STS USA

In a recent account of research on science, technology and society in Latin America, Pablo Kreimer and Hebe Vessuri note that questions about how research fields form and take shape over time are not trivial given the way responses are inevitably tangled with efforts to secure legitimacy for the field, institutionalize it, and move it into its next phase (2017).  In other words, research fields are partly made by the stories we tell about them. In this essay, we take this as our starting point, accounting for recent currents in STS in the United States that stage it to endure and grow in sophistication and relevance in a fraught political landscape.  Part of what needs to be staged, we argue, is intensified and more sustained transnational collaboration -- collaboration that decenters the United States within STS.  There are many reasons for this that we will touch on briefly.  For now, we just note how we have worked toward this decentering by starting on the periphery, learning of ways STS has taken shape in other regions, and of ways scholars have accounted for this, to direct our accounting of STS in the United States. We have also imagined STS scholars on today’s periphery as a crucial audience for our analysis -- not to teach them what we do so that they can catch up, but to provide a sense of where we will be coming from in meeting them halfway (in a yet to be created space of collaboration that isn’t overdefined by established ways of conceiving and practicing STS).

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