Dear EASST members

by Maja Horst

In the EASST Council, as everywhere else, we are horrified by the events taking place in Ukraine. We wish to express our deepest sympathies with all the people who are currently suffering as a result of this terrible war. First and foremost, our thoughts are with the people of Ukraine. We also want to express our sympathy for all other victims of this war, including people in Russia and Belarus, who are experiencing hardship, trauma and oppression. As we know from our scholarship, the entire world is interconnected in ways we rarely think about. We do not yet know the full extent of the suffering unleashed by this war. However, we fervently hope that it ends soon and that more constructive and peaceful interactions can begin.

EASST Council does not have a specific policy on international relations. However, we have taken one important decision. We will not from now allow EASST funds to be used for expenses related to individuals from institutions in Russia and Belarus. We have not yet decided if further sanctions should be applied to the conference in Madrid. We will decide on this at the next Council meeting. If you, the membership, have opinions about this, please do let us know.

As you will see elsewhere in this edition of EASST Review, preparations for the Madrid conference are gathering speed under the excellent leadership of Vincenzo Pavone. We are all very much looking forward to this opportunity to meet in person after our long stay-at-home. Unfortunately, COVID restrictions mean that the banquet and party space will accommodate fewer people than we would like. We have not been able to find a better alternative. However, we are sure that all of you will have a good conference and find ways of enjoying the reunion.

While the conference takes up much of the attention of the Council, we have also discussed other points of importance. We have decided to allocate two more portions of EASST funding to activities that support our scholarly community. We are also finalizing decisions on the EASST awards – which will be given at the conference in Madrid – and we have discussed general issues of governance regarding our two publications (the journal Science and Technology Studies and the EASST Review). In the Autumn we will continue our discussion of the future publication landscape of STS in Europe. If you have input towards this, please let us know.

I want to express my deep gratitude to Ulrike Felt who has stepped down as President of EASST after serving in this capacity the last five years. Uli is a source of scholarship, strength and fun that we have all benefitted from in so many capacities. You will find in this Review a nice collection of excellent reasons for why Uli has been crucial for the development of the field of STS in Europe. I hope you will join me in Madrid, when we will thank her in person.

Finally, one person, who sadly will not be at the conference is our dear friend and colleague, Trevor Pinch. Many of us have fond memories of Trevor (one improvised whisky-tasting session at the Copenhagen conference comes particularly to my mind). But Trevor would not want us to stop having fun, enjoying each other’s company and being playful. Even in the terrible circumstances we find ourselves in. Let us enjoy life and the possibilities for engaging in scholarship on matters we find so fascinating and worthwhile.

Maja Horst, EASST president