Closely interacting with EASTS and with the wider East Asian STS community, the Korean Association of Science and Technology Studies (KASTS) will be celebrating its twentieth anniversary this year with a two-day conference on 13 and 14 November. Founded in 2000, KASTS is the oldest professional society dedicated to STS in East Asia, and it has been growing consistently in its membership as well as its intellectual rigor. Its platinum anniversary will serve as an occasion for looking back and then moving forward by convening a large group of Korean STS scholars and their domestic and international colleagues in related disciplines.
The theme of the conference is “Science, Technology, and the Future Society,” which offers opportunities to discuss how STS can contribute to our understanding of emerging technoscientific and social lives in Korea and elsewhere. Cognizant of societal change triggered by the pandemic and the changing meaning of the STS needed to cope with it, the conference will include six sessions: “STS in East Asia: Redrawing the STS Map”; “AI, Robots, and the Future Society”; “New Materialism, Technoscience, and the Body”; “STS and the Outer Space as Human Space”; “The Anthropocene and Diseases: Learning from COVID-19”; and last, but not least, “Media, Participation, and Education in the Age of Great Transformation.” Featured speakers from EASTS and the East Asian STS community will include Wen-Ling Hong (Taiwan), Wen-Hua Kuo (Taiwan, EASTS), Masashi Shirabe (Japan), Cheng Zhou (China), and Hee-Je Bak (Korea, EASTS).
At the time of this writing (September 2020), there are still logistical uncertainties caused by the pandemic, but that same crisis is nevertheless creating opportunities to put STS into practice. With a firm commitment to making this celebratory event happen, KASTS President Buhm Soon Park and the organizing committee will be monitoring the pandemic regulations both inside and outside of Korea and making the necessary arrangements, whether online or offline, to accommodate these discussions.