May 30, 2018 | WiSE’s Science on Tap | The Postgenomic Condition

Wednesday, May 30, 2018 | The Crepe Place: 1134 Soquel Ave, Santa Cruz, CA 95062

(slideshare of presentation; begins about 10:55)

SJRC Director and Sociology Professor Jenny Reardon will discuss with us her new book, The Postgenomic Condition: Ethics, Justice & Knowledge After the Genome. Reardon’s research draws into focus questions about identity, justice and democracy that are often silently embedded in scientific ideas and practices, particularly in modern genomic research. Her training spans molecular biology, the history of biology, science studies, feminist and critical race studies, and the sociology of science, technology and medicine.

Science on Tap is designed to connect the Santa Cruz community to the latest research at U.C. Santa Cruz.  It is not exclusive for scientists and science majors and aims to appeal to all audiences. So come, grab a drink and meal, relax and hear some interesting cutting edge science that’s happening near you!

Science on Tap is generally on the last Wednesday of every month at the Crepe Place. Due to the popularity of these events, to ensure that you’ll have a seat, we highly recommend that you reserve a table by calling the Crepe Place at (831) 429-6994. More information can be found on their website at:

Jenny Reardon is a Professor of Sociology and the Founding Director of the Science and Justice Research Center at the UC Santa Cruz.


Hosted by the UC Santa Cruz Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE).

May 17, 2018 | Caring for Prairies: A Conversation with Wes Jackson

The ‘Alternative Nobel Prize’ Inaugural Gathering of Changemakers for Social and Environmental Justice

Tues-Thursday, May 15-17, 2018
Refer to schedule for locations

The Right Livelihood Award—widely known as the ‘Alternative Nobel Prize’—was established in 1980 to honor and support courageous people and organizations offering visionary and exemplary solutions to the root causes of global problems. In addition to presenting the annual award, the Right Livelihood Award Foundation also supports the work of its laureates, particularly those whose lives may be in danger due to the nature of their activities.

On Thursday May 17th, join SJRC Director Jenny Reardon from 9:50am – 11:20am in Social Sciences 2, room 179 for Caring for Prairies: A Conversation with Wes JacksonWes Jackson is founder and president emeritus of The Land Institute, a nonprofit science-based research organization working to develop an alternative to current destructive agricultural practices.

Events are free and open to the public. Register for each event.
Co-Sponsored by the Science and Justice Research Center.

May 16, 2018 | Bioengineering in the Open

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

4:00-6:00 PM

Engineering 2, room 599  (BitO poster

Bioengineering is an ascendant and elite field. Advocates of “open” bioengineering propose to expand the participants, methods and scope of practices & ideas for intervening in biology. Drawing on the perceived innovative successes of Silicon Valley, these advocates often promote analogies to computer and information technology to both frame and direct biological engineering’s development as a definitive technology of the twenty-first century. “Bioengineering in the Open” will explore the points of agreement and contention between different versions of “open” bioengineering, including what sources of inspiration and promise they find outside of biotechnology’s conventional borders.

Specifically, the event will compare the versions of “open” biotechnology espoused by a university-based bioengineer and a DIY biohacking collective. Drew Endy, Assistant Professor of Bioengineering at Stanford University, promotes the development of standardized biological engineering through the open-source Registry of Standard Biological Parts, working with biological systems to make them more “engineerable.” Oakland-based DIY “biohacking” and citizen science collective Counter Culture Labs compares the innovative powers of community laboratories to the garages that birthed many Silicon Valley startups and emphasizes “democratizing” and “demystifying” biotechnology by taking it outside the ivory towers of universities and research laboratories.

The Science and Justice Working Group will bring these advocates of different visions of “open” bioengineering together to discuss common concerns of innovation, accessibility, and intellectual property. Politics of openness in bioengineering have clear justice implications, as they present cases for who should be allowed to contribute to and benefit from the biology of the future. By shaping bioengineering in the image of computer and information technology, these political visions adopt some familiar models of participation and regulation. This raises some concerns, however: What lessons do these bioengineering advocates take from the less desirable features and outcomes—demographic inequality, monopoly, and information insecurity, for example—of the information technology industry? And does the push to equate biological engineering with computer engineering eclipse features that are unique to working with biomatter, like the ethics or risks of intervening in life forms that grow, mutate, and reproduce?

This working group event aims to discuss the following questions:

  • What ends (Knowledge production? Innovation? Profit? Ethics?) do advocates of “open bioengineering” expect it to better serve?
  • What does approaching biology as a form of engineering accomplish? What distinguishes “open,” as opposed to “closed,” engineering? What other analogies and metaphors do we have for developing and understanding biotechnology?
  • Who does “open” biotechnology help get involved and how? Who should have the right to participate in and benefit from bioengineering? What are the benefits that they receive from open biotechnology?
  • What are the risks and responsibilities of “open” bioengineering, and how are they distributed? How does “open bioengineering” anticipate and mitigate its own potential for harm?

Event Host:

Andy Murray, Sociology PhD Candidate and SJRC Graduate Student Researcher


Drew Endy, Associate Professor, Stanford University

Patrik D’haeseleer, Co-founder and Chair, Counter Culture Labs

Jenny Reardon, Professor and SJRC Director, UCSC


Co-Sponsored by the UCSC Departments of Biomolecular Engineering; Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology, and the UCSC Genomics Institute.

May 16, 2018 | Assembling Precision Medicine

Wednesday, May 16, 2018
Engineering 2, Room 599


Join S&J Visiting Scholars Declan Kuch and Matthew Kearnes in an informal discussion on how proponents of the bio-nano sciences, centered around polymer chemistry, have promised a new generation of targeting agents that will carry drug payloads to diseased cells with greater accuracy. Alongside these promises, proponents of precision medicine have sought to build new knowledge about health and illness through massive new databases that combine multiple ‘-omics’ with lifestyle and chemical exposure data. Much has already been written speculating about both the efficacy and social effects ‘downstream’ of these sciences, especially the likely consequences of precision medicine in domains of socio-economics, race and disability (Juengst et al., 2016; Meagher et al., 2016).We instead seek to discuss how these critiques are (or are not) affecting laboratory designs, practices, and methods, starting with a discussion of critiques of bio-nano science (Torrice, 2016; Wilhelm et al., 2016). How can bio-nano science and precision medicine practically address their critics in such disciplines as public health and sociology dismissing them as expensive indulgences to benefit mostly rich white people? What role can data sharing play in building public support? How can the open science ethos of bio-nano and much precision medicine research translate into public benefit considering the expanding ‘pharmaceuticalisation’ of illness (Dumit, 2012) and rising drug prices?

Declan Kuch is a Research Fellow in the School of Humanities and Languagues at UNSW. His research is situated between the fields of Science and Technology Studies and Economic Sociology. He has published on topics including public engagement with science and technology, precision medicine, energy and climate policy, and the sharing economy. He is the author of ‘The Rise and Fall of Carbon Emissions Trading’ (Palgrave MacMillan, 2015) and loves riding bikes.

Matthew Kearnes is an Australian Research Council Future Fellow, a CI with the ARC Centre of Excellence in Convergent Bio-Nano Science & Technology (CBNS) and member of the of Environmental Humanities Group at the School of Humanities and Languages, University of New South Wales. Matthew’s research is situated between the fields of Science and Technology Studies (STS), human geography and contemporary social theory. His current work is focused on the social and political dimensions of technological and environmental change, including ongoing work on nanotechnology, precision medicine, geoengineering and the development of negative emission strategies to anthropogenic climatic change. He has published widely on the ways in which the development of novel and emerging technologies is entangled with profound social, ethical and normative questions. Matthew serves on the editorial board Science, Technology and Society (Sage) and is an associate editor for Science as Culture (Taylor & Francis). Matthew is also co-convenor of the 4S 2018 conference, to be held in Sydney in August 2018.


  • Dumit J. (2012) Drugs for life: how pharmaceutical companies define our health, Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
  • Juengst E, McGowan ML, Fishman JR, et al. (2016) From “personalized” to “precision” medicine: the ethical and social implications of rhetorical reform in genomic medicine. Hastings Center Report 46: 21-33.
  • Meagher KM, McGowan ML, Settersten RA, et al. (2016) Precisely Where Are We Going? Charting the New Terrain of Precision Prevention. Annual Review of Genomics and Human Genetics.
  • Torrice M. (2016) Does Nanomedicine Have a Delivery Problem? ACS Central Science 2: 434-437.
  • Wilhelm S, Tavares AJ, Dai Q, et al. (2016) Analysis of nanoparticle delivery to tumours. Nature Reviews Materials 1: 16014.

May 09, 2018 | Timescales, Memory, and Nuclear Geographies: A Conversation with Gabrielle Hecht and Julie Salverson

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

4:00-6:00 PM

Louden Nelson Center, Room 1

301 Center St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Source: Michael Brill, Site Design to Mark the Dangers of Nuclear Waste for 10,000 Years. Buffalo: The Buffalo Organization for Social and Technological Innovation Inc. (BOSTI). 1991, pl 15.

Source: Michael Brill, Site Design to Mark the Dangers of Nuclear Waste for 10,000 Years. Buffalo: The Buffalo Organization for Social and Technological Innovation Inc. (BOSTI). 1991, pl 15.

Writers and activists researching nuclear things face “the challenge of rendering visible occluded, sprawling webs of interconnectedness” (Nixon 2011, 13). This discussion features two writers whose work traces the sprawling webs of nuclear geographies, binding uranium mining and its dispersed radioactive legacies. Julie Salverson (Professor of Drama and Cultural Studies, Queen’s University) links the mines of Northern Canada with the U.S.’s use of nuclear weapons in Japan, and the later disaster at Fukushima, while Gabrielle Hecht (Professor of History and Nuclear Security, Stanford) examines the afterlives of neocolonial uranium mining by French companies in Gabon. Salverson and Hecht experiment with different conceptual and writerly methods to trace the geographies of these extractive economies and their uneven effects.

This discussion with Salverson and Hecht is moderated by UCSC’s Science and Justice Research Center. We invite event attendees to read a representative article from each author, email Lindsey Dillon at for a copy of the readings.

  • Salverson, Julie and Peter C. van Wyck. “Through the Lens of Fukushima.” Forthcoming in Through Post Atomic Eyes, edited by Claudette Lauzon and John O’Brian. McGill-Queen’s University Press.
  • Hecht, Gabrielle. “Interscalar Vehicles for an African Anthropocene: On Waste, Temporality, and Violence.” Cultural Anthropology 33, no. 1 (2018): 109-141.


Nixon, Rob. Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor. Harvard University Press, 2011.

May 2, 2018 | “Sons and Daughters of Soil?” reflections on Life Sciences and Decoloniality in South Africa

Wednesday, May 02, 2018, 3:30-5:30 PM, Humanities 1, Room 210

Responding, as researchers, to Earth Mastery that includes not only violent machines, but a violation of evidence and epistemes including the scientific episteme, requires accumulating and presenting evidence for existences that do not exist — at least, not in neoliberal discourses. In trying to research and support specific situations of Black environmental struggle in South Africa, I find myself standing with that which has no existence in conventional discourses: for a cliff that no longer exists; for molecules that have no existence in local knowledge; for people who have no existence in the mining companies, for the assassinated Bazooka Radebe, whose existence is now with the Ancestors, and with the soil he died to conserve. Environmental Humanities South had begun by asking a question about how to generate evidence in the geological Anthropocene. By the time our first three years had ticked by and we had encountered the Capitalocene, I had learned that a far more fundamental struggle has to be the focus of our work. What exists? Who exists? In what registers and modes? How do we take on the new conquistadors with their machines called Earth Masters, given that it is their owners’ logic that has come to define who exists and what exists and what can be ground to dust? How can scholarship contribute to the building of a broad-based environmental public? Presented as a dilemma tale, this talk sketches six moves toward an ecopolitics in South Africa, with the question: what else could be in this discussion?

Lesley Green | Fulbright Fellow, Associate Professor of Anthropology in the School of African and Gender Studies, Anthropology and Linguistics, University of Cape Town; Director of Environmental Humanities South, Faculty of Humanities, University of Cape Town

Hosted by the IHR Race, Violence, Inequality and the Anthropocene Cluster.

Co-Sponsored by the Science and Justice Research Center and the Anthropology Department.

May 1, 2018 | Reading Group with Lesley Green

Tuesday, May 01, 2018, 11:30-1:30 PM, Humanities 1, Room 408

Reading Seminar on #ScienceMustFall and ABC of Plant Medicine: On Posing Cosmopolitical Questions

Email Kristina Lyons ( for the readings.

Lesley Green | Fulbright Fellow, Associate Professor of Anthropology in the School of African and Gender Studies, Anthropology and Linguistics, University of Cape Town; Director of Environmental Humanities South, Faculty of Humanities, University of Cape Town

Hosted by the IHR Race, Violence, Inequality and the Anthropocene Cluster.

Co-Sponsored by the Science and Justice Research Center

April 11, 2018 | Visiting Scholars Roundtable

Wednesday, April 11, 2018 | 4:00-5:30pm | SJRC’s Common Room (Oakes 231)

S&J welcomes Katharine Legun, (Sociology Lecturer and Researcher at the Centre for Sustainability, University of Otago NZ) to the Science & Justice community.

At this roundtable, we’ll hear from Katharine who will share an overview on her work in plants and aesthetic politics, farmers and intellectual property, and the ever shifting power structures in agri-food systems. More on Katharine’s fascinating work on how the vibrant botany of apples shapes orchard culture and market institutions can be found here and here.

Katharine Legun holds a PhD in Sociology from UW-Madison and has worked in New Zealand since 2013. ​She has published in Economy and SocietyGeoforum, and Environment and Planning A, and is currently co-editing the Cambridge Handbook of Environmental Sociology. Her work considers more-than-human approaches to understanding economic and environmental practice, focusing particularly on the role of plants in shaping human agency within agriculture.

This will be a great chance for everyone to connect with the visitors of the Center, learn about their work and foster emerging collaborations! Interested in visiting Science & Justice? Visit our website for more information on the SJRC Visiting Scholar Program.

C’elegans: a Sculpted Reflection on Abstraction and the Notion of Progress in Science

In Winter 2018, Science & Justice Visiting Scholar Kim Hendrickx convened a meeting in the lab of Distinguished Professor of MCD Biology Susan Strome to discuss C. elegans, the elegant see-through worm that has long served as a model in developmental biology research.

Strome and lab members welcomed Hendrickx, Distinguished Professor Emerita Donna Haraway and Science & Justice Director Jenny Reardon along with the S&J community.

Invited art student, D (aka Daniel Lynch) created a physical response to the ‘Addressing Biology’ discussion in the form of a sculpture made from discarded laboratory rods, hardware and band saw blades. In their written statement, the student explained: “The UNC blade both suspends and is contained by the construction much like the way scientific dialogue can become bound by the knowledge it has already produced.” Hendrickx responded: “It is strange and exciting to see something very familiar in a new form.” The student, overseen by Dee Hibbert-Jones in the Art Department, was allowed to use this response piece as their final class project. All involved felt the excitement of such creative and engaged interactions between the arts, sciences, social sciences and humanities.

j-UNC by D (aka Daniel Lynch)

Discarded Laboratory Rod & Hardware, Discarded Band-Saw Blades 

C’elegans is a nematode characterized by its S-shaped movement, and is studied as a model organism. Experimentation has caused a variety of mutations in individual worms. Remarkably some have developed neurons instead of reproductive germs. Others lose their characteristic movement, becoming uncoordinated. These are named “UNC” by researchers.

The worm is treated both as a subject and tool, whereas the blade transforms from tool to subject. The legible, linear detail of the teeth reflect the visible, linear nature of the worm’s internal biology. The blade that is held in examination by the construction is torqued into a curve that is evocative of the worm’s natural movement. In contrast, the heavier blade on the floor appears contorted, referencing the UNC.

The material used to build the construction gains new importance through form while retaining its identity and history as a support structure used in scientific experimentation. The construction’s, upward-stretching and outward-reaching form represents a methodic progression towards something, in abstraction of science. The UNC blade both suspends and is contained by the construction, much like the way scientific dialogue can become bound by the knowledge it has already produced.

Spring 2019 | Science & Justice Writing Together

Day/Time TBD
SJRC Common Room, Oakes 231

Wanting to establish a regular writing routine exploring science and justice? Join SJRC scholars in the SJRC Common Room for open writing sessions! Engage in six 25-minute writing sessions (with a 5 minute break in between). Open to all students, faculty and visiting scholars.

We will continue to schedule writing sessions on a quarterly basis based on interest and availability, please be in touch if you are interested in participating in the spring term.

For more information, please contact Lindsey Dillon (Assistant Professor of Sociology).