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Society for Social Studies of Science

4S News

President’s message #9


4S Election results!

I am pleased to announce that you have elected Lucy Suchman (Lancaster U) as your 22nd president!

You have also elected Daniel Breslau (Virginia Tech), Shobita Parthasarathy (U Michigan), and Tania Pérez-Bustos (Pontificia U Javeriana) to Council!

Please join me in thanking Yuko Fujigaki (U Tokyo) for standing for election to the presidency, as well as Sungook Hong (Seoul National U) and Jody Roberts (Chemical Heritage Foundation) for standing for Council. As I indicated to them individually, I greatly hope they will become candidates again. We need their leadership.

Please comment on plans for a 4S Making and Doing meeting format and related awards!

The STS Making and Doing Committee has completed a draft call for submissions for a new meeting format and related awards. Council has approved the next step—seeking your comments. Please review the draft call...

and submit comments by July 31: The Committee will then review your comments and submit to Council a formal motion, with your comments attached.

The initiative aims at encouraging 4S members to share scholarly practices of participation, engagement, and intervention in their fields of study. It highlights scholarly practices for producing and expressing STS knowledge and expertise that extend beyond the academic paper or book. By increasing the extent to which 4S members learn from one another about practices they have developed and enacted, the initiative seeks to improve the effectiveness and influence of STS scholarship beyond the field and/or to expand the modes of STS knowledge production.

Members of the STS Making and Doing Committee include: Sulfikar Amir (Nanyang Technological U [chair], Joseph Dumit (U California Davis), Nina Wakeford (Goldsmiths, U London), Chia-Ling Wu (National Taiwan U), Sara Wylie (Northeastern U), and Teun Zuiderant-Jerak (Linköping U), along with Steve Zehr and myself, ex officio.

Please comment on a committee report recommending a 4S Mentoring Award

The 4S Mentoring Award Committee has completed the “Proposal for a 4S Mentoring Award: Transferring Knowledge Across Generations and Domains of Practice.” Council has approved the next step—seeking your comments.

Please review the background report...

and submit comments by July 31: Council will review your comments in communication with the Committee and then draft and consider a formal motion to establish a 4S Mentoring Award.

The Committee’s report includes a justification for the award, detailed listings of the practices the award should acknowledge, and recommended practices for implementing the award.

The Committee divided the relevant practices into three categories: (1) proactive pedagogies; (2) proactive professionalization practices; and (3) proactive practices at the intersections of individuals, families, communities, work places, organizations, and societies locally, trans-locally, and globally.

Members of the 4S Mentoring Award Committee include Kaushik Sunder Rajan (U Chicago [co-chair]), Sharon Traweek (UCLA [co-chair]), Kim Fortun (Rensselaer), Leandro Rodriguez Medina (UDLAP), and Sally Wyatt (Maastricht U), along with Steve Zehr and myself (ex officio).

Update on open access journal and digital publication!

The 4S Publications Committee has agreed upon a candidate for the editorship of the 4S open access journal! Per the 4S charter, the Committee will soon make a formal recommendation to Council. I look forward to sharing with you the outcome.

Katie Vann, Managing Editor of the 4S open access journal, reports good progress on the site build. In her words, and with her permission to report: “The house is built inside and out, the plumbing pipes laid down and the electrical wired; and all the text is mocked up and waiting to be finalized; clarity on final imagery/design finishes are needed. We also need a name, so that I can create the domain name and get it hooked up to the various ISSN, copyright, and archival systems, etc. (hooking up the house to the municipality . . .) . . . .”

Ali Kenner (Drexel U) has been working with an undergraduate assistant to review our current website with an eye toward expanding digital publications. She has been in regular contact with Steve Coffee, 4S webmaster. She will produce a short report for the digital publications working group, Digital Publications Subcommittee, and Publications Committee to discuss and deliberate. In the process, the Publications Committee will solicit and consolidate suggestions from the new open access editor, Ed Hackett (ST&HV Editor), and Katie Vann (Managing Editor Extraordinaire), before formally proposing a plan to Council.

4S response to ICSU request

At my request, Scott Knowles (Drexel U) and Kim Fortun (Rensselaer) formed an ad hoc committee to respond to a request from the International Council for Science (ICSU) on disaster risk reduction. 4S is a member of ICSU.

ICSU was appointed to serve as the UN’s Organizing Partner for the Scientific and Technological Community Major Group for the Third World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction that will take place in March 2015 in Sendai, Japan ( The Conference will review the implementation of the Hyogo Framework for Action (2005-2015) and is expected to adopt a successor framework for disaster risk reduction.

ICSU was seeking inputs from the scientific and technological community through a short questionnaire ahead of the UN first Preparatory committee that is taking place in Geneva, Switzerland this week.

Scott and Kim prepared a report that responded to the following questions:

1. What are the key contributions that science has made over the past decade related to understanding and managing disaster risk? What are the gaps that science needs to address?

2. What are the key priority areas related to disaster risk reduction and resilience building that need to be incorporated into the post-2015 Framework on disaster risk reduction?

3. How can science and technology support the definition, implementation and monitoring of the post-2015 Framework on disaster risk reduction?

Please join me in thanking Scott and Kim for a beautifully targeted and well-justified set of recommendations to ICSU and the preparatory committee.

I hope to report further outcomes in a future message.

New calendar page at 4S website

Our website now has a Calendar page listing both important 4S events and meetings of related societies. This move is designed, in part, to prevent us from scheduling an annual meeting close to that of a related society, as we did this year with the American Sociological Association.

Council is now considering a formal motion to avoid annual meeting scheduling conflicts with neighboring academic societies. More on that next month.

Submit proposed 4S resolutions and requests for 4S reports!

The Committee on Resolutions and Reports invites members to submit proposed resolutions, as well as requests to Council to establish ad hoc report committees. See the Guidelines on the website.

Ethnografilm goes to Asia and Africa!

Responding to demand from ethnographers, ethnographic filmmakers, and other interested parties, Wes Shrum organized successful Ethnografilm festivals in India and Kenya!

Ethnografilm Asia took place in Lenin Hall in Trivandrum, capital of Kerala. Ethnografilm Africa took place in Multimedia University in Nairobi.

Wes and his co-organizers have agreed to do this annually! Go to the updated website for further information (

Bring dollars and euros to Buenos Aires, if possible

Already mentioned by co-program chairs. No further comment from me, but you’ll be happy you did.

(And bring your books to display and donate to the silent auction--to support student travel. If you are bringing books to donate, please notify the 4S Prize and Exhibits Coordinator, Wenda Bauchspies,

Gary Downey