The first Master’s Degree program in “Science, Technology, and Society” was launched in 2000 under the Institute of Social Sciences at Istanbul Technical University (ITU) in Turkey. The program was jointly administered with the European Inter-University Association on Society, Science & Technology (ESST) Master of Arts Programme.
To write a story about the beginnings of the program, we concentrated on using several methods, which include participant observation, unstructured interviews, and analysis of archival documents that were provided by Prof. Hacer Ansal, one of the founders and the director of the program as well as a member of IstanbuLab. The lack of institutional archive at Istanbul Technical University demonstrates how STS has a fragmented and discontinuous past in Turkey; the institutional archive is distributed, forgotten, and lost.
Three women played an active role in the beginnings of this STS formation: Hacer Ansal, Yıldız Sey, and Gülsün Sağlamer. The foundation of the program was supported by Prof. Gülsün Sağlamer -the former rector of ITU (1996-2004)- as part of a broader vision centered on globalization and university-industry collaboration. Prof. Sağlamer was also the president of European Women Rectors Association, founding board member of ITU’s Technology Park and Incubation Centre, and ARI Techno-City in those years. Prof. Hacer Ansal, the founder and director of this STS MA program, received her Ph.D. in “Science, Technology and Industrialization” Program at “Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU)” of Sussex University, where she was also a part of the research group “Women and Technology”. She collaborated with Prof. Yıldız Sey, former director of the Institute of Social Sciences and ESST Administrative Board Member.
The program emphasized a major concern about the “misuse” of science and technology that calls for greater public control. The program brochure stated: “Since we can not take science and technology or their impact on society as ‘given’, we have to concern about the complex political, economic and other social forces that together shape science and technology”. Centralized and vertical decision-making mechanisms in the higher education system in Turkey was also challenged by offering an international, collaborative, and interdisciplinary joint MA program.
A story written about the beginnings of the STS MA Program at Istanbul Technical University (2000-2006) by Ebru Yetiskin (a former MA student in the program) on the basis of documents provided by Hacer Ansal, one of the founding members of this STS program.
Hacer Ansal Archive
Ebru Yetişkin, "STS @ ITU (2000-2006): Beginnings", contributed by Duygu Kasdogan, STS Infrastructures, Platform for Experimental Collaborative Ethnography, last modified 20 June 2022, accessed 28 November 2023. https://stsinfrastructures.org/content/sts-itu-2000-2006-beginnings