Call for Proposals: Critical Data Studies Track—4s/EASST Conference BCN-2106 Science + Technology by Other Means: Exploring Collectives, Spaces, and Futures

January 11, 2016

The Data Science Studies (DSS) group at New York University, UC Berkeley, and Univeristy of Washington, part of the Moore and Sloan Data Science Environment (MSDSE), together with collaborators from The Center for Science, Technology, Medicine, & Society (CSTMS) at UC Berkeley, are organizing a thematic track on Critical Data Studies for the 4s/EASST Conference BCN-2106 Science + Technology by Other Means: Exploring Collectives, Spaces, and Futures in Barcelona, August 31–September 3, 2016.

We invite papers investigating data-driven techniques in academic research and analytic industries and the consequences of implementing data­-driven products and processes. Papers utilizing computational methods or ethnography with theorization of technology, social power, or politics are encouraged.


Please contact Laura Noren, Charlotte Cabasse Mazel, Stuart Geiger, or Brittany Fiore-Gartland with questions about submissions.

Full Abstract

Computational methods with large datasets are becoming more common across disciplines in academia (including the social sciences) and analytic industries, but the sprawling and ambiguous boundaries of “big data” makes it difficult to research. In this track, we investigate the relationship between theories, instruments, methods, and practices in data science research and implementation. How are such practices transforming the processes of knowledge creation and validation as well as our understanding of empiricism and the scientific method?

Beyond case studies, we invite connective explorations of emerging theory, machinery, methods, and practices. Papers may examine data-collection instruments, software, inscription devices, packages, and algorithms and their interaction in the sociotechnical systems used to produce, analyze, share, and validate knowledge. Looking at the way these knowledge forms are objectified, classified, imagined, and contested, the aim is to reflect critically on the maturing practices of quantification and their historical, social, cultural, political, ideological, economical, scientific, and ecological impacts.

We welcome papers tackling a variety of questions and cases studies, such as the following:

  • What does it mean to study quantification (including big data) as myth, narrative, ideology, discourse, and power?
  • How is instrumentation being used to connect data and theory?
  • How well do we understand which domains are being reshaped by these techniques, and what are the consequences of their adoption in those domains and beyond? Is data science linking up to domains that have previously been distinct, or is it dividing fields that had been unified?
  • In which ways do these approaches contribute to longstanding concepts and questions within computer science?

Propose a Paper

Deadline for the abstract submissions to open tracks is February 21, 2016.


Paper proposals should include a paper title (no more than 10 words), author/co-authors, a short abstract (maximum 300 characters, including spaces) and a long abstract (up to 250 words). The long abstract will be shown on the web, and the short abstract is what will be displayed in the conference program.

Abstracts should make reference to the paper object, main related arguments, methodology, and contribution to the STS literature. A specific mention to the paper’s relation to the track’s themes and topic is required. Please  mention if any special technical requirement will be needed.

All papers should be submitted in international English. Conversation and debates in other languages during the conference will be welcomed too.

Once a proposal is submitted, the proposing author (not co-authors) will receive an automatic email confirming receipt. If you do not receive this email, please first check the login environment to see if your proposal is there. If it is, it simply means your confirmation email has been classified as spam or otherwise lost; if your paper is not there, please resubmit your proposal as it may mean that the process was not completed for some reason.