Program on Science, Technology and Society at Harvard

Harvard Kennedy School of Government | Harvard University


STS Circle at Harvard

The STS Circle at Harvard meets weekly during the academic semester. All Meetings will take place on Mondays, from 12:15–2 pm, at  K262, the Bowie-Vernon Room, Knafel Building, CGIS, 1737 Cambridge Street, unless otherwise noted. Sandwich lunches are provided. Please RSVP to by Thursday noon the week before.

STS Circle schedule poster

Spring 2015

Feb. 2:
Tom Özden-Schilling (MIT, HASTS)
Expertise in Exile: Indigenous GIS and the Precariousness of Professionalization
Feb. 9:
Arunabh Ghosh (Harvard, Weatherhead Center)
CANCELLED: No 'Mean' Solution: The Reformulation of Statistical Science in the Early People's Republic of China
Feb. 23:
Michael Bennett (University of Michigan, Risk Science Center)
The Ascent of Science Fictional Futurity in Anglo-American Legal Thought
Mar. 2:
Steve Caton (Harvard, Anthropology)
Experts in Cruelty: Interrogation in Abu Ghraib and After
Mar. 9:
Geert Somsen (Columbia/Maastricht, History)
'Science and World Order': Uses of Science in Plans for International Government, 1899-1950
Mar. 23:
Dan Navon (Harvard, Robert Wood Johnson Fellow)
Mobilizing Mutations: New Kinds of People at the Intersection of Genetics and Patient Advocacy
Mar. 30:
Margo Boenig-Liptsin (Harvard, STS/History of Science)
A New Literacy for the Information Age: Children, Computers, and Citizenship
Apr. 6:
Anna M. Agathangelou (York University, Political Science)
Emerging Legal and Forensic BioConstitutional Order(s) in Post-Conflict Cyprus
Apr. 13:
Emily Harrison (Harvard, History of Science)
Infant Science and Health Adventuring: Global Intervention around Infant Mortality
Apr. 20:
Rajesh Veeraraghavan (UC Berkeley/Harvard Berkman Center)
The Politics of Openness: Technology, Corruption and Participation in Indian Public Employment
Apr. 27:
Antoine Picon (Harvard, GSD)
Cities, Technologies and Political Imaginaries

» More information and past schedules

Science & Democracy Lecture Series

Once a semester, the STS Program, with co-sponsorship from other local institutions, hosts an installation in its Science and Democracy Lecture Series.

Peter Thiel event poster

Peter Thiel
With panel discussion by Antoine Picon, Margo Seltzer, and Samuel Moyn. Moderated by Sheila Jasanoff.
March 25, 2015, 5:00pm-7:00pm
Science Center C, 1 Oxford Street

Recent discussions about the role of technology in society have oscillated between very short term worries ("what are smart phones doing to our brains?") and very long term nightmares ("will artificial intelligence replace humanity?"). Left out of these discussions are the next twenty years: our horizon for making concrete plans. The most important question for this medium term might be: will we create enough new technology to sustain our society? Instead of taking it for granted (or doomed), we must go back to the future and build it ourselves.

» Lecture series archive

Workshops and Panels

Science and Its Publics event poster

April 28, 2015, 2:00pm-5:30pm
Harvard University Center for the Environment Seminar Room, 24 Oxford Street, 3rd Floor

Organized by Paulo Fonseca, Zara Mirmalek, Zoe Nyssa, Aleksandar Rankovic and Matthew Sample Science and engineering often set aside some problems as uniquely theirs, from conserving biodiversity to addressing physical disability. At the same time, they tend to define the public as the recipient of their promises of progress. As science and its ramifications grow to influence virtually all the aspects of human lives, the question of scientific accountability towards the public becomes a central issue, increasingly recognized by scientists and engineers themselves. However, as we reveal the complex network-like character of science and engineering, their reciprocal dependence on social and political realities, responsibility seems to have no grip. As agency becomes distributed throughout socio-technical networks – individual scientists, universities, participants in experiments, public agencies, the private sector etc. – the challenge is to understand how accountability is or ought to be distributed. In this workshop, we will discuss new approaches, distributed through socio-technical networks, of scientific accountability towards the public(s). Based on five dialogues between scientists and STS fellows, the workshop proposes to explore the following questions in different settings of science, technology and society: - How is the public defined by different fields of science and technology? - What is the role of the public in framing and addressing the problems that science and technology want to tackle? - How are science and technology accountable to "their publics", and through which mechanisms is this accountability assured? - Are there accountability issues that are unique to particular technoscientific fields and "their publics"?

» Workshops and panels archive

Program news

This Friday, April 24th,  we're pleased to host Francois Gemenne for a special seminar on Anthropocene and Its Victims: How We Name Those Displaced by Environmental Changes.

Join us April 28th, 2015 for Science and Its Publics: Conversations on Accountability, organized by some of this year's visiting fellows!

Missed last month's Science and Democracy Lecture with Peter Thiel?  The video is now available.

Science and Democracy: Making Knowledge and Making Power in the Biosciences and Beyond,  edited by Stephen Hilgartner, Clark Miller, and Rob Hagendijk, features contributions by many Harvard STS fellows and visitors.

Join us April 16-17th, 2015 for Earthworks Unlimited: Problems and Prospects of Geoengineering, cosponsored by the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

The STS Program will host the 14th Annual Meeting of the Science and Democracy NetworkJune 25-27, 2015. Check out the call for abstracts to learn how you might present at this year's annual meeting!

Calling all undergraduates and undergraduate advisors! We are now accepting submissions for the 2015 Undergraduate STS Essay Prize Competition.

The STS Circle is back! Take a look at our Spring 2015 schedule

See what we were up to in 2014! Check out our annual newsletter.

Our non-stipendiary fellowship application is now live. Apply by January 31st to join us as a fellow for the 2015-2016 academic year!

» Program news archive