Plans for the Transnational STS Working Group extend from work on the special exhibit built for the Society for Social Studies of Science (4S) 2018 annual meeting in Sydney, STS Across Borders. The theme of the Sydney meeting was TRANSnational STS. Another special exhibit, Innovating STS, will be ready to share at the 2019 4S meeting in New Orleans. Both exhibits are part of the STS community archive, http://stsinfrastructures.org.
Contact: Duygu Kasdogan, firstname.lastname@example.org
TSWG begins with an urgent necessity: STS scholars should be self-reflexive about nationalist thinking and methodological nationalism in their praxis, especially at this very moment when we witness the haunt of the far right movements and authoritarian states across the world. In this epoch marked by post-truth politics, intentional denial of socio-ecological crises, STS has a theoretical and methodological capacity to reclaim for science(s) otherwise against various oppressive and violent acts of governmental bodies. Transnational STS is therefore a point of departure to imagine and construct a technoscientific world that does not prioritize national developmentalist desires but put emphasize on multiple alternatives such as civic technoscience. That is surely one motivation behind the idea of TSWG. Participants are invited to share their own motivations.
TSWG aims to bring STS scholars together to contribute building up an intellectual infrastructure for “Transnational STS” as well as designing experimental projects to practice theories of Transnational STS. TSWG is itself an experimental platform that is in search for comparative ways to put STS into the world. It thus seeks to reflect on the response-abilities of STS scholars and practitioners in the contemporary period from a transnational perspective.
Although STS includes a good number of works that can be considered having a transnational character, “Transnational STS” is a recent orientation in the field, therefore, at the nascent stage. TSWG invites participants to trace the genealogy of this dynamic orientation (e.g., postcolonial STS), reflect on its current embracement in multiple forms in the field (e.g. 4S 2018 conference), and discuss its possible futures.
The mobility of people and products as well as the circulation of knowledges and practices across nation state borders have propelled social scientists to recognize the spatial limitations of nation-state based analyses. Similarly, the mobility of scientists, circulation of scientific knowledge and practices, technology transfers, networks of technoscience across national borders have long been under the scrutiny of STS scholars. Nevertheless, to what extent these discussions reflect on the inadequacies of existing dualities -e.g., “East and West”; “center and periphery”; “developing and developed”- in understanding transnational relations is open to question. Therefore, TSWG seeks to explore new conceptual and theoretical tools in understanding the flows of technoscientific processes across borders with a specific attention to power relations. It also aims to test these tools in practice by way of conducting experimental research projects in a comparative manner.
Rather than approaching to “transnational” as an ideal temporal-spatial universalism to be achieved, TSWG aims to explore what becomes visible when nation-state as the only analytic breaks down. Simultaneously, it asks: what is the role of nation state with regard to education and research activities in the contemporary period? Through fostering comparative thinking, TSWG seeks to elaborate on and question the analytic of “nation state” in studying technoscientific practices.
TSWG is also a call for new transdisciplinary work in the field: Transnational STS can strengthen cross-fertilization, for example, between STS and environmental humanities, post-development studies, degrowth movement, sustainability science and so on. It also seeks to cultivate dialogues across different STS formations that build on a recognition of the diverse genealogies of STS thought and practice.
1st Annual Meeting in New Orleans: What does “Transnational STS” mean?
The first annual meeting will be held in New Orleans in 2019 during the 4S conference. It aims to launch TSWG through inviting participants share their motivations in doing Transnational STS. This meeting is designed to start thinking on “Transnational STS” at conceptual, theoretical, methodological, and empirical levels, for example:
in juxtaposition to other concepts, e.g., international, multinational, postnational, supra-national, anti-national, global, cosmopolitan, universal, imperial, and translocal.
through methodological innovations (e.g., best methods and methodologies to do “Transnational STS”)
TSWG aims to sustain connections and exchanges among its participants through a number of activities, which include:
Annual Meetings: The inaugural meeting will be held in New Orleans during the 4S Conference. The second meeting will be in Prague in 2019, and the third one in Toronto in 2020.
Virtual Meetings: These meetings will be held in each three months. The aim of virtual meetings is to collaborate on designing experimental projects so as to foster the transnational feature of the field by putting theory into practice. These projects seek to design divergent interventions into the world while testing new ways to put STS in the world. At the center of these experiments stand the comparative thinking. Participants are asked to design an intervention around a particular question and test these interventions in different localities.
Workshop Series: These workshops will be held in each two years in a different country around a particular theme, and organized by local STS groups.
Teaching: TSWG aims to foster transnational STS teaching through sharing experiences and materials in course design.
Hosting: Through establishing connections between local STS groups, TSWG aims to facilitate the navigation of STS researchers conducting research outside their home.