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Society for Social Studies of Science

4S News

President’s message #19 May 2015


2015 John Desmond Bernal Prize!
On behalf of the 4S Bernal Committee, I am pleased to announce that John Law (The Open University, UK) is winner of the 2015 John Desmond Bernal Prize!

The Bernal Prize is awarded to a scholar who has made “distinguished contributions” to the field of STS over the course of a career.

Click here for the formal presentation, Prof. Law’s acceptance, bio, screenshots of some of his books, and a photo.  Congratulations Prof. Law! 

John Law will deliver the inaugural Bernal Distinguished Lecture during the prize plenary at the upcoming meeting in Denver!  Title tba.    

Please join me in thanking committee members Madeleine Akrich (CSI-I3, Mines ParisTech, France), Knut Sørensen (NTNU, Norway), and Lucy Suchman (Lancaster U, UK).  I served as chair.

Speakers for the Opening Presidential Plenary in Denver?: deadline May 20

"Making and Doing II: The Formation and Ecologies 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 practices of making and doing figure in the formation and ecologies of STS practitioners? Might the making-and-doing work of the STS practitioner, an understudied agent, prove to be crucial, if not essential, to the production, expression, and travels of STS knowledge and expertise? What sorts of pedagogies participate critically in practitioner learning?  Through what sorts of ecologies do STS practitioners facilitate the learning of others? What consequences do the lives and work of STS practitioners have for STS scholars and scholarship?

Twelve STS scholars and scholar-practitioners will reflect critically on issues 4S members face in the formation and ecologies 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 at home institutions and in the corridors of our meetings. Along with other practices of STS making and doing, they deserve plenary attention.

I invite you to suggest to me by May 20 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 action in April: decision on proposed resolution        

Council reached a decision on the proposed resolution “Teaching Evolution in Public Schools.” Since I participated in the final vote, Steve Zehr (4S Secretary) reports the outcome here.

U.S. members: proposed 45% cut to social sciences at NSF

The Committee on Science, Space, and Technology of the U.S. House of Representatives recently approved the America COMPETES Reauthorization Act of 2015 (H.R. 1806). It reauthorizes the National Science Foundation (NSF). 

The bill would impose a 45% cut on the Directorate of Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences (SBE).  With fewer than 20% of proposals gaining funding, a 45% cut would devastate SBE funding, including the STS program.

Concerned U.S. scholars should contact their Congressional representatives. A full analysis of the bill by the Consortium of Social Science Associations (COSSA) can be found here.


Come to Denver in November!

Daniel Breslau and his team are diligently reviewing abstracts, working to structure what promises to be an exceptionally strong program. 

The STS Making and Doing Committee is doing the same with the enormous number of proposed installations, working with Wes Shrum to address an entirely new array of issues in the expression and travels of STS knowledge.

John Law is delivering the inaugural Bernal Distinguished Lecture! 

And Atomic Forces is playing at the banquet, led by Trevor Pinch and Park Doing! 
This meeting is one you can’t miss!

Gary Downey