Call for Abstracts

In addition to the two keynote speakers, our workshop will feature contributed papers that address the theme of the workshop: how should scholars working in STS and allied fields approach science and technology in these “uncertain” times? We encourage both submissions that interrogate the role of STS, but also submissions that consider questions of science and democratization (e.g. social movements, citizen science, populism, the politics of knowledge and ignorance, etc.), how values are formed in science, the role of art and design in scientific critique, and structural inequalities and the politics of science and technology. (See here additional details.)

To submit a paper for consideration, please submit an abstract of no more than 500 words, including references. Each speaker will have 30 minutes to present their paper during the workshop. The closing date for abstracts is November 1, 2017.

To submit an abstract, please email it as a PDF attachment to If you have any questions about this call, feel free to email either Chris Pincock ( or Monamie Bhadra (

A limited amount of funds will be made available for presenters to cover some of the costs of attending the workshop. We plan to finalize the workshop schedule by the end of November.

Workshop Themes

Our workshop will address the following themes:

Critical reflection on scientific authority has been central to science and technology studies (STS) for some time. Interrogating science’s claim to universality, apoliticism and autonomy, scholars have highlighted the suffusion of values, interests and power inherent in the production, use and consumption of scientific knowledge. Yet, recent political developments have raised questions about the value and ultimate purpose of such critique, leading to concerns about living in a “post-truth” era of “alternative facts.” For example, in massive demonstrations such as the March for Science, protesters oppose what they perceive as a radically altered relationship between science and power.

Echoing the science wars of another era, current conversations question the value and legitimacy of STS scholarship, given its thoroughgoing skepticism of scientific authority, and generate concerns about ceding the public sphere to entrenched private interests and traditional prejudice. As such, this workshop will consider the prospects for sustained investigation and questioning of science and its social standing. What is the role of STS scholars in these times of uncertainty? Does an embattled scientific community require social constructivists to modify, soften or abandon critique? Or is critique necessary now more than ever, given science’s role in sustaining various social injustices?

Keynote Speakers Announced: Rayvon Fouché (Purdue) and Shobita Parthasarathy (Michigan)

We are very pleased to confirm our keynote speakers for the workshop:

Rayvon Fouché

Director and Associate Professor, American Studies, Purdue University

Prof. Fouché is the author of Black Inventors in the Age of Segregation: Granville T. Woods, Lewis H. Latimer, and Shelby J. Davidson (Johns Hopkins, 2004) and editor of the four-volume Technology Studies (Key Issues for the 21st Century) (SAGE, 2008). His current research project considers the interactions between technology and sport. See here for more details.

Shobita Parthasarathy

Associate Professor, Public Policy and Women’s Studies, University of Michigan

Prof. Parthasarathy is the author of Building Genetic Medicine: Breast Cancer, Technology, and the Comparative Politics of Health Care (MIT, 2012) and Patent Politics: Life Forms, Markets, and the Public Interest in the United States and Europe (University of Chicago Press, 2017). Her current research considers questions such as: How does social and political context shape the development and implications of science and technology? Why and how have citizens become more critical of scientific and technological development, and the institutions that govern it? How do scientific and other knowledge systems come into conflict in innovation and innovation policy, and what is the best way forward to maximize social benefit and ensure public legitimacy? How can our science and technology policy institutions better achieve the public interest, including social justice? See here for more details.