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College of Arts and Sciences

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Signature Programming

The Ann Johnson Institute for Science, Technology & Society (AJI) at the University of South Carolina supports historical, philosophical, scientific, and engineering approaches. The activities we support are designed to contribute to building better communities because at the AJI community is the method.

Call For Applications

Become part of the AJI community and apply for a Book Manuscript Workshop, the Writer’s Retreat, or partner with us on your arts initiative. Learn more here. 

Apply here for the Writer’s Retreat. Application closes December 1! 
Apply here for the Book Manuscript Workshop. Applications are open until March 1, 2023. 

Book manuscript workshops are targeted toward individuals at any career stage who have not previously published a monograph. The successful applicant will have a first-time book manuscript near completion at the time of applying. They will invite, and the AJI will fund, up to three senior experts in the author’s field as well as an acquisitions editor from a major scholarly press to campus. A small group of relevant experts within the South Carolina community may also attend.

The purpose of this workshop is to support stronger and more rigorous manuscripts from first-time STS authors. Equally, it is geared toward developing communities of colleagues from different disciplines and geographical locations. The AJI is committed to building such communities from the bottom up, seeding them and positioning them to question and reframe complex problems. The AJI takes a broad approach to STS, envisioning it in partnership with historical, philosophical, scientific, engineering and medical approaches, because at the AJI community is the method

Our 2023 Writer's Retreat is scheduled for June 17-June 23, and we have a wonderful location we look forward to revealing when applications open. Come back for the application link, which will be available November 1, 2022. The application form closes on December 1, 2022 and the recipients of our Writer's Retreat slots will be notified in early January.  Look for more details on this year's theme and our expectations for attendees, coming soon. 

The Ann Johnson Institute partners with national and international organizations holding events that overlap with the Institute’s mission.

Our Mission: The Ann Johnson Institute is dedicated to building diverse communities for the study of technology, medicine and science in past and present societies. Such communities are important because contemporary and future problems are complex and traditional Universities are not structured well to respond. At the AJI we will build communities from the bottom up, seeding and positioning them to question and reframe these problems as well as seek to solve them.

In the classroom, we will support innovative pedagogical approaches that are ambitious and promote interdisciplinarity. In the University, we will bridge disciplinary silos. We will also recognize and aid the fundamentally important, but nonetheless supererogatory work that faculty and staff perform as mentors, friends and advisors. Beyond the University the AJI will to be an enjoyable destination where individuals meet to collaborate on creative approaches to solving complex social and environmental problems.

The institute envisions STS in partnership with historical, philosophical, scientific and engineering approaches. The activities we support are designed to contribute to building a better community because at the AJI community is the method.

Upcoming Conferences:
  • 2023
  • 2024 and Beyond
    • SPSP Society for Philosophy of Science in Practice (international conference) May 15-18 2024, at the University of South Carolina. Read about the SPSP here.
    • We’re co-hosting the Philosophy of Cancer conference with Chris Tollefsen, March 15-16th 2024, University of South Carolina, Columbia. Conference theme: "Cancer and the Philosophy of Science and Medicine". We invite papers that address the various questions of taxonomy, ontology, and epistemology surrounding cancer research.
      Read more about this conference here.
      • This conference seeks to address the Philosophy of Cancer across a number of different disciplinary and methodological areas of philosophy, including the philosophy of science, philosophy of medicine, ethics and political philosophy, philosophical anthropology, and the philosophy of religion. Papers are solicited for 50-minute sessions that should include no more than 30 minutes of reading time. We hope to collect select papers for a subsequent edited volume. 

“Diving into Math with Emmy Noether”
The latest event showcasing the "AJI + Arts" initiative. Attendees were treated to a fascinating story in Diving into Math with Emmy Noether, a one-woman play with a rich digital arts component. Noether defied the gender constructs in early twentieth-century Europe, and in so doing, changed mathematics as we know it.

Diving into Math with Emmy Noether comes to the University of South Carolina!
A theatre performance by portraittheater Vienna in co-operation with Freie Universität Berlin. Director: Sandra Schüddekopf, Actress: Anita Zieher.
Sponsored by the Ann Johnson Institute. See a preview here.
Zieher and crew launched their nationwide tour at the Longstreet Theatre on September 6, 2022.

“The Bag Lady”
Check back soon for more on this independent film sponsored by the AJI! Currently in development, this award-winning screenplay tells the story of Margaret E. Knight, the first woman to hold a patent, after she took the man who stole her designs for a paper bag-making machine to court and won. 

The modern university is one of humankind’s most astonishing achievements: a city populated by highly trained experts with extraordinary resources for advancing human understanding in every domain of knowledge. However, university research is frequently too technical to be accessible to the general public and there are often disincentives for researchers to work outside of their specialist communities.

The AJI seeks to help overcome the divide between USC and our surrounding community. Every two years we award a grant (which can include, but is not limited to teaching release, GA support, research funds, workshop or conference money) to support projects that involve public engagement or that apply research for the public good. For example, faculty in public health researching plant-based diets host a diet clinic including nutritional workshops and cooking classes for the public, partnering with local restaurants and students from USC’s Ethics of Food course. Or faculty researching urban planning could work with city officials and neighborhood associations to develop recommendations to reduce excessive drinking in Five Points. You can read about our first AJI + Columbia project here.

Call for Applications: if you’d like more information on how to partner with the AJI on a conference, symposium or another relevant event, or if you have an art project you would like us to consider, please email us as

Calendar: Our upcoming events and applications deadlines are listed on our calendar (coming soon).

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.