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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.

Killing Birds

Reflections / Kristoffer Whitney

title Christmas is coming, and with it—in birding circles anyway—comes the “Christmas Bird Count.”

Campo CTS na América latina e domínios psi: pequena crônica de encontros e desencontros.

Reflections / Jimena Carrasca Madarriaga and Arthur Arruda Leal Ferreira

Quanto aos domínios Psi, a proposta é de considerar simetricamente aos saberes e práticas estabelecidos, uma série de práticas fronteiriças menos reconhecidas e em busca de reconhecimento. Assim, serão considerados, por exemplo, estudos referentes aos conhecimentos e práticas das neurociências, psiquiatria, gestão, reabilitação, autoajuda, coaching, entre outros enquanto dispositivos de produção de subjetividades.

Betwixt and Between Augmentation and Automation: Some Reflections after Watching “Sully”

Reviews / Phaedra Daipha

title With insights from the new movie "Sully", Phaedra Daipha sheds light on the vanishing role of the human operator in high risk decision-making environments.

‘Hard’ Surveillance and ‘Soft’ Surveillance: The Quantified Self at Work

Reviews / Christopher O'Neill

title Firms like Humanyze and VoloMetrix have experimented with "white collar surveillance" technologies. Christopher O'Neill examines these and other forms of workplace surveillance in a recent article in ST&HV.

Georgia Tech Gender Equity Champion Reflects on Role as Pioneer of Gender in Science Studies

Reflections / Madeleine Pape

title "I continued in graduate study at the University of Michigan, and — intellectual fireworks! — found a vivid site for study: the case of science, specifically women and men in scientific fields."

Lo que nos enseñan los cuerpos muertos sobre la vida, la muerte, la ciencia y los cuerpos

Reflections / Julia Alejandra Morales y Santiago Martinez Medina

title ¿What can dead bodies teach to the living? In this entry the authors build on their ethnographic works to reflect on this topic. They also put forward possible lessons from the amphitheatre and anatomy classes in Colombia.

Cross-national Genetic Research with Klaus Hoeyer, Aaro Tupasela and Malene Bøgehus Rasmussen

Reflections / Aleka Gurel

Backchannels interviews Klaus Hoeyer, Aaro Tupasela and Malene Bøgehus Rasmussen about their recent ST&HV paper, “Ethics Policies and Ethics Work in Cross-national Genetic Research and Data Sharing: Flows, Nonflows, and Overflows.”

How migrant registration infrastructures co-produce citizens, institutions and territory

Projects / Annalisa Pelizza

title The European database containing fingerprints of asylum seekers, called Eurodac, is now interoperable with national police authorities’ databases Europe-wide. What are the implications?

A personal plea from Europe’s polar bears

Reflections / Amanda Windle

title The outcome of the referendum, therefore, has far-reaching consequences to all researchers, whether they are developing new audiences or mapping the effect of climate change on polar bears.

Why A Partisan for Spaceflight Wants to Slow Down Space Exploration

Reflections / Michael Bouchey

title The prospect of human beings finally setting foot on another heavenly body after over 50 years is creating a great deal of excitement among partisans for spaceflight.

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Researching Sprawling ‘Mobile’ Infrastructures in Nairobi

Is STS All Talk and No Walk? Steve Fuller

Silenced Issues 4: (Un-)Silencing Issues in Thinking Through Environmental Data

Q&A: Global Trouble

Silenced Issues 3: Silenced Issues in Academic Publishing


Revealing fact and reinforcing faith: Gravitational waves and religion in India

Call for Nominations: 6S Representatives Deadline 4/30!

IV Encuentro CTS-Chile. Cartografías líquidas y territorios Sociotécnicos.

Segundo Congreso Argentino de Estudios Sociales de la Ciencia y la Tecnología

Graduate Student Organization 6S Recaps Barcelona Adventures


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

4S Preview: Re-configuring Knowledge Practices: Folding Margins and Norms into Dynamic Hybridity

4S Preview: Sensing, Walking and Embodiment With and By Technologies—A Track Away From the Desk


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

Bicycling Renaissance: a Bike Boom of Old (With Lessons for the New)

Things Worth Categorizing

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.