Engaging the Underground: An STS Field in Formation

  • Abby J. Kinchy Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  • Roopali Phadke Macalester College
  • Jessica M. Smith Colorado School of Mines


Rather than existing a priori, the underground comes to be through interlinked political, economic, cultural, and technoscientific practices and processes. Underlying each of these are issues of knowledge, expertise and power that STS is uniquely positioned to explore. In this thematic collection, our focus on the underground draws attention to the work, knowledge, and placemaking activities of those engaged in mining and energy development. We focus on how questions about extraction and burial are posed and deliberated through maps and models. More generally, we highlight the contributions of STS Underground, a network that in its nascent stage is helping to connect the many STS scholars who seek to use the underground as a source, site, and symbol for thinking of the future of the field, as well as their personal interventions as engaged scholars.

Author Biography

Abby J. Kinchy, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Associate Professor, Science and Technology Studies Department
01 Mar 2018
Thematic Collections