Call for Applications: STS Summer School: Science and Governance at the Frontiers of Life

STS Summer School: Science and Governance at the Frontiers of Life

This weeklong summer school is intended for graduate students and early postdocs in science and technology studies, history, philosophy, sociology, and anthropology of science, legal studies or related fields. We also invite applications from students in the biomedical sciences, life sciences and bioengineering who can demonstrate strong commitment to investigating the interconnections between science and society. Graduate students must have completed at least one year of study at the doctoral level.

Developments in the biosciences in the last half-century have posed novel challenges for governance. These have emerged as biological knowledge becomes more central to matters of safety, health and welfare; as biology is called upon to address moral uncertainty around ideas of human nature, identity and dignity; and as biology plays an increasingly central role in the technological alteration of human bodies, non-human entities and environments. Governance challenges have unfolded across several domains: internally within the research enterprise itself; externally where the biosciences are called upon to address social problems; and in moments of ethical doubt, for example, when institutions of governance are called upon to distinguish bioengineered artifacts from entities with human dignity. Scholarship in Science and Technology Studies (STS) has developed varied approaches and techniques for examining such phenomena, and drawing theoretically grounded generalizations from site-specific studies. This summer school will introduce participants to major approaches, and explore new research frontiers and possible directions for synthesis and innovation. It will emphasize engagement with theoretical issues in STS, with particular attention to moments of friction between science and institutions of democratic governance.

Through a mix of lectures, group workshops and discussions of individual projects, participants will be exposed to contemporary STS research frontiers. The main emphasis of the summer school will be on discussion and exchange of ideas and insights across different research topics, methodologies and theoretical frameworks. Each day during the workshop faculty participants will give overview presentations addressing different themes. These will be accompanied by interactive, in-depth discussion sessions. Students in the summer school are expected to be present and actively involved throughout the course.

The summer school will be held at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, July 27 to August 2, 2014. Room and board will be provided. Students are responsible for their own travel expenses and for their visa status, if relevant. Modest subventions may be available upon request, based on a demonstration of need.

The course is limited to 20 participants and the application deadline is April 4, 2014. Please complete the application form at The form includes a place to upload a statement of interest (300 words) and a short professional CV (maximum 2 pages), as well as space to enter the name and email address of a nominating faculty member. The statement of interest should describe the applicant’s background and qualifications and describe their current research and its relevance to the aims of the summer school. The nominating letter should be from a faculty member in the applicant’s program who is familiar with the applicant’s work and interests. The letter should be sent by the nominating faculty member to

Conveners: Sheila Jasanoff (Harvard University), Krishanu Saha (University of Wisconsin-Madison), Benjamin Hurlbut (Arizona State University)

Faculty Participants

  • Ulrike Felt (University of Vienna)
  • Jeremy Greene (Johns Hopkins University)
  • Steve Hilgartner (Cornell University)
  • Benjamin Hurlbut (Arizona State University)
  • Sheila Jasanoff (Harvard University)
  • Pierre-Benoit Joly (INRA and IFRIS)
  • Shobita Parthasarathy (University of Michigan)
  • Joanna Radin (Yale University)
  • Jenny Reardon (University of California, Santa Cruz)
  • Krishanu Saha (University of Wisconsin, Madison)
  • Giuseppe Testa (University of Milan, European School for Molecular Medicine)
  • David Winickoff (University of California, Berkeley)