Call for Papers: Planetary Data, LEAKAGE; Inaugural Conference of stsing, TU Dresden, 19.-22.03.2024, Deadline: 01.10.2023

Planetary Data | Call for Participation

LEAKAGE. Inaugural Conference of stsing, TU Dresden, March 19–22 2024

Leman Çelik, Stefan Laser, Stefan Rieger and Estrid Sørensen are planning a panel for the stsing e.V. inaugural conference “Leakage” in Dresden in March 2024 and invite colleagues to participate in this panel. Please indicate your interest by submitting an abstract of max. 200 words by 1 October 2023 to

15. September 2023

In this panel for the stsing e.V. inaugural conference “Leakage”, we follow the trails of data, and we inquire about their planetary ontology. Both local data practices and the global distribution of data across large, hard-to-fathom infrastructures are well-explored areas of Science and Technology Studies. Data circulate through global networks, and heterogeneous expertise goes into developing and processing digital data. Data practices and analytics are closely interwoven with global value chains of the IT industries. Following the trails of data from data analytics through data centres, cables, chip factories and regulation authorities, it becomes evident that data are global.

However, what if data are planetary as well? If data trails are not just global in their social and (geo)political character but planetary, living off of metals, water, air, fossils, plants, animals and habitats? How can we, as STS researchers, attune to the planetary character of the sites and places where data practices and data infrastructures are shaped, maintained, and used? What is the value of thinking digital data through the notion of the planet? The planet and the “criticalzones” where humans and companion species thrive well have become fragile. Howcan we live well with data on a damaged planet? Anthropology of the Anthropocene shows that the planet is multiple: data practices and digital infrastructures leave diverse traces on the planet. Data infrastructures and data practices are often invisibly entangled with polluted air and water shortages, climate violence and data injustice, land grabbing, and habitat damage. These all appear in different forms and do not merge comfortably into one coherent narrative nor to one coherent experience.

The panel explores the heuristic and critical potentials of the notion of planetary data and their shaping and emergence out of multiple planetary worlds. Thus, contributions may address topics such as:

  • Care for the planetary in data and data infrastructure practices
  • Knowledge practices that make the planetary character of data visible
  • Effects of IT industries, hubs, cables and data centres on local ecologies
  • Extraction of metals and other planetary resources for creating and sustaining digital infrastructures
  • Planetary pollution, violence, injustice related to data practices and data infrastructures
  • Planetary methods for engaging in good ways with data, e.g. low-carbon methods, feminist server stacks, etc.
  • Critical and historical discussions of concepts (such as “the planetary”) to think about the interlinkage of the planetary and data

These themes call for explorations of puzzling encounters, curious objects, and careful relations established through STS research. We are looking forward to your (perhaps playful) contributions and will seek an engaging, open format to design a non-conventional panel that fosters an exchange between and beyond the presenters. Please submit your abstract of max 200 words until 1 October. You will be informed by 6 October if you are included in the panel. If we do not include you in the panel, you can still submit your abstract to the conference for another panel.

We also want to use the panel to discuss the options of creating a stsing “working group” on planetary data