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Society for Social Studies of Science

4S 2017 Boston

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Annual Meeting of the Society for Social Studies of Science (4S)

Boston, Massachusetts 

August 30 – September 2, 2017

Sheraton Boston Hotel, 39 Dalton Street

Conference theme:    STS (In)Sensibilities

If sensibility is the ability to grasp and to respond, how might we articulate the (in)sensibilities of contemporary technoscience?  How, similarly, can we reflect on the extent and limits of our own sensibilities as STS scholars, teachers, and activists?  The conference theme invites an open reading and exploration of how the world is made differently sense-able through multiple discourses and practices of knowledge-making, as well as that which evades the sensoria of technoscience and STS.  Our aim is that the sense of ‘sense’ be read broadly, from mediating technologies of perception and apprehension to the discursive and material practices that render worlds familiar and strange, real and imagined, actual and possible, politically (in)sensitive and ethically sensible.     

We welcome open panel and closed session proposals, individual paper submissions, and proposals for events that are innovative in their delivery, organization, range of topics, and type of public.  Due to the growing number of submissions and our desire to be as inclusive as possible, each participant will be strictly limited to only one paper or media presentation and one other activity (such as session chair or discussant), for a maximum of two appearances. Participation in the Making and Doing event (see below) is not counted toward this limit.

Program Committee

Heather Paxson (MIT, Chair)
Daniel Breslau (Virginia Tech)
Claudia Castañeda (Emerson College)
Tarleton Gillespie (Cornell, Microsoft Research New England)
Mary Gray (Indiana University, Microsoft Research New England)
Nick Seaver (Tufts)
Banu Subramaniam (University of Massachusetts-Amherst)
TL Taylor (MIT)
Lucy Suchman (Lancaster University)

Important Dates

Nov 15. Call for open panels proposals 
Jan 1. Submission closes for open panels
Jan 15.  Call for closed/invited sessions and individual paper submissions
March 1. Deadline for submission of closed sessions and individual papers
April 15. Acceptance notification 
May 15.  Preliminary program

Call for Open Panel Proposals

Submission to open November 15, 2016

Deadline for Submission: January 1, 2017

The 2017 conference continues the practice of beginning with open panel proposals, providing an opportunity for you to frame a topic and send out an open call for papers that address it. Open panel proposals will be included in the conference program pending sufficient paper submissions.  Panel proposals should take the form of a paragraph up to 250 words describing the panel topic, including a brief discussion of its relevance to STS.

Submit Open Panel Proposals Now

Open panels will be announced for individual paper submissions by January 15, 2017.

Call for Paper and Closed Session Submissions

Submissions to open January 15, 2017

Deadline for Submission: March 1, 2017

Paper submissions should be in the form of abstracts of up to 250 words. They should include the paper’s main arguments, methods, and contributions to STS. You may choose to submit your paper abstract to an open panel, or you can leave panel selection to the program organizers.  In the latter case, please list five key words to assist the program organizers in assigning individual papers to sessions.

Session proposal submissions should be a maximum of 250 words. Each session proposal should contain a summary and rationale, including a brief discussion of its contribution to STS. Session proposals should be designed to fit 90 minute time slots. A typical session will contain five papers, and a minimum of three paper abstracts conforming to the above criteria for abstracts must be submitted for a proposed session. The Program Committee may then assign additional papers to a session to meet the maximum number of five.

Making and Doing Presentations

In addition to paper and session submissions, the 4S invites proposed presentations for the ‘STS Making and Doing’ event.  The Making and Doing event 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.  

Making and Doing proposals are submitted as part of normal paper and session submission, beginning January 15. Read the full Call here.


The meeting will be held at the Sheraton Boston Hotel. To reserve a room at the conference rate, call the Starwood Reservations Center at Reservation Center at 1.888.627.7054 provide the group code ‘4H29AA’ or simply book online.

Barcelona 2016

The Barcelona meeting page is archived at View a photo album.