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Message posted on 08/01/2020

Reminder: CfA - Disappearance, maintenance and reinvention in the biographies of technical objects - 8th STS Italia Conference - 18 -20 June 2020, Trieste

                ***apologies for cross-posting***
<br>Dear colleagues,
<br>We are pleased to invite you to submit abstract proposals to our panel*
<br>"Disappearance, maintenance and reinvention in the biographies of technical
<br>objects.* *Perspectives on the transformative vulnerabilities of technology
<br>at the intersection between STS and Media Studies" *(TRACK 13) at the 8th
<br>STS Italia Conference “Dis/Entangling Technoscience: Vulnerability,
<br>Responsibility and Justice”, University of Trieste, Italy, 18-20 June 2020.
<br>Follow this link: and
<br>submit a title, and a short abstract of less than 300 words by February
<br>9th. If you have any questions please email myself at
<br>Best regards,
<br>Sergio Minniti, Diego Cavallotti and Simone Dotto
<br>Track: *Disappearance, maintenance and reinvention in the biographies of
<br>technical objects.* *Perspectives on the transformative vulnerabilities of
<br>technology at the intersection between STS and Media Studies*
<br>Sergio Minniti, University of Padova,
<br>Diego Cavallotti, University of Cagliari,
<br>Simone Dotto, University of Udine,
<br>*Description of the track:*
<br>Over the last years, we have seen an increasing interest in the overlapping
<br>areas of STS and Media Studies towards examining the multifaceted
<br>vulnerabilities of technical objects. Within STS, research on maintenance
<br>and repair practices has been attracting growing attention since the works
<br>of Susan Leigh Star (1999) and Marianne de Laet and Annemarie Mol (2000),
<br>which set the ground for the study of the vulnerability of sociotechnical
<br>networks. A number of contributions have then addressed issues relating to
<br>obsolescence and fragility, durability and tinkering, adaptation and
<br>re-use, to the extent that a distinctive interdisciplinary field of inquiry
<br>– Maintenance and repair studies (MRS) – has emerged. Among the valuable
<br>insights offered by this field of inquiry is the transformative power of
<br>moments of vulnerability, which becomes evident when we consider how
<br>innovation emerges from obsolescence, maintenance and repair, and how new
<br>sociomaterial, ethical and political orders, as well as new geographies of
<br>responsibility are established through the practices that deal with
<br>technical vulnerability.
<br>Similarly, in Media Studies, growing attention has been paid to the to the
<br>ever-shifting relations between “old” and “new” media, to the
<br>the outmoded and the technological dead ends in media history – see, for
<br>instance, Huhtamo and Parikka’s Media Archaeology: Approaches,
<br>Applications, and Implications (2011) - to how “old” media may survive in
<br>residual conditions and be reactivated or reinvented in multiple ways (see
<br>Acland’s Residual Media [2007]), and to how allegedly “dead media” can
<br>materially revived by a politically infomed art method which Jussi Parikka
<br>and Garnet Hertz notoriously described as “hardware hacking” (2012).
<br>Way beyond the strictly historiographic level, the discussion on these
<br>topics raised new social concerns, problematising the effects of the
<br>planned obsolescence pursued by commercial industry as well as the material
<br>aspects of mass-produced technology – which enhanced a focus on the
<br>conditions of hardware circulation, accumulation, disposal, decomposition,
<br>recycling and renewal also from an ecological angle.
<br>This growing awareness that the study of media change should include their
<br>life cycles as material objects, reflects a more general interest in taking
<br>into account the moments of transformation in the social biographies of
<br>media technologies which often correspond to their critical moments of
<br>We aim to enable a fruitful discussion between exponents from the fields of
<br>STS and Media Studies concerning the manifold processes of transformation
<br>fostered by or related to the vulnerabilities of technical objects over the
<br>course of their biographies. Thus, we call for papers which address, among
<br>others, questions about differences in understandings and vocabularies as
<br>well as explorations of empirical, methodological, and theoretical
<br>Deadline for abstract submission: *February 9, 2020*
<br>*Abstracts submission*
<br>Submission (to the conference email address 
<br> and to the emails of convernors' selected track)
<br>should include:
<br>1. Author's name and surname, affiliation and email address
<br>2. Presentation title
<br>3. Abstract (less than 300 words)
<br>Sergio Minniti, PhD
<br>Research Fellow
<br>Department of Philosophy, Sociology, Education and Applied Psychology
<br>University of Padova, Italy
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