The panel aims to bring together international scholars whose work addresses technologies, practices, and forms of knowledge related to the mining of minerals, groundwater and fossil fuels. Recent technological developments such as high-volume hydraulic fracturing to extract oil and gas from shale, solar technologies that require rare earth metals, and even the pursuit of minerals found in asteroids have all been of interest to STS scholars, but have not typically been treated as an identifiable domain of research. This panel will seek to highlight the theoretical and topical commonalities as well as disagreements and debates that make the study of the underground a vibrant, emerging subfield of STS. Researchers are encouraged to submit abstracts on a wide range of topics, including: research and development on extractive technologies, environmental health and grassroots activism, extraction and indigenous communities, climate change and the Anthropocene, historical perspectives on extractive industries, labor and workers’ rights, and mining and extraction infrastructures. Given the conference location in New Orleans, we also welcome papers that consider the underground through engagement with the petrochemical industry.
We anticipate having multiple panels, as in years past, and will group papers by theme. We have already been in touch with scholars who would like a specific panel on rare earths, for example.
Paper abstracts of up to 250 words should be submitted to the 4S conference platform, which also includes additional logistical information. Please choose to submit your paper to an “open panel” and then select STS Underground #159. Additional questions can be directed to Jessica Smith (firstname.lastname@example.org).