Call for Papers – Open Panel: Television as a Contested Site of the Creation of Knowledge and Social Imaginaries

Organized for Annual 4S Meeting to be held in Boston, Massachusetts, August 30-September 2, 2017


Television has long been a site of impermanent knowledge production in societies all around the world. Marxist philosopher Louis Althusser linked the mass appeal of television to his notion of Ideological State Apparatuses, whereby ideological hegemony could be achieved and reinforced through its programming. Conversely, according to film theorist Andre Bazin, each shot in film was a revelation of God expressed through images of creation. While scientific educational programs have aimed at creating public awareness of science, fiction-based television programming has also been equally responsible for creating new ways of thinking about scientific practices and technologies in a rapidly changing political, ecological and social landscape.  As historian David Kirby has suggested, television allows viewers to virtually witness science. Yet, the impermanence of the medium also leads viewers to question the supposed objective reality of science. This panel seeks to explore the ways television programming has co-produced social imaginaries and situated knowledges in a variety of realms and societies, and the ways in which television programming and their appeal can teach us about the salience of specific public imaginations concerning the state of the world, the presentation of varying knowledge systems from feminist, postcolonial, indigenous and other ideological standpoints. We are seeking to create a relatively informal discussion regarding the impacts of television programming on science, science research and education and the field of science and technology studies itself.



Submission Deadline: March 1, 2017.

Submit paper, session, and making and doing proposals here:


Please check the box to submit your paper to open panel “Television as a Contested Site of the Creation of Knowledge and Social Imaginaries”


You can find more details about the conference on



For more information contact:

Aadita Chaudhury, York University:

Ingrid Ockert, Princeton University:

Trump, academia and its sexual politics

I find myself often thinking about the sexual politics of academia. This is not simply because of the barrage of sexual harassment cases to have appeared in the limelight in the last few years, but also because of the systemic aspects and contextual culture that make certain kinds of dynamics possible, and normalized to begin with.

The traditional model asks for a male professor with a dedicated wife in tow, who never leaves his side no matter what. The image is romanticized, but is in fact jarring, because it normalizes the unequal distribution of emotional labour. In a different domain, it is exemplified in Donald and Melania. What’s more, we know that women in abusive situations cannot always leave due to complex reasons, and so the iterative performance of the “brilliant” man and his sidekick woman continues to perpetuate itself. It is codified into the heterosexual matrix, the associated gender norms and relationships. What this often means is that female academics get the short end of the stick. Either their male peers choose non-academic women over them, or when they do choose each other, female academics are forced to compromise their careers in favour of that of the men, which impacts the already sordid figures and environment for women in the academy.

Of course, this isn’t the case with everyone. My own parents for example; my father had no major commitments to his engineering career, and followed my mother’s career around through her PhD and postdoc taking up whatever job suited him in the interim. I realize this is a small minority, and is largely eclipsed by some version of the Donald-Melania dynamic.

It doesn’t take much to see that this dynamic of a man as the leader of the household has salient effects on any job market, because women, especially women of colour seem to earn significantly less than men, while doing most of the household duties. There is something rotten in this perversion of romantic love and monogamy, that asks the dynamic to be preserved through the eternal sacrifices of the woman, just so that she can be seen as the normative model of the female partner or wife. I’ve heard far too many stories from female academics careers and lives ruined by these expectations, and I haven’t even started talking about sexual predators within academia yet. I believe “good men”, whoever they may be, have to be held accountable too, for their choices and the kinds of sacrifices (or lack there of) they have made in favour of gender equality. It seems like for the most part, it’s still a woman’s burden.

I refuse to stand for this.