UC Santa Cruz: Assistant Director of Research and Academic Programs
The Science and Justice Research Center (SJRC), affiliated with the Department of Sociology, at the University of California, Santa Cruz is pleased to announce an Assistant Director of Research and Academic Programs position.
The SJRC brings together faculty and graduate students from across all divisions of the University to address contemporary problems that entangle questions of science and knowledge with those of ethics and justice. Reporting to the Director, the Assistant Director (AD) will contribute to SJRC’s efforts to foster a new domain of research, teaching and institution building in science and justice. Possible related areas of research and teaching might include biodata and society, ecology and justice, environmental modeling and environmental politics, and technoscience and difference. The AD will:
- develop the Center’s research profile through grant-writing and building research programs that reflect the Center’s research foci
- develop the Center’s public profile
- develop and teach up to two classes per academic year and help implement the Science and Justice Graduate Training program curriculum
- develop collaborations with affiliated researchers, Centers, and Institutes both on and off-campus
- publish or present one academic article annually.
Basic Qualifications: Ph.D. or foreign equivalent degree in Science and Technology Studies or closely allied field, expected to be conferred by April 1, 2017. Demonstrated record of research, teaching and grant writing in higher education.
Preferred Qualifications: Evidence of developed research profile or trajectory sufficient to meet the job responsibilities; demonstrated experience in institution-building e.g. developing institutional linkages and forging consensus; capacity to develop long-term visions including three-year plans for fundraising and academic output; training in a field of science or engineering; demonstration of interdisciplinary collaboration; demonstration of national and international leadership potential; experience working with social media platforms.
To Apply: Applications accepted via the UCSC Academic Recruit online system must include letter of application, curriculum vitae, three reference letters*, sample of published material, sample of a submitted grant proposal, statement of teaching pedagogy, and sample of course syllabus in area of research. Optional: applicants are invited to submit a statement addressing past and/or potential contributions to diversity through research, teaching, and/or service. Optional: evidence of teaching excellence, provide a link in your curriculum vitae or letter of application to an audio/video of a public presentation in digital format. Materials must be submitted in PDF format unless stated otherwise.
To apply, visit: https://recruit.ucsc.edu/apply/JPF00358
POSITION AVAILABLE: July 1, 2016; with the academic year beginning September 17, 2016. Initial review date is May 20, 2016.
For more information about this recruitment, visit: http://apo.ucsc.edu/academic_employment/jobs/JPF00358-16T.pdf or contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Please refer to Position #JPF00358-16T in all correspondence.
For more information about this position, please see the Job Description.
An interdisciplinary event hosted by the Center for Analytical Finance and the Science and Justice Research Center discussed the historical and social problems in tech and finance. more here.
Jenny Reardon, sociologist between science and justice
LE MONDE SCIENCE ET TECHNO
Below is an English translation of a profile of Jenny Reardon, professor of sociology and director of the Science and Justice Research Center at UC Santa Cruz. It was published Jan. 11, 2016 in the French daily newspaper Le Monde. The original in French may be found at the Le Monde site.
It is 1986 and Jenny Reardon is 13 years old. She lives in Kansas City in Missouri, a Midwestern state of the United States, when a Newsweek article draws her attention. It describes, according to scientific testimony, the consequences for the planet of changes in the ozone layer. Jenny Reardon begins a correspondence with scientific experts, designs experiments to study the effect of ultraviolet radiation on marine ecosystems, and states her results in a scientific paper. In the following year, these experiments earned her the Grand Prize for environmental science in the General Motors International Science and Engineering Fair, a competition that aims to encourage high school students to pursue scientific careers. “Kansas City was not the ideal place to study marine biology but my father helped me set up a laboratory in the garage of our house. I designed experiments while watching, on a black and white television set, the ‘Oprah’ show, the talk show then in fashion,“ Reardon recalls with laughter.
Despite this early success, it is not in the sciences that this committed, 43-year-old woman excels today. Rather, she works in the analysis of contexts in which the sciences are practiced. A professor of sociology, she directs the Science and Justice Research Center, created in 2010 at the University of California at Santa Cruz, a university known, since the 1960s, for its avant-garde works. The idea? To create innovative forums in which scientists and non-scientists alike are invited to think together about the meaning of common concerns, such as those of race, genetics or ecology. “Jenny has a special ability to listen. This has greatly strengthened her leadership,” says the historian of science Donna Haraway, who works at the same university and who participated with Jenny Reardon in the creation of the research group. “She knows how to gather experts from different disciplines and to get them to think about the deeper meaning of the jargon they use,” she continues. “What I admire in her work is that she is not content with only a critical analysis of what scientists do. Rather, she seeks to open new perspectives with them,” adds the historian of science Joanna Radin of Yale University. “Genetics sheds new light on the definition of the human being, but we cannot let the scientists work alone in their corner.” “Jenny Reardon is impressive in her ability to build bridges between the social sciences and biology, in order to bring them together to have a broader vision of what they do,” adds geneticist David Haussler of the University of California at Santa Cruz.
Initiated in theology
Creating bridges was not always easy for Jenny Reardon. She is the daughter of a former Jesuit priest who was one of eight children of a famous American cartoonist, Foxo Reardon. A charismatic man, he introduced her to theology and taught tolerance, without disparaging too much its principles. Her mother was attuned to politics after traveling in Eastern Europe right after the fall of the Berlin Wall. She was consequently not satisfied with just studying biology and, at the end of her studies, she was undecided between two directions: molecular biology as practiced in the laboratory led by geneticist Mary-Claire King at the University of California at Berkeley; and, science and technology studies, a new discipline that studies social, political and cultural influences on and of science, at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. At this point, we are in the early 1990s and Mary-Claire King, who will later, in 2014, win the Lasker Award, already enjoys a strong reputation. She had just located the region in genome containing the BRCA1 gene, implicated in some hereditary forms of breast cancer. Yet, ultimately, Jenny Reardon chose to pursue the other direction. “It was a very difficult choice. I declined to study in a prestigious laboratory located in a dream location and chose, instead, studies that do not interest many people. I felt I had betrayed those who believed in me,” she recalls.
A few years later, she returns to genetics, this time with new intellectual baggage. One subject was of particular interest to her: the Human Genome Diversity Project (HGDP), a major project launched by prominent geneticists of the time, including Mary-Claire King, and supported by the US government and then, later, abandoned in the 1990s. The geneticists had nothing other than good intentions: to study the genetic diversity of the first peoples to better understand the origins and the intermingling of populations. But those studied did not see it this way. Accusing geneticists of considering them as objects of study and as “material for a patent,” leaders of Native American tribes in the United States vetoed the project. Some anthropologists blamed the project of using modern tools to revive nineteenth century, racist biology.
The history of the concept of race
In her book Race to the finish: Identity and Governance in an Age of Genomics (Princeton University Press, 2005), Jenny Reardon navigates these divisions to reposition the controversy in the history of the concept of race. She situates the controversy’s origins in unresolved questions between geneticists and the rest of the population concerning the relevant criteria to be accounted for in any study of the human diversity. “When you look back a hundred years, it appears that the science of the time was influenced by racial representations rooted in contemporary society and leading to the ranking of human groups. Although they deny it, the work of geneticists is still biased by the context within which they work,” says Gisli Palsson, an anthropologist at the University of Iceland in Reykjavik. “Jenny was among those who went to the heart of the problem. Her book remains the best analysis of the subject.”
The Science and Justice project is based on that analysis. Promoting “slow science,” its goal is to involve all stakeholders in society to reflect on scientific and technological advances. And, thus, it seeks to lead stakeholders to anticipate the implications of these advances before they define social choices. In addition to multidisciplinary meetings, Science and Justice offers a degree to students from fields as different as sociology and physics, to have them collaborate rethinking fundamental and sensitive issues, such as the commercialization of genetic testing by the company 23andMe; or, the use of drones for military operations. “We try to bring these students together to take into account their respective ways of approaching a problem so that they might think in a way that is not polarizing,” explains Jenny Reardon. “We are living in a time when science exerts incredible power on how people are governed. At the same time, issues concerning equity have become acute. Science and Justice seeks answers to this question: what science do we need in this world?”