Platypus, the newly renamed CASTAC Blog, is a web log for discussion and exchange on anthropological studies of science and technology as social phenomena. It was originally launched in 2012 by Jenny Cool, Patricia G. Lange, and Jordan Kraemer, who are members of the Committee on the Anthropology of Science, Technology, and Computing. Platypus aims to promote dialogue on theories, tools, and social interactions that explore questions at the intersection of anthropology and science and technology studies.
We seek to build a thriving discourse among a community of scholars concerned about the implications of techno-science, technologized products, and worldviews for human beings and other forms of life. Our approach is interdisciplinary and inclusive. We encourage both regular and occasional contributions from students, faculty, and researchers within and beyond academia, especially in the following areas:
- Research Post about initial observations, ongoing work, research results, or publications.
- Tools & Techniques Discuss methods or tools you find useful or problematic.
- Beyond the Academy Tell us about grappling with techno-science and publications outside of academia.
- Member Sound-Off Speak up about you what you’d like to see and do within CASTAC.
The blog welcomes contributions from new authors working at the intersection of anthropology and science and technology studies, including (but not limited to) scholars, students, and researchers outside academe.
Download our Author Guidelines:
To Become a Contributor
If you would like to contribute or have an idea for an article, please contact the Contributing Editor who covers the topic (you can find the list of CEs below), or whose area of interest is most closely related. It is fine to contact more than one CE simultaneously if the topic links to multiple areas of interest (but please indicate that you have done so). If you cannot identify an appropriate CE, email the Editor, Jordan Kraemer (firstname.lastname@example.org).
We welcome original contributions of approximately 500-1500 words, especially short essays accessible to a broad audience interested in anthropology, science, technology, and related topics. We publish a range of posts, including: those based on original research, such as doctoral research; commentary and critique of current events or issues, especially from an anthropological perspective; discussions of pedagogy, research methods, and tools; interviews; and reflections on science and technology in popular culture.
We are especially interested in timely pieces that draw on scholarly research and analysis to provide insight into current topics and events.
All posts submitted are reviewed for length, clarity, and style, primarily to ensure posts are appropriate for the blog format. Authors work with Contributing Editors to finalize their contribution, but all final editorial decisions rest with the Editor. We reserve the right to make final copy edits, including formatting and title changes as necessary. Please make sure all images are reproduced with permission or are not subject to copyright. All submissions should be formatted as Microsoft Word documents and emailed directly to the appropriate CE, after prior arrangements have been made via email.
Authors will need to create their own WordPress accounts on the CASTAC Blog, which they can do at any time by clicking “register” (also available as a drop-down from the main menu).
About the Platypus
The platypus may seem like a strange choice as the dominate visual element of CASTAC’s new web presence. What could a rare endemic species from Australia have to do with an association of anthropologists who study science, technology, and computing? On the surface, the platypus and CASTAC share a common eclectic nature. Like the platypus with its duck-like bill, fur, webbed feet, venomous spurs, electroreception, lactation and oviparity, CASTAC’s membership is an eclectic collection of anthropologists who represent diverse areas of expertise and sets of skills.
Yet, the platypus is more than a symbol of bricolage. Once considered to be an elaborate hoax, the platypus has existed as a challenge, a critique, and an inspiration for scientists, social scientists, and artists. From its discovery to the mapping of its genome, the platypus has been an intellectual object that allows us to think about hybridity and complexity through its anatomy, question the assumptions and production of scientific knowledge and practice through its history, and inspire new ideas on perception, evolution, and technology. The platypus is more than an odd creature; it represents the kinds of materials, practices and knowledges that inspire us as anthropologists to examine the roles of science, technology, and computing in the lives and cultures of people.
Contact the Editor, Jordan Kraemer (email@example.com)
Platypus, the CASTAC Blog, is brought to you by:
CASTAC Co-Chair and Contributors
- Elizabeth Reddy — (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Earth sciences, laboratory sciences, environmental anthropology
- Nick Seaver — (email@example.com)
Algorithmic living, big data
Outreach Manager and Regular Contributor
- Emily Brooks — (firstname.lastname@example.org)
environmental anthropology, drought, energy, water politics, climate change
- Yuliya Grinberg — (email@example.com)
Digital technology, personal data, quantified self, self-tracking, wearables, data and the body, aesthetics of data
- Todd Hanson — (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Scientific practice, laboratory culture, and science in everyday life
- Lizzy Hare — (email@example.com)
Environmental anthropology, conservation, lab practice, intersections of STS and environmental anthro
- Shreeharsh Kelkar — (firstname.lastname@example.org)
MOOCs, everyday technology (e.g. self-driving car), artificial intelligence, big data
- Ian Lowrie — (email@example.com)
Artificial intelligence, infrastructures, informatics
- Sean Mallin — (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Law, economy, urban planning and design, bureaucracy and expertise, and political ecology
- Jasmine McNealy — (email@example.com)
Information & communication technologies (ICTs), privacy, social media, information and data in society
- Lisa Messeri — (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Outer space, space industry, earth sciences
- Casey O'Donnell — (email@example.com)
Games, software industry, work, computing general
- Elizabeth Rodwell — (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Television, interactive technologies, robotics, image theory, aesthetics, social media, journalism
- Jamie Sherman — (email@example.com)
Politics of bodily technologies, personal data, health and fitness, wearable technology
- Emily Wanderer — (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Medicine, biology, multispecies turn, the environment, Latin America
- Adam Webb-Orenstein — (email@example.com)
Innovation, finance, entrepreneurship