About

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.

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.

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, Svetlana Borodina (editor@castac.org).

Content Guidelines

We welcome original contributions of approximately 1200-1800 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.

Editorial Policies

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.

General inquiries

Contact the Editor, Svetlana Borodina (editor@castac.org)
For questions about CASTAC generally, please contact the CASTAC Co-Chairs (co-chairs@castac.org).

 


Masthead

Platypus, the CASTAC Blog, is brought to you by:

Editor

Web Producer

Public Relations Manager

Multimodal Contributing Editors

  • Ritwik Banerji — (ritwik.banerji@gmail.com)
    Ritwik Banerji is an experimental ethnographer of music. His work focuses on the design of artificially-intelligent virtual performers of free improvisation and subjecting these systems to […] View full profile.
  • Quinn Georgic — (qg6@rice.edu)
    Topics: Built Environments, Installation Art, Soundscapes
    Quinn Georgic is a graduate student in the Anthropology department at Rice University. Their research interests are broadly focused on the ways in which colonialism has […] View full profile.
  • Gebhard Keny — (gebby@rice.edu)
    Topics: environment, comics, multi-modal media,
    Gebby is a PhD candidate in the department of anthropology at Rice University. His research focuses on the politics of “data-driven” approaches to environmental governance and […] View full profile.
  • Ramsha Usman — (ramshausman@ucsb.edu)
    Topics: mapping; disability; city; industry
    Ramsha Usman is a third year PhD student in the department of Anthropology at University of California, Santa Barbara. Her research interests focus on disability, labor, […] View full profile.
  • Zhou Zhou — (zz76@rice.edu)
    Topics: immersive technology, game, criminality
    Zhou Zhou is a Ph.D. Candidate in Anthropology at Rice University. She studies bureaucratic care and technologies in China, especially government prevention of telecommunication scams. Her […] View full profile.

Contributing Editors

Editors-at-Large

  • Baird Campbell — (bccampbe@gmail.com)
    Baird Campbell is a PhD candidate in anthropology at Rice University. He holds an MA in Latin American Studies from Tulane University. His research explores the […] View full profile.
  • Jordan Kraemer — (jk5773@nyu.edu)
    Topics: social media, mobility, transnationalism, design
    Anthropologist of social and mobile media, working on the intersection of emerging media technologies and everyday experiences of space and place, especially transnational connections in Berlin […] View full profile.
  • Patricia G. Lange — (plange@cca.edu)
    Patricia G. Lange is an anthropologist studying use of video to express the self and civically engage. She is Associate Professor and Chair of Critical Studies […] View full profile.
  • Ian Lowrie — (il4@rice.edu)
    Topics: Artificial intelligence, infrastructures, informatics
    I'm a visiting assistant professor of urban social science at Portland State University, and study data work, neuroscience, and artificial intelligence. View full profile.