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Society for Social Studies of Science

4S 2017 Boston

Heatmap of Boston’s most photographed locations, using geo-tagging and user data

Annual Meeting of the Society for Social Studies of Science (4S)

Boston, Massachusetts 

August 30 – September 2, 2017

Sheraton Boston Hotel, 39 Dalton Street

4S Monitoring Travel Ban and Boycotts

4S has published a statement on the rapidly evolving U.S. political situation, reaffirming the internationalism of 4S, in fact and spirit, as well as our deep appreciation for the diverse experiences and perspectives that 4S members bring to our collective work. We encourage anyone planning to submit an abstract to do so, even if they may be prevented from attending the conference owing either to border restrictions or to matters of conscience.  If the Executive Order remains in place into the summer, those unable or unwilling to attend will be included in the program, and their decisions regarding participation noted as requested.

Conference theme:    STS (In)Sensibilities

If sensibility is the ability to grasp and to respond, how might we articulate the (in)sensibilities of contemporary technoscience?  How, similarly, can we reflect on the extent and limits of our own sensibilities as STS scholars, teachers, and activists?  The conference theme invites an open reading and exploration of how the world is made differently sense-able through multiple discourses and practices of knowledge-making, as well as that which evades the sensoria of technoscience and STS.  Our aim is that the sense of ‘sense’ be read broadly, from mediating technologies of perception and apprehension to the discursive and material practices that render worlds familiar and strange, real and imagined, actual and possible, politically (in)sensitive and ethically sensible.     

We welcome open panel and closed session proposals, individual paper submissions, and proposals for events that are innovative in their delivery, organization, range of topics, and type of public.  Due to the growing number of submissions and our desire to be as inclusive as possible, each participant will be strictly limited to only one paper or media presentation and one other activity (such as session chair or discussant), for a maximum of two appearances. Participation in the Making and Doing event (see below) is not counted toward this limit.

Program Committee

Heather Paxson (MIT, Chair)
Daniel Breslau (Virginia Tech)
Claudia Castañeda (Emerson College)
Tarleton Gillespie (Cornell, Microsoft Research New England)
Mary Gray (Indiana University, Microsoft Research New England)
Nick Seaver (Tufts)
Banu Subramaniam (University of Massachusetts-Amherst)
TL Taylor (MIT)
Lucy Suchman (Lancaster University)

Important Dates

Nov 15. Call for open panels proposals 
Jan 1. Submission closes for open panels
Jan 15.  Call for closed/invited sessions and individual paper submissions and Making and Doing session proposals
March 1. Deadline for submission of closed sessions and individual papers
April 15. Acceptance notification 
May 15.  Preliminary program
June 23. End of early registration
July 21. Registration deadline to be included in the program

Call for Papers, Panels, and Making and Doing Presentations

Submissions now open! Please begin by reading these instructions.

Deadline for Submission: March 1, 2017


Paper submissions should be in the form of abstracts of up to 250 words. They should include the paper’s main arguments, methods, and contributions to STS. You may choose to submit your paper abstract to an open panel, or you can leave panel selection to the program organizers.  In addition to designating one or more topical Research Areas using the drop-down menu, please list up to five keywords to help the program organizers evaluate and assign your paper.


Each session proposal should contain a summary and rationale of up to 250 words, including a brief discussion of its contribution to STS.  A session proposal must contain a minimum of three paper abstracts conforming to the criteria above and may contain up to five, plus a discussant. If the proposal contains fewer than five papers, the Program Committee may assign additional papers to your session to optimize scheduling and participation.

Open Panels

Prior to opening submissions, the program Committee accepted 129 proposals to host Open Panels. Their descriptions are available for perusal across four pages via the menu at left. When submitting a paper, you have the option of nominating your paper for up to three Open Panels. 

The purpose of calling for open panel proposals is to stimulate the formation of new networks around topics of interest to the 4S community. Like any meeting panel, an open panel is a paper session with a theme and a responsible chairperson(s). In contrast to traditional ("closed") session proposals, open panel topics are included in the call for papers, and authors nominate their paper for one or more panels. 

Making and Doing Session

In addition to paper and session submissions, 4S invites proposed presentations for the ‘STS Making and Doing’ event.  The Making and Doing event aims at encouraging 4S members to share scholarly practices of participation, engagement, and intervention in their fields of study. It highlights scholarly practices for producing and expressing STS knowledge and expertise that extend beyond the academic paper or book.  

Participation in the Making and Doing event does not count toward limits on conference participation described elsewhere. Making and Doing proposals are submitted through a dedicated form found at the same location as paper and session submissions. Read the full Call here.

Important Details: New Login System

New this year, you will log into the submission site with the same credentials you use to log into the 4S Members site. (No more remembering two different logins.) The two sites sync automatically, so you are more likely to find current information in the submission site than before. If you change your contact information or affiliation on the Members site, the submission site should update within the hour.

If you don't remember your password, please go to that site first to recover it. If you don't have an account, you can create one from either location. You do not need to be a 4S member to submit. 

Note also that all participants in your submission (presenters, co-authors, etc.) will have to have an account with the web sites in order to be included in the program. You will be prompted in the submission process to look for their account. If one does not exist, you can create one for them will little trouble.

Begin your submission here.

Contact Information

For information on conference and program practices, acceptance status, and scheduling, contact the Program Chair, Heather Paxson.

For technical assistance with the submission or registration process, contact the 4S Administrator.


The meeting will be held at the Sheraton Boston Hotel. To reserve a room at the conference rate, call the Starwood Reservations Center at Reservation Center at 1.888.627.7054 provide the group code ‘4H29AA’ or simply book online.