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Society for Social Studies of Science

4S News

4S President’s message – September 2017


4S Community,

I look forward to working with you as 4S President over the next two years.  Please share your ideas for Society activities and directions.  I’m at

As many of you have have heard me say before, I deeply appreciate the diverse places from which STS comes, and think STS knowledge has great theoretical as well as practical relevance in the contemporary world.  I hope to help build 4S community and organizational capacity that supports STS teaching, research and practice in different contexts, while continuing to build STS across borders of many kinds.  

Before moving on, however, let me first offer sincere thanks to Lucy Suchman and all other past 4S presidents and officers, to all who have served on the 4S Council, and to all others who have made special effort to build and steward 4S over the years. This includes 4S’s  remarkable Membership and Web Administrator, Steve Coffee. They have gifted us a strong but still flexible structure that will serve us well in coming years.

I also want to especially thank Heather Paxson and the people who worked with her on the 4S Boston 2017 program committee (Daniel Breslau, Claudia Castañeda, Tarleton Gillespie, Mary Gray, Clare Kim, Nick Seaver, Banu Subramaniam, TL Taylor, and Lucy Suchman).  The conference was an amazing coming together! Thanks to them for their truly extraordinary effort and conferencing creativity.

4S’s current Council has many enduring responsibilities (see this list of standing committees), and ideas for many new initiatives.  Expansive thinking about the future of 4S publications and the promise of open access is on our task list, as is expansive thinking about how scholarly societies should and can contribute to public political deliberation.  Extending support for 6S -- the student and junior scholars’ section of 4S -- is another important goal.  Join the 6S mailing list here.

Plans for 4S Sydney 2018 are now live!  See for renderings of the conference theme -- TransNational STS -- in many languages, including three Australian Aboriginal languages (Also see Michaela Spencer’s Backchannels reflection on working on the Yolngu matha translation.).  Thanks to all who helped with these translations.  Thanks also to everyone serving on the deeply international and experimental program committee -- chaired by Emma Kowal and Matt Kearnes (both in Australia).  One way we’ll realize the TRANSnational STS theme is by working over the next year (and beyond, no doubt) to build exhibits (digital and for gallery-style display in Sydney) showcasing the history, practices and directions of STS in different contexts.  Be on the look out for the CFP for this project.  And see this description of a lead-up event in Boston -- titled STS Across Borders -- on Transmissions, the blog for Social Studies of Science (see also Transmissions’ other reports on 4S Boston).  Submit your ideas for 4S Sydney here.

So we have lots to do, and lots to build on.  Bon voyage!

Kim Fortun