GRiSTS 2021

Disrupted Lives

Linking, De-linking and the Infrastructures of Recovery

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

The 2021 conference will take place October 28-30 on Zoom.

GRiSTS is an open invitation to students in any discipline to discuss the policy, politics and governance of S&T. We aim through this work to connect students across universities in the Northeast to a growing network of STS research and mentoring in areas of shared intellectual interests and practical concern. Through these connections we hope to better appreciate our own professional roles, as graduate students and young scholars, in propagating inclusive, yet critical, understandings of S&T in global society.

Please click on the links below to access the Program, register to virtually attend, join our Slack for GRiSTS 2021 and subscribe to our GRiSTS mailing list.

2021 Theme

Disrupted Lives: Linking, De-Linking

and the Infrastructures of Recovery

The extraordinary disruptions of the past year underscore the sweeping connections between science and technology (S&T) and the movements of global social life. Known through science, the virus infiltrated and modified the infrastructures that sustain our health, our economies, our modes of governance, and our visions of post-pandemic futures. Public health science suddenly arrested the flows of global economic activity. National governments selectively legitimated forms of expertise that just as selectively shut down arenas of public interaction and social congregation. Open demonstrations against injustice, borrowing the technologies of mass protest, erupted after months of expert-ordered confinement. In each case S&T played as much of a leading role in creating and framing problems as in solving them. Yet the discourses of recovery are studded with calls for scientific and technological innovation to recover the promise of sustainable life on a shared earth.


In a present full of unprecedented uncertainties for biological and social life, we are showcasing graduate work that reflects on the role of S&T in restoring healthier bodies, more sustainable economies, and more inclusive politics. This work from graduate students in STS and neighboring fields represents a range of contemporary and historical domains: AI, biotechnology, climate science, digitalization, economics, IT, public health, medicine, security, urban planning and more. Their papers explore the role of S&T as instruments of governance and their implications for shaping the politics and policies of recovery. We hope through our collective conversation to problematize the role of S&T in linking or de-linking pre-pandemic modes of life: breaking ties between space and work, school or commerce; amplifying injustice through mass surveillance and intrusive public health regimes; and using advances in data science and modeling to justify draconian measures targeting behaviors seen as unsafe or risk enhancing. We will critically examine how knowledge and innovation constitute themselves as infrastructures of recovery as much as they may also serve as forces of future disruption.

About GRiSTS

GRiSTS 2021 is hosted by students in the Program on Science, Technology, and Society at Harvard University and in schools across the Northeast.

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

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

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

Special thanks to Nick Miller for his photography in support of our conference.