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Committee for the Anthropology of Science, Technology, and Computing

CASTAC is a subsection of the American Anthropological Association. This site is intended as a communication medium between and from CASTAC members and other interested parties.



Diana Forsythe Prize

Previous recipients are: 2007: Marcia Inhorn, for Local Babies, Global Science: Gender, Religion and In Vitro Fertilization in Egypt (Routledge, 2003) 2006: Jan English-Lueck, for Cultures@SiliconValley (Stanford University Press, 2002) 2005: Joe Dumit, for Picturing Personhood: Brain Scans and Biomedical Identity (Princeton University Press, 2004) 2003: Cori Hayden, for When Nature Goes Public: The Making and Unmaking of Bioprospecting in Mexico (Princeton University Press, 2003) 2002: Lucy Suchman, for the body of her work 2001: Stefan Helmreich, for Silicon Second Nature: Culturing Artificial Life in a Digital World (University of California Press, 1998) 2000: David Hess, for the body of his work 1999: Rayna Rapp, for Testing Women, Testing the Fetus: The Impact of Amniocentesis in America (Routledge, 1999).

CASTAC public statement on teaching evolution in public schools

As anthropologists studying science and its cultural contexts, the scholarly work of CASTAC members has often provided analyses of scientific authority in both professional and public life. Recently public schools teaching the theory of evolution have found their curricula challenged by groups who dispute evolution's scientific status, and thus attempt to censor or diminish its place in science education. From the viewpoint of our profession, all scientific theories are products of criticism, re-evaluation and revision by scientific communities. The theory of evolution is not uniquely subject to this critical process. The evidence supporting the theory of evolution is just as strong as the evidence for the existence of sub-atomic particles, the structure of the solar system, or the function of the immune system.

CASTAC encourages public education about the social dynamics of science, including scientific controversies. Many of these controversies have a legitimate role in the science education classroom: global warming, pesticide damage, genetic manipulation, and so on. All of the legitimate controversies concern testable knowledge of natural phenomena (that is, the physical and biological systems of nature as well as technology and culture). "Intelligent Design" (and ideas like it) do not contribute to legitimate scientific controversies: they fail to meet scientific standards since they posit causes that are outside the realm of natural phenomena, and attempt to substitute scientific effort and debate with asserted belief systems for which there can be no test or empirical debate. CASTAC supports the right of public school teachers to convey the scientific community's knowledge in all fields, including that of evolution, without censorship or qualification.

Listserv and CASTAC Directory

CASTAC (The Committee for the Anthropology of Science, Technology, and Computing) invites all anthropologists and colleagues interested in the anthropology/ethnography of science, technology, computing, medicine, and knowledge to join our listserv and submit information for inclusion in the 2006 CASTAC Directory. CASTAC does not have any membership dues and while formally a committee of the General Anthropology Division (GAD) of the AAA, we only encourage rather than require membership in GAD.

The listserv is a low-volume, moderated listserv that distributes information related to CASTAC activities, CFPs, AAA and 4S meetings, etc. relevant to list members. To join the listserv please send an email to David Hess at hessd@rpi.edu with your preferred email.

The 2006 CASTAC Directory will be available in hard copy at the 2006 AAA and 4S meetings and online in pdf format in the CASTAC area of the STS Wiki. If you are interested please send an email to Chris Furlow at cafjam@aol.com with the following information:

Last name, First name, Position, Affiliation, Address, Phone, Fax, Email, List of research interests, and List of recent publications (from 2003 to the present, please limit to 5)

Also, if you have any colleagues or students working on science, technology, computing, medicine, and knowledge, please feel free to invite them to join the listserv and submit information for the Directory as well.