Strategic use of boundary objects

The "Making the Case for Ourselves: Boundary Objects in Critical STS Pedagogies" panel raised an important and provocative question: "What kinds of boundary objects do you use to make a case for yourself as an STS educator?" The answers our panelists provided ranged from teaching areas ("writing instruction" as a boundary object for Marisa Brandt at Lyman Briggs/MSU, concept/modality ("engagement" as a boundary object for Kate Sheppard at Missouri S&T), and institutional structures (Sean Ferguson discussed "metrics" at UVA Engineering, Anna Geltzer discussed the role of a "center" as a boundary object at Notre Dame, and Kari Zacharias discussed the ways that "accreditation" can be a boundary object at Concordia University).

I think the strategic inversion in these cases and that I find in my own practices of "doing STS in STEM spaces" to be one of the hallmarks of STS practice--at least insofar as when STSers have to engage with anyone outside the field, whether it is in or oustide academia. And I think that this is worth further interrogation, particularly in relation to critical STS pedagogies. How do we make explicit what might be our tacit knowledge in how we work with boundary objects within our institutional spaces and teaching practices to achieve our goals of critical STS thinking, practice, and inquiry? Could this line of thinking help us to be more effective? Could this also be one of the ways we blur the lines between research, pedagogy, and service--by studying these practices more carefully?

Perhaps this panel would consider writing up a 1-pager that could be part of our collective manuscript?


Emily York


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