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CTS Seminars

A kaleidoscopic vision of STS in Cuenca – Ecuador

On July 10 and 11 the first STS seminar “Ethnographies of Science and Technology” took place in Cuenca-Ecuador. It was hosted by Kaleidos – Centre for Interdisciplinary Ethnography, a recently founded research center part of Universidad de Cuenca and FLACSO-Ecuador.

The seminar brought together three key STS thinkers: Kim Fortun, Joe Dumit, and Elizabeth Roberts. The main objective of the seminar was to bring closer to Cuenca the various lenses through which STS is and can be done locally, regionally, and globally. The work Kim, Joe and Liz have been developing are well positioned to speak about environmental public health through STS. This critical approach to current global challenges is key to the work we want to develop in Ecuador.

We intend for STS to be a language that speaks to an interdisciplinary audience and that opens up the imagination of researchers in multiple fields of study who can look into STS as a way of combining and collaborating through their different fields of expertise. Kaleidos has already begun that conversation through our green energy project that combines the work of engineers, software designers, computation specialists and anthropologists, as well as solar energy companies and energy-centered NGOs. An even larger conversation had already been started by a group of STS academics who have worked hard in Ecuador to set up the Society for Science and Technology Studies in Ecuador, which was launched during this event by Belen Albornoz.

Part of the intention of organizing this seminar was to reach a broader audience that had perhaps little knowledge of the tools STS provides as a pedagogical possibility as well as a research prospect. The result was a crowd of eager academics and general public who could see in STS a potential ally in looking for answers to problems both locally and globally (like mining, air pollution, water quality, migration, gender issues and LGBTQ violence, etc.)