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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.

Sperm Banking and Me: Transporting the Technosocial Question

Reflections / Gary Lee Downey

title We want our technologies outside, thinking we can control them. But what if we framed this differently, picturing humans and technologies as entwined through permeable, fluid boundaries? Clarity would be more elusive. Joining semen cryopreservation disrupted a comfortable, but clueless, masculinity.

Philosophy as Therapy and Philosophical Anthropology

Reflections / Leah Carr

title The kind of view of mind on offer here is one that can serve well as an explanation as to why we need a social epistemology, but it may also serve as a useful philosophical tool for assessing the credibility of more macro-level social theories.

IV Escuela Doctoral Iberoamericana de Estudios Sociales y Políticos sobre la Ciencia y la Tecnología

Report-backs / Sandra Daza-Caicedo

title Between July 7 and 10, 2015, it took place at the University of Valparaiso (Chile) the IV Ibero-American Doctoral School of Social Studies on Science and Technology ,organized by the Latin American Society for Social Studies of Science and Technology ESOCITE. Twentyseven doctoral students from Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Chile, Colombia and Mexico attended the School. The meeting was sponsored by the Red CYTED (Ibero-American Science and Technology for Development) "Analysis on the Dynamics of Science and Society", CLACSO Working Group "Science and society: the social uses of knowledge Latin America and social inclusion", University of Chile, University of La Frontera and the host institution, the University of Valparaiso.

“The Dregs of the Library”: Trashing the Occupy Wall Street Library

Reflections / Michael Oman-Reagan

title When our library at Occupy Wall Street was destroyed, we used our beloved books tactically, as evidence, and then used the trauma of destruction to make a case for the illegitimacy of the violence committed when the library was destroyed. But how do we tell stories of violence that remains? How do we voice and give and hear testimony when confronting aggression and attack towards things we care for that are discarded, in the violence of ruination, the trashing of what we love?

Who Owns Your Personal Health and Medical Data?

Reflections / Deborah Lupton

title When I speak at the Summit, I will note that the first issue to consider is for whom and by whom personal health and medical data are collected. Who decides whether personal digital data should be generated and collected? Who has control over these decisions? What are the power relations and differentials that are involved?

Tecnologías en Zonas de Conflicto: Una Mirada desde el Contexto Latinoamericano

Report-backs / Karla Palma

title In this post Karla Palma shares with us the reflections of a group of scholars studying STS in Latin America and specially about the role of technology in areas of conflict. These reflections are materialized in the "Computing in Zones of Conflict: Interdisciplinary Perspectives from Latin America" panel. Which was presented in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in the framework of the conference of the Latin American Studies Association (LASA). The main question which guided the meeting was, what the connection points are between our research agendas in relation to study of technologies in Latin America? from the beginning, we recognized that our work takes place in areas where there are latent social conflicts, covering areas such as neo extractivism, militarization, drug trafficking, or the marginalization of non-dominant memories, but what else can we visualize from these spaces?

Hacia la consolidación de los estudios CTS en chile: II encuentro chileno de estudios sociales de la

Report-backs / Ronald Cancino & Helder Binimelis

title Social and Political Studies of Science, Technology and Society in Chile are in the process of steadily growing. At present, there are recognizable research groups in the country, nestled in prestigious universities, creating networks, emerging research centers in various subjects and spaces for meeting and debate. STS studies in Chile have been meeting over 2 large spaces: the Working Group "Sociology of Science and Technology" of the Chilean Congress of Sociology, and the meetings of the CTS-Chile Network. The latter comes after the First Meeting held at the Universidad Alberto Hurtado in Santiago de Chile in early 2014. Both the CTS Chile Network as the annual meetings seek greater presence and visibility to a growing body of research in the field of STS in the country.

Ciencia, ciudadanía y experticia en la Evaluación de Impactos Ambientales

Report-backs / Gloria Baigorrotegui

title On Monday July 13 STS researchers sensitive to issues related to environmental activism came together to present some of the results of their research. This happened in a setting that gathered public policy officers and citizens in general. The seminar and symposium was entitled "Science, citizenship and expertise in Environmental Impact Assessment. A dialogue increasingly mure nurtured?. It was held in the hall Presidents ex- National Congress in Santiago de Chile.

Roundtable Report: Who Needs Visual Anthropology?

Report-backs / Rebeca Ibáñez Martín

title A productive debate would be one in which visual anthropology is discussed for its theoretical effects and potentialities. Otherwise, visual anthropology will get lost again in a "reality debate": Are we representing reality or not? Are we fair and accurate in representing the reality of the other? Such debate ends up in another even more complicated debate, that between us and them. The question of who is representing whom has been discussed in postcolonial studies of film for many decades and in sharp terms.

REDPOP – EL ENCUENTRO LATINO

Report-backs / Claudia Aguirre

title Between may 24 and 29 this year, took place in Medellin, Colombia, the XIV Congress of the Network of Popularization of science in Latin America and the Caribbean (RedPOP). This network was created in 1990 in Rio de Janeiro to promote the field communication of science at that time made a timid appearance in Latin America. Claudia Aguirre shares a report back of the event.

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Reflections

Engendering Alice and Bob
The Space Between with Elina Mäkinen
Editorial Director Ken Wissoker on why he loves peer review
A Yolngu matha translation for 4S Sydney

Report-backs

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 Anthropocene in Chile: notes from an experimental thinkshop
Provincializing STS: an EASTS Forum on how East Asia complicates the STS Landscape

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

Tania Pérez-Bustos, Chair, 4S Web Committee

Steven Jackson, Journals and conferences

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.