[Air-L] Call for Papers: Five Sessions with a Latin American Emphasis, 4S Cleveland, Nov. 2011

Rick Duque rickduque at yahoo.com
Fri Feb 18 08:29:04 PST 2011

Five Sessions with a Latin American Emphasis
Society for Social Studies of Science (4S)Annual Meeting.
November 2-5, 2011, Cleveland, Ohio USA.

This year the 4S gathers in Cleveland, Ohio.  The issues dominating the news continue to be the global economic crisis, human rights (freedom, education, health), energy constraints, climate change, sustainable development, and global terror.  These inter-dependent challenges inspire much popular and scholarly attention, while advances in science and technology over the past century are often framed as both the culprit and panacea in discussions of how we arrived in these troubled global waters and how we might navigate our way out of them.

As has been noted in past STS work, the manner in which science and technology are produced or translated and then employed to address challenges depends greatly on historical and national contexts.  The production of knowledge about the interactions of science, technology and society is not exempt from this contextualization.  Yet much like the production of tehno-scientific knowledge, STS knowledge production remains primarily EuroAmerican despite the field's attempts to broaden its conceptual perspectives.

The 4S has committed to reducing the geographical and intellectual barriers that have divided and at times isolated global STS communities.  To this end, the 2014 4S meeting is scheduled for Buenos Aires, Argentina in conjunction with the annual meeting of its Latin American counterpart ESOCITE.  To continue the dialogue on Latin American STS (that stretches back to the 2004 Paris 4S joint meeting with EASST), the 4S Latin American section is proposing five thematic sessions for this year’s conference in Cleveland, Ohio. 

The general goal of these five sessions is three-fold: 
(1)	To explore the contributions to thinking about science, technology and society by scholars in Latin America: past and present.
(2)	To provide scholars from around the world working on Latin American STS issues a space to showcase their investigation and findings.
(3)	To further contextualize how science and technology innovation, diffusion and adaptation in Latin America are antecedents for, and perhaps solutions of, global and local challenges in this region.

Papers are invited to contribute to the following five thematic sessions:

1. In search of “lines of flights” in Latin America 
Session Organizer: 
Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro

Session Description: 
Reliable knowledge today is strongly identified with scientific knowledge.  The overwhelming majority of scientific facts and artifacts, however, are produced in the North and arrive in their stable forms (as ready objects) in Latin America, where they enjoy the attributes of universality and neutrality (in spite of STS results).  In these terms it is possible to say that modern sciences from the West provide a cage that confines the space available for Latin Americans to search for solutions of their practical problems, since it would make no sense “to do” spaces and times or propose objects outside universal and neutral knowledge – they would be “simply wrong” since Latin Americans usually lack the resources to build counter-laboratories.  As an example, in the name of science the Brazilian Association of Nutritionists oppose local habits of nutrition that are found effective by large parts of the Brazilian population to nourish their
 children.  This session indicates a special welcome to papers about programs and/or controversies involving conflicts between Western scientific knowledge and local practical knowledge.

2. Technologies of Health Care in Latin America
Session Organizer: 

University of Manchester

Session Description: 
Given that the STS work on Latin American’s appropriation and transformation of technologies is increasing in numbers and relevance, we propose a panel that explores STS on health care technologies in Latin America.  The panel has three objectives. 
(1)	To present the diverse academic interest and scientific productions from people working on medical technologies in Latin American realities
(2)	To give room to discussing the theoretical and methodological contribution that such scholars are making to the broader field of STS studies.
(3)	To enable a network of scholars, with similar interest, in the area of STS and medical technologies working in and on Latin America.

Papers are invited to address issues such as: Approaches at studying specific medical technologies; studies addressing medical technologies in relation with social processes; and studies on power/knowledge struggles over medical or technological authority

3. Bio-technologies: Policy, Practice, & Scientific Change in Latin America
Session Organizer: 
EHESS-CNRS, Paris, France
Session Description: 
Biotechnology represents an important 'growth' area, in terms of scientific knowledge and publication possibilities, as well as presenting potentially applied uses.  It has been suggested as an important way of improving agricultural cultivars; as a way of mapping, managing, and profiting from biodiversity; as a way of protecting a country's genetic patrimony; and as a way of creating new industrial and medical applications. 

This panel aims to foster discussion about biotechnology and Latin America by asking the following three questions: 

(1)	How has Latin America interacted with biotechnology? 
(2)	How have the policies and practices surrounding biotechnology in Latin America compared to wider, global trends?
(3)	 How are biotechnologies part of wider processes of scientific change?

4. The Global South and the Global Cyberspace
Session Organizer:
University of Toronto

Fifteen years ago an American poet living in California proclaimed the Declaration of Independence of Cyberspace, a world “both everywhere and  nowhere,” foretelling the coming obsolescence of the “Governments of the  Industrial World” from China to the United States, thanks to the rise of  the new digital information and communication technologies.  In the  following years, those technologies have played a key role in the  visions of the coming globalized world.  At the same time, the Cyberspace has for the most part been a “northern” domain.

This panel will explore the place of the Global South in the Global Cyberspace, as well as more broadly the relationship between ICTs and globalization in southern contexts.   We welcome papers looking at how ICTs are used by different actors as tools in their own globalization projects, as well as papers looking at the increasing globalization of the development of ICTs.  The latter could include the more recent outsourcing of what used to be considered “northern” high-tech work to the south, the increased role of the distributed communities of software developers (including those working on free / open source software), as the well as the more mundane importation of “northern” ICTs into the southern contexts.

The papers should focus on the Global South, including in particular Latin America, considering either the south-north ties or the lateral ties between southern regions. Historical perspectives on the relationship between ICT and globalization would be highly welcome, including those looking back to the days before the 1990s.

5. Environment, Technology and Society Interactions in Latin America
Session Organizer: 

University of Vienna

Session Description: 
This panel converges upon research focused on both the natural and anthropogenic risks inherent when communities and environments collide.  The impact and aftermaths of tragic tsunamis/floods in Indonesia, the US gulf coast, and Pakistan and recent earthquakes in Italy, China, Haiti, and Chile reminds us that both resource poor and rich communities are at risk of extreme natural forces, technological failures, bureaucratic mismanagement and root social asymmetries.  In resource-poor regions, environmental and technological risks are often magnified and the resilience of marginalized communities and indigenous peoples tested often beyond their limits.  To address sub-regional distinctions and offer solutions, this session invites comparative and case study papers that delve into historical and contextual accounts of colonial and post-colonial environmental and technological dialogues in Latin America.  

The session is particularly interested in attracting work that compares indigenous and non-indigenous techno-scientific responses to the environmental and social challenges of free-market global development like for example climate change, ozone depletion, water controversies, urban sprawl, waste management, alternative energy sources, disaster preparedness, industrial and natural toxic exposure, and the conservation of indigenous forests, fisheries and sacred artifacts and lands.

Please send an abstract of a paper (minimum 250 words, maximum of 400 words) to the appropriate session organizer above.

Submission deadline: March 7, 2011.


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