TiP members Associate Professor Marisa Cohn, Professor Brit Ross Winthereik and Assistant Professor James Maguire contributed to the recently published field guide “Digital STS. A Field Guide for Science & Technology Studies” edited by Janet Vertesi and David Ribes. The collection, published in 2019, entails twenty-five essays, which are offering new approaches to digital scholarship, methods and the design of digital tools and objects (read the whole field guide here).
Associate Professor in TiP Marisa Cohn, who has been a part of the process from the very beginning, reflects:
“It is so great to see this collection finally in the world after its long journey from workshop series to drafted chapters to edited volume. In 2012, the first Digital STS workshop was hosted at the IT University concurrent with the 4S/EASST Conference in Copenhagen. This workshop kicked off debate concerning what it meant to delineate a “digital” turn in STS. Did digital objects warrant revisiting the STS canon or require new methods? Could we avoid reifying digital ITU or de-marcating a sub-field? What resulted was a commitment to build community by developing a “field guide” of shared experiences working with digital methods and phenomena as STS scholars. “
"The volume's chapter by Brit, James, and Laura exemplifies this approach by sharing their experimentation with the "world-making capacities of infrastructure" by installing a digital energy walk into the landscape of the Northwest coast of Denmark. Their energy walk stitches together stories of energy infrastructures from across Scotland, Iceland, and Denmark, enabling visitors to see and experience infrastructures as aspects of the physical landscape but also as sites of imagination. They share what happens when STS scholars actively design, install, and maintain digital interventions to engage the public in the outputs of anthropological study. This work speak to the role of imagination in our work as STS scholars and how, through digital technologies, we can participate in how we infrastructure our ethnographic field sites, but also in how we tell stories of the seen and unseen of infrastructure. In this sense it truly offers a guide to other STS scholars about how we might intervene in shaping technological imaginaries of the present and future."
"Marisa’s chapter brings the reader into the seldom accessed world of NASA (a large scale outer planetary science mission to Saturn).
Empirically the chapter describes the work of maintaining legacy software over the course of the Saturn mission. The broader analytical context of the chapter challenges us to think about the temporal work of managing software change under evolving managerial and professional regimes. In particular it focuses on how to frame and conceptualize the work involved in stitching old code and new code together.
An insightful piece that highlights the virtues of skillful ethnographic work. Well worth reading!!”