Infrastructuring Transnational STS


Kim Fortun, University of California Irvine

draft text

Transnational STS works against entrenched conceptual, social and political hierarchies, tuning STS to differently ordered problems and possibilities. Transnational STS works to decenter Euro-American dominance of scholarly space and analysis, for example, and to address expansive challenges calling for unprecedented levels of coordination across disciplines, geography and generation. Transnational STS thus depends on creative design, imaginative tactics and durable (while lightly structured) infrastructure. It must be a “recursive public,” akin to recursive publics like the Free Software movement described and conceptualized by Chris Kelty -- a public that has the capacity to build, continually modify and sustain its own conditions of possibility, a public that is theoretically inflected while empirically grounded, working against the grain, identifying critical “design logics.” In this presentation, we’ll describe an array of experimental projects guided by these “design logics”: STS Across Borders,” and “Innovating STS,” projects run within 4S’s 2018 and 2019 annual conferences that included the making of both digital archives and gallery exhibits in the conference venues; the Quotidian Anthropocene project, designed to create situated, place-based as well as comparative perspective on the Anthropocene in different settings; the Visualizing Toxics projects in which geographically distributed participants have worked to extend the use of visualization to understand and communicate complex problems like toxicity. All of these projects leverage the Platform for Experimental Collaborative Ethnography (PECE), open source software designed with STS perspective. These projects will be presented as first, experimental steps toward transnational STS, pointing to what infrastructuring transnational STS will entail.


Creative Commons Licence



Contributed date

March 20, 2020 - 7:51am

Critical Commentary

Abstract submitted to 4S 2020 open panel on Transnational STS



Cite as

Kim Fortun, "Infrastructuring Transnational STS", contributed by Aalok Khandekar, STS Infrastructures, Platform for Experimental Collaborative Ethnography, last modified 20 August 2020, accessed 1 October 2023.