Journal History

In 2006 the EASST journal Science and Technology Studies published a special issue on Feminist Technoscience in which guest editors Catherine Waldby, Nicola Green and Nina Wakeford editorialize that “current writing in feminist STS now, more than ever before, looks outwards towards a wide range of feminist writings and influences, thus continuing to pose challenges, both epistemologically and methodologically, to the wider STS field.”

They outline an agenda of “not look[ing] narrowly at the ‘impact’ of one particular technology, but rather at the wider issues at stake in technological cultures and social change,” proposing that “feminist STS provides a uniquely interdisciplinary site for such engagements” in that “it can consider not only the social relations of science and technology as they are framed sociologically, but also the ontological and experiential dimensions of embodiment and its complex relation to nature, the object of technoscience” (Waldby, Wakeford and Green 2006). This position, and the lack of such a scholarly journal that serves such purpose, motivated the founding of this journal in 2014.

Catalyst: Feminism, Theory, and Technoscience serves the expanding interdisciplinary field of feminist science and technology studies (STS) by supporting theoretically inventive and methodologically creative scholarship incorporating approaches from critical public health, disability studies, sci-art, technology and digital media studies, history and philosophy of science and medicine, and more.

The journal Catalyst publishes peer-reviewed critically and theoretically engaged feminist STS scholarship that reroutes the gendered, queer, raced, colonial, militarized, and political economic beings and doings of technoscience. Its mission is to support innovation in feminist STS and related areas of study, as well as to provide a venue for the publishing of activist feminist and critical theory concerning matters of science, technology, information, and medicine, and more.  

A distinct contribution of the journal is its emphasis on building, expanding, and applying theoretical insights from the humanities to readings and objects in the field of science studies, a field more commonly associated with social sciences. Featuring both empirical and hermeneutic essays solidly anchored in theory, Catalyst highlights gendered subjectivities and their uneven materialization across technoscientific assemblages of power: sex, race, nation, class, and ability. This kind of bridge-work finds new institutional homes in departments dedicated to feminist technoscience at York University and the University of California, Santa Cruz, as well as multiple working groups and open forums such as Technoscience Salon, UC FemTechNet (a research node of FemTechNet), and Life (Un)Ltd. Catalyst speaks to these organizational efforts, for which at present there is a marked paucity of journals that reflect their breadth of intellectual concerns. Catalyst is a 4S affiliated journal (http://www.4sonline.org/)

However, rather than taking up a progressivist model or what Barbara Christian calls (1988) a race for theory, Catalyst reflects distributed chains of scholarly reactions yielding new work both synthesized from and transformative of feminist intellectual legacies. Like a catalyst, our journal is therefore reflexively constituted through its upstream (histories) and downstream (futures) networks.