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Society for Social Studies of Science

4S News

President’s message #18 April 2015


2015 Rachel Carson Prize!

On behalf of the 4S Carson committee, I am pleased to announce that Gwen Ottinger (Drexel U, USA) is winner of the 2015 Rachel Carson Prize for her book Refining Expertise. How Responsible Engineers Subvert Environmental Justice Challenges (NYU Press, 2013)!

The Carson Prize acknowledges “a book length work of social or political relevance in the area of science and technology studies.”

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

Please join me in thanking the committee members: Vivian Lagesen (NTNU, Norway; chair), Wen-Hua Kuo (National Yang-Ming U, Taiwan), Jessica Mesman (Maastricht U, The Netherlands), and Kelly Moore (Loyola U Chicago, USA).

2015 Ludwig Fleck Prize!

On behalf of the 4S Fleck committee, I am pleased to announce that S. Løchlann Jain (Stanford U, USA) is winner of the 2015 Ludwig Fleck Prize for her book Malignant: How Cancer Becomes US (U California Press, 2013).

The Fleck Prize acknowledges “best book in the area of science and technology studies.”
Click here for the formal presentation, Dr. Jain’s acceptance and bio, a screenshot of the book, and a photo. Congratulations Dr. Jain! 

Please join me in thanking the committee members: Leandro Rodriguez Medina (UDLAP, Mexico; chair), Lisa Cartwright (UCSD, USA), Kenji Ito (Graduate U for Advanced Studies [Sokendai], Japan ), and Kaushik Sunder Rajan (U Chicago, USA). 

Nominees for 2015 4S Mentoring Award?: deadline April 30 

The 4S Mentoring Award committee has established April 30 as the deadline for our inaugural award, to be presented at the Denver meeting. 

Send nominations to Sharon Traweek (UCLA, USA; co-chair). Other members of the 2015 committee include Kim Fortun (Rensselaer, USA), Leandro Rodríguez-Medina (UDLAP, Mexico), Kaushik Sunder Rajan (U Chicago, USA; co-chair), and Sally Wyatt (Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts & Sciences, The Netherlands).

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.”

Nominees for 6S representative: deadline April 30

The 4S election this year will include candidates for 6S! See the complete call below.

Speakers for the Opening Presidential Plenary in Denver?: deadline May 15 

"Making and Doing II: The Formation of STS Practitioners” is the tentative title for the Opening Presidential Plenary in Denver. 

What forms of knowledge, expertise, identities, and commitments does one gain through an undergraduate degree in STS? Master’s degree? STS minor? Elective course? STS laced through medical, legal, engineering, etc. education? STS in the wild?

How do making and doing figure in the formation of STS practitioners, including the pedagogies used to participate critically in practitioner learning? What consequences do the lives and work of STS practitioners have for the ecologies of STS scholars and scholarship? Might the formation of the STS practitioner, an understudied agent, be crucial, if not essential, to the production, expression, and travels of STS knowledge and expertise?

12 scholars will reflect critically on issues 4S members face in the formation of STS practitioners, examining the consequences of STS pedagogies, curricular designs, and learning practices for learners who may not seek the Ph.D. or career identities as researchers. 4S members regularly address these questions in the corridors and at home institutions. Along with other practices of STS making and doing, they deserve plenary attention. 

I invite you to suggest to me by May 15 one or more potential presenters (including yourself) who can share scholarship reflecting critically on the formation of STS practitioners, and do so powerfully, passionately, and persuasively. Although not essential, I would welcome your identifying yourself so I know from where the suggestion comes. I will be seeking counsel from many directions and putting together a diverse array of presenters.

Council actions in March

Among other things, Council recently approved the following: 

plan for 2016 EASST/4S meeting in Barcelona (Wednesday August 31 to Saturday, September 3)! 

conflict-of-interest policy for 4S prize committees;

revised charter for the 4S Student Section, to emphasize professional development;

standing 4S Web Committee, completing the start-up period for new 4S initiatives in digital publications;

recommended establishing ad hoc Membership Rates and Benefits Committee, to explore inter alia strategies for increasing travel support for students to annual meetings; and

preliminary list of candidates for Council, to be narrowed to a final list through subsequent deliberations

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!

Gary Downey