Post-Review — Initial Full Paper Submissions

The dSTS community has finished the first round of reviews of full papers!  We are grateful to every member of our community for their considered and helpful reviews. We are so excited about the direction this volume is headed.

Draft papers and reviews are available to view at

Next steps: We will be holding a workshop in advance of 4S Denver on Nov.11th. We encourage all dSTS authors to participate! This will be an opportunity for authors to workshop their paper over the day in a roundtable format with other authors.

Update on dSTS handbook

Thank you for your interest in the digital STS handbook! In June of 2014 we received over 90 paper proposals that brought exciting new visions for the future of STS and the studies of/with digital systems to the fore.

Over the following month members of the community engaged in a ground-up open review process of these proposals. Each proposal received at least two reviews from community members. Based on these reviews the digitalSTS editiorial team solicited papers for the next iteration of the community review process.

Our next round of peer review, discussion, and feedback will occur in spring of 2015. Please log in and follow along and join in! We rely on our community to help us to shape the papers and make them as good as they can possibly be. These are first draft papers, please keep this in mind as you provide constructive feedback!

In advance of 4S 2015, we will hold  a paper workshop and full day panel at 4S in October in Denver. More info on these items is coming soon!

digitalSTS Submission Site Open

We invite one-page proposals for an edited volume on “digitalSTS” that advance our understanding of digital objects, phenomena, processes, and methods in Science and Technology Studies.

Please submit proposals at


May 1 2014 to June 1st 2014

Proposals will be solicited and adjudicated in one of three categories: (1) Theory and Cases, (2) Methods, and (3) Making. To best tailor your proposed submission, we outline the three categories and their expectations below. Click here for more information and a full description of each topic.

Strong contributions will draw direct connections to topics, literatures, and inquiries of central importance to STS. They may also engage contributions from intersecting fields such as anthropology, communications, media studies, computer-supported cooperative work, and human-computer interaction. We encourage the broadest possible participation from individuals and groups working across Science and Technology Studies and its constitutive or intersecting domains.

In line with the principles and practices of the growing digitalSTS community, this Call for Proposals (and Things!) was generated by community members at the digitalSTS Workshop at 4S in October 2013. Submissions will be discussed and adjudicated in an open, online peer review format before the Editorial Team will select and solicit papers. We welcome all members of the STS community to participate in the process of reviewing proposals.

1. Theory and Cases (a.k.a. “The Handbook”): Submissions to the “Theory and Cases” section should explore or propose a significant or novel contribution to STS theory through an empirical case study focused on digital environments, objects, or practices. Through such studies, we aim tobuild a corpus of theory around the digital within STS, and also contribute to larger debates and established topics within the field (for example: social shaping, actor-networks, ontologies, expertise, feminist STS, science and technology policy, etc.). More information.

2. Methods (a.k.a. “The Field-guide”): We seek submissions that address methods and methodologies for studies of the digital, broadly construed, as well as novel approaches that draw on the enabling capacities of digital approaches for investigations of STS topics. The digital presents many novel phenomena and also provokes a reexamination of existing objects of analysis for STS. The styles for submission are broad: we seek exemplary studies that demonstrate methods, or reflexive papers that explore high level methodologies and hands-on approaches. More information.

3. Making (a.k.a. “The Scrapbook”): This section of the Handbook issues a “Call for Things” targeted at an audience of scholars, designers and makers as well as hybrid identities such as scholar/makers. The call is intended to bring together texts as well as visual materials (such as diagrams, images, prototypes, videos) that use design/making to engage with themes and theories about STS (such as power, materiality), design/making for STS (such as how visual materials and hands-on methods can be incorporated into STS) and design with STS (such as collaborations between scholars and makers).More information.

* Note: We recognize that submissions may cross categories; these are provisional and it may be the case that the final handbook is organized otherwise.
Online Submission System Open May 1st  2014
Submissions  Deadline  (One Page Proposal) June 1st 2014
Community Review period: June 1st – July 1st 2014

Submission and Review system at

David Ribes, Georgetown University
Janet Vertesi, Princeton University

Editorial Team
Carl DiSalvo, Georgia Institute of Technology
Laura Forlano, Illinois Institute of Technology
Steve Jackson, Cornell University
Yanni Loukissas, Harvard metaLAB
Daniela Rosner, University of Washington

Stephanie Steinhardt, Cornell University
Matt Burton, University of Michigan
Stuart Geiger, University of California Berkeley

Call for Applications: digitalSTS 2013: Crafting the digitalSTS Handbook

We invite applications for the third workshop on digitalSTS, to be held in advance of the Annual Society for Social Studies of Science Conference (4S) in San Diego, California. This workshop will take place at Cal-IT2 on the University of California San Diego campus on October 8-9th.

The event will gather scholars across Science and Technology Studies and related disciplines who study digital topics (broadly construed) or work with digital tools and materials in their practice. This event follows a successful double-panel at 4S in Cleveland, a workshop at 4S/EASST in Copenhagen, and the Co-Design workshop at Harvard University. We continue to build a network of scholars across our constitutive communities engaging with critical questions of digital life.

This workshop will be a hands-on, working meeting, aimed at assembling a digitalSTS Handbook. All participants will be contributors in this process by identifying potential authors, by producing a preliminary table of contents, and by shaping a vision for each of three sections of the handbook:

  • i) Studies and theories of digital systems and practices (broadly construed);
  • ii) Emerging methods and methodologies for STS investigations, such as digital history, virtual ethnography and computational-analytic tools;
  • iii) STS-informed design, making, hacking, participating and intervening.

We describe these sections in more detail below.

We encourage a wide base of participation to assemble the best possible Handbook, one that sets forth an inclusive agenda for STS studies of/with digital systems that comprise the heterogeneous interests and skills of our community. Work on the handbook will continue following the workshop through an online platform and mix of public and blind peer review.

Application Deadline August 31st 2013

Please submit an application that is no more than a single-spaced page. Include a single-paragraph description of your research, empirical topics and experience in this domain; and a paragraph description of your interest in and prospective contribution to shaping a section of the digitalSTS Handbook. Include contact details and a link to your online presence.

Each participant will focus on one section of the handbook. Please select from one of the three sections of the handbook below to describe your interest in your application:

i) Studies and theories of the digital: STS and related fields have developed and drawn upon a range of theoretical approaches to these topics. Digital systems, cyberinfrastructures, and a variety of computational technologies play a significant role in public life and knowledge-making. This section of the handbook will present the key topics and objects of investigation for digitalSTS, with an emphasis on how they engage with past contributions, current investigations and emerging research trajectories.

ii) Methods and methodologies for STS investigations of the digital.  Many fields are engaging such methods, for example, digital humanities, virtual ethnography, and studies of human-computer interaction. This section will present, address and examine the production and use of new tools, methods, and approaches for the study of STS topics.

ii) STS-inspired design, making, hacking, participation and intervening: STS scholars contribute in unique ways to the world. We hack, we create, and we inform the design of technologies and systems. This section of the handbook will focus on our forms of engagement — past, present and future — with the broader worlds of information, technology and design.

These sections overlap and intertwine in many ways, and many scholars may find their work cuts across multiple categories, but for the purposes of the handbook, participants will choose to focus on one section at a time, with opportunities to link across the sections.

The National Science Foundation, Division of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure, supports this workshop. A limited number of graduate student travel grants are available: please indicate in your application if you would like to be considered for funding assistance.

If you are unable to join us in California this year but would like to be kept in the loop for further developments, as a contributor or as an editor, please join our mailing list by writing an email to

Please visit or email if you have any questions. We look forward to seeing you in California!

Very best,

David Ribes, Janet Vertesi & Morana Alac

Upcoming Codesign Workshop: Designing Data Narratives at Harvard’s Arnold Arboretum

Hosted by metaLAB(at)Harvard: June 27-28, 2013

In the second digitalSTS workshop at the Arnold Arboretum we will be exploring the potential of the “data narrative” as a hybrid genre for the expression of Science, Technology and Society (STS) scholarship. The design of data narratives is a new-media practice that merges distinct cultural forms for organizing knowledge: the database and the narrative. Narratives are linear, sequential, and animated by actors; databases, by contrast, are non-linear, random-access, and driven by algorithms. Data narratives operate in-between, threading visualized data through verbal exposition to produce hybrid timelines, maps, models, animations, and interactive texts. In this context, design can be thought of as the synthetic work of layering disparate ways of knowing. Indeed, as hybrids that leverage both database and narrative structures, data narratives bring the epistemic worlds of science and the humanities together in new configurations useful for telling grounded stories in a form likely to have impact both in scholarly discourse and in broader audiences beyond academe. We see the Arboretum as an ideal context to explore such use of design for STS scholarship and the public understanding of science.

As expressed at its founding in 1872 by director Charles Sprague Sargent, the Arboretum would be many places in one: a research station, a horticultural grounds, a forestry lab. It would also serve as an educational establishment uniquely positioned for what he suggestively called “object teaching.” The woody plants, systematically organized and delicately cultivated, would convey natural history in the flesh, in a splendid setting accessible by urban audiences, lying at the ready for use by diverse experts and plant lovers.

Since the late nineteenth century, of course, these desiderata have been reorganized by a shifting set of norms, practices, and social configurations—not only in plant science and ecology, but in landscape design, higher education, and the city itself. This dynamic interposition of qualities and forces—ecological, social, aesthetic, and pedagogical—has left its traces in the forms of interaction between the institution, the university, and the city; in the reception of the arboretum by varied audiences; and in the very disposition of plants and other living things in the landscape. In data narratives, we see an opportunity to reflect, interpret, and critique these shifting arrangements, and to reinvent Sargent’s concept of “object teaching” for a networked world.

Team Leaders:
Matthew Battles and Kyle Parry, Harvard University
Carl DiSalvo, Georgia Institute of Technology
Kelly Dobson, Rhode Island School of Design
Hanna Rose Shell, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Daniela Rosner, University of Washington
Sara Wylie, Northeastern University

Yanni Loukissas, Harvard University
Laura Forlano, Illinois Institute of Technology
David Ribes, Georgetown University
Janet Vertesi, Princeton University

The Arnold Arboretum
The Consortium for the Science of Sociotechnical Systems
in collaboration with the National Science Foundation Digital Societies and Technologies Research Coordination Network
Microsoft Research

Codesign Workshop: Call for Applications (due April 8th, 2013)

Algae (2004) - Detail by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec

Following upon the success of last year’s digitalSTS event at the 4S Annual Meeting in Copenhagen, we invite your participation in a second workshop. Over the course of two days this summer (June 27-28, 2013) we will use design methods to explore new hybrid forms of materiality in technoscience. This is an opportunity to learn new skills or lead others in making visualizations, maps, models, and data documentaries.

Across domains of science and technology studies, increased attention is being focused on the material dimensions of digital media. Indeed, scholars convened around social studies of materiality are seeking out new methods to study the stuff of “big data,” “information infrastructures,” and the “internet of things.” Moreover, these new phenomena are understood as hybrids, merging digital and non-digital practices that resist simple analysis. We see productive means of engaging with hybrid forms of materiality in the interpretive, collaborative, and interventionist approaches pioneered by designers including codesign, participatory design, design fiction, speculative design, and critical making. Design is particularly relevant to digital studies; through making, it is possible to become a participant in the otherwise opaque technical work of constructing data and other digital artifacts.

The workshop will be staged at Harvard University’s Arnold Arboretum, one of the most comprehensive and best-documented living collections of trees, shrubs, and vines in the world. The Arboretum is equal parts urban forest, museum, and open laboratory. It is a venerable and sprawling site for the public display of scientific objects and knowledge. Workshop participants will take part in hands-on, team-based design projects that leverage the collection’s digital data as well as their woody referents in the landscape. Please join us at this second digitalSTS workshop to explore new tools for taking apart technoscience.

To apply for a spot in the digitalSTS Workshop, please submit the following materials to

1. A 1-paragraph biography

2. A 1-2 paragraph statement of interest in design methods and digital STS

3. A link to your online presence

The application deadline is APRIL 8th, 2013. Participants will be notified soon after the deadline as to the status of their application. We encourage submissions by anyone engaged in digital studies of science and technology. Support for travel and accommodations may be available to graduate students.

This workshop is hosted in cooperation with metaLAB(at)Harvard and the Arnold Arboretum, and supported by funds and in-kind contributions from metaLAB, the Arboretum, NSF’s Office for Cyberinfrastructure, and Microsoft Research.

Copenhagen Workshop: Outcomes and Report

This workshop was a resounding success. Speaking just for us, we had a great time, met lots of new and interesting people, and felt that we moved forward the agenda for community building amongst scholars interested in digital, information and network topics in Science and Technology Studies.

To see photos from the workshop, take a look here. Send us more if you have them!

For a full report of the outcomes of this workshop (written for our sponsor, the Sloan Foundation), please see the attached document. The document also describes our future plans for digitalSTS. We are excited for what is coming in the future.

david and janet.

Report from digitalSTS Workshop at 4S (Copenhagen 2012)


The workshop is getting close.

The schedule is now posted. Check it out. Plan on joining us around 8am – the workshop will end around 5:30/6p; we’ll go for dinner together at 7 and there is an optional drinks meeting at 9:30p.

The participant list will appear shortly.

Tell us your dietary restrictions! Prepare a single intro slide – you have 1 minute!

david and janet.

Copenhagen 2012: Call for Participation

Dear Colleagues,

We invite your participation at a workshop on Digital STS on October 16, 2012, in advance of 4S in Copenhagen, Denmark. Our goal is to attract a range of scholars and practitioners, and to develop a community dialog and prospective publication around STS focused on digital, information and networked technologies.

Practitioners in the field of Science and Technology Studies have made significant contributions to the study of, for example, virtual environments, human computer interface and information infrastructure. Our approaches support research across a variety of disciplinary homes, from information studies to anthropology. STS’s position at the center of so many conversations makes us especially well-placed to build and sustain a coherent community of digital and information researchers and practitioners who sit at this intersection, enabling our new research and theories to impact our field and others around us.

The purpose of this workshop is to bring together scholars in science and technology studies and sociotechnical studies from varying theoretical and methodological perspectives and career stages who work in the domain of digital studies in STS, broadly construed.  The workshop will set the stage for an interactive and vibrant discussion of promising research trajectories, implications for STS theory, and the development of appropriate research and pedagogical tools for digital scholarship in STS. Questions we will explore include: what is the role of critical building or making within STS scholarship? How can digital infrastructures support our STS practice? And with its emphasis on scientific practice and the social shaping of technologies tools, what can STS contribute to Digital Studies more broadly? We will use these questions to move towards shaping an edited volume: a Handbook of Digital Studies in STS.

The workshop will take place on October 16th at the IT University of Copenhagen, and is all day.  To attend, please submit a brief application including 1- a *short* (1 paragraph) biography, 2- a *short* (1-2 paragraph) statement of interest on your approach to the intersection of the digital and STS, and 3- a link to your online presence, emailed to The application deadline is *SEPTEMBER 7, 2012*: participants will be notified within a few days of this deadline as to the status of their application.

We encourage submissions by ‘makers’ and/or ‘thinkers’ in our field: studies of digital practices, virtual ethnographies, demo’s of critical technologies and digital tools to support STS research are welcome. This workshop is hosted in cooperation with the Center for Network Culture at the IT University of Copenhagen, and supported by funds from the NSF’s Digital Societies and Technologies Research Coordination Network.   More information is available at:

Please feel free to pass this e-mail on to other scholars, scientists, writers, bloggers, museum curators, researchers, journalists, short filmmakers, colleagues, graduate students, faculty administrators, departments, and other similar professionals who might be interested.

Kind regards,
Janet Vertesi and David Ribes
Princeton University & Georgetown University