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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.

4S Backchannels Seeks Graduate Student Assistant Editors

Projects / Jen Henderson

We are looking for graduate students to join our efforts as interns for Backchannels, our blog. While these positions are unpaid, the 4S Council has agreed to waive the annual conference registration fee for those who volunteer.

Revisando la universidad

Report-backs / Fabian Prieto

title Over two years, the Learning to see systems group has worked in an interdisciplinary approach around the question of how to make visible the values and epistemologies embedded in scientific and technological complex systems. With this ambitious goal, teachers and students have followed a path that connected communication studies, art history, social studies of science and technology and artistic practice. Learning to see system emerged in 2013 from a proposal endorsed by the Graduate College of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, within the program INTERSECT. Under the leadership of Kevin Hamilton, Professor of Art and Design, the group made progress in its discussions from a curriculum that included four doctoral level courses and participation in workshops designed by the group itself. This is the case of the workshop "Revising the University", which had place on May 27, 2015.

#QueerSTS4S: A Meetup at 4S for Scholars at the Intersection of LGBTQ Studies and STS

Projects / Mitali Thakor and Stephen Molldrem

title We are thrilled to announce #QueerSTS4S: A Meetup at 4S for Scholars at the Intersection of LGBTQ Studies and STS, which will take place at 4S this November; specifically, on Thursday, November 12th from 8-10pm at the Sheraton Director’s Room E. There will be refreshments and a cash bar.

El Pensamiento Latinoamericano en CyT: resignificar sin reproducir

Reflections / Erica Carrizo

title The recovery of the Latin American Thought in Science and Technology in recent years in the region, seeks to analyze the current challenges of science, technology and innovation in Latin America, critically updating the interpretive frameworks developed in Latin America in late 1960 and early 1970. This to contest counter-hegemonic conceptions about science, technology and development that spread globally in the mid-twentieth century. Among the major challenges facing this reenactment, it is, precisely, to banish these hegemonic conceptions that continue to fuel much of the current discussions on Latin American development.

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?

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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.