The Cultures of Science: STS and Media Studies in Dialogue

Sherryl Vint
UC Riverside

This working group investigated exchanges between sciences and humanities. Culture plays a role in producing science and, reciprocally, changes in science and technology shape culture. Conflations of science and the science fiction (sf) imagination define moments of intense technological change, such as the Space Race or the Human Genome Mapping Project, but despite the overlapping concerns of STS and sf studies, there has been little collaborative work between these fields. Recently industry has begun to pay attention to how the sf imaginary can marshal resources – material and intellectual – for technological innovation. By embedding projected scientific breakthroughs or novel technologies within a full world, the best sf makes visible the influence of discourses, practices and beliefs (culture) on science. This working group balanced this recent emphasis on the discourses of sf as “inspiration” for industry and product development with a renewed emphasis on the sf tradition of social critique.