“This is STS!” This exclamation often pops up in our face-to-face and/or virtual informal conversations and always continues with this question: “Isn’t it STS?” The thing that gets such a conversation going can be a newspaper article, a scholarly work, or just a twitter thread that is not necessarily framed in any relation to STS. These conversations take place among us as people situating themselves as STS scholars and/or the ones interested in STS, who are in connection via IstanbuLab.
In time, I have realized that this exclamation/question says something worth taking into account to understand the way we try to do/innovate STS in Turkey. It is not about a tendency that relates everything under the sun (anything related to science and technology with a flavor of social concerns/issues) to the world of STS. Instead, it is more about the desire/motivation to do critical STS in Turkey in a meaningful manner, in a manner to situate STS within the social realities of this geography (without getting into the trap of localism) while always reminding each other past intellectual discussions taken place in this geography that had already dealt with what we question now in one way or another. Saying that “we forget” is perhaps a cliche, but it has a reality in this country. “We” like to forget not to be accountable, not to face… Things appear as if they are new, “we” like what is new. STS may appear as interesting as it is new to this geography as far as it deals with what is popular around the world, such as Industry 4.0. The obsession with the new has long been questioned, especially in Turkish literature … My intention here is not to re-discuss this obsession. Yet, I have a word to say: STS is not new in this country! It is perhaps a new field of study, but its spirit has long been here. The aforementioned exclamation/question tries to render this spirit visible, I imagine.
Recently, one such conversation took place after sharing and listening to a podcast that refers to the journal Şizofrengi… That moment/conversation turned into an invitation to Fatih Artvinli for his contribution to this collection. He has kindly accepted our invitation and wrote an amazing essay on Şizofrengi at short notice. Even, he put an effort to make it available to the audience of this collection, and Merve Şen translated his essay into English. This essay is not only an invaluable contribution to this platform but also an inspiring piece of writing that opens a space to do meaningful STS in Turkey. This essay does not need any introductions at this point, it should be read to feel through what is STS in Şizofrengi, and how STS gets innovated in Artvinli’s essay. Nevertheless, it is worth highlighting that neither Şizofrengi is situated as an STS journal nor Artvinli frames his work as STS. We think about Şizofrengi as an example of STS work, and interpret Artvinli’s essay as a way to innovate STS in a tactical manner. We claim that it is a tactic to innovate STS in Turkey through discovering “old” practices that experimented with different forms of knowledge production and critical thinking.
For the Turkish audience who would be interested in hearing more about the story of Şizofrengi, we list a number of podcast links below:
“‘Delilik ve Edebiyat’ serisine devam ediyoruz. Bu serinin üçüncüsünde: Doksanların efsane dergisi Şizofrengi'nin kurucusu psikiyatrist Fatih Altınöz ile derginin serüveni ve düşündürdükleri üzerine konuştuk. "Tımarhaneye İnen Bir Dergi: Şizofrengi" başlıklı programda, özgün bir dergicilik deneyimi olan Şizofrengi'yi doksanların siyasal, toplumsal ve kültürel bağlamı içinde ele aldık; dergide yer alan yazı ve şiirlerden örnekler okuduk.”
“‘Tımarhaneye İnen Bir Dergi: Şizofrengi’ başlıklı programımızın ikincisinde konuğumuz yine derginin kurucularından Fatih Altınöz idi. Akademisyen ve program hazırlayıcıları Çimen Günay-Erkol ile Fatih Artvinli dergi üzerinde yaptıkları incelemelerle Şizofrengi dergisinin birçok açıdan ele alınmasını sağladılar.”
“Nasıl Olunur'un bu bölümünün konuğu bir psikiyatrist. Ama onun başka özellikleri de var... O, biri bol ödüllü üç filmi olan bir senarist, yedi kitap sahibi bir yazar, bir dönemin efsane dergilerinden hem hasta, hem de doktorların yazdığı Şizofrengi'nin kurucusu. Fatih Altınöz'le "Nasıl olunur da bu ortamda deli olunmaz?"ı konuştuk.”
This text reflects on the question What geographic and temporal contexts characterize this STS innovation? It underlines the importance of discovering “old” practices that experimented with different forms of knowledge production and critical thinking, which are not necessarily framed as "STS" but are STS, such the journal Şizofrengi.
Duygu Kaşdoğan, "Excavating old "STS" practices in Turkey", contributed by Duygu Kasdogan, STS Infrastructures, Platform for Experimental Collaborative Ethnography, last modified 25 August 2019, accessed 17 May 2022. https://stsinfrastructures.org/content/excavating-old-sts-practices-turkey