Subject: 4th STS Italia Summer School Almost Humans: Robotics, Healthcare and STS

Call for Applications

4th STS Italia Summer School

Almost Humans: Robotics, Healthcare and STS

September 5th– 9th, 2017 Catania, Italy

STS Italia, the Italian Society of Science and Technology Studies – in
collaboration with the Department of Political and Social Sciences and the
Department of Mathematics and Informatics of the University of Catania is
organizing its 4th Summer School, “Almost Human: Robotics, Healthcare and
STS”, to be held in Catania (Italy) from September 5th to 9th, 2017.

Goals and main topics

Robotics in its various applications and research fields (work, leisure,
medicine, care, education, military use, etc.) emerges as a set of
technological innovations designed to have a disruptive impact on the economy,
politics, and society. Technological artifacts pervasively permeate different
spheres of personal and professional life, reconfiguring the relationship
between humans and humans and artifacts. Robots, in their various forms, are a
“presence” which calls/solicits our attention. After colonizing factories
and research laboratories, robots, humanoid or animal, “dispersed” in our
technological environments as meta-media (the chatbot, for example), or as
professionals of care, are already living among us, populating our cities,
inhabiting our homes, taking care of us, and even observing what we do.
Consequently, the development of robotics raises new questions in a great
number of ethical, legal, social and anthropological issues.

The STS Italia Summer School aims to address the challenges posed by recent
developments in robotics and artificial intelligence through a variety of
approaches, theoretical frameworks and methodological insights. PhD students
and early career researchers in Science and Technology Studies (STS) are
invited to participate in a joint reflection that will try to trace some
interdisciplinary interpretative frameworks and to propose a space of exchange
between social sciences and scientific research.

A particular attention will be given to the role of robotics in the field of
health and care. We would like to question the relationship between
technological innovation and new practices, or relationships, of care; to
question the professional reconfigurations and skills modified by the
introduction of assistive technological devices to the cure gesture (surgery,
for example) and care practices (in homes and hospitals); to highlight the
different concepts of care receivers and care givers that emerge in the
contexts of innovation and in always singular and specific contexts of
practices andeveryday life (prosthetics, assistive robotics, etc.). These
issues can be addressed more politically and institutionally (issues of
surveillance, infrastructures, social, economic and research policies); at an
intermediate level, in the boundaries between private and public sector (in
particular as regards the transfer of skills and practices between place of
cure – hospital - and place of life - home); at individual level in familiar
and professional relationships of care. A question that surely crosses the
technological, sociological, institutional and ethical aspects is the concept
of autonomy (of person, of patient, of devices, of familiar or professional
collectives), which increasingly includes the human and non-human relationship
in its definition, in particular in the healthcare field.

This summer school introduces participants to major approaches, exploring new
research frontiers and emerging themes under ethical, cultural and
socio-technical perspectives:

Autonomy (of technological devices, of person, of systems), which includes the
notion of enable/disable, empowerment, accessibility, dependency;

Robotics in work’s contexts (in particular in healthcare);

Human/non human relationship (in particular in healthcare, which includes non


Imaginaries of the body, the machine, the hybrid (cyborg);

Ethical and legal approaches;

Technological innovation in healthcare: state of the art, perspectives,

Epistemological and theoretical approaches to robotics and AI;

Technological innovation in healthcare and disabilities and gender studies;

Confirmed speakers

Nathanael Jarassé (ISIR Paris)

Louis Neven (Avans University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands)

Giovanni Muscato (University of Catania, Italy)

Fiorella Operto (Scuola di Robotica and CNR, Genoa, Italy)

Michael Schillmeier (University of Exeter, GB)

Bruno Siciliano (University of Naples, Italy)

Guglielmo Tamburrini (University of Naples, Italy)

How to apply

The application form is available here. After space for personal details, the
form includes a place to upload a short scientific CV (maximum 2 pages) and a
statement of interest (maximum 500 words), which should describe the
applicant’s current research and its relevance to the aims of the summer
school. Finally, a statement of purpose (maximum 500 words) is mandatory only
for scholarship applications.

Applications must be submitted electronically to the Summer School Organizing
Committee at: <>.
Applications deadline is June 15th.

Important dates

June 15th, 2017: Applications deadline.

June 25th, 2017: Notification for participation and for scholarship

July 10th, 2017: Registration deadline.

For any further questions regarding the school not hesitate to contact the
Organizing Committee via email at
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