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Message posted on 05/03/2021

CfP 4S Conference 2021: “Corona Truth Wars: Testing and Contesting Knowledge in a Hyper-Mobile Pandemic”

Dear colleagues,

We would like to invite you to submit abstracts for the panel “46. Corona Truth Wars: Testing and Contesting Knowledge in a Hyper-Mobile Pandemic” at this year’s 4S-conference in Toronto from October 6-9, 2021.


The SARS-CoV-2 pandemic created a global crisis challenging humankind to develop as quickly as possible reliable knowledge about the virus and its devastating effects on our bodies and societies in order to minimize such harms. This situation of great uncertainty and enormous stakes incited a historically unique international knowledge producing effort by institutionalized scientists and research groups. While debate and disagreement exists within these scientific communities, more controversial are the various competing “outside” forms and sources of information on the virus and its mitigation strategies. Some are clear disinformation campaigns or far-fetched conspiracy theories, others are legitimate challenges to the temporary status quo. In the hyper-mobile context of knowledge production during an evolving pandemic, it is often hard to tell the difference. Questions such as ‘what information is reliable?’, ‘which experts should we follow?’, and ‘what (epistemic) authorities are to trust?’, take center stage in public debates. Prevalent clear-cut distinctions between “real” knowledge controversies and “fake” disruptions of scientific progress obscure the fact that the global quest for truthful knowledge about the virus is entangled with various (geo)political dynamics, government policy pressures, media reporting, platform moderation and public understandings of it all. STS scholars are perfectly equipped with concepts, theories and methods to help understand these complex dynamics involving uncertainty, changing insights, and (covert) manipulation. In this panel we invite scholars working on such “corona truth wars”: we welcome both empirical and theoretical studies on the cultures, politics and technologies of today’s corona knowledge contestations.

Further reading:


Deadline: March 8, 2021

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

Jaron Harambam

KU Leuven, Institute for Media Studies |

Ehler Voss

University of Bremen, Department of Anthropology and Cultural Research |

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