Home » 2011 Conference – Shenyang, China

2011 Conference – Shenyang, China

This year, the conference host was Northeastern University, Shenyang.

The organisers were Professor Chen Fan and assistant, Associate Professor Ma Huiduan.

Post-conference report:  Assoc. Prof. Ma Huiduan (also on behalf of Prof. Chen Fan, the Chairman of Chinese Society for STS: and chairman of Chinese Society for Philosophy of Technology)

About 150 scholars attended the conference, with ca. 25 from overseas. Of Chinese scholars, about 30 people came from outside Liaoning Province. Nearly 100 came from our local province, and most of them came from Shenyang city, with many students. Perhaps the timing contributed to this as there are many conferences or meetings in July. Also, because of language reasons, many Chinese scholars were not so interested in this conference. Many Chinese scholars also submitted their abstracts in Chinese (although we asked them to submit them in English abstract), and we had to cut these as well as many that were not ‘real’ STS papers.

Much Chinese STS study is based on the Dialectics of Nature which come from the thought of Marx and Engel’s. This should belong to Philosophy, not really STS. In summary, good communication did not happen between Chinese and overseas scholars (especially for language reasons).

That said, the overseas papers made a good impression on Chinese scholars and showed them that real Chinese STS study still needs a very long way to go. So, in this way, the conference was very useful in demonstrating real STS research. For much the same reasons, not much APSTSN membership resulted from the conference. Many Chinese scholars are not that familiar with foreign STS study, and also language difficulties again. They are not very mindful of whether to be a member of the organization. I understand this. When Prof. Chen Fan and I went to Europe to attend the 4S conference, I found almost only I and Prof. Chen Fan and I were Chinese.

In the end, I still think the conference was successful, as after all, it is the first really international STS conference held in China. At least it made Chinese scholars know what foreign scholars are doing, and how we can/should change our research style (that is, not always focus ing on metaphysical thinking, but that we should consider reality more).

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