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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.

III Encuentro de la Red CTS-Chile

Report-backs / Gloria Baigorrotegui, Juan Felipe Espinoza & Martín Pérez Comisso

During the 13 to 15 of January it was held, at the School of Business at the Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Valparaiso, the Third Meeting of the STS-Chilean Network. Given the public uprisings that have taken place since 2011 in Chile, and given the new forms of collective action seen in our country, we agreed to convene the meeting under the theme "Citizenship, Collective, Knowledge and Power: Achievements and Challenges for Science, Technology and Society Studies.

Talking Transdisciplinarity with Ulrike Felt: New Research in Science, Technology & Human Values

Reflections / Aleka Gurel

Professor Ulrike Felt, from the University of Vienna, talks to Backchannels about her recent ST&HV article, "Transdisciplinary Sustainability Research in Practice."

A forum on the Zika virus

Report-backs / Sudeepa Abeysinghe, Luciana Brondi, Ian Harper, Hannah Lesshafft, Lucy Lowe, Alex Nading and Ting Ting Shum

Five speakers examined Zika and its implications from differing perspectives. Of particular concern for the roundtable was to address how social scientists may approach the issues at stake.

Sex, Gender, and the New NIH Policy

Reflections / Heather Shattuck-Heidorn

Highlighting the need for research on gender alongside sex is a critical contribution of feminist science studies scholars.

STS Underground: Images from an Emerging Subfield

Report-backs / Abby Kinchy and Roopali Phadke

What can STS contribute to the burgeoning new field of “subsoil” social theory?

Some Thoughts on the “Egyptian Knowledge Bank”

Reflections / ElHassan ElSabry

In November 2015, the Egyptian government announced an initiative to provide nationwide access to a multitude of knowledge resources (k-12 curricula, scholarly journals, eBooks, educational videos ... etc.) claiming that it is "“the biggest digital library in the world". ElHassan ElSabry, an Egyptian researcher in the field of scholarly communication and Open Access, provides some thoughts on the issue and the project's ability to fulfill its promise.

Top of the Heap: Elly Teman

Reviews / Hannah Gibson

I like to show Zippi Brand Frank’s 2009 HBO documentary Google Baby about gestational surrogacy in India as it clearly maps out the movement across national borders, social classes, and bodies involved in transnational surrogacy arrangements.

Apuntes desde EXPLORA-CONICYT y la visibilidad de la ciencia y tecnología escolar en Latinoamérica

Report-backs / Gloria Baigorrotegui

Children and young people from schools throughout Chile and school representatives from three Latin American countries: Mexico, Peru and Argentina met from 24 to 26 November 2015 in the city of Valparaiso to present their scientific projects in the final of the XVI School National Congress School of Science and Technology. 53 projects were selected in three categories: i) Natural Sciences, ii) Research in engineering and technology and iii) Social Sciences. Gloria Baigorrotegui tells us her experience as an external evaluator of this initiative.

Identifying Bodies with Victor Toom: New Research in Science, Technology & Human Values

Reflections / Abby Kinchy

Backchannels interviews Dr. Victor Toom, an anthropologist of scientific practice, about his recent ST&HV article that analyzes how victims’ remains were recovered, identified, repatriated and retained after the World Trade Center terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

Building DIY citizen science technology to see invisible marine plastics

Projects / Max Liboiron

Ninety-three percent of all marine plastics are smaller than a grain of rice (Eriksen et al 2014). This summer I made a research voyage through one of the world’s five gyres, huge slow-moving currents in the middle each of the world’s five oceans that tend to accumulate floating debris, including plastics.

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STS and environmental history live to see another day
African cities in the changing global landscape
Silenced Issues 5| Coming to Terms with the Colorblindness of Contemporary STS
Engendering Alice and Bob


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


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


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.