Linguists first used the term backchannel to refer to the spontaneous responses and signals that provide interactivity to what is only apparently a one-way communication. Social media users have adopted the term to refer to the unofficial, multi-directional online conversation that parallels formal academic exchange at a lecture or conference. The Backchannels blog is intended to have a similar relationship to scholarly discourse in STS. It provides an outlet for alternative-format scholarly communications, publishing shorter, timelier, media-rich communiques of interest to the global STS community. The editors welcome proposed contributions.

Epistemic violence in STEM textbooks: A Feminist critique of biostatistics

Mar 27 2023

This post raises the issue of epistemic violence in STEM textbooks. The case of Biostatistics textbook that features a disproportionate number of problems on breast cancer, which contain normative assumptions about women's bodies and reproductive choices is examined critically.

The Enantiodromia Yin-Yang Dual Time System

Mar 23 2023

Rey Tiquia describes the challenges for those trying to live according to local space, local time and local culture, while dominated by abstract, universalizing and modernistic temporal systems such as the Gregorian calendar. He offers a possibility of creating a local and situated interpretation of a time system that synchronizes the Traditional Chinese Calendar (TCC) with the Universal Coordinated Time (UTC).

The world in a billion points: Interview with ScanLAB Projects

Mar 13 2023

This week, ScanLAB co-founder William Trossell elaborates on the studio’s 3D scanning work, their collaborations with scientific communities and possibilities for future practice.

A current question: What is STS? A Report on the 2022 STS Turkey Conference

Feb 27 2023

In this bilingual report, Ayşe Ayda Gerçek and Ilgın İrem Gündüz provide a thematic overview of the debates and highlights of the most recent STS Turkey conference.

Performing Bias: Thoughts about Curating Machine Vision Datasets

Feb 23 2023

Linda Kronman reflects on the challenges of designing datasets, recounting her engagement with the subject both as a researcher and an artist.

Great Nicobar’s great betrayal

Feb 19 2023

As the Indian government clears a mega-infrastructure project in Great Nicobar Island situated at the southern tip of the Andaman and Nicobar Island group in the Bay of Bengal, this Backchannels post looks at various reasons why this project is a mega folly as outlined in a special issue of Frontline.

The South as a laboratory (again)? Dealing with calls for “alternatives” in the North

Feb 13 2023

In this piece, Guilherme Cavalcante Silva reflects on the use of the Global South as both a virtue and a laboratory in Global North institutions through his experience as a first-year PhD student in STS in North America.

How can science and technology converse with democracy? A workshop report

Feb 6 2023

Shashank Deora and Gaurav Kapse reflect on a Science, Technology and Democracy workshop in Delhi, highlighting some of the themes of discussions, key insights and broader questions emerging from the workshop for them.

Performing Bias: Thoughts about Curating Machine Vision Datasets

Jan 30 2023

Linda Kronman reflects on the challenges of designing datasets, recounting her engagement with the subject both as a researcher and an artist.

In Memoriam – Día de Muertos

Jan 23 2023

Sandra P González-Santos, Alex Liebman and Teresa Nuñez Fortul reflect on what went into and what came out of the 'In Memoriam' project at 4S 2022, an occasion to remember and celebrate our academic ancestors, those who have been fundamental to our STS community and to our personal stories as academics.

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