EASST2018 conference

25-28 July 2018
Lancaster University, UK

Meetings: Making Science, Technology and Society Together

The 2018 EASST conference will take place at Lancaster University, which is set in 560 acres of beautiful parkland and lies approximately three miles south of the City of Lancaster. The campus is easily accessible via road, rail and bicycle. There is a direct train service from Manchester’s International Airport. You can read more about the hosts, the Lancaster Centre for Science Studies (CSS), here.

Follow the conference on Twitter @easst2018, and use #EASST2018.

The call for panels is now closed and the Programme Committee is reviewing the proposals. Convenors will be informed of the Committee’s decisions by December 4th and the Call for Papers will open on December 8th.

Theme

The word ‘meeting’ contains rich and diverse meanings. In English we find the following: an act or process of joining or coming together of people or things; an intersection or confluence; an encounter; an assembly; a place and time for discussion or decision; a space for dissent, battle, entertainment or contest; and (archaically) a unit of measurement.

Meetings has critical resonance at this time. Political and social forces – such as Brexit, Trump’s Presidency in the US, the rise in support for PVV in the Netherlands and for Front Nationale in France – seek to undo many relations and connections and to establish new, often exclusionary and destructive, alliances. That is, the politics of meetings is not a choice between doing or not doing relations, but rather to think about which actors meet and how, and to curate meetings that make some things present and other things absent. In this context, and in step with many other progressive responses, the EASST 2018 Conference will explicitly bring together, promote and celebrate meetings between, and differences within, the cultural and intellectual constituencies of STS.

STS is located at the connexions of people, things and values. It is engaged with our sociotechnical lives and explores our interdependencies with multiple others. Preoccupations with logic and epistemology in early STS have been mixed with an intensified concern with aesthetics, values, ontologies, politics and emotions. Our conference theme promotes generative mixing through meetings in all senses of this word: as a practical activity, a substantive topic, a political engagement and as theoretical exploration. By doing so, we hope to open up ways to imagine how things within STS and in our social and political lives can be otherwise.

We warmly welcome you to Lancaster as a meeting place for STS scholars. Given the theme of meetings we have ‘un-structured’ the conference. We have identified a series of streams that have built upon the etymology of the word meetings in STS inflected ways. Our aim is that we will each encounter STS work in many different contexts as we seek analytic, critical and practical engagement with the theme of meetings. So, we invite you to think about your contribution in response to the following streams.

1. Encounters between people, things and environments
This stream has broad application in STS and contributions may focus on, for example, materialities, assemblages, the Anthropocene and changing climates, infrastructures in practice and the production and negotiation of risk.

2. Art and craft of joining and keeping things together
This stream invites a focus on doing, embodied knowledge and skills and the performativity of discourse in making and sustaining alliances. Work in this stream may therefore include: makers; engineering cultures, learning and collaborative work, and mending and repair.

3. Confluence, collaboration and intersection
This stream invites exploration of how alignments and intersections occur. This might examine how ‘interests’ take shape, evolve, conjoin through innovation networks, technology adoption, infrastructures and standardisations; the dynamics of how social practices evolve, intersect and re-form over time; or the making of new alliances and forms of inclusive and creative collaboration.

4. Conflict, dissolution, contest
Meetings may be occasions where differences are aired, contested, bolstered or dissolved. This stream may include studies of controversy, ‘scandal’ and public dissent, organisational failure, partings, boundary making, and hierarchies.

5. Assembly, silence, dissent
Meetings may be thought of as spaces where legal, medical and/or environmental matters of concern are worked out, a place for convening publics and professionals. Contributions to this stream could explore how technologies and devices of governance assemble and sometimes silence different entities, recognising some knowledges, marginalising others, and producing unequal conditions of speech.

6. Discovery, discussion and decision
This stream offers a location for studies that explore historical and contemporary ‘moments’ of discovery and innovation, management of uncertainties and the distributedness of deliberation and ‘decisions’. These may be in, for example, the practice of health and medicine, science or urban laboratories, materialist grassroots activism, labs or processes of governance and policy making.

7. Measurement, commensuration, markets and values
The problematisation of measurement has provided a rich seam of work across many fields of STS, for example, in the context of financial markets or the construction of ‘evidence’ in ‘evidence based medicine’. This stream invites analyses of the instruments of measurement, the values they carry, what they make visible and what they erase.

Submissions

Open panel submissions
This year we move away from tracks and are instead organising the conference by the seven streams listed above, with an additional open stream. In the first instance, we invite colleagues to submit panel proposals indicating which stream they fit within. These panels will comprise a maximum of two 90-minute sessions, comprising a maximum of eight presentations.

After decisions have been made as to which panel proposals are accepted, there will be an open call for paper proposals to these panels. Panel conveners will review and accept papers for inclusion within their panel, within guidelines set by the Programme Committee. Members of the Programme Committee will be responsible for overseeing a specific stream and will try to reallocate all abstracts submitted to that stream not accepted within existing panels or proposed to a ‘general’ panel.

Special ‘workshop’ proposals
In addition to open panel proposals, we also invite you to submit proposals for special workshops, involving some element of performance, which might entail practical activities or be a workshop. Given their nature, these ‘workshops’ may be closed rather than open.

Participation
Given the growing size of EASST conferences and the desire to be as inclusive as possible, individuals may be listed for a paper presentation and one other role (such as session convenor, chair or discussant but not a second paper) for a maximum of two appearances.

Facilities
The panel rooms will have a computer, a connected projector, and the facility to plug in laptops if presenters need to do so. Requests for video conferencing, speakers, etc can be made when proposing papers.

Key dates (subject to change)

08/11/2017: Deadline for panel (and workshop) proposals
08/12/2017: Communication of accepted panels, opening of CFP
14/02/2018: Deadline for individual paper abstract submissions (end of CFP)
14/03/2018: Accepted papers published on the website and registration opens
16/05/2018: Early-bird registration ends – prices rise!
25/06/2018: Publication of conference programme

Local organising committee

Brian Bloomfield (Centre for Science Studies/ Department for Organization, Work and Technology)
Dawn Goodwin (Centre for Science Studies/Division of Medicine) (Co-chair of Programme Committee)
Adrian Mackenzie (Centre for Science Studies/Department of Sociology/Data Science Institute)
Nils Markusson (Lancaster Environment Centre)
Maggie Mort (Centre for Science Studies/Department of Sociology)
Celia Roberts (Centre for Science Studies/Centre for Gender and Women’s Studies/Department of Sociology)
Vicky Singleton (Centre for Science Studies/Centre for Gender and Women’s Studies/Department of Sociology) (Co-chair)
Lucy Suchman (Centre for Science Studies/Centre for Gender and Women’s Studies/Department of Sociology)
Bron Szerszynski (Centre for the Study of Environmental Change /Department of Sociology)
Richard Tutton (Centre for Science Studies/Department of Sociology/Institute for Social Futures) (Co-chair)
Gordon Walker (Lancaster Environment Centre/ESRC DEMAND) (Co-chair of Programme Committee)
Claire Waterton (Centre for the Study of Environmental Change/Department of Sociology)
Lisa Wood (Centre for Science Studies/Division of Medicine)

The city

Lancaster is small enough to explore on foot and there are regular bus services linking the city with the campus and with the local area, including the Lake District. Lancaster was designated a Cycling Town in 2005 and has a network of linked cycle tracks in the centre and around. The River Lune and the Lancaster Canal run through the centre. Lancaster has numerous historic buildings including the Castle c1150 (a site of witch trials in 1612 and a jail until 2012) and The Priory c1094. The long standing connection with Quakerism is one of the inspirations for the theme of the conference. The Quakers, also known as The Religious Society of Friends, has its roots in 17C England, when small groups of ‘Seekers’ in towns and villages around the country coalesced around the informal leadership of George Fox. Early Quakers rejected professional priests, and held all life and all places to be equally sacred. They met in each other’s homes, and later in purpose-built ‘meeting houses’ where they waited silently for the Holy Spirit to guide them. Lancaster’s Friends Meeting House was built in 1708 and George Fox spent two years imprisoned in Lancaster Castle for his religious and social dissent and his preaching at The Priory.

There are a variety of cultural activities related to science and technology in Lancaster including a Visitor Centre at the nearby Heysham Power Station. STS scholars at Lancaster have long been associated with local activism on technoscientific issues, for example around Cumbrian hill sheep farmers and the effects of the Chernobyl nuclear accident (1986), the effects of Foot and Mouth Disease (2001) and currently in relation to contestations over fracking.

Lancaster has a wealth of restaurants and public houses, many in picturesque locations such as the canal side. There is also an award winning local brewery and a thriving shopping scene, with many independent shops. The bustling Charter Market is in the city’s historic centre every Wednesday and Saturday, and the Assembly Rooms is worth a visit to browse the eclectic mix of stalls selling vintage, period and retro clothing, comic books, art and memorabilia.

Childcare

We are looking to arrange some form of childcare during the conference. If you would be interested in this provision, please contact the conference administrators (see below).

Enquiries

If you have any queries, please email the conference administrators on conference(at)easst.net.

 

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