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Backchannels

Linguists first used the term backchannel to refer to the spontaneous responses and signals that provide interactivity to what is only apparently a one-way communication. Social media users have adopted the term to refer to the unofficial, multi-directional online conversation that parallels formal academic exchange at a lecture or conference. The Backchannels blog is intended to have a similar relationship to scholarly discourse in STS. It provides an outlet for alternative-format scholarly communications, publishing shorter, timelier, media-rich communiques of interest to the global STS community. The editors welcome proposed contributions.

The Anthropocene in Chile: notes from an experimental thinkshop

Report-backs / Manuel Tironi

Meeting to propose different ways of thinking and discussing the anthropocene in Chile

Provincializing STS: an EASTS Forum on how East Asia complicates the STS Landscape

Report-backs / Wen-Hua Kuo

A synthesis of Provincializing Forum its reflections and contributions available until 2 September.

The Third Year of #QueerSTS4S and Call for 2018 Organizers

Projects / Mitali Thakor and Stephen Molldrem

title We continue to conceptualize these meetups as part of a much broader set of activities focused on building queer approaches within STS and supporting the emotional labor of individuals who are actively involved in this work.

Doing ethnography of and with rocks

Report-backs / Alison Marlin

title Alison Marlin uses two ethnographic encounters with rocks – by Helen Verran and Sophia Roosth – to reflect on the stories these seemingly unlively objects may hold.

Self-driving cars with Nassim JafariNaimi: New Research in ST&HV

Reflections / Aleka Gurel

Professor Nassim JafariNaimi discusses her recent ST&HV article, "Our Bodies in the Trolley’s Path, or Why Self-driving Cars Must *Not* Be Programmed to Kill."

We are all Eric Cartman now

Reflections / David Banks

title Inverse has a short thing about the precipitous decline of reported close encounters with extra-terrestrials following the widespread adoption of smartphones. Author Ryan Britt asks, “How come there have been fewer reports of flying saucers and alien abductions in the age of the camera phone?” David Banks finds in his contribution to "Cyborgology" another answer.

In the Moment: Notes from a Graduate Student Conference

Report-backs / Madeleine Pape

title Madeleine Pape asked the three organizers – Savina Balasubramanian, Omri Tubi, and Kevin Baker – of the graduate conference "Science, Technology, and the Politics of Knowledge" to share their insights in organizing such an event.

Book Review: Cotton and Race Across the Atlantic: Britain, Africa, and America, 1900-1920

Reviews / Dr Jonathan Silver

According to Jonathan Silver, "Cotton and Race Across the Atlantic" makes a significant contribution to the global history of cotton and our understandings about the long durée of capitalism.

What a new university in Africa is doing to decolonise social sciences

Reflections / Jess Auerbach

It’s not often that you get to create a new university from scratch.

Dis—ease with X and Y: Disclosing Digital Sociology

Projects / Amanda Windle

title The move to larger corporate social media groups did disrupt some of these grassroots support networks specifically when their digital infrastructures shifted during the noughties. Someone with UC-CD doesn’t always need their mood creepily enhanced by an algorithm on Facebook, but may appreciate some of the roaming mental health bots on Twitter.

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Reflections

African cities in the changing global landscape
Silenced Issues 5| Coming to Terms with the Colorblindness of Contemporary STS
Engendering Alice and Bob
The Space Between with Elina Mäkinen

Report-backs

Public Health in the Calais Refugee Camp: Environment, Health and Exclusion
Building STS Programs: Notes From an Initial Meeting
Segundo Coloquio colombiano en estudios sociales de la ciencia: hacer la paz en un mundo posverdad
Describing and intervening: Exploring the plurality of STS in India

Projects

The Third Year of #QueerSTS4S and Call for 2018 Organizers
Dis—ease with X and Y: Disclosing Digital Sociology
How migrant registration infrastructures co-produce citizens, institutions and territory
Developing New STS Minors: The Case of Cal Poly

Reviews

Book Review: Cotton and Race Across the Atlantic: Britain, Africa, and America, 1900-1920
Renewable energy for STS scholarship: the Handbook of Science and Technology Studies
Betwixt and Between Augmentation and Automation: Some Reflections after Watching “Sully”
‘Hard’ Surveillance and ‘Soft’ Surveillance: The Quantified Self at Work

Backchannels Editors

Steven Jackson, Chair, 4S Web Committee

Steven Jackson, Conferences, journals, and events

Assistant Editors: Aleka Gurel, Yelena Gluzman

Gloria Baigorrotegui, Reviews, reblogs, and STS commentary from Asia, Africa & Latin America

Assistant Editors: Fredy Mora-Gámez, Prince Guma, Joseph Satish

Amanda Windle, Reviews, reblogs, and STS commentary from North America, Europe, and Australia

Assistant Editors: Leo Matteo Bachinger, Madeleine Pape

Anita Chan, Conference Blog Editor

For contact information, see the Editorial Guidelines page.