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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

Dear colleagues,

We are pleased to invite you to submit abstract proposals to our panel
"Disappearance, maintenance and reinvention in the biographies of technical
Perspectives on the transformative vulnerabilities of technology
at the intersection between STS and Media Studies"
(TRACK 13) at the 8th
STS Italia Conference “Dis/Entangling Technoscience: Vulnerability,
Responsibility and Justice”, University of Trieste, Italy, 18-20 June 2020.

Follow this link: and
submit a title, and a short abstract of less than 300 words by February
9th. If you have any questions please email myself at

Best regards,

Sergio Minniti, Diego Cavallotti and Simone Dotto


Track: Disappearance, maintenance and reinvention in the biographies of
technical objects.
Perspectives on the transformative vulnerabilities of
technology at the intersection between STS and Media Studies

Sergio Minniti, University of Padova,
Diego Cavallotti, University of Cagliari,
Simone Dotto, University of Udine,

Description of the track:
Over the last years, we have seen an increasing interest in the overlapping
areas of STS and Media Studies towards examining the multifaceted
vulnerabilities of technical objects. Within STS, research on maintenance
and repair practices has been attracting growing attention since the works
of Susan Leigh Star (1999) and Marianne de Laet and Annemarie Mol (2000),
which set the ground for the study of the vulnerability of sociotechnical
networks. A number of contributions have then addressed issues relating to
obsolescence and fragility, durability and tinkering, adaptation and
re-use, to the extent that a distinctive interdisciplinary field of inquiry
– Maintenance and repair studies (MRS) – has emerged. Among the valuable
insights offered by this field of inquiry is the transformative power of
moments of vulnerability, which becomes evident when we consider how
innovation emerges from obsolescence, maintenance and repair, and how new
sociomaterial, ethical and political orders, as well as new geographies of
responsibility are established through the practices that deal with
technical vulnerability.

Similarly, in Media Studies, growing attention has been paid to the to the
ever-shifting relations between “old” and “new” media, to the
the outmoded and the technological dead ends in media history – see, for
instance, Huhtamo and Parikka’s Media Archaeology: Approaches,
Applications, and Implications (2011) - to how “old” media may survive in
residual conditions and be reactivated or reinvented in multiple ways (see
Acland’s Residual Media [2007]), and to how allegedly “dead media” can
materially revived by a politically infomed art method which Jussi Parikka
and Garnet Hertz notoriously described as “hardware hacking” (2012).

Way beyond the strictly historiographic level, the discussion on these
topics raised new social concerns, problematising the effects of the
planned obsolescence pursued by commercial industry as well as the material
aspects of mass-produced technology – which enhanced a focus on the
conditions of hardware circulation, accumulation, disposal, decomposition,
recycling and renewal also from an ecological angle.
This growing awareness that the study of media change should include their
life cycles as material objects, reflects a more general interest in taking
into account the moments of transformation in the social biographies of
media technologies which often correspond to their critical moments of

We aim to enable a fruitful discussion between exponents from the fields of
STS and Media Studies concerning the manifold processes of transformation
fostered by or related to the vulnerabilities of technical objects over the
course of their biographies. Thus, we call for papers which address, among
others, questions about differences in understandings and vocabularies as
well as explorations of empirical, methodological, and theoretical

Deadline for abstract submission: February 9, 2020

Abstracts submission
Submission (to the conference email address
and to the emails of convernors' selected track)
should include:

1. Author's name and surname, affiliation and email address
2. Presentation title
3. Abstract (less than 300 words)

Sergio Minniti, PhD
Research Fellow
Department of Philosophy, Sociology, Education and Applied Psychology
University of Padova, Italy
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