During fieldwork in Ciudad del Saber [City of Knowledge] - a science, technology, and innovation park in Panama City, Panama - I was invited by one of my interlocutors to attend a meeting hosted by a nascent organization, Ciencia en Panama [Science in Panama], formed by a younger generation of science experts from various fields (i.e., Computer Science, Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Research, Science in Higher Education, Economies of Science, etc.). Only two months before the scheduled Science March, which became a social movement worldwide, members of Ciencia en Panama discussed the many reasons why they wished to organize a similar manifestation in Panama City.
These supporters of science joined protesters around the world by rallying down the Amador Causeway on the Pacific entrance of the Panama Canal to call attention to multiple issues surrounding public funding of scientific research and science education.
In their call to take part in their version of the March for Science, Panamanian scientists and science supporters also considered local sensibilities and political vulnerabilities in planning what they eventually called La Caminata por la Ciencia [The Walk for Science].
Panamanian scientists-organizers insisted that the manifestacion, or public demonstration, should not be called marcha [a march] or protesta [a protest] so as to not compromise what little funding their "National Science System" receives from the state. Notably, the scientists-activists pointed out that signifiers like marcha and protesta in Panama like other parts of Latin America can carry with them political valances that could negatively link public demonstrations to the deeply present memories and histories of dictatorship, militarism, occupation, and related political upheavals.
In the United States the Science March raised the voice of concerned scientists, science advocates, and citizen-science supporters due to the menacing actions the Trump administration took in its first year in office, including incapacitating the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), redacting the EPA's web presence and proposing significant changes to the funding mechanisms/structures for research on climate change.
Panamanian scientists, on the other hand, had to carefully organize to not come across as objecting in disapproval of the same socioeconomic and political dynamics composing the struggles of science and scientists in the United States or elsewhere. “We have to be clear,” one of the planning committee members stated, “this is not a protest against Trump or the Trump administration. We should not even call this manifestation a march.”
While Panamanian scientists and advocates of science had to send a clear message of the political stakes behind the Caminata, they also had to navigate the local and geopolitical landscape shaped by the long history of occupation of territory surrounding the Panama Canal.
By staging and calling their manifestation the Caminata por la Ciencia, Panamanian advocates of science articulated and made their funding struggles more visible while recasting a long-standing tradition of manifestaciones callejeras [public demonstrations or, literally, street demonstrations] in more politically nuanced and tactful ways.
What epistemic formations and assemblages command STS attention, and to what end? What makes STS modes of inquiry timely and how do we reach broader publics? How do we as STS scholars respond to an accelerating economic and technoscientific world coupled with a growing disconcertment for epistemic turbulence and modes of social and political in/exclusion?
How do the MfS and the Caminata por la Ciencia call for cross-region comparison and dialogue? What is the broad discursive context within which STS operates in your region? How, for example, did the April 2017 March for Science play out in your region? Who participated and why? How was it covered by the media and talked about in public arenas?
STS Across Borders is a special exhibit organized by the Society for Social Studies of Science (4S) to showcase how the field of Science and Technology Studies (STS) has developed in different times, places and intellectual traditions. The gallery-style exhibit is part of the 2018 4S meeting in Sydney, Australia, August 29-September 1. The digital exhibit will open August 2018 and remain open access, with features that facilitate use in teaching, dialogue between different STS communities, and further elaboration of the history and plurality of STS. All STS Across Borders collections are oriented by a set of ten shared questions.
The digital exhibit is installed at infraStrucTureS, a digital archive, work space, and publishing platform for 4S and STS.
4S is an international scholarly society representing the field of STS, which brings together researchers who study how science, other forms of knowledge, technology, and culture entwine and develop in different contexts.
Founded in 2007, East Asian Science, Technology and Society: an International Journal (EASTS) is the first and only one of its kind devoted to science, technology, and society (STS) studies in and for East Asia. EASTS originated from an idea by Taiwan's Ministry of Science and Technology to create an international journal to highlight the increasing importance of technoscience in East Asia and to showcase its impact on the rest of the world. EASTS has inherited intellectual resources from the history and philosophy of science, which has enjoyed a long presence in this region since the first half of the 20th century, and quickly built its reputation in the fields of science and colonialism, medical history, and deliberative democracy/ science controversies. After partnering with Duke University Press, EASTS experienced more visibility among scholars worldwide via 4S meetings, and it has expanded its territories of scholarship to South and Southeast Asia. Meanwhile, with a firm commitment to making East Asia a subject and method of doing STS, EASTS continues to discover new approaches and connections that provide a better understanding of how science and society are evolving and transforming this region and beyond. EASTS is published quarterly (March, June, September, and December). Each issue contains research articles and research notes (both peer-reviewed), book reviews, and occasionally forums, essays, and news and events. Half of the issues are thematic, aiming to capture emerging STS topics, to encourage engagement between East Asia and the rest of the world, or to refine methods and fields not yet studied from an STS perspective. Recent themes have included STS in Indonesia, psy-sciences (psychiatry, psychology, psychotherapy)in East Asia, postcolonial studies through subimperial formations of medicine, and research misconduct in East Asia. We welcome individual submissions and encourage scholars to discuss their thematic issue proposals with EASTS’s editors.
Author: Wen-Hua Kuo (National Yang-Ming University, Taiwan)
This exhibit focuses on the intellectual and institutional trajectory of STS in Turkey. As a field of study, critical STS is relatively new in Turkey, starting with the establishment of the STS MA program in Istanbul Technical University in 2000. However, interest in discussing science and technology among social scientists in Turkey predated that, particularly in the form of policy studies that is exemplified in the graduate program of Science and Technology Policy Studies at the Middle East Technical University. A Media Archeology of STS in Turkey aims at excavating the fragmented material culture of STS in the last 20 years. The archeological records, which consist of various artefacts of STS, such as books, exhibition posters, articles, and reports, will uncover the challenges in institutionalizing STS in Turkey. The analysis of these excavations will also reveal some of the local characteristics of STS in Turkey: lack of institutional collaboration, archives and subversive critique.
Authors: Duygu Kasdogan & Ebru Yetiskin (IstanbuLab – Science, Technology and Society Platform in Turkey, Turkey)
Many debates have ensued about the relationship between Science and Africa. Some hold that Africa had and still has its own very different conceptual and cognitive models which were not apparent to, or regarded by, the colonialists who first introduced western education to Africa. According to such logic, the reign of Science in Africa is therefore a super imposition of one culture (western) over another (African). But recent science and technology studies also raise questions about such binaries. Scholars like Mavhunga (2017) and others have established that if we take a broader notion of science, we can find it has been deeply rooted on the continent long prior to the colonial period. Following this vein, this exhibit takes its conception of STS in Africa very broadly and as part of an ongoing process of being "in formation" (also recognizing the fraught nature of using a categorical construct such as "Africa"). Acknowledging some of the tensions between an "indigenous" African practice of science and its global circulations and interests, the exhibit treats the continent as highly differentiated while simultaneously seeking to provide a cursory view of various communities of practice and scholarship related to STS taking place across the continent. Through interviews with diverse scholars and practitioners working in/on the continent and archival materials including reports, photos, and multimedia, the exhibit will provide insight into what has transpired related to STS in Africa to date and what key issues are being grappled with. In this way, this exhibit seeks to make a history and community of STS in Africa by drawing in even those individuals, groups and institutions which may not yet have self-identified as "STS."
Authors: Angela Okune (University of California Irvine, U.S.A.), Aadita Chaudhury (York University, Canada)
iHub Research was officially launched in 2011 at the one-year anniversary of the iHub, one of the first co-working spaces in sub-Saharan Africa. As an example of a non-traditional research organization, iHub Research bridged a gap between the academy, private sector, public sector, and technology entrepreneurs, producing work that while not explicitly identified as "STS," in practice, was in line with the values and areas of interest of the field. As a non-academic research center striving to produce knowledge relevant for its community which could also be read by the academy and other stakeholders, we believe iHub Research should be considered a fundamental example of a key site of knowledge production offering critical perspectives on technology in Africa by and for the technology community in Kenya and beyond. We reflect on the enabling and constraining factors of iHub Research's growth over time as we track its journey as an experimental hub for knowledge production. This STS Across Borders exhibit will compile and document major research outputs and experimental research processes established under iHub Research. We will also include interviews with key members of the research team and highlight their ongoing work.
Author: Angela Okune (University of California Irvine, U.S.A.)
Drexel University’s Center for Science, Technology, and Society (CSTS) is a dynamic, interdisciplinary research and teaching unit anchored by more than two dozen joint, affiliated, and visiting faculty members. CSTS was established in 2012 to support Drexel’s existing graduate degree program (in STS), as well as to launch several undergraduate minors. The Drexel STS exhibit will feature individual and collaborative scholarship, Center events, and innovative teaching methods. The exhibit will feature research profiles for faculty members and current students, including images from fieldwork and responses to the following questions: How did you find your way into STS as a field of research? What STS theories, methods, and debates have most animated your work? What STS projects have you engaged in during your career? What future plans and visions do you have for your own STS scholarship, and that of the broader field; where do we need to go? Have there been Drexel events, courses, or networks that inspired or shaped your engagements with STS? The exhibit will also feature material from more than three dozen events hosted through CSTS’s colloquium series, including workshops, conferences, and symposiums. Responses to the above questions, faculty and student materials, and archived CSTS activities will be used narrate a reflective essay and multimedia exhibit that highlights what it means to animate STS across borders, including in our own universities.
Authors: Ali Kenner, Eliza Nobles (Drexel University, U.S.A.)
The recent emergence of the community of researchers on Science, Technology and Society studies in Chile dates back approximately half a decade ago. These narratives and questions about knowledge and its materiality in our country have deep-rooted in politics, communication and history processes. In this sample, one representation of the multiple possible narratives of the emergence and evolution of the RedCTS and its ramifications throughout the territory of Chile is sought, analysing its geographical, epistemic, value and ontological positions, which allow to disseminate how a rhizome of people can become a community, which is found and co-produced through a chain of emails, meetings, alliances and multiple debates. This Geography will be deployed by visualization techniques of networks, maps and images that allow exploring, both materially and digitally, the connections that narrate the questions and trace the local roots of Science, Technology and Society Studies in Chile, with emphasis on the decade 2008-2018. We hope that this exhibition will allow us to elaborate a collective reflection on mobility, the trans-disciplinary construction and the center-peripheral tensions of our community in front of the Latin American geo-region and the world.
Authors: Martín Andrés Perez Comisso (Arizona State University, U.S.A.), Pedro Pablo Seguel (University of Texas at Austin, U.S.A.), Ronald Cancino (Universidad de la Frontera, Chile), Nicolas Sanhueza (Nucleus ANT-Chile, Alberto Hurtado University, Chile), Joaquin Zerene (Universidad Austral de Chile, Chile)
The exhibit explores genealogies of anthropologies of science and technology in Japan, focusing on the interactions among scholars and literatures in anthropology and STS. Scholars from many areas of the world have worked in and among these fields to bring shifting relations among “the West” and the rest into strong relief. Scholars in Japan have addressed similar issues, but their work has been inflected by the specific intellectual and institutional conditions that they face, producing scholarship that both draws on and diverges from that originating in the Euro-American mainstream. This exhibit delineates how anthropology and STS have intermingled and rearticulated formerly distinctive and separate fields, including (sub-)disciplines such as ecological anthropology, primatology, and medical anthropology, as well as topics such as materiality, embodiment, environment, and infrastructure. It will catalog and map relations among scholars and literatures in Japan to exhibit how STS has emerged within and across the political and intellectual boundaries of Japan. Specifically, the exhibit will collect and annotate key articles, journals, and books in Japanese and English, discuss the contributions of influential scholars, and highlight important debates that have taken place among researchers in Japan. Examples include articles that have appeared in journals such as NatureCulture and Bunkajinruigaku, and research projects such as “Environmental Infrastructures” and “A Comparative Study of ‘Indigenous Knowledge’ and ‘Modern Science.’” Selected sources will be digitally archived. Posters produced for this project will focus on key figures and debates.
Authors: Miho Ishii (Kyoto University, Japan), Shuhei Kimura (Tsukuba University, Japan), Gergely Mohacsi (Osaka University, Japan), Moe Nakazora (Hiroshima University, Japan), Miki Namba (Hitotsubashi University, Japan), Grant Jun Otsuki (Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand), Yoko Taguchi (Hitotsubashi University, Japan)
This exhibit presents an institutional history of the Society for Social Studies of Science (4S). Founded in 1975, the evolution of 4S has been an important index of the development of the interdisciplinary research field of Science and Technology Studies (STS). At times in harmony and at times in discord, 4S has developed alongside departmental, regional, and programmatic efforts to synthesize social research on science and technology. Meanwhile, global events have also regularly shaped 4S priorities through demands on resources and attention in ways that have reconfigured STS across borders. This exhibit visualizes various currents that have produced the scholarly character of 4S over the years as a juxtaposition of multiple timelines that document various 4S initiatives: including, for example, annual conferences, journals and handbooks, governance mechanisms, presidents and council members, and recognition of scholarship, mentoring, and service through the institution of various prizes. In recognition of his contributions to 4S and to STS writ large, the exhibit will also feature a special timeline on the 2018 winner of the Bernal Prize, Trevor Pinch.
Author: Joseph Klett (Science History Institute, U.S.A.)
The Department of Anthropology at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) has a strong and creative STS core, rooted in the experimental origins of the university and radical interdisciplinary commitments of its School of Social Sciences, extended through the work of evolving clusters of anthropologists with commitments to feminist and postcolonial studies, American pragmatism, and the critical promise of ethnographic method. Today, there are strong threads of STS research focused on technology and financial inclusion, environmental sciences and governance, digital and data cultures, and the politics of health and medicine. There is also shared interests in inventive uses of technology in research, and for visualizing and sharing research results. This exhibit will explore how these histories and interests intersect, taking both anthropology and STS in new directions.
Authors: James Adams, Maggie Woodruff, Kim Fortun, Angela Okune, Nandita Badami, Taylor Nelms (University of California Irvine, U.S.A.)
On April 22, 2017, scientists from various disciplines and sectors rallied down the Amador Causeway on the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal to call attention to multiple, local issues surrounding public funding of scientific research and education. In their call to become part of the March for Science, a social movement worldwide, Panamanian scientists considered and incorporated various political sensibilities and vulnerabilities in their design to stage la Caminata por la Ciencia and to not compromise what little state science funding they receive. For instance, the organizers insisted that this manifestacion, or public demonstration, should not be called marcha [a march] or protesta [a protest]. Mainly since these signifiers in some parts of Latin America can carry with them political valences that could quickly link public demonstrations to deeply present histories and memories of dictatorship, militarism, occupation, and related political upheavals. In staging the Caminata por la Ciencia to make their funding struggles more visible Panamanian advocates of science were able to articulate their political demands while recasting a long-standing tradition of manifestaciones callejeras [public demonstrations or, literally, street demonstrations] in more nuanced and tactful ways.
At this demonstration, many supporters carried signs with the following messages:
Sin Ciencia, no hay Futuro [There is no future without science]
Ciencia es Futuro [Science is Future]
Creando Conciencia [Creating Conscience/Awareness, with a pun in Spanish "Creating With Science"]
Exigimos politicas publicasbasadas en evidencia. [We demand public policy based on evidence.]
Mas ciencia, menos violencia. [More science, less violence]
Apoyar la ciencia, es apoyor nuestro futuro. [To support science, is to support our future.]
Author: Alberto Morales Ramirez (University of California Irvine, USA)