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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.

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.

Expandindo fronteiras: V Reunião de Antropologia da Ciência e da Tecnologia

Report-backs / Guilherme Sá

title The Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS) - Porto Alegre (RS) - received from May 20-22 , 2015 the V Anthropology Meeting of Science and Technology, or, simply put, the V ReACT, as already known the main meeting of anthropologists researching and discussing science and technology in Brazil (Entry in Portuguese)

How the Ocean Cleanup Array Fundamentally Misunderstands Marine Plastics and Causes Harm

Reflections / Max Liboiron

title The road to hell is paved with good intentions. The Ocean Cleanup array, designed to clean plastics from the ocean like a baleen whale, is one of these good intentions: experts in marine plastics, including myself, say it’s a bad idea.Technological fixes like the Array do harm to the larger project of ending plastic pollution, which is a complex social, environmental, and economic problem. It is also going to damage and kill marine life.

Diásporas, Espacios Híbridos y Redes Corpusculares. Presentación de la Red Española de Estudios Soci

Reflections / Maria González Aguado

title The Spanish Network of Science & Technology Studies (Red esCTS) is a precarious, immaterial and fluid locus where almost two hundred students, activists, artists, researchers and “affected citizens” collaboratively re-think, experiment with and push STS forward.

Disaster Mobilities: Staying in the Trouble

Projects / Katrina Petersen

title To illustrate the complexities of entanglements between human, technology, and world that STS theory highlights, three projects at Lancaster University facilitate collective embodied engagement and experience.

Primer Coloquio Colombiano de Estudios Sociales de la Ciencia y la tecnología

Report-backs / Yuri Jack Gómez-Morales

title This field of STS is not new in Colombia; starting at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia in the early 1990s the number of practitioners has increased in recent years in several epicentres across the nation. Colombian practitioners regularly attend international conferences abroad such as the 4S, EASST, and ESOCITE conferences, the CYTED meetings, the summer schools for postgraduates, and the RICyT congress. Paradoxically, there are few local opportunities for extending academic and research contacts among practitioners and schools. The goal of the First National STS Workshop was precisely tackling this paradox by putting together colleagues from all around the country in Bogotá in April 2015. (Entry in Spanish and English)

The Science of Science Maps

Reflections / Isabella E. Wagner

title In scientometrics, visualisations perform in a political environment since they form a colourful reality of an abstract construct that is a product of a long series of previous representation and translation steps

Continuity and Change in the Social Science of Risk, Hazards, and Disasters

Report-backs / AJ Faas and Tess Kulstad

title The Risk and Disaster Topical Interest Group within the SfAA addresses risk and disaster-related topics with wider, multi-field appeal.

CTS en América Latina: ¿Hacia un ‘Programa comprometido’?

Reflections / Pablo Kreimer

title Pablo Kreimer reflects upon how the development of the STS field in Latin America is structured from a tension, which varies over successive generations, between the political commitment, or the attempts to public intervention, and the creation of a 'rigorous' academic field. He presents some of the main landmarks on the origins of the field in the region, argues that this tension is similar to certain processes that have taken place in North América, and suggests that to create an engaged STS field in the region is still a long journey.

Report on the 3rd CPERI Workshop, San Diego, March 2015

Report-backs / Kean Birch

title A report on the 3rd Changing Political Economic of Research and Innovation (CPERI) Workshop held at UC San Diego in March 2015, and organized by Charles Thorpe and Martha Lampland from the Science Studies Program there. Originally started by David Tyfield in 2012, the CPERI workshops are an attempt to reinvigorate or renew interest in the political economy of science, research and innovation.

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Reflections

Self-driving cars with Nassim JafariNaimi: New Research in ST&HV
We are all Eric Cartman now
What a new university in Africa is doing to decolonise social sciences
AI’s Prediction Problem

Report-backs

Doing ethnography of and with rocks
In the Moment: Notes from a Graduate Student Conference
Book Launch, Digital Sociology: The Reinvention of Social Research by Noortje Marres
Revealing fact and reinforcing faith: Gravitational waves and religion in India

Projects

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
4S Preview: Engaging STS Studies for Inclusive Development

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.