CFP: STS Southern California Winter Retreat

Deadline: 15 December 2012
Dates: Friday February 22, Saturday February 23, and Sunday February 24
Location: Borrego Springs, Anza-Borrego Desert (, exact location TBA
Doctoral students, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty from across California are invited to the inaugural Southern California Winter STS retreat. This retreat is designed for a select group of graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty advance their research projects in the field of STS, broadly defined, and in so doing to advance an emergent set of problematics and topical foci in STS itself. The emphasis will be on intellectual play. It is not intended to be a training workshop, and graduate students will be expected to participate in the same manner as other participants. Collectively, we will explore each others’ topics through a series of focused discussions as well as small-group engagements with the Anza-Borrego environment. It is not expected that participants necessarily be interested in the study of desert ecosystems, etc.; we will use the local context to stimulate new ways of thinking that we can apply to our own research projects.
STS is to be taken here as an umbrella rather than a fence: work in cognate disciplines (informatics, anthropology, design, etc.) that deploys and engages with STS work is considered part of the mix. We will bring together up to 30 graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty for this three-day retreat. There will be two foci: (1) identifying and exploring common interests through two “spotlight” sessions; and (2) exploring these themes through teams exploring the local area. Accommodation for all will be covered; travel will be covered in exceptional circumstances for students. A registration fee of $100 is required. Since space is limited, there will be a selection process: please send a CV and a one-page statement of interest to by December 15, 2012. The statement of interest should briefly address the research in progress that you would like to further through participation in the workshop. Those selected to participate in the workshop will be notified by January 1. They will be expected to circulate a two-page description of a current or prospective project by February 1.

Friday, 22 February
12:00pm Registration begins
2:00pm Introductions to workshop and participants
4:00pm Sunset desert walk (continue introductory discussion)
6:00pm Dinner
8:00pm Optional film
Saturday, 23 February
7:00am Optional sunrise desert walk
9:00am Spotlight 1 (groups of three discuss projects of mutual interest (groups designated based on pre-circulated one-pagers)
10:30am Break
11:30am Spotlight 2
1.00pm Lunch
2:00pm Joint activity (split into interest groups and engage with the Anza-Borrego locale
to explore how current research interests are reflected in the local environment). Possible foci:
1) Traces (Peteroglyphs, ruins (Borrego hotel), Marshal South and the
Ghost Mountain experiment, mines)
2) Extreme environments (desert ecosystems, spring oases, invasive plants, scientific experiments)
3) Habitations & infrastructures (Borrego Springs, political economy of land use, stores, jurisdictions)
4) the Salton Sea
6:00pm Dinner in small groups, depending on location
8:00pm Optional games/discussions
Sunday, 24 February
7:00am Optional sunrise desert walk
9:00am Reports on joint activities, including links to participant research projects and emerging themes in STS
10:30am Break
11:00am Continued: Reports on joint activities, including links to participant research projects and emerging themes in STS
12:30pm Lunch
2:00pm Closing discussion, including future plans