EASST-4S conference committee

EASST-4S 2024 conference update: Making, Doing & Transforming

by Teun Zuiderent-Jerak, Michiel van Oudheusden, and Evelien de Hoop on behalf of the EASST-4S conference committee.

We used to feel that we belonged to a small, somewhat marginal field at the fringes of academia. Mostly overshadowed by the dominance of the life sciences, technologies, and medicines we studied, we thought of ourselves as bugs, parasites, and/or idiots. With the help of Serres, Deleuze and Stengers we felt relatively comfortable at these margins, but then abstract submissions closed for this year’s quadrennial EASST-4S conference. It turns out that more people want to present their work at this year’s conference than a large Dutch university is able to host! Over the last few months we have been puzzled, inspired, surprised, and occasionally overloaded by the breadth and quality of your submissions. We have come to realize that STS no longer matches the self-image it grew up with. We may still feel like bugs, parasites, or idiots looking for frictions within our fields of study, but it is clear that STS has grown expansively. This multitude certainly poses organizational challenges. However, it is also a cause for celebration that would not have come together without decades of valuable intellectual-institutional work.

One of the pleasures of serving on an EASST-4S conference committee is the chance to read through so many wonderful abstracts. After this year’s review process, we are already excited about the conversations that will take place in Amsterdam in July. We want to thank all program committee members for their work over the past few months, which involved reviewing open and closed panel submissions, as well as proposals for workshops and roundtables. We also wish to thank the Making & Doing committee for reviewing the enormously creative submissions to the program, and the open panel convenors who did much of the evaluation work for individual abstracts – a difficult task, given the quality of submissions. We hope that this collective academic labor will ensure that this year’s EASST-4S is a truly collective effort curated by scholars from across the field. Finally, we want to thank all who submitted abstracts for your patience. If your abstract could not be included, we ask for your understanding.

New additions

For the STS Making & Doing program alone, we are glad we could accept a record of close to ninety submissions. This includes twelve film contributions to be screened at the Vrije Universiteit’s on-campus cinema. To add to the vibrancy and sense of collective coming together, we are also organizing a Forest Festival event on Thursday afternoon/evening in the Amsterdam city forest (Amsterdamse Bos) a short walk (or bike ride) from the university. A complementary ticket for this event is included in your registration. Be prepared to discover some Dutch STS treasures along the route.

Artist’s impression of the EASST-4S Forest Festival in the Amsterdamse Bos. Image: Chaos Art

A collective effort and experience

The program will be staggered to avoid overuse of toilets, elevators, stairs and coffee spots. This means sessions will not all start and end at the same time. This is one of several changes we have had to make to accommodate the increased number of participants. Whether the increased size of the conference contributes positively to the experience will strongly depend on our ability to mobilize collective intelligence and wisdom. Fortunately, there are many ways of doing so, and many scholars in the field have been kind enough to lend us their valuable experience. There will be early morning academic coaching sessions on Presenting and Connecting at Academic Conferences. There will also be plenty of meet-ups on specific STS topics and sub-fields, to ensure that all nodes within the conference network get the chance to discuss their interests in depth. We will post short videos each morning to the conference website, in conference rooms, and on social media to share our impressions of the previous day. We hope these will make the event feel like both an individual and collective experience. If you have further thoughts on how to strengthen the community feel do not hesitate to let us know at conference@easst4s2024.net.

A key challenge for this year’s committee has been to maintain the spirit that made us feel so at home in STS when we were starting out, for which we call on all your support. Collectively, we hope to transform ideas about what an academic conference can be, and to nurture a sense of community and inclusion in the field now and for years to come.


One way that you can contribute is to join our wonderful team of volunteers. Information regarding volunteer registration is available on the conference website (go to: https://www.easst4s2024.net/volunteer-info/). With just a few weeks to go, the joy of anticipation is picking up, and Amsterdam’s weather gods seem to be saving all the good weather for July!

Teun Zuiderent-Jerak, Michiel van Oudheusden, and Evelien de Hoop on behalf of the EASST-4S conference committee.