Call for Papers: Conference for Graduate Research in Science and Technology Studies, due Jan 31

We are excited to announce a Conference for Graduate Research in Science and Technology Studies (GRiSTS) to be held April 17-18, 2020 at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. We recognize that STS research, broadly defined, is flourishing at many regional universities in a variety of departments and research centers. The implications of this body of work for contemporary policy and politics are more salient than ever. This graduate conference offers an opportunity for students of S+T to explore how best to enhance the cumulative impact of their work and gain additional recognition and support for the STS dimensions of their projects. Participants will discuss areas of shared theoretical interest and benefit from meeting with peers from other fields as well as senior faculty discussants.

Our theme is Submerged Futures: Science, Technology, and the Politics of Forgetting. We are soliciting submissions that interrogate today’s faltering narratives of progress through advances in S&T and consider how best to recover alternative pathways to more promising futures. We encourage work that actively engages with STS scholarship regardless of its formal disciplinary affiliations. The full conference abstract is below.

The Call for Papers is now open. Ph.D. students and early career researchers are invited to submit abstracts of no more than 350 words via the CFP form by January 31, 2020. Successful applicants will be notified by the end of February.

More information is available at

With any questions or comments, please contact the conference organizers at

Conference Theme:

Science and technology (S&T) have long promised to liberate humankind from present ills and future perils. Progress, in this view, comes through new avenues for knowing, making and governing the future for the common good. Yet, as scholars of Science, Technology and Society (STS) have repeatedly shown, such technoscientific promises displace or exclude other avenues for human progress and flourishing. Like the rising oceans that make cities into ruins, the tides of technological innovation submerge the very traces of paths not taken and wash out other visions for possible futures.

In this moment when many of the 20th century’s emancipatory promises, including those of technological progress, have begun to ring hollow, there is a need to recover submerged futures — not for nurturing nostalgia but to surface positive alternatives to the faltering politics of progress. This conference invites work from graduate students in STS and neighboring fields to discuss the topic of submerged futures across a broad range of historical and contemporary topics, including AI, biotechnology, information and communication, medicine, economics, geoengineering, oceanography, climate science, city planning and others. Papers might explore: how some theoretical ideas in these research fields are abandoned or set aside as marginal; how particular efforts to steer progress fail to gain traction; how some policy and governance pathways get closed down by technological innovation; and what distributive consequences arise from erasing some visions of progress at the expense of others.

This regional graduate conference is an open invitation to students of S+T from across disciplines and universities to meet and discuss areas of shared theoretical interest and practical or political concern. Young scholars will have an opportunity to meet peers in related disciplines, work closely with senior faculty discussants, and form connections to like-minded scholars in the broader Boston-area STS community and beyond. To facilitate these discussions, the two-day meeting will be organized into five plenary sessions of four presentations each. Through collective dialogue across disciplines, we hope to arrive at a better appreciation of our own roles, as graduate students and young scholars, in fashioning more inclusive, yet critical, understandings of the place of S&T in the world.