"Africa" in Science, Technology, & Human Values

Cite as:

Okune, Angela. 2018. "'Africa' in Science, Technology and Human Values." In "STS in 'Africa' in Formation," edited by Angela Okune and Aadita Chaudhury. In STS Across Borders Digital Exhibit, edited by Aalok Khandekar and Kim Fortun. Society for Social Studies of Science. August.


This essay provides a first glimpse at some of the journal articles published in the 4S journal "Science, Technology and Human Values" from the 1990s to date that work in/on the African continent. Encompasing a diversity of methodological approaches, geographic contexts, and thematic topics, the pieces here are a first look at the range of work that STSHV has published on STS in Africa. A foregrounding of the chronology of the works enables a look at the trends over time that have driven STS inquiries on/about the continent. It is notable that the works explicitly focused on African contexts in "Science, Technology & Human Values" have primarily been published since 2000.

As of May 15, 2018, 177 results emerge from a quick search of “Africa” in the 4S journal "Science, Technology and Human Values". Of these, 120 are research articles. Most of these keyword "hits" were as a result of the mention of "African Americans" within the papers. It is also notable that the works explicitly focused on African contexts in "Science, Technology & Human Values" have primarily been published since 2000. Such work has largely focused on topics related to health, social and economic development, technology, and the biopolitics of race.

This PECE essay helps to answer the STS Across Borders analytic question: “What topics have been prominent in this STS formation in different periods?”

This essay is part of an essay on events that have helped to bring the "STS in Africa" formation together, which is part of a broader exhibit on "STS in Africa."

This essay is also part of an exhibit on Science, Technology, & Human Values (ST&HV).


2007. Langwick. "Devils, Parasites, and Fierce Needles Healing and the Politics of Translation in Southern Tanzania"

Abstract: “In Tanzania, the encounter between a traditional malady called degedege and the modern malady malaria is a fight to participate in the making of the bodies of women and children as well as the agents that afflict them. In their respective settings,...Read more

STS Across Borders In Brief

STS Across Borders is a special exhibit organized by the Society for Social Studies of Science (4S) to showcase how the field of Science and Technology Studies (STS) has developed in different times, places...Read more


2011. Burrell. "User Agency in the Middle Range: Rumors and the Reinvention of the Internet in Accra, Ghana"

“This article is an analysis of rumors about Internet scamming told by Internet cafe´ users in the West African capital city of Accra, Ghana. Rumors provided accounts of how the Internet can be effectively operated by young Ghanaians to realize ‘‘big gains’’...Read more

2013. Tantchou. "Blurring Boundaries: Structural Constraints, Space, Tools, and Agency in an Operating Theater"

Abstract: "This study looks at the interactions between health workers, physical space, surgical tools, and the “patient-body” in an operating theater. My aim is to explore the approaches of Katz, Rawlings, and Collins and to show that when rituals, restrictive...Read more

2016. Foster. "A Postapartheid Genome Genetic Ancestry Testing and Belonging in South Africa"

“This article examines a genetic ancestry testing program called the Living History Project (LHP) that was jointly organized by a nonprofit educational institute and a for-profit genealogy company in South Africa. It charts the precise mechanisms by which the LHP sought...Read more

2016. Shrum et al. "Has the Internet Reduced Friendship? Scientific Relationships in Ghana, Kenya, and India, 1994-2010"

" Has the Internet changed the pattern of social relations? More specifically, have social relations undergone any systematic change during the recent widespread diffusion of new communications technology? This question is addressed using a unique longitudinal survey that bookends...Read more

2017. Tantchou. "The Materiality of Care and Nurses’ “Attitude Problem”"

Abstract: " Health systems in Africa have been widely studied in the social sciences. Several aspects have been addressed in particular: the provision of and access to care, working conditions, the human resources crisis, and patient–provider relations, for example. In this...Read more