European Union has targeted the acceleration of scientific and technological innovation as a key policy objective, envisaging the consolidation of the Union as dependent upon its “power to innovate” (European Commission 2013). Emphasized as one of the privileged means to steer the EU out of its current economic and political gridlock, while being heralded as conducive to nothing less than a “new Renaissance” (European Commission 2012), the acceleration of innovation has come to underpin the promise of the European project and to define the imaginary around which the wobbly EU polity is envisaged to coalesce.

In this panel, we welcome empirical and conceptual contributions aimed at critically examining the mobilization of innovation visions and policies towards the socio–political consolidation of the EU and its transnational exercise of political, economic and cultural power. Specifically, some questions that the panel seeks to probe include: which vision of the EU do innovation policies encode and perform? How is agency (re)distributed among different actors groups, and how are state-market-science relations and public-private boundaries being redefined, in EU innovation policies? Which actors groups are empowered to speak and act in the name of accelerating innovation, and whose voices are disenfranchised? What are the emerging tensions and frictions between the ideal of competitiveness enshrined in innovation programs, and those of democratic accountability and social justice? How do specific visions of innovation depend upon, mobilize and/or reinforce existing socio-political inequalities?

96.  That which arises from the (human or mechanical) eye

Moa Carlsson, MIT;

In this panel, we will take the pulse of the eye. That is, we will explore the status of visual phenomenology and the empirical gaze in current or recent scholarship within social studies of science. Studies on visual perception and its role in knowledge production have a long history across fields, e.g. early empiricism, gestalt- and experimental psychology, embodied cognition, and AI. At present, with advances in computer-aided pattern recognition, new spatial technologies are frequently designed to align with human perceptual faculties in ways that need be better understood. In other words, as computer vision and other perceptual simulation models, underpinned by machine learning algorithms, increasingly read and write the world without the “need” for direct human involvement, the creative capacities of the human eye are contested. This suggests that the mapping and interpretation of terrains invisible to the human eye results in real-world material and political expressions that are, arguably, not free from bias in regards to, for example, race, gender, and inequality. It is this landscape of explicit uncertainty that this panel seeks to explore from sociological, technical, and historical perspectives. Approaching human visual experience as a heterogeneous enterprise, hallmarked by perspectival, temporal, and indeterminate qualities, the panel puts out a call for responses to the following provocation: in our increasingly technological societies, what new ontological or epistemological insights can be gained, and at what costs, from that which arises from the (human or mechanical) eye?

97.  Time-scapes of toxicity

Britt Dahlberg, Chemical Heritage Foundation; Yeonsil Kang (The Catholic University of Korea)

How does time play out in toxicity? While ideas of “the Anthropocene” and “slow disaster” urge consideration of hazards along much longer timeframes, the multiplicity and simultaneity of temporal scales—of humans, natures, and materials such as plastics, pesticides, or radiation—complicate the ways actors and researchers comprehend time within and across polluted sites.

Time-scapes connect with land- and socio-scapes. On the one hand, acknowledgment of toxicity develops at different times in different regions, and industries strategically shift extraction and manufacturing to navigate costs and regulation. On the other hand, human actions bring about new openings and closures to toxicity – for instance, when actors reframe asbestos as a present-day environmental hazard, rather than occupational hazard “of the past” to mobilize attention and intervention.

We welcome papers exploring questions such as: Where in time do actors locate risks, and what work does that do? Where are places located in relation to time-scapes of toxins?

In what ways do actors make sense of temporal scales in polluted sites, and work to open and close problems of toxicity? How do temporal boundaries relate to efforts to manage hazards and enact safety? How does temporal locating of risk, shift public priorities or felt experiences of being “at risk” or safe? How do actors and could researchers comprehend a longue durée of hazards?

By asking these questions, this panel contributes to the understanding of transnationality of knowledge production, technological inventions and usages, and regulation and activism about hazards – through thinking across temporal and spatial boundaries.

98.  Contested Academic Norms: Unraveling Evaluation Discourses and Practices in an Age of “Excellence”

Marie Sautier, University of Lausanne; Prof. Nicky Le Feuvre, University of Lausanne

In the past decades, the combined effect of globalization and massification of the Higher Education have contributed to making local academic norms more standardized (Musselin, 2012). In most countries, academic workers refer to “publishing”, “getting grants” or “scientific collaborations” as expected features of a successful career and young academics are taught by their mentors and peers what is “most valued” and what “should be done” to best enhance the quality of their scientific profile.

However, “being successful”, “getting published”, or “being mobile” may not be considered and defined the same way depending on the context in which those activities take place. While Leeman (2010) underlines that transnational mobility appears as a mandatory part of an excellent Swiss academic profile, Zippel (2017) notes that international collaboration may not be free of negative connotations for an academic worker based in a world-leading US lab.

STS has produced major contributions in respecifying the concept of “values”, and emerging STS fields such as Valuation Studies have contributed to study evaluation and valuation processes as social practices that cannot be taken for granted. Values don’t straightforwardly determine actions but are negotiated, learned, maintained, constructed and contested.

What defines excellence? Do standards of excellence vary over time, institutions, countries and scientific fields? We invite contributions investigating the varieties of individual and institutional practices and discourses associated with excellence, and welcome papers that examine academic norms in cross-context perspective.

99.  Post-Cyber Feminism: Mutations in Australian Feminist Technoscience

Thao Phan, University of Melbourne; Sally Olds, University of Melbourne;  Emma Wilson, University of Queensland

Australia has a rich history of feminist critique and engagement with science and technology. From the VNS Matrix’ Cyberfeminist Manifesto to Laboria Cuboniks’ Xenofeminist Manifesto, Australian feminists have been at the forefront of experimental and radical scholarship and practice. While concepts from cyberfeminism and xenofeminism are now transnational, their uniquely situated histories within genealogies of feminist technoscience warrants further engagement. This open panel invites papers reflecting on Australian feminist technoscience “post-cyber feminism.” What mutations have occurred over time? By mutation, we refer to the transmission, variation and corruption of ideas and approaches to “doing” feminist theory and practice. Mutations call to attention changes in situated material contexts, in this case, the specific material-semiotic assemblages of time/place/people/events we call “Australia.”

The questions we seek to address include: What are the uniquely Australian histories of feminist technoscience? How do these intersect with other forms of Australian feminisms, such as Aboriginal, postcolonial, queer? How do seemingly disparate movements in contemporary art, fiction, philosophy, and feminism draw on, respond to, and critically resist Australian cyberfeminism, and how has Australian cyberfeminism mutated in response to these? How have changing political, material, and technological conditions altered the field of cyberfeminism, perhaps necessitating the expanded taxonomy of what Helen Hester recently called “post-cyber feminism”? We seek both traditional conference papers and contributions that loosen or discard the conference paper format altogether: science-fiction, performance art, poetry, philosophy, and all other mutations.

100.  Personhood, law and relationality amidst the new biosciences

Sonja Van Wichelen, University of Sydney; Marc de Leeuw, University of New South Wales

The 21st century is witnessing a profound transformation in law and society because of the implications of the new biosciences and biotechnologies. New technologies are emerging that radically challenge our conceptions of nature and law and that demand new tools in the humanities and social sciences to adequately respond and analyze these practices. This panel starts with the premise that these developments provide novel opportunities to thinking anew about the nature and structure of personhood and relationality. Bioscientific advances in the field of postgenomics, neuroscience, research on the microbiome, and immunology are encouraging thought provoking problems for the foundational cultural and legal principles of personality as well as their attendant notion of personal rights. Complex issues arise in the intersection of law, biology, and society, and this panel aims to explore these problems of what can be called emerging issues in “biolegality”—the coming together of biology and legality—and to revisit the concept of personhood in posthuman and relational ways.

101.  Critical Data Studies: Human Contexts and Ethics

Laura Noren, New York University; Charlotte Cabasse-Mazel, UC-Berkeley;  R. Stuart Geiger, UC-Berkeley;  Brittany Fiore-Gartland, UW-Seattle

Datafication and autonomous, computational systems and practices are producing significant transformations in our analytical and deontological framework, sometimes with objectionable consequences (O’Neill 2016; Barocas, Bradley, Honovar, and Provost 2017). Whether we’re looking at the ways in which new artefacts are constructed or at their social consequences, questions of value and valuation or objectivity and operationalization are indissociable from the processes of innovation and the principles of fairness, reliability, usability, privacy, social justice, and harm avoidance (Crawford and Whittaker, 2017).

In this continuation of the Critical Data Studies / Studying Data Critically tracks at 4S (see also Dalton and Thatcher 2014; Iliadis and Russo 2016), we invite papers that address the organizational, social, cultural, ethical, and otherwise human impacts of data science applications in areas like science, education, consumer products, labor and workforce management, bureaucracies and administration, media platforms, or families. Ethnographies, case studies, and theoretical works that take a situated approach to data work, practices, politics, and/or infrastructures in specific contexts are all welcome.

By reflecting on situated unintended and objectionable consequences, we will gather a collection of works that illuminate one or several aspects of the unfolding of controversies and ethical challenges posed by these new systems and practices. We’re specifically interested in pieces that provide innovative theoretical insights about ethics and controversies, fieldwork, and reflexivity about the researcher’s positionality and her own ethical practices. We also encourage practitioners and educators who have worked to infuse ethical questions and concerns into a workflow, pedagogical strategy, collaboration, or intervention.

102.  The Global Scientific Brain: International Mobility of the Scientific Workforce

Cassidy Sugimoto, Indiana University Bloomington; Dakota Murray, Indiana University Bloomington;  Vincent Larivière, Université de Montréal

Communication between scholars has been transformed by the digital age. While some heralded these advances as the ultimate destruction of geographic barriers to science, scientific mobility remains central to the education, communication, and advancement of the scientific workforce. Collaborations continue to be both initiated and sustained through in-person interaction and a large share of high performing scientists are internationally mobile. However, mobile scholars face mounting barriers as isolationist policies become a reality in resource-intensive countries. Furthermore, scientific mobility itself tends to be privileged and reinforces the Matthew Effect in science: mobility is most available to those who already have established professional networks, bountiful resources, and domestic freedoms. Women and underrepresented populations in science are often excluded from these opportunities and face professional consequences as a result. Other scholars are often forced into mobility, due to political or economic contexts of their countries. There are various actors in this system of scientific mobility—scientist, institution, sector, discipline, country—that exchange tradeoffs in mobility. For example, Australia tends to educate scholars who become highly cited once they have gone abroad (Sugimoto et al., 2017). While this has benefits for the individual and global scientific system, there may be disadvantages for Australia. Transnational mobility of the scientific workforce is therefore a highly complex interchange, based on the embodiment of science in individuals and dependent upon the specific contexts of their mobility. This open panel, situated in the context of TRANSnational STS, invites contributions that theorize, analyze, and contextualize scientific mobility.

103.  Making transnational STS Films and Videos: Who, What, Where, How, and Why of crossing domains of sciences and technologies through media-making?

Jarita Holbrook, University of the Western Cape; Vivian L. Wong, Ph.D., Data Share Fellow, Research Data Alliance; Archivist and Filmmaker;,

4S already promotes innovative ways of presenting research. It has been engaged with film/video for many years via the Making & Doing Project and screenings of Ethnografilm festivals’ official selections at recent annual meetings. This panel builds on that foundation by convening filmmakers and video ethnographers to discuss their strategies for transforming their research into visual media that transgress research domains and offer alternative ways to generate scholarship. As media-making is a transnational global pursuit that transects regional, cultural, and linguistic differences, the panel can serve as a roadmap to future researchers with diverse research commitments and transnational, global projects who are considering this form to publish their work. Panelists will address these queries:

  • What do they see as important elements that identify their work as STS documentaries, rather than science documentaries?
  • Science films are made to increase scientific literacy, promoting science, and attract more young people to STEM careers. What are the motivations for making STS documentaries and what are the goals?
  • What is the audience for STS documentaries and how does one reach global audiences?
  • How do filmmakers find film crews, editors, and postproduction resources?
  • What are effective arguments for securing funding?
  • How do STS filmmakers situate their works within the realm of documentary films?
  • When is making a film or video seen as a legitimate scholarly project on the same level as a peer-reviewed article or manuscript?

104.  If a body meet a body: making people in daily practice

Chris Hesselbein, Cornell University; Sahar Tavakoli, Cornell University

Social studies of science and technology have paid much attention to the material practices that act upon and interact with the body in prominent technoscientific areas such as medical institutions (Foucault, 1963; Mol, 2002), statistical records (Hacking, 1985), information and communication technology (Balsamo, 1996; Haraway, 1991), medical operations (Hirschauer, 1991; Prentice, 2012), and genetic testing (Nelson, 2016). Far less interest has been directed towards less visible and more quotidian forms of bodywork: how bodies are produced and enacted in smaller scale interactions, and how such bodies travel between, or communicate between, various organisational structures beyond the clinic, the lab, or the nation-state.

This track invites papers on how bodies are made, changed, experienced, maintained, resisted, and unmade through mundane technoscientific practices. We welcome papers, films, performances, and other formats that address ideas relating to, but not limited to, how bodies are audio-visually mediated, digitally or physically modelled, mimicked, reproduced, categorised and mapped (across a variety material practices and forms of knowing) and what the effects are of such practices on conceptions of the embodied self, subjectivity, and social identity. In addition, we invite presentations engaging with commonplace body techniques such as (un)dressing, gesturing, posing, and walking, and how such actions contribute to the establishment and potential subversion of social norms and identities.

105.  Remaking collaboration in technoscientific production

Brian Callahan, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Science and technology production has long moved away from hero narratives and individual greatness, ceding instead to the rise in what we colloquially call collaboration. Collaboration as a concept has since become a fascination and a fixation. Whether it is termed “team science” or “citizen science” or “open source,” collaboration is a key buzzword for technoscientific development in the current cultural milieu. However, this emergence as a buzzword of technoscientific production has led to collaboration’s immense flexibility as a mask for other processes and the inherent hierarchies and power imbalances that flow through it. Collaboration has metamorphosized into whatever it needs to be for the work at hand. Nominally a process, the literature characterizes it alternatively as an object, a state of being, as an elision into other processes, and as something that should be quantitatively measured. Some organizations, such as the National Institute of Health (United States), have embarked on a program to quantitatively measure collaboration as a way to rank grant proposals and outcomes. It has become clear that collaboration represents simultaneously an overtheorized and undertheorized phenomenon. We invite papers that draw on case studies that critically engage with the process of collaboration in unique and unexpected ways that help us rethink what collaboration is and could be. It is incumbent upon us to remake collaboration in technoscientific production, to deconstruct its oppressive features and reconstruct it as another vehicle through which to fight for social, economic, and technoscientific justice.

106.  From Black Boxes to Locked Boxes: STS interventions for studying invisible data infrastructures

Jessica Ogden, University of Southampton; Susan Halford, University of Southampton; Jack Webster, University of Southampton

Data infrastructures pervade our lives, and yet often remain obscured, inaccessible and resistant to study. Some of the material impacts of data infrastructures can be felt in our everyday lives through interactions with location awareness and transportation apps, music recommender systems, health tracking and grocery store checkouts. And yet, after decades of infrastructure studies, STS methods and theories are increasingly stretched to accommodate the scale and rate at which data infrastructures manifest. As systems of governance, social justice, commerce and warfare are embedded in and utterly reliant upon data infrastructures, the stakes could not be higher. This panel invites contributions that engage with the methodological challenges associated with investigating socio-technical invisibilities in digital data infrastructures. Here we envisage invisibilities to encompass the context of wide-ranging socio-technical relations that enable and disable access to data infrastructures, from black-boxed algorithms and internet protocols to labour and organisational structures. The panel welcomes critical reflection on the ontological and material implications of the ways in which invisibility in data infrastructures is conceptualised in STS, and by extension, operationalised into methods and methodological interventions. We invite creative methodological contributions to STS that reconfigure and extend existing concepts to develop ways of engaging with varying types and degrees of access and absence in digital infrastructures – where even the barriers themselves may become the subject of study. The panel hopes to create an atmosphere of reflexive engagement with both the possible consequences of inaction and the potential for STS interventions in making visible the invisible.

107.  Climate, science, and empire: Bridging historical and current developments

Zeke Baker, University of California, Davis

A growing body of STS scholars, and those in neighboring fields including environmental history, the history of science, sociology, and the geography of science, have analyzed historical relationships between meteorology/climate-related sciences and practices broadly constitutive of empire, colonialism, and state-making. Likewise, scholarship in STS has variously engaged contemporary climate science, including locating its bases in specific epistemic cultures; analyzing social struggle over scientific authority; and understanding or participating in the relationship between science and policy-making in the arenas of global warming mitigation and climate-change adaptation.

Fitting the 4S 2018 theme, climate knowledge has for centuries involved what Paul Edwards labels “infrastructural globalism,” embodying and advancing transnational circulations of ideas, technologies, and standards. Climate science likewise entails “epistemic geographies” (Mahony and Hulme 2016) that link local practice to ‘global’ knowledge in uneven and sometimes contradictory ways. Moreover, as a culturally meaningful category of science and experience, weather, climate, and their changes have held widely different significance and effects in various historical and social contexts.

The goal of this panel is to bring together a range of theoretical perspectives and empirical contexts that can advance accounts of the multiple imbrications between climate, science, and empire (broadly conceived) in a way that can explicitly engage contemporary issues regarding environmental change, science/technology, and social power. Papers may range from micro-level case studies to broader comparative analyses. We especially invite papers that draw from non-Western contexts and/or develop conceptual and analytic tools for connecting historical to current trends.

108.  Research Infrastructures, Digital Tools and New Directions in STS Research

Lindsay Poirier, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; Bradley Fidler, Stevens Institute of Technology

Increasingly, oral histories, field notes, and other qualitative materials produced in the humanities are being understood as humanities “data.” Rapid advances in data science are driving much of this change, provoking humanists to think through how to critically and ethically approach data management and to explore experimental possibilities for sharing, mining, and interpreting humanities data. This panel will explore possibilities for initiating new conversations with computer and data scientists regarding opportunities and challenges for producing information infrastructures and digital tools to support humanistic research. This task is not without precedent. On a prosaic level, Digital Object Identifiers (DOIs) and the eXtensible Markup Language (XML) both originated in efforts by computer science to answer questions that long challenged humanistic scholars. On the level of tools, humanists rely on Optical Character Recognition (OCR), databases, and other information technologies that originated in STEM. However, collaborative efforts between computer scientists and humanists to produce digital infrastructures and tools sensitive to the assumptions and commitments that guide humanistic research have only emerged recently (through domains such as the digital humanities and critical code studies). Having long assessed the epistemic assumptions designed into systems of knowledge production, STS is uniquely well positioned within the humanities to contribute critical insight to such conversations. This panel seeks to bring together transnational STS scholars interested in:

  1. assessing, critiquing, and advancing research infrastructures and digital tools for humanistic data management and analysis and;
  2. identifying and evaluating possibilities for new collaborations between humanists and STEM researchers in this area.

109.  Machine Biases and Other Algorithmic Harms in Transnational Perspective

Colin Garvey, RPI; Gernot Rieder, IT University of Copenhagen

On Halloween, October 31st 2017, three monsters called Facebook, Twitter, and Google were forced to testify before US senators about the services they offer. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism, noted that “millions of Americans use your technology to share the first step of a grandchild, to talk about good and bad things in our lives” before going on to declare that “the bottom line is these technologies also can be used to undermine our democracy and put our nation at risk.” Indeed, from drone-mediated assassination to racial discrimination on digital platforms and beyond, algorithms have made possible the creation of a new category of harm in both digitized as well as digitizing societies. A growing literature has described a number of algorithmic harms deriving from information gatekeepers (Tufekci 2014), killer robots, secretive decision making black boxes (Pasquale 2015), “weapons of math destruction” (O’Neil 2016), as well as a variety of other systems. These investigations have remained constrained primarily to Western contexts, however, as algorithmic harms in contexts outside the Global North remain largely unexamined. This panel calls for knowledge from the margins; transnational perspectives on algorithmic harms as they have occurred, are transpiring, and may unfold in futures to come. What do computerized systems capable of wreaking socioeconomic devastation on diverse publics look like in, from, through, and across different nations?

110. Science in the Time of Netflix, Streaming, and Online Archiving: Portrayals and Consumption

Inez Ponce de Leon, Ateneo de Manila University

Scientists have been portrayed as naive upstarts searching for absolute truths, or as unwitting villains experimenting on humans in the name of scientific discovery, or even as socially awkward professionals who have no lives outside their laboratories. These portrayals have been found in movies, television, and even books – but how might these have changed in a time when on-demand, streaming media is fast becoming popular? Streaming platforms such as iFlix, Netflix, and HOOQ have been growing in the last few years, and have played host to a wide variety of streaming-exclusive movies and series. These platforms have also served as an archive of films and television series, allowing consumers easy access to media, at any time, at any place, for as long as there is an internet connection. Where portrayals of science and scientists were once bound by constraints such as cost and availability, these portrayals are now accessed on demand. How does streaming change our consumption of science and scientists? What new portrayals are emerging in these new, streaming-exclusive series and movies? How might easy access to archives, and even the phenomenon of the series “marathon”, change how we view science? In this panel, we invite papers that examine streaming platforms and how they change consumption patterns, especially of science-related topics and stories, as well as research on the portrayals of science and scientists in these new forms of media.

111. Caring across borders: Materiality and belonging in transnational families

Bianca   Brijnath, National Ageing Research Institute (NARI); Loretta Baldassar, University of Western Australia; Maho Omori, NARI

How is the global movement of peoples, cultures, technologies, artefacts, and materials reshaping care within families and across localities? In this panel we invite submissions that explore either theoretically or empirically, in whole or in part, this question. In particular we seek submissions that:

  • Operationalise an intergenerational perspective (i.e., childcare and/or elder care), and/or
  • Examine the role of material objects and artefacts (e.g. money, medicines, mobile phones) in transnational care, and/or
  • Complicate ideas of belonging in transnational families.

Through an exploration of these topics, we want to showcase how care is a vital affective state, an ethical obligation, and practical labour. In caring for and caring about, what is embodied and transacted through relationships between human and non-human actors, materials, and networks? For example, how does caring for mobile phones facilitate caring for families across borders? Or how do we care about our local worlds when our significant relational ones are located far away? What is at stake in caring in dislocated worlds?  Submissions could explore but are not limited to how notions of childcare or eldercare are defracted by borders; the role of capital in mobilising transnational care; describing what is at stake when distant ‘real’ kin are replaced with immediate paid care attendants or artificial intelligence; or how technologies, including new media, build and sustain belongingness and care in transnational families.

112. Reflexive engagements in climate engineering

Silke Beck,;  Peter Healey,; Anjali Viswamohanan,

Compared with its antecedents, the Paris Agreement on Climate Change is distinctive in two respects: the architecture of Paris hands back the responsibility for climate policy to nation states, who are asked to specify and periodically revise the contribution each might make to emissions reductions. Whilst the ambition of Paris to limit mean global temperature increases to between 1.5 and 2.0 degrees strongly suggests that in addition to emissions reductions, climate engineering (CE) – defined as deliberate large-scale interventions in the Earth’s climate system for removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere or reflecting sunlight away from the Earth – will be required. Indeed many existing policy models assume a substantial deployment of negative emission technologies to produce the desired result.

The emergence of CE in the context of Paris thus forces renewed examination of concepts such as responsible research and public engagement. This panel brings together scholars working to explore the scientific and political challenges raised by CE research and its broader impacts and implications for knowledge and policy making. It will ‘open up’ debate and examine what being ‘responsible’ in CE research and deployment can mean from both researchers’ and public perspective. It raises questions such as: How do different research traditions think of the idea of responsibility and accountability, what are the implications for division of responsibility between science and the public, and what are the steps they are taking to be responsible? How can STS scholars critically engage with international CE research and its use in policymaking? What is the STS scholar’s role in defining new principles or institutional structures that may be required?