Undoing the Crisis

Science and Technology Studies (STS) Graduate Conference

 York University

Keynote Speakers: David J. Hess (Vanderbilt University) and Michele Friedner (University of Chicago)

Conference Date: June 3rd, 2022

The STS Graduate Association will hold an in-person and online hybrid conference entitled “Undoing the Crisis.”

Our conference is a call for cautious optimism; a moment to bring together scholars from various disciplines to explore the promises of science and technology in order to halt and/or reverse the numerous on-going planetary crises we face. We are open to solutions, particularly those that arise from non-dominant perspectives and/or which reimagine existing frameworks instead of merely applying technical solutions to existing conditions.  

In the spirit of Thomas Kuhn, we are looking for papers that call out technoscientific paradigms facing crises in order to suggest, entertain, or reveal what may come next. Further, what sorts of epistemological, political, and practical shifts are necessary in order to ‘undo’ problematic technoscience?  How can this ‘undoing’ be guided by the creation or revision of socio-technical imaginaries? And finally, what is the role of the public, by way of citizen science and/or social movement theory, in the act of undoing? We hope that answers to these questions will toe the line between reform and revolution. 



Keynote Speaker: Michele Friedner

Title: Camps, Surgeries, and Complex Dependencies: Rethinking Care and Distribution in India

The Indian state relates to the category of disability through the distribution of aids and appliances such as hearing aids, canes, and wheelchairs that are ‘make in India,’ as examples. In 2014, the state modernized its distribution program and started providing cochlear implants to children living below the poverty line. While aspirations exist to create and manufacture an indigenous Indian cochlear implant, currently the state purchases implants from four multinational corporations. This cochlear implant program reveals new directions for the state in regards to engaging with disability and introduces novel assemblages of welfare, medicine, rehabilitation, and multinational capital. In these assemblages, new relationships form between the state, multinational corporations, and families with deaf children. These relationships stretch beyond the one-time disability camp or the one-off surgery and have resulted in opportunities for government administrators, surgeons, and rehabilitation professionals to reinvent themselves in relation to the seemingly miraculous power of cochlear implants while also producing complex dependencies for families with deaf children.

Keynote Speaker: David J. Hess

Title: Climate Change, Energy Justice, and Geopolitics: Negotiating Multiple Crises

This presentation will begin with three multiple crises that are defining the twenty-first century: climate change, energy justice, and the relationship between energy and geopolitics. After introducing some background and connections, I will turn argue for the value of STS research that goes beyond diagnosis and critique to solutions-oriented, problem-based research. I will then discuss the “T” side of STS, specifically the analysis of large technological systems and their transitions, and some of the historical developments in technology studies since the 1980s. I will show some of the strengths and weaknesses of current approaches, then connect this line of analysis in STS with research on mobilized publics, social justice, and democracy. Finally, I will point to how this perspective can contribute to solutions-oriented, problem-based research that is capable of contributing to the opening of opportunities for mobilized publics that seek broader societal changes that address both sustainability transitions and justice and democracy goals.

For any queries please contact gcsilva@yorku.ca


Since 2011, the Graduate Students’ Association (GSA) in the Science & Technology Studies graduate program has organized an annual graduate student conference. While the annual conference theme changes, our goal has always been to foster an environment for interdisciplinary collaboration on the many issues around science and technology. This year’s edition will be the first since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic.

2019 ,(In)visibilities – 5th Binocular Conference with the Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology (IHPST) at University of Toronto

2018, Chimerizations – 4th Binocular Conference with IHPST at University of Toronto

2017, Environments of Science – 3rd Binocular Conference with IHPST at University of Toronto

2016, Looking at Junk – 2nd Binocular Conference with IHPST at University of Toronto

2015, Working Science and Technology – 1st Binocular Conference with IHPST at University of Toronto

2014, Localities

2013, Materials and Methods

2012, Generative Figurations

2011, Apparatuses, Matter, Materialities

Create your website with WordPress.com
Get started