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

Mitali Thakor and Stephen Molldrem

26 October, 2015

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 the annual 4S meeting on Thursday, November 12th from 8-10pm at the Sheraton Director’s Room E. There will be refreshments and a cash bar.

The focus of the meetup will be on building a community of scholars who work at the intersection of queer studies and STS. Our focus will be on graduate students and early career scholars, although the meeting is open to everyone at the conference. The meetup will open with around-the-room introductions. It will then transition into a meet-and-greet and possibly “break-out sessions.”

The idea for the meetup grew out of conversations on Twitter among queer STS-ers and stems from our ongoing efforts to collaboratively build a “Queer STS” reading list/syllabus (see that here). Spearheaded by Mitali Thakor, the “Queer STS” reading list/syllabus is an effort to build an as-comprehensive-as-possible catalog of sources at the intersection of LGBTQ studies, sexuality studies, and STS. It is meant to be a resource for building syllabi, helping graduate students construct their prelims/qualifying exams lists, and to be a foundation for scholarship at the intersection of LGBTQ studies and STS. Rather than establishing a canon, the list is meant to serve as a jumping off point and source of support, inspiration, citations, conversations, and guidance. We welcome additional contributions to this community syllabus. 

Here is an open-ended and non-exhaustive list of topics and/or approaches that we are currently thinking about under the rubric of “Queer STS:”

  • Digital STS, digital worlds, and queer studies
  • The history of sexuality, particularly as it interfaces with histories of biomedicine, psychiatry, and psychoanalysis
  • STS, queer studies, and biopolitics
  • Queer approaches to data, data science, databases, algorithm, etc.
  • Queering feminist technoscience
  • Interrogating the common intellectual genealogies of queer studies and STS
  • “STS-ing” canonical queer studies, “Queering” canonical STS
  • Queer approaches to surveillance, policing, and deviance (eg. sex offender registries, online privacy/anonymity) 
  • Critical race theories, histories of “race science,” eugenics, genetics, and heredity
  • “Rights” discourses and their relationship to science and technology and legal studies - human rights, trans* rights, gay rights, privacy rights 
  • Queering the history of technology and/or technology design 
  • Queering animal studies, anti-humanism, and posthumanism
  • Queer (new) materialisms
  • Disability studies, crip/queer studies, queer approaches to prostheses
  • STS frameworks for thinking about queer social movements
  • Queers and/in the laboratory, queering the lab

In sum, we want to collectively ask, In the spirit of Michael Warner and Lauren Berlant (1995): What, if anything, does queer theory/queer studies teach us about ‘X,’ if ‘X’ is a concept or approach in STS? Eg. Queer co-production, queer SSK, queer SCOT, queer ANT, queer cyborgs, queer technopolitics? What, if we flip the coin, might STS teach us about ‘X,’ if ‘X’ is a concept or approach in LGBTQ studies? Eg. How might an STS notion of performativity differ or coincide with Butler’s use of the term; what might a “queer counterpublic” look like in the context of Actor-Network theory? We consider Catharina Landstrom’s (2007) caution that technology studies of gender not unintentionally reinforce heteronormative metaphors and essentialize gender and sexual identities. Inspired by a 2012 panel at 4S, “Unruly Matters: The Queer Side of Things,” we invite participants to consider the ways in which STS is and perhaps has always been queer, if an STS project is to interrogate the borders constructed by institutions of technocratic and scientific expertise in ways that control gender and sexuality. A central question for recent queer studies has been futurity--how does a Queer STS analytic inspire speculative visions for future possibilities, promises, perils, and pleasures? 

Please join us! To RSVP go to tinyurl.com/QueerSTS4SRSVP or email QueerSTS4s@gmail.com (please include institutional affiliation and title in your email). If you cannot make it, please still feel free to fill out the RSVP form to receive updates about follow-up activities. Please also feel free to email questions.

#QueerSTS4S is being convened by Mitali Thakor (MIT, mitalit@mit.edu) and Stephen Molldrem (The University of Michigan, molldrem@umich.edu) and is generously supported by: The 4S Student Section (6S), The Massachusetts Institute of Technology Program in Science, Technology, and Society and Department of Anthropology, and The University of Michigan Program in Science, Technology, and Society.

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Descriptions of current work—the makings and doings—of STS scholars across the globe. This includes individual work, as well as collaborations between / with academics, practitioners, and policy makers.