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