From 18 to 21 August 2020, the EASST/4S conference will take place in Prague.
How has the world changed since 2016 when EASST and 4S met in Barcelona? Since then, efforts to frame “alternative” approaches and futures appear to have been co-opted by powerful actors. Big Data has been fiercely replacing former identities with digital identities for humans, animals and artefacts. Geopolitical and epistemic centres have further multiplied. The global temperature of the planet continues to increase, as do global emissions of CO2. Wildlife biodiversity is decreasing, while the first CRISPR-Cas engineered babies with altered germlines were born. Modern nation-states have become more unstable even as we see the tentative emergence of new collectives and solidarities. The #metoo campaign has sparked a new wave of articulations of and conflict over gender power asymmetries contributing energy to other ongoing efforts against asymmetric differentiations and exclusions in and beyond academic contexts.
These are just some of the major shifts that create feelings of urgency, unease and confusion. Calls to “act now” proliferate. And yet, while technoscience and its products ever more tangibly shape the planet and lives, politicians, publics, and even academics feel helpless.
STS scholars are invited to examine such spiralling changes that generate these feelings of urgency and powerlessness in ways that make our research relevant to wider academic and non-academic publics. For the meeting in Prague, especially inquiries are welcomed into longer term continuities and discontinuities and material legacies of modernity—both desired and undesirable—that have been built into our sociotechnical infrastructures and ways of living. The conference want to pay special attention to the ways in which geopolitical, economic and epistemic globalization is localized and distributed over Planet Earth. What are the means and ends of STS in different places? What does it take to intervene and be relevant here and there? Whom do we want to speak and act with? Who wants to speak and act with us?
Further information can be found on the conference homepage (external link).