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 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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.
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.
Platypus, the CASTAC Blog, is brought to you by:
- Svetlana Borodina — (email@example.com)
Svetlana Borodina is a postdoctoral research scholar at the Harriman Institute at Columbia University. She studies cultures and the politics of disability inclusion in Russia. Her […] View full profile.
- Angela VandenBroek — (firstname.lastname@example.org)
I am an assistant professor of anthropology at Texas State University. My Ph.D. is in sociocultural anthropology from Binghamton University in the department of anthropology. I […] View full profile.
Public Relations Manager
- Naomi Zucker — (email@example.com)
Naomi Zucker is a PhD student in cultural anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania, working at the intersection of medical anthropology and STS. Her dissertation project […] View full profile.
Multimodal Contributing Editor
- Hannah Eisler Burnett — (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Hannah Eisler Burnett is a PhD Candidate in Anthropology at the University of Chicago. Her dissertation research examines how plans for ecosystem restoration in the Mississippi […] View full profile.
- Alize Arıcan — (email@example.com)
Alize is a Ph.D. candidate in Anthropology at the University of Illinois at Chicago and an anthropologist of urban life, temporality, futurity, migration, racialization, and care. […] View full profile.
- Ashley Thuthao Keng Dam — (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Ashley "Thao" Dam is a medical anthropologist, budding ethnobotanist, and final year PhD candidate in ecogastronomy, education, and society at Università degli Studi di Scienze Gastronomiche […] View full profile.
- Maggie Duris — (email@example.com)
I am a biomedical anthropologist and current biological anthropology PhD student at Binghamton University. I plan to focus my dissertation utilizing evolutionary hypotheses to investigate nutritional […] View full profile.
- Eduard Fanthome — (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Topics: Archaeology, Ecology, Materiality, Entanglement
Fanthome is a Ph.D. candidate at Stanford University. He is an archaeologist who employs theories of spatial production and its material and architectural mediation to investigate […] View full profile.
- Johnathan Favini — (email@example.com)
Topics: Ecology, Race, Indigeneity, Posthumanism
John is a PhD Candidate in Anthropology at the University of Virginia whose research addresses the intersections of race, Indigeneity, and the environment. Broadly, his research […] View full profile.
- Kim Fernandes — (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Kim is a joint PhD candidate in Education and Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania. Their doctoral research focuses on how disabled bodies are made legible […] View full profile.
- Nirupama Jayaraman — (email@example.com)
Topics: Urban infrastructure, transportation and mobility, gendered spatialities, digital technologies
As a social cultural anthropologist, my research interests lie at the intersection of political, urban and economic anthropology. Broadly, I am interested in understanding urban transportation […] View full profile.
- Yakup Deniz Kahraman — (firstname.lastname@example.org)
I am a cultural anthropology PhD student at Binghamton University. My research is at an intersection of anthropology, education and STS. I conducted ethnographic fieldwork […] View full profile.
- Christoph Lange — (email@example.com)
After studying Social Anthropology and Middle East Studies at the University of Leipzig from 2004–2011, he was a research assistant at the Research Lab "Transformations of […] View full profile.
- Johannes Lenhard — (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Topics: venture capital, big tech, ethics, addiction
Johannes Lenhard is an ethnographer of venture capital and homelessness and currently the Centre Coordinator of the Max Planck Centre Cambridge for the Study of Ethics, […] View full profile.
- Tim Quinn — (email@example.com)
Tim Quinn is a PhD Candidate in the Anthropology Department at Rice University. His research focuses on the social lives of HIV prevention drugs in Bangkok, […] View full profile.
- Naomi Schoenfeld — (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Topics: STS of the Global South, postsocialism, vaccines, cancer
Medical anthropologist and public health nurse practitioner in San Francisco. Her areas of expertise include medical anthropology, STS, pharmaceuticals, vaccines, postsocialism, social medicine, and critical public […] View full profile.
- Serena Stein — (email@example.com)
Trained as an anthropologist, my research engages questions around agriculture, technology, and transnational and multispecies relationships in agribusiness frontiers in Africa (Mozambique) and South America (Brazil); […] View full profile.
- Katie Ulrich — (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Katie Ulrich is a PhD candidate in the department of anthropology at Rice University. Her research focuses on petrochemical replacements made from sugarcane, including not only […] View full profile.
- Bianca Vienni Baptista — (email@example.com)
Bianca, with a PhD in Cultural Studies at the University of Granada (Spain), Bianca is a senior researcher and lecturer at the Transdisciplinarity Lab (TdLab) at […] View full profile.
- Baird Campbell — (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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 — (email@example.com)
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 — (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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 — (email@example.com)
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.