The Rensselaer Department of Science and Technology Studies formed one of the first STS doctoral program in North American and indeed the world. The baccalaureate degree and master’s program were accredited in 1977. The STS PhD program launched in 1988. The PhD program was notably broad and disciplinarily diverse from its earliest days. We have chosen to showcase this diversity via a ‘suitcase’ exhibition for display at 4S Sydney 2018.
Encapsulating the spirited vitality of the field, the ‘STS Spice Rack’ holds an accumulation of artifacts emplaced and displaced, hybridized and (im)purified. These complex mixtures have been playfully labeled by generations of graduate students as if their contents, which consist of various materials, concretize the theoretical schools, conceptual frameworks, and methodological molecules that leaven the meaning of STS in today’s world. The STS Spice Rack occupies a mundane space between the kitchen sink and the window overlooking the Hudson River within the Graduate Student Lounge. In showcasing ‘the STS everyday’, this exhibition will contain material-semiotic and virtual objects that exemplify the spirit of The Rensselaer STS program.
The descriptions that accompany the images on the digital platform are, like the artifacts, sometimes playful, sometimes analytical, and always partial.
This essay responds to the STS Across Borders shared questions, "What topics have been prominent in this STS formation in different periods?" and "What scholarly infrastructure has supported this STS formation?".