An Ethical Framework From a Fairness and Justice Approach
STS MA Program in ITU (2000-2006) demonstrates a perfect example for the fragmentation of STS in Turkey. Lack of institutionality and dependency on personal commitments reveals a strong symptom of the dominant scientific culture in Turkey.
A dateless report - probably from 2005 - which was addressed to the ITU rector (2004-2008), Prof. Faruk Karadoğan, clearly indicated the problems, and it also suggested solid solutions for the existence and sustainability of the program as the last call, before the program’s closure in 2006. The problems were stated as demanding “urgent” solutions.
Institutionalized Ignorance, Fragmented Histories
These problems included the lack of teaching staff, who would teach courses that were required for having an STS foundation in the first semester. Despite having an international teaching staff mobility, the required teaching staff was needed to teach courses especially in history, philosophy, and sociology of science and technology.
This problem also indicates an ethical framework from a fairness and justice approach. Ethics provides a set of standards for behavior that helps us decide how we ought to act in a range of situations. In a sense, ethics is all about making choices, and about providing reasons why we should make these choices. Since the Institute of Social Sciences is merely an administrative institution, the report reminded and emphasized that such teaching staff positions were aimed to have tenures in The Faculty of Sciences and Letters four years ago - since the beginning of the program. This faculty included the Department of Social Sciences and Humanities, which was launched along with the formation of the STS program in ITU. However, promises were not kept.
During these years, no academic staff was tenured. Even in the second phase of the program (2016-ongoing), no academic staff was tenured. Within this time frame, the rectors, the head of the Department of Social Sciences and Humanities, and the Institute of Social Sciences have changed. As there has not been an institutional record of STS in ITU, the ethical stance of the program is not known. Fragments of histories have been scattered and lost, among people and artifacts.
Becoming one of the founding members of IstanbuLab and curators of this exhibition, Ebru Yetiskin, an STS graduate, who has her tenure approval pending from The Department of Social Sciences and Humanities since 2008 in the Institute of Social Sciences at ITU, is adopting a self-reflexive approach in this exhibition for the knowledge production about STS in Turkey.
Cheap Labor, Workload, Ineffective Production
After the resignation of Prof. Hacer Ansal, the Director of Studies, the report marks the urgency of assigning a program coordinator, who has knowledge and experience in the field of STS. From a base tone, the report also draws attention to the workload of the program coordinator and highlights the lack of an ethical framework from a fairness and justice approach.
The program needed another research assistant because the only research assistant, who has been one of the graduates of the program in its first year, Umut Ekmekçi, was assisting the program coordinator and concentrating mostly on the administrative works of the program rather than conducting scientific research. After the resignation of the program coordinator, he was willing to go abroad as part of his Ph.D. research. Such demand also reveals the requirement of an ethical framework for academic researchers in universities.
Responding to the question What (methodological/ theoretical/ political/ ethical) frameworks have had strong influences on this STS formation?
Hacer Ansal Archive & personal observations
Ebru Yetişkin, "STS @ ITU (2000-2006): Frameworks", contributed by Duygu Kasdogan, STS Infrastructures, Platform for Experimental Collaborative Ethnography, last modified 12 December 2018, accessed 22 May 2022. https://stsinfrastructures.org/content/sts-itu-2000-2006-frameworks