Making & Doing: Activating STS through Knowledge Expression and Travel

MIT Press, 2021 (open access here)

Edited by:

Gary Lee Downey, Virginia Tech

Teun Zuiderent-Jerak, Athena Institute, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Making & doing projects expand STS scholarship to include the trajectories of STS knowledge flow beyond the boundaries of the field by actively interweaving knowledge expression and travel with knowledge production. In this edited volume, contributors from around the world present and critically assess ten empirical making & doing projects. They recount how their projects advance STS, and describe how they themselves learn from their interlocutors and the settings in which they do and share their STS work. A coda explains how the infrastructures of STS scholarship are broadening to include practices of making & doing.

The contributors examine and reflect upon their dilemmas, frustrations, and failures, especially when these generate new practices that might not have occurred had their work not taken the form of making & doing scholarship. While each project raises a distinct set of scholarly issues, all of the projects include practices that express STS knowledge through “STS sensibilities” and attach those sensibilities to practices in empirical fields. The ten projects include one each in Argentina, Taiwan, Canada, and Denmark; two in the US; one in Austria, the UK, and multiple countries in Africa and Asia; one in the US and Latin America; one in the Netherlands and Australia; and one in an international network that includes members from Europe, the Americas, and Australia.

Endorsements for Making & Doing

Making & Doing advances a critical science and technology studies that endeavors to be reflexive, collaborative, and publicly engaged—and, therefore, that can truly matter. These timely, experimental perspectives boldly challenge STS dogma, and elucidate crucial new pathways for scholarship.”

Alondra Nelson, President, Social Science Research Council

“Richly populated with researchers and their interlocutors, these accounts describe (often uneasy) relations and always contingent practices of knowledge creation. They connect up multiple modes of scholarship with differently mediated forms of intervention and question their uneven valuation. Read together, the ten evocative cases collected here stand as ‘demo accounts’ for what is itself a transformative project-in-process for STS.”

Lucy Suchman, Professor Emerita, Lancaster University

Making & Doing is an exceptional book. Gary Downey and Teun Zuiderent-Jerak invite the reader to join them on a fascinating trip to ten different sites where STS knowledge moves beyond the boundaries of the field. Carefully brought together, the essays fill a gap between STS research and STS in action, opening up a space of reflexive learning from engagements in empirical arenas. The book is highly innovative and inspiring as it encourages the reader to understand knowledge expression and travel not as lying outside of the core of STS scholarship but as essential and lively activities at the very heart of the field.”

Ulrike Felt, Professor, University of Vienna

“STS has always gone beyond critique to ask how knowledge and technical practices might be made differently. In response, making & doing practices have rapidly grown as a scholarly genre that puts urgent questions of ethics and methods in the spotlight. Assembled by two leaders in the field and gathering some of the most thought-provoking practitioners, this book places making & doing in its rightful location at the center of STS futures.”

Michelle Murphy, Professor, University of Toronto


Introduction: Activating STS through STS Sensibilities

Gary Lee Downey and Teun Zuiderent-Jerak (open access here)

1: STS on the Street and at the Court: Interlocutors in the Taiwan RCA Collective Occupational Disease Lawsuit

Yi-Ping Lin and Hsin-Hsing Chen

2: The Ground Keeps Opening Up: Building an Infrastructure for Data Appropriation

Dawn Nafus

3: A Shifting Incubation: From Exhibiting Academic Migration to Staging Interactions with Academic Refugees

Michael Guggenheim, Judith Kröll, and Bernd Kräftner

4: Deepening the Field, Raising the Stakes: Generating Technologies for Inclusive and Sustainable Development

Hernán Thomas, Lucas Becerra, and Paula Juárez

5: Participatory Data Design: Acting in a Digital World

Torben Elgaard Jensen, Andreas Birkbak, Anders Koed Madsen, and Anders Kristian Munk

6: Doing Ethics with Cod

Max Liboiron, Emily Simmonds, Edward Allen, Emily Wells, Jess Melvin, Alex Zahara, Charles Mather, and All Our Teachers

7: The Art of Staying with Making & Doing: Exnovating Video-Reflexive Ethnography

Jessica Mesman and Katherine Carroll

8: Alter-Engineered Worlds

Nicholas Shapiro

9: STS as a Third Space between Evidence-Based Medicine and the Human Sciences

Teun Zuiderent-Jerak

10: Critical Participation: Inflecting Dominant Knowledge Practices through STS

Gary Lee Downey   (open access here)

Coda: Infrastructuring STS Making & Doing

Gary Lee Downey and Teun Zuiderent-Jerak   (open access here)

Engineers for Korea

Springer (formerly Morgan & Claypool Publishers), 2016  (pdf of book)
Humanity Press (Korean translation), 2017

Kyonghee Han, Yonsei University

Gary Lee Downey, Virginia Tech

“The engineer is bearer of the nation’s industrialization,” says the tower pictured on the front cover.President Park Chung-hee (1917–1979) was seeking to scale up a unified national identity through industrialization, with engineers as iconic leaders. But Park encountered huge obstacles in what he called the “second economy” of mental nationalism. Technical workers had long been subordinate to classically trained scholar officials. Even as the country became an industrial powerhouse, the makers of engineers never found approaches to techno-national formation—engineering education and training—that Koreans would wholly embrace.

This book follows the fraught attempts of engineers to identify with Korea as a whole. It is for engineers, both Korean and non-Korean, who seek to become better critical analysts of their own expertise, identities, and commitments. It is for non-engineers who encounter or are affected by Korean engineers and engineering, and want to understand and engage them. It is for researchers who serve as critical participants in the making of engineers and puzzle over the contents and effects of techno-national formation.

Named a 2017 Sejong Book by the Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism. Honors books that “have high value as academic texts and improve the public’s reading culture.” Carried an award of ten million Won ($8,900) to pay for distributing copies across the country.


Endorsements for Engineers for Korea

“This book is an in-depth study of and effective introduction to Korean engineering and engineers. It links the historical process of industrialization to the formation of engineers across Korea, differentiated from other countries. Not only engineering educators in Korea, but all other kinds of researchers and engineers who are interested in the Republic of Korea will be fascinated by the priceless information, knowledge, and great insights in this book.”

Kim Moon Kyum, Vice-President, Yonsei University; member, National Academy of Engineering in Korea; President-Elect, Korean Society of Civil Engineers

“This is a ground-breaking work that shows how two scholars from different countries can work together to achieve compelling results. The analyses of Korean engineers in the past and present that Han and Downey have woven together into a unique narrative are sure to evoke attention and curiosity, even sympathy, from readers all over the world.”

Lee Euy-soo, President, Korean Society for Engineering Education

“Through this remarkable book you can understand not only Korean engineers but also much about the country that has raised them. Korean politics, economy, and history have all been interconnected in Han and Downey’s account of the development of Korean engineers.

Lee Eun Kyung, Professor, Department of Science Studies, Chonbuk National University; Vice-President, Korean Association of Science and Technology Studies.


Ch1  What are Korean Engineers For?   pdf

Ch2  Five Koreas without Korean Engineers: 1876-1960    pdf

Ch3  Technical Workers for Light Industry: 1961-1970  pdf

Ch4  Engineers for Heavy and Chemical Industries: 1970-1979   pdf

Ch5  Loss of Privilege and Visibility: 1980-1998   pdf

Ch6  Engineers for a Post-Catch-Up Korea?    pdf

Ch7   Engineers and Korea   pdf


What is Global Engineering Education For? The Making of International Educators

Morgan and Claypool Publishers, 2011

Edited by:

Gary Lee Downey, Virginia Tech

Kacey Beddoes, Virginia Tech

Morgan and Claypool Product Page

Book Launch Lecture Video

Global engineering offers the seductive image of engineers figuring out how to optimize work through collaboration and mobility. Its biggest challenge to engineers, however, is more fundamental and difficult: to better understand what they know and value qua engineers and why. This volume reports an experimental effort to help sixteen engineering educators produce “personal geographies” describing what led them to make risky career commitments to international and global engineering education. The contents of their diverse trajectories stand out in extending far beyond the narrower image of producing globally-competent engineers. Their personal geographies repeatedly highlight experiences of incongruence beyond home countries that provoked them to see themselves and understand their knowledge differently. The experiences were sufficiently profound to motivate them to design educational experiences that could provoke engineering students in similar ways.

Endorsements for What is Global Engineering Education For?

This unique publication provides compelling evidence of the benefits, both personal and professional, of infusing engineering education with international perspectives and experience abroad. It combines a set of fascinating personal histories from leading engineering faculty members and international educators with a thoughtful analysis of why our country, and every country, needs to produce engineers with the critical knowledge and self-awareness required to work effectively in international environments. The contents will inspire future engineers to step outside their ‘comfort zones’ early in their academic careers and should be required reading for every academic, industrial, and government leader.

-Dr. Allan E. Goodman, President and CEO, Institute of International Education

Through a series of engaging personal essays, this work challenges the reader to understand engineering as a discipline and a profession within a national context and then to broaden, or even re-cast, that understanding based on global commonalities and international distinctions. The reader is thereby provoked to use the personal journeys of self-discovery to help elucidate sign posts for the types of learning journeys we hope to motivate within our students. The end result may well be discovering how to guide the development of engineers in a world increasingly connected (and yet, separated) physically, socially, culturally, intellectually, emotionally, etc. and enhancing their ability to comfortably operate and thrive in such an environment.

-Dr. Norman L. Fortenberry, Director, Center for the Advancement of Scholarship on Engineering Education, National Academy of Engineering

The Machine in Me: An Anthropologist Sits Among Computer Engineers

Routledge, 1998themachineinme

Gary Lee Downey investigates the body/machine interface in this remarkable ethnography of computer engineers. Drawing on interviews, observations, and personal interaction with engineers, he documents the everyday power of technology’s dominant image in our society, a force widely regarded as monolithically progressive. The Machine in Me helps us understand how deeply we and machines are configured through one another.

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Front Matter pdf

Ch 1: Images Count  pdf

Ch 2: We Put You in Control: The Trade Show

Ch 3: Does Productivity Fit?

Ch 4: Seducing Money

Ch 5: Adapting a Nation around Automation

Ch 6: Beyond Control and Submission

Ch 7: Locating Me Inside It: Coding

Ch 8: Locating It Inside Me: Confusion

Ch 9: The Making of Experts

Ch 10: On the Replacement of Humans with Machines: A Different Humanism pdf

Endorsements for The Machine in Me

“Engaged in earnest and honest dialogue with the engineers he studies and works with, Gary Downey shows us from the inside what working within a technology means to the lives of these scientists. Downey proposes – hope against hope – a vision of what a different world of technology and business might be. Admirable.”

– Paul Rabinow, University of California at Berkeley ”

Downey has produced a most provocative analysis of the still emergent culture of CAD/CAM – machine and maker, students and users – based upon extensive field work, often as a participant. More than an engaging ethnography, he provides a refreshing critique of contemporary social studies of technology and society, moving beyond networks, impacts, agents, and actors to author a most compelling story.”

– Louis Bucciarelli, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Cyborgs and Citadels: Anthropological Interventions in Emerging Sciences and Technology

School of American Research Press, 1997

Edited by:

Gary Lee Downey, Virginia Tech

Joseph Dumit, University of California Santa Cruz

Interactions between humans and technology are omnipresent today and permeate all of our lives. Yet onlycyborgsandcitadels recently have these interactions been studied in cultural terms, as scholars have started to apply anthropological methods and theories to examine the practices and practitioners of contemporary science, technology, and medicine in the United States. This volume of essays is an important contribution to the exciting new anthropology of science and technology.

In Cyborgs & Citadels, some of this country’s most imaginative and influential thinkers explore such questions as how science gains authority to direct truth practices (the “Citadel” problem), the boundaries between humans and machines, and how science, technology, and medicine contribute to the fashioning of everyday lives and selves (the “Cyborg” problem). Their fieldwork sites include a prenatal sonogram clinic, an inner-city AIDS clinic, a molecular biotechnology lab, a conference on Marfan syndrome, a center for brain imaging technology, a particle physics lab, an undergraduate engineering program, and the School of America Research advanced seminar that gave rise to this volume. A special section titled “Corridor Talk” offers essential and hard-to-find advice on careers, publication opportunities, and grant writing for scholars of emerging sciences, technologies, and medicines.

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Ch 1: Locating and Intervening: An Introduction pdf

Gary Lee Downey and Joseph Dumit

Ch 2: Real-Time Fetus: The Role of the Sonogram in the Age of Monitored Reproduction

Rayna Rapp

Ch 3: AIDS, Knowledge, and Discimination in the Inner City: An Anthropological Analysis of the Experiances of Injection Drug Users

Emily Martin, Laury Oaks, Karen-Sue Taussig, and Ariane van der Straten

Ch 4: Bodies, Antibodies, and Modest Interventions

Deborah Heath

Ch 5: A Digital Image of the Catagory of the Person: PET Scanning and Objective Self-Fashioning

Joseph Dumit

Ch 6: Iconic Devices: Toward an Enthnography of Physics Images

Sharon Traweek

Ch 7: Engineering Selves: Hiring In to a Contested Field of Education pdf

Gary Lee Downey and Juan C. Lucena

Ch 8: If You’re Thinking of Living in STS: A Guide for the Perplexed

David J. Hess

Ch 9: Ethnographic Fetishism or Cyborg Anthropology?: Human Scientists, Rebellious Rats, and Their Mazes at El Delirio and in the Land of the Long White Cloud

Sarah Williams, with Frederick Klemmer

Ch 10: Science as a Practice: The Higher Indifference and Mediated Curiosity

Paul Rainbow

Ch 11: Mice into Wormholes: A Comment on the Nature of No Nature

Donna J. Haraway

“Corridor Talk” pdf

Gary Lee Downey, Joseph Dumit, and Sharon Traweek

Endorsements for Cyborgs and Citadels

“A collection of first-order significance. Virtually all of the US scholars who have pioneered anthropology’s entry into the arena of science and technology studies are included. This will certainly be a landmark publication for anthropologists.”

– George E. Marcus, Rice University