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Society for Social Studies of Science

4S News

President’s message #17 March 2015


2015 Nicholas C. Mullins Award!
On behalf of the 4S Mullins committee, I am pleased to announce that Karen Levy (New York U, USA) is winner of the 2015 Nicholas C. Mullins Award for her article “The Contexts of Control: Information, Power, and Truck Driving Work," forthcoming in The Information Society

The Mullins Award acknowledges “an outstanding piece of scholarship by a graduate student in the field of Science and Technology Studies.” 

Click here for the formal presentation, Dr. Levy’s acceptance and bio, a screenshot of the article, and a photo of Dr. Levy.  Congratulations Dr. Levy! 

Please join me in thanking the committee members: Sulfikar Amir (chair; Nanyang Technological U, Singapore), Abby Kinchy (Rensselaer, USA), Claire Waterton (Lancaster U, UK), and Samuel Tettner (Independent scholar).

2015 David Edge Prize!
On behalf of the 4S Edge committee, I am pleased to announce that Benjamin Sims (Los Alamos National Laboratory, USA) and Christopher Henke (Colgate U, USA) are winners of the 2015 David Edge Prize for their article “Repairing Credibility: Repositioning Nuclear Weapons Knowledge after the Cold War,” published in Social Studies of Science (2012, 42[3]:324-347)!

The Edge Prize acknowledges “the best article in the area of science and technology studies . . . .”

Click here for the formal presentation, acceptances by Drs. Sims and Henke, bios and photos of both, and a screenshot of the article.  Congratulations Drs. Sims and Levy! 

Please join me in thanking the committee members: Yuko Fujigaki (U Tokyo, Japan) and Nelly Oudshoorn (U Twente, The Netherlands).

Reminder: March 29 deadline for submissions to Denver meeting!
The Society for Social Studies of Science (4S) invites submissions for its 2015 conference in Denver, Colorado, November 11-14.

Individual abstracts and proposals for sessions should emphasize how they will make original and timely contributions to any theme relevant to science and technology studies (STS).

Program organizers welcome papers, session proposals, events, and video or film presentations that are innovative in their delivery, organization, range of topics, and type of public.

Reminder: submit a proposal for the STS Making and Doing session in Denver!
The Denver meeting includes the inaugural STS Making and Doing session/fair!!

The session will take place on Thursday afternoon during the meeting, roughly 13:00-18:00.  That day will feature an extended afternoon coffee break to encourage you to look, learn, and share.

Remember that, if you present in the Making and Doing session/fair, you may still present a paper in a regular session!

Last month I reported that among those who are submitting proposals are Geof Bowker, Kim Fortun, Andrew Lakoff, Selma Šabanović, and Wes Shrum.

Others who have indicated to me plans to submit proposals are:
Lisa Cartwright (UCSD, USA)
Samantha Fried (Virginia Tech, USA)
Yelena Gluzman (UCSD, USA)
Cristina Visperas (UCSD, USA)
Teun Zuiderent-Jerak (Linköping U, Sweden)

The STS Making and Doing program concludes with up to three awards presented at the prize plenary on Friday.

Submit a proposal!  The concourse level at the hotel has space for up to 50 presenters. 
If you are considering submitting a proposal, send me an email to that effect, with your name, institution, and country, as above.  I’ll include your name in a final reminder to go out approximately March 25.

From the call:
“STS projects to be considered include but are not limited to the following categories:

  • Policy: STS projects that resulted in policy papers, recommendations, regulations, devices, decision-making practices, or other policy outcomes. Policy arenas include medicine and health, development, infrastructures, and communication in addition to those explicitly oriented to science and technology. 
  • Design and Planning: STS projects that resulted in the design and creation of effective products, graphics, spaces, and landscapes. The outcomes can be large or small in scale, and can be digital in content. Projects can be organized around different design themes, .e.g. participatory design, sustainable design, etc.  The presentation should show explanation of design process and how various actors are involved in the process.
  • Arts: STS projects that resulted in effective artistic creations, including those in audio-visual format or in public installations, exhibits, and performances. The presentation should be accompanied by a narrative that links the project to STS scholarship.
  • Pedagogy: STS projects that resulted in effective practices for education and training. The project can aim at different levels and forms of education and training, for instance university courses, high school classes, or special training programs. The presentation should indicate how the project increases awareness and understanding of STS scholarship. 
  • STS infrastructures: STS projects that resulted in effective informational or material infrastructures for the construction, operation, and travel of STS as field or discipline. Such might include the building of degree programs, modes of print and electronic publication, professional organizations, summer schools, institutes, scholarly collectives, and the 4S annual meeting itself. The presentation should move beyond promotion to include reflective analysis.
  • Open Category: Any project that reflects the objectives of STS Making and Doing, including civic engagement, social activism, public debate and festivals, etc.”

Nominees for 2015 4S Mentoring Award?: deadline April 1
The 4S Mentoring Award committee has established April 1 as the deadline for our inaugural award, to be presented at the Denver meeting.  Complete guidelines at the 4S website.  Key features:

“The nomination packet must not exceed five pages in length (12pt font). It must include (1) a statement or letter of nomination, detailing the candidate’s distinguished contributions as a mentor, and (2) supporting documentation.  Supporting documentation provides evidence of the candidate's distinguished contributions to mentoring in Science and Technology Studies.  Supporting documentation may include up to three letters of support from mentees, knowledgeable colleagues, supervisors, etc. Other forms of documentation are also acceptable, as appropriate. The award is for individuals only.

The 4S Mentoring Award implements an expansive conception of mentoring, recognizing the wide range of ways that effective mentors share scholarly insights, practices, and support across generations and domains of practice. It recognizes mentoring through pedagogy, assistance in professional development, support of work-life relationships, and other appropriate practices.

The Award Committee considers two criteria in assessing candidates: (1) scholarly excellence in mentoring, and (2) scope of mentoring accomplishments. Some possible dimensions of scope are (a) temporal, i.e., spanning a long period of time; (b) spatial, i.e., spanning significant geographical distances; (c) organizational, i.e., spanning different institutions, types of institutions, or levels of scholarly service within an organization; and (d) representational, i.e., expanding the diversity of STS scholars and scholarship. Other dimensions of scope may be appropriate.”

Send nominations to Sharon Traweek (UCLA, USA; co-chair).

Other members of the 2015 committee include:
Kim Fortun, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, USA
Leandro Rodriguez-Medina, Universidad de las Americas Puebla, Mexico
Kaushik Sunder Rajan, U Chicago, USA (co-chair)
Sally Wyatt. Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts & Sciences, The Netherlands

Nominees for 6S representative: deadline April 30
If Council approves proposed changes to the 6S charter, the 4S election this year will include candidates for 6S.

Since Council is meeting in late March, I am setting a deadline of April 30 for the submission of nominees. 

Please submit names and brief justification to Bryn Whiteley, 6S representative, Virginia Tech.

Reminder: Engaging Science, Technology, and Society is accepting manuscripts!
The journal invites quality STS scholarship in the following formats:

Critical Engagements: 1k-word essays that critically consider topical issues at the intersection of technoscience and society.  We seek jargon-free essays, akin to opinion-oriented long-form journalism.   No references or notes, and we encourage use of in-text links for further exploration

Considering Concepts: The aim of these 2k-word essays is to introduce a concept of potential use in the analysis of broadly STS-related issues.  Such essays should introduce the key concept, give a single empirical illustration of its use and describe how the concept might profitably be extended. 

Debates/ Interactions: We seek to promote debates within the “pages” of Engaging Science, Technology, and Society.  Where reviewers and the editors believe debate on one of our published, full-length research articles is warranted, we will seek commentators and provide the article author an opportunity to respond.  In addition, we welcome proposals for debate themes and possible participants.  Here we will ask several authors to write 5k-word essays on the debate theme.

Review Essays:  Invited or proposed 5k-word review essays on themes of significant interest to STS scholars and people beyond the STS community. 

Traces:  Invited 6k-word essays by prominent scholars asked to (re)trace their intellectual paths and discuss the experiences that led them to STS and to particular set of interests, empirical foci, or concepts. 

Scholarly Peer-Reviewed Research Articles:  Single- or co-authored original research articles.  Here we will consider theoretical papers and empirical studies.  High value will be placed on research that provides conceptually guided analysis of empirical data.

Thematic Collections:  Single- or co-authored original research articles submitted as part of a group of papers organized by a specific STS theme (on the order of a "special issue").
Consider submitting some of your work.  In any case, do visit for helpful information about journal people, policies, submissions, sponsorship, and history, as well as the OJS publishing process!

Future meetings—2016
4S has been in active discussion with EASST, local colleagues from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, and a host site for a joint EASST/4S meeting in Barcelona in 2016. 

Councils for both societies will soon consider motions to approve a jointly-developed plan for a conference to run from Wednesday August 31 to Saturday, September 3.

Lucy Suchman and Wes Shrum have taken the lead on behalf of 4S.  They deserve our deepest gratitude. I will alert the 4S membership as soon as a formal agreement is in place.

Gary Downey