Committee on the Anthropology of Science, Technology and Computing

CASTAC Mission
CASTAC's mission is to facilitate communication within the AAA among anthropologists working in areas related to science, technology and medicine, and to promote the visibility of anthropological research on technoscience. CASTAC offers a forum in which to organize sessions for meetings, exchange ideas and network with anthropologists who have similar research interests. To support these activities, CASTAC
  1. Publishes the CASTAC blog ( and Twitter feed (@CASTAC_AAA).
  2. Operates the CASTAC mailing list.
  3. Awards the Diana Forsythe Prize (with Society for the Anthropology of Work, SAW).
  4. Works with groups like SAW and the Science, Technology, and Medicine (STM) interest group within the Society for Medical Anthropology (SMA) to organize sessions.

CASTAC Mailing List

Diana Forsythe Prize
The Diana Forsythe Prize was created in 1998 to celebrate the best book or series of published articles in the spirit of Diana Forsythe's feminist anthropological research on work, science, or technology, including biomedicine. The prize is awarded annually at the AAA meeting by a committee consisting of one representative from the Society for the Anthropology of Work (SAW) and two from CASTAC. It is supported by the General Anthropology Division (GAD) and Bern Shen.

2014 Diana Forsythe Prize Winners
CALL FOR NOMINATIONS — 2015 Diana Forsythe Prize
João Biehl
128 Aaron Burr Hall
Department of Anthropology
Princeton University
Princeton, NJ 08544
Stefan Helmreich
Department of Anthropology
Room E53-335Q
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02142 USA
Nina E. Brown
Department of Anthropology
Community College of Baltimore County
7201 Rossville Boulevard
Baltimore, MD 21237-3899

CASTAC History
CASTAC was founded nearly 20 years ago by anthropologists working on the newly emergent topic of computing. The Committee for the Anthropology of Computing, as it was first known, soon developed into CASTAC as anthropologists working at the intersection of anthropology and the interdisciplinary field of Science and Technology Studies (STS) joined together to grapple with new theoretical and methodological questions. For example, at a time when ethnography was being critically reexamined in anthropology and uncritically adopted in STS they asked: How should anthropologists study "technoscience" in contexts unfamiliar to anthropology like laboratories, hospitals, universities, corporations and the virtual worlds of computing? What is the boundary between humans and machines?

In the 1990s, CASTAC constituted the primary institutional setting within the AAA for anthropologists working on technoscience and it was during this period that the anthropology of technoscience came of age. Michael Fischer and then AAA President Annette Weiner lauded the anthropology of technoscience as a major new area of innovative research. Gary Downey, Joseph Dumit and Sarah Williams organized a prominent invited double session at the 1993 AAA Annual Meeting in San Francisco featuring a who's who of anthropologists of technoscience. CASTAC also organized a series of summer conferences and produced directories that facilitated the expansion of the anthropology of technoscience. As the "science wars" in anthropology flourished in the mid to late 1990s, so did the anthropology of technoscience and STS. With success came the expansion of institutional venues for anthropologists of technoscience. CASTAC was no longer the only place within the AAA for them to affiliate. Thus, CASTAC has transformed its mission.