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.
Nov 20 2023
In this post, James Merron describes the tensions and contestations over registering, describing and organizing frequencies in the electromagnetic spectrum, based on his ethnographic experience at the Ghana Radio Astronomy Observatory (GRAO) just outside of Accra, Ghana.
Nov 13 2023
In this post, Amanda Domingues, Lissette Lorenz and Barkha Kagliwal take us to a weekend of reflection, recollection, and celebration of Trevor J. Pinch’s work, recounting his unique legacy in the field of STS.
Oct 30 2023
In this post, Mariana Pitta Lima and Bethânia Almeida aim to explore initial reflections from an STS perspective on the production of science in epidemiology and data for health research in Brazil. They suggest that STS can deepen critical reflection on the production of research involving the relationship between population data and health outcomes in specific studies that explore how "the social" enacts on health and disease.
Oct 16 2023
The power of embodied resistance is a major theme of this intriguing LARP initiative in Brazil, as reported by André Sarturi, Carolina Scartezini, Luiz Falcão & Rafa Novak
Oct 9 2023
In this post, El No explores how distinctive patterns of mobilities are produced through the operation of a food delivery platform, Baemin. Drawing on a mobile ethnography conducted in Seoul, El shows how a platform-initiated flow is performed and experienced by the couriers, and how this construction of mobilities becomes a site of politics.
Sep 25 2023
What can sound tell us about the future? Recounting his encounter with the Fjallsárlón glacial lagoon, Lukáš Likavčan invokes a situated philosophy through the act of listening.
Sep 18 2023
By discussing Thailand’s take on ChatGPT with Prof. Soraj Hongladarom (Chulalongkorn University, Thailand), we can appreciate how different approaches to ChatGPT are less due to culturally diverging metaphysical interpretations of reality than due to culturally diverging relations to trust.
Sep 11 2023
In this post, Catriona Gray reports back from a workshop on data materialities and infrastructures at the University of Cambridge and reflects on the field of Critical Data Studies today.
Sep 4 2023
Backchannels Assistant Editor Richard Fadok ferrets out thematic convergences between STS and animal studies at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s Animal Studies Summer Institute.
Sep 4 2023
Flood-control structures on rivers shape the experience of living with floods. In this post, Kanisha Singh reflects on the ambivalence around these structures – their promises and risks – on the Kosi River in India.