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Society for Social Studies of Science

4S News

President’s message #11


Evaluation of ESOCITE/4S congreso/meeting

So far 248 of the 950 attendees have completed the follow-up survey evaluation of the Buenos Aires meeting. Because I have stakes in interpreting its scholarly contents, I share here only three brief observations.

The co-program chairs worked hard to juxtapose and multiply South(s) and North(s) in STS scholarship. They sought to make visible and destabilize discourses, imaginaries, images, languages, etc., that may have sought to claim dominance. They deserve our profound thanks, as do the many others who contributed to planning and implementing this important meeting. The joint welcome statement details the infrastructure and acknowledges its builders.  

ESOCITE formally became a professional society on Friday evening, August 22.  Two hundred scholars attended the business meeting and elected their first Comité Directivo (steering committee).  The excitement was palpable.

Comments to me constitute a seriously skewed sample. At the same time, it warmed my heart when an STS colleague born in South America and working in Central America approached me to say:  “The 4S [has] turned to the South... seriously.”

The survey evaluation is open until Monday, September 22.

Video links to Opening Plenary and Tango Show!

In the opening plenary, 24 STS scholars had 3 minutes each to explain what they do as scholars, how they do it, for whom they do it, and what they hope to accomplish by means of it. The organizing theme was “What is STS for? What are STS scholars for?: Making and doing in STS” (abstract here).  The session was trilingual, with three screens. Speaking in their language of choice, presenters shared supporting images on the center screen.  The left and right screens presented text translations of their presentations in the other two languages. 

The highlight of the banquet was the tango show! This dazzling performance was delivered by Jonathan Flores and Betsabet Spitel, the internationally renowned "A pasos de tango" ensemble (Tango Steps). The 75 of us who took the lesson the previous night could actually see brief flashes of the beginner steps we learned!  

Videos are posted on the meeting archive page, as are photo galleries. Many thanks to Wes Shrum, video ethnographer extraordinaire!

Prize announcements

Stay tuned for a multimedia message announcing the winners of the 2014 4S prizes.

Ad Hoc 4S Annual Meeting Review Committee

I will soon appoint a committee to review a range of issues concerning the Buenos Aires meeting and our meeting structure in general.  Lucy Suchman, President-Elect, will serve as chair.  More details next month.

Council initiates quarterly Webex meetings

Beginning in October, Council will initiate quarterly Webex meetings, to be held as needed.

Council approves STS Making and Doing meeting format

Council approved the basic structure of an STS Making and Doing meeting format. The committee met in Buenos Aires to finalize details.  Council will consider these at its October meeting.

Council approves 4S Mentoring Award

Council approved the basic structure of an annual 4S Mentoring Award. The committee is now finalizing details. Council will consider these at its October meeting.

Re-design of 4S home page

Ali Kenner (Drexel U) and Steve Coffee (4S Webmaster) are re-designing our static 4S home page to include a blog and other dynamic content. 

This step is the first in a 2-3 year plan to design a new 4S website and associated infrastructure that together achieve several goals: (1) help make 4S a year-round professional society; (2) integrate graduate student members fully into the intellectual life of the Society; (3) produce and maintain an attractive, high-traffic site for scholarly exchanges in STS; (4) promote the 4S and STS internationally to both scholars and non-scholars.

The plan includes the 6S, the student section of the 4S, taking primary responsibility for generating content for a dynamic 4S website. Bryn Whiteley (2nd year 6S representative, Virginia Tech) is now building the organizational structure for 6S members to produce content. 

Daniel Breslau (Virginia Tech) and Jen Henderson (Virginia Tech) are serving as web content editors for the current website project.  At its October meeting, Council will consider formalizing the position of Web Content Editor.

Gary Downey