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STS as a research approach in China 
Jing Wang (Max Planck Institute for the History of Science)
Andrea Braun Střelcová (Max Planck Institute for the History of Science)
Anna Ahlers (Max Planck Institute for the History of Science)
Annina Lattu (Tampere University, Peking University, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science)
Send message to Convenors
Mingyue Han
Franziska Marliese Fröhlich (Max Planck Institute for the History of Science)
Yishu Mao (Max Planck Institute for the History of Science)
Traditional Open Panel

Short Abstract:

1) STS in China—STS as an academic discipline, its development, academic community features, and its relation to global trajectories; 2) China in STS—utilizing STS to study China, as a research approach to depict "science made in China" and generate empirical material in China

Long Abstract:

Chinese academics’ engagement with STS dates back to the Reform and Opening period of the 1970s and 1980s, but it wasn't until the 2000s that a debate emerged on translating the term, seeking to reconcile its Western roots with Chinese Communist-Marxist tradition (Santos, Sharif, and Xing 2023). This discourse unfolded amidst the rapid expansion of Chinese science, the growing number of scientists and research infrastructures, and the Chinese government's determination for P.R. China to become a global scientific powerhouse. However, the STS landscape in China seems to lack the institutionalized structure known in the West; STS, with its interdisciplinary nature, does not neatly align with China's academic evaluation system, defying conventional categorizations. However, the development also raises an intriguing question: could STS be a way to enhance social science research in China? If science is a situated practice embedded in cultural contexts, can STS be a research approach to understand the intricacies of scientific practices in China? In this panel, we invite contributions to address the global gap regarding "STS and China" in times of rapid transformations in global science. Topics include the historical evolution of STS in China, challenges in integrating it within the Chinese academic system, its potential impact on public perceptions of science, and its role as a methodological approach for understanding the social context of scientific practices. By exploring these themes and a comprehensive understanding of STS in China, we aim at contributing to the development of a more globally inclusive STS approach. We welcome submissions from any perspective, including general reviews, conceptual considerations, as well as specific case studies.


Santos, Gonçalo D., Naubahar Sharif, and Jack Linzhou Xing. 2023. “Translating STS in China. Disciplinary Struggles and Future Prospects.” Engaging Science, Technology, and Society 9 (1).

Accepted papers:

Session 1
Session 2
Session 3