Graduate Research in STS

13-15 October 2022 || Harvard Kennedy School

Welcome to the the Third Annual Conference on Graduate Research in Science and Technology Studies (GRiSTS).

Applications for the 2022 GRiSTS Conference are now open. Please submit abstracts (up to 350 words) by Monday August 29, 2022 at 5pm. Note that students are responsible for their own transportation to and accommodations during the event.

The GRiSTS conference invites students from any discipline to discuss the relations of S&T with policy, politics and governance in modern societies. Through sharing their work, students from universities across the Northeast connect to a growing network of STS research and mentoring in areas of shared intellectual interest and practical concern. Fostering these connections will allow young researchers to better appreciate their own academic contributions and professional roles, as well as build inclusive, yet critical, understandings of S&T in global society.

2022 Call for Proposals

Re-centering the Social: Technoscience in Crisis Times

The past year has been a time of re-imagining the forms of previously taken for granted sociality that were disrupted or held in abeyance during the COVID-19 pandemic. The public health responses to the pandemic deployed science and technology in ways that brought pre-existing social problems into sharper focus, as well as ushered in new ones that have only worsened with the destabilization of economic, legal, and political orders. War re-emerged in Europe; the virus surged into its third year, overwhelming vaccine protection; labor markets proved unstable; and crises of democracy became ubiquitous. Climate change remained high on policy agendas as extreme heat waves and food and energy shortages broke out across the world. In the US, a landmark court decision deprived women of reproductive rights granted under Roe v. Wade in 1973.

Work in Science and Technology Studies (STS) has long placed the materiality of science and technology (or what STS scholars call “technoscience”) at the center of analysis. Yet the pandemic helped illustrate immediate and obvious ways in which technoscience is implicated in re-centering the social – aligning social orders around new or different understandings of sociality and the social good – in the wake of crisis. To take an immediate example, information and communication technologies have been re-designed to create more fluid boundaries between work and home and between virtual and in-person modes of sociality. However, the social challenges in the post-pandemic world involve much more than communication, reaching into issues of border control, data collection, state surveillance, medical innovation, energy sustainability, food security, development and inequality, humanitarian aid, and care for the vulnerable. For this conference, we welcome any work that illuminates how people are re-centering the social and responding to crisis times with the aid of technoscience.  

GRiSTS 2022: Re-centering the Social, the first in-person GRiSTS event, will take place October 13-15 at the Harvard Kennedy School. Interested presenters should submit (up to 350 word) abstracts of work in STS and neighboring fields. Proposals may examine questions from a range of contemporary and historical domains: AI, biotechnology, climate science, digitalization, economics, IT, public health, public policy, medicine, security, urban planning, and more. We welcome submissions that explore the role of technoscience in the making and unmaking of regimes of democratic accountability, authority, and trust; in legitimating some forms of collective life and not others; in shaping understandings of democracy, justice, and the public good; and in configuring imaginations of possible forms of coexistence and cooperation and their alternatives. We especially welcome projects that can deepen our collective capacity, as graduate students and young scholars, to fashion more critical and cosmopolitan understandings of the place of technoscience in the world.

About GRiSTS

The Conference for Graduate Research in STS (GRiSTS) is coordinated by students in the Program on Science, Technology, and Society at Harvard with help from students across the GRiSTS network.

To receive updates about the conference and related events, subscribe to the GRiSTS mailing list.

Please contact the conference organizers with questions at gristsconference@gmail.com.

GRiSTS is institutionally supported by the Harvard University Center for the Environment and the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs.

Image credit: Wassily Kandinsky, Moscow I at The State Tretyakov Gallery.