Person with long brown hair in a pink dress smelling flowers in a rooftop vegetable garden overlooking a luscious green city scape with windmills and skyrail

Call for Papers | Imaginactivism: A Speculative Fiction Workshop on Environmental Justice, Flourishing and Cohabitation

Expressions of interest by: September 20, 2017

Person with long brown hair in a pink dress smelling flowers in a rooftop vegetable garden overlooking a luscious green city scape with windmills and skyrail

Concept art by Jessica Perlstein representing San Francisco as described in Starhawk's The Fifth Sacred Thing.


Deadline for submissions: October 2, 2017

Workshop: October 18, 2017 (Time and Location TBD)

Organization: UCSC Science and Justice Research Center

Contact email: jharan@uoregon.edu and cmasseng@ucsc.edu

 

In this workshop we will take inspiration from Starhawk and Donna Haraway.

In their writings since the later 1970s we can trace both the influence of a web of feminist SFs, including speculative fiction, science fiction and speculative fabulation, and their own crafting of SF. They are both authors of feminist SF; most explicitly with Starhawk’s The Fifth Sacred Thing (1993) and its sequel City of Refuge (2015) and Haraway’s “The Camille Stories” (2016) but also implicitly in their work on movement-building and figuration. They use SF not to conjure purified alternatives or forms of escape, but to remain embedded in and accountable to the world. The workshop will focus on this mode of SF and their insistence on accounting for compromised and difficult relationality, shared responsibility and non-innocence.

Their work emerges from and reiterates the collective call to action issued by intersecting social movements.  They focus on hope and possibility without downplaying the scale of the various crises we face, including climate change, mass extinctions, and the concentration of wealth and power in the hands of a few. They locate their work explicitly in both the local and the global, and draw on deep experiential knowledge of their chosen dwelling-places as well as research on, and dialogues with, dwellers from elsewhere. In drawing inspiration from these structural links across their use of SF, the workshop aims to provide a platform for thinking about our collective responsibility to reshape our modes of being if we are to hold open the possibility of flourishing to future generations of humans and more-than-humans.

For this workshop, we invite feminist, queer, antiracist, and decolonial STS scholars and activists working on environmental and racial justice to experiment with the possibilities of speculative and visionary storytelling. All participants will submit a short piece of work (by October 2nd) which will be circulated to other workshop participants for reading ahead of the workshop. If you’ve never done creative writing before, do not worry!  We are looking for messy and promising provocations, not polished manuscripts. Please reserve your place by emailing jharan@uoregon.edu and cmasseng@ucsc.edu by 09/20/17.

You are asked to submit 900 words of speculative fiction[ii] (by 10/02/17) about a place that is particularly meaningful to you.  You might conjure up its future, produce a speculative and disruptive history or trace the contours of an alternate present. Who and what have (had) attachments to that place, and how are those attachments bound up in larger networks of interrelationship? Do those attachments open up ways of imagining flourishing cohabitation (however you conceive of that), or do those attachments need to be disconnected and / or reconnected to create spaces of possibility?

[i] Imaginactivism is a compound word coined (Haran 2015) to denote the entangled relationship of imagination and activism. One of key questions rasised by the Imaginactivism research project is: how are interpretive / activist communities or networks formed, inspired and / or restored or reinvigorated by fictional cultural production? This workshop is one attempt to explore this question collectively.

[ii] If you work with graphic fiction or other speculative genres and are interested in participating in the workshop, please contact jharan@uoregon.edu to express your interest and to suggest alternative materials to submit.

Call for Action: Community Relief Aid for Putumayo, Mocoa

From Kristina Lyons, SJRC Affiliate in Feminist Science Studies:

The capital city of PutumayoMocoa, where I have been engaged in research and accompanying agro-life popular processes since 2004, suffered a devastating avalanche in the early morning hours after three rivers, the MocoaMulato and Sancoyaco, flooded and overtook 17 neighborhoods. At least 236 people have been killed, more than 250 more are disappeared, and hundreds are wounded and left homeless. The hospital collapsed, the bus terminal, central gas station, and market were obliterated, and there is no electricity, potable water, or most public services. I am lucky that my closest friends, colleagues, compañerxs, and adoptive family members are safe thus far. However, there are many people still unaccounted for and countless others in shock and needing basic supplies, water, food, and support of all kinds.

If you have learned about Putumayo through my or other’s work, heard a talk, read a piece, or feel moved and motivated by this news and the situation occurring, please contact me. I am organizing donations for local community relief, mutual aid, and reconstruction projects in Mocoa. While there is so much troubling and devasting phenomena happening in the world, Mocoa is a place that holds my heart and continues to shape all that I am as an anthropologist and person.

More details can be found at the link below. This money will go to trustworthy local organizations that I personally know and have been working closely with. The objective of this fundraiser is to provide not only short term aid, but also middle to long-range capacity building support for community organizations, processes, and initiatives in the wake of such a tragedy.

Thank you in advance for any solidarity. Please circulate among friends and networks that may be concerned and interested in supporting such efforts. krlyons@ucsc.edu

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Spring Course | UCSC FDM 225: Software Studies

This coming spring term at UCSC, Science & Justice affiliate Warren Sack, Professor of Film & Digital Media and Digital Arts & New Media, will offer FDM 225: Software Studies, predominantly a history and theory graduate seminar. The course will meet in the Communications Building, Room 139 on Wednesdays from 3pm-6pm.
FDM 225 will incorporate a fairly extensive, hands-on project that deals with the artificial intelligence software used to generate stories automatically (akin to the engine in the Sims game that propels the characters).
The syllabus from my last offering of the course which is different from the coming spring offering in four respects:
  1. A number of new texts have been published on the topic since my last offering (spring of 2014), so several of those will be integrated into the readings (e.g., Federica Frabetti, Software Theory: A Cultural and Philosophical Study (2014)).
  2. I have a book manuscript for the MIT Press “Software Studies” book series that will be integrated into the readings.
  3. The hands-on, maker project described above involves modifying, extending and/or analyzing some software I have written.  You can get a preview of that software, a story generator, here (narrated by FDM PhD student Fabiola Hanna): http://fdm.ucsc.edu/~wsack/DecodingDemocracy/index.html
  4. On the first day of class (April 5th), I have two luminaries in the world of software studies and software art coming to speak.  They will both come to class to speak with us, but also be giving separate talks on campus:
    1. Matthew Fuller (Goldsmiths College, University of London) will speak at the Cultural Studies Colloquium on April 5th at noon in Humanities Room 210.
    2. Olga Goriunova (Royal Holloway, University of London) will speak at our Visual and Media Cultures Colloquium in Porter 245 at 4:00pm on April 5th(http://havc.ucsc.edu/news_events/2016/11/08/visual-media-cultures-colloquium-olga-goriunova)
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Jenny Reardon receives Humboldt Foundation award

(Originally posted on Sociology@UCSC)

Jenny Reardon, professor of sociology and director of the Science & Justice Research Center at UC Santa Cruz, is the winner of the 2017 Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award.

The award recognizes scholars who have earned lifetime achievements in research. In addition, award recipients are invited to spend a year collaborating with specialist colleagues in Germany to carry out their proposed research projects.

The project Reardon and her collaborators will embark on will explore how the rise of big data’ is changing interpretive practices in the life sciences and life scientists’ understandings of and relationships to life.  While centered on the life sciences, and in particular on genomics, the research aims to produce insights about how the rise of informatics and big data are changing what it means and entails to produce knowledge across the natural and social sciences, and how those changes also entail shifts in what it means to act in an ethical and democratic manner.

The bi-national collaboration will allow for historical and comparative studies that promise novel insights into these fundamental processes. In the United States, the norm of openness powerfully shapes practices of interpreting genomes. In Germany, the privacy of genetic and genomic data still is considered paramount, although under mounting pressure. The study will investigate how different legal and scientific approaches to the management and governance of genomic data create different practices of interpretation that entail different conceptions of knowledge and justice.

Veronika Lipphardt, Reardon’s collaborator at the University of Freiburg, notes the timeliness of the research. “German politicians are currently discussing whether or not the German Law should allow for DNA Phenotyping and the determination of biogeographical ancestry in cri­mi­nal investigation”, she says. “Interpreting the results will be a major challenge for foren­sicists, investigators and judges.” Lipphardt belongs to a small group of scholars invited to a central expert hearing by the State Department of Justice.

Reardon plans to disseminate the research through published articles, public talks, and online media.

The Humboldt Foundation was founded by the German government and strives to promote exchange of knowledge between scientists and scholars all over the world.

A small farm in the Andean-Amazonian foothills of Colombia. Photo by Kristina Lyons.

The Anthropology and Environment Society has awarded its Junior Scholar Prize to Kristina Lyons

Congratulations to Science & Justice Professor Kristina Lyons!

Lyons, Assistant Professor of Feminist Science Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz was awarded the 2016 AES Junior Scholar award for the article “Decomposition as Life Politics: Soils, Selva, and Small Farmers under the Gun of the U.S.- Colombia War on Drugs” is published in Cultural Anthropology (Volume 31, Number 1: 55-80) and accompanied in an interview.

The award is given annually to early-career scholars for an exemplary article in the area of environmental anthropology.

Abstract: How is life in a criminalized ecology in the Andean-Amazonian foothills of south- western Colombia? In what way does antinarcotics policy that aims to eradicate la mata que mata (the plant that kills) pursue peace through poison? Relatedly, how do people keep on cultivating a garden, caring for forest, or growing food when at any moment a crop-duster plane may pass overhead, indiscriminately spraying herbicides over entire landscapes? Since 2000, the U.S.–Colombian War on Drugs has relied on the militarized aerial fumigation of coca plants, coupled with alternative development interventions that aim to forcibly eradicate illicit livelihoods. Through ethnographic engagement with small farmers in the frontier department of Putumayo, the gateway to the country’s Amazon and a region that has been the focus of counternarcotic operations, this article explores the different possibilities and foreclosures for life and death that emerge in a tropical forest ecology under military duress. By following farmers, their material practices, and their life philosophies, I trace the ways in which human-soil relations come to potentiate forms of resistance to the violence and criminalization produced by militarized, growth-oriented development. Rather than productivity—one of the central elements of modern capitalist growth— the regenerative capacity of these ecologies relies on organic decay, impermanence, decomposition, and even fragility that complicates modernist bifurcations of living and dying, allowing, I argue, for ecological imaginaries and life processes that do not rely on productivity or growth to strive into existence.

(Image note: A small farm in the Andean-Amazonian foothills of Colombia. Photo by Kristina Lyons.)

Juana Alicia, “La Promesa de Loma Prieta” in the Oakes College Mural Room. Photo by Nolan Calisch for the Collective Museum, with permission.

Call for Action: UCSC community reaffirms commitment to shared #UCSCvalues

The UC Santa Cruz community is committed to social justice. It has rich ties among the arts, natural and social sciences, and humanities. Inquiries based on science-and-fact are supported in a robust natural world. This is our mission.

Read and Sign: a message from the UCSC community reaffirming our shared values

During a time when current political developments appear to threaten this shared mission, the UCSC community pledges to reaffirm their commitment to social justice. Read their message to support each other, their students, and mission.

 

Please share the statement. We invite your signature.

Statement Co-initiators:
  • Donna Haraway, Distinguished Professor Emerita, History of Consciousness Dept. Humanities Division, UCSC
  • Karen Barad, Professor, Feminist Studies, Philosophy, and History of Consciousness, and Co-director of the Science & Justice Research Center Graduate Training Program, Humanities Division, UCSC
  • Angela Davis, Distinguished Professor Emerita, History of Consciousness and Feminist Studies, Humanities Division, UCSC
  • Beth Shapiro, Professor, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department, Genomics Institute and Physical and Biological Science Division, UCSC
  • Mark Diekhans, Technical Project Manager, Genomics Institute, Baskin School of Engineering, UCSC
  • John Pearse, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Physical and Biological Sciences Division, UCSC
  • Jenny Reardon, Professor of Sociology and Founding Director of the Science and Justice Research Center, Social Sciences Division, UCSC
  • Rosa-Linda Fregoso, Distinguished Professor Emerita, Latin American and Latino Studies, Social Sciences Division, UCSC
  • Jennifer González, Professor, History of Arts and Visual Culture, Arts Division, UCSC
  • John Weber, Founding Director, Institute of the Arts and Sciences, Arts Division, UCSC,
  • Farnaz Fatemi, Lecturer in Writing, UCSC
  • Zia Isola, Director of the UCSC Genomics Institute Office of Diversity Programs and Co-Director of the UCSC Bridge to Doctorate Program, Baskin School of Engineering
  • Anne Callahan, Human Resources Manager, Humanities Division, Retired, Alumni Association Outstanding Staff Award, 2012, UCSC
  • Andrea Hesse, Academic Divisional Computing Director, Humanities Division, UCSC
  • Kimberly TallBear, Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair in Indigenous People, Technoscience, and Environment, University of Alberta. UCSC PhD 2005

(Image Note: Juana Alicia, “La Promesa de Loma Prieta” in the Oakes College Mural Room. Photo by Nolan Calisch for the Collective Museum, with permission.)

In the wake of the 2016 Presidential Election of Donald Trump: a Statement from the UCSC Science and Justice Research Center

 

 

Dear Science and Justice Friends, Colleagues, Allies and Communities,

Like many of you, all of us at SJRC have been reflecting, re-grouping and gearing up for action in light of the November 2016 US presidential election. We are re-committing to our core values and standing in solidarity with all those threatened by state sanctioned violence and repressive policies. We will work to empower and support students, staff, scholars and scientists through collaborative research and action:

  • We will oppose threats to defund science, the Environmental Protection Agency and other crucial regulatory agencies, healthcare programs, and sanctuary cities.
  • We will oppose the surveillance and targeting of professors (e.g. the Professor Watchlist) and climate scientists, Muslim communities (e.g. the “Muslim Registry”), undocumented immigrants, and community activists from diverse backgrounds and movements.
  • We will support sanctuary campuses and safe spaces at UCSC, defend academic freedom in and beyond universities, academic freedom, oppose censorship and provide a platform for the views and research of our affiliates to create broad impacts across multiple audiences.
  • We will continue to draw on our critical resources as feminist decolonial anti-racist science studies scholars to re-claim and enrich our commitments to objectivity, truth and social and environmental justice. In the face of “fake news”, climate denialism, new instantiations of eugenics, and all efforts to de-legitimize and de-fund science, we will fight for situated, robust and responsive inquiry and critical engagement. We will work to make our concepts/categories adequate for the present moment.
  • We will build a public archive of the dismantlement of knowledge production, critical regulatory institutions, and healthcare and environmental infrastructures. We will track the efforts afoot to dismantle the EPA, repeal the ACA and privatize Medicare, and the attacks made against individual scientists, institutions, and disciplines.
  • We will support our graduate and undergraduate students in pursuing “seedling” research and community action projects that can rapidly and flexibly respond to the problems, questions, and mobilizations that are most urgent.
  • We will fight against racism, white supremacy, anti-semitism, Islamophobia, xenophobia, ablism, homophobia, transphobia, sexism, and misogyny, and assaults on poor and historically marginalized people both here in the US and worldwide.
  • We will continue to work from a place of caring response-ability, mutual support and fierce solidarity.

President Napolitano, Chancellor Blumenthal and members of the California Legislature have made statements to affirm their commitments to inclusion and diversity, and in particular in support of undocumented members of our UC community. We offer our unqualified support for all undocumented communities in California, and in particular support the UC’s commitment to the privacy and civil rights of everyone in our community. We stand with these leaders, and we promise to hold ourselves accountable when our actions and policies fall short.

In solidarity,

Science and Justice Research Center leadership, staff and faculty-affiliates

#UCSCvalues

Kate Weatherford Darling, joins SJRC as Assistant Director of Research and Academic Programs

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Katherine (Kate) Weatherford Darling is a sociologist working across the boundaries of the sociology of health, illness and disability, and feminist science studies. Kate is currently a Doctoral Candidate at UC San Francisco. She first joined the Science and Justice Research Center as a Visiting Scholar and a Graduate Student Researcher in 2015 and worked with the SJRC team to plan the Just Data? conference held May 2016 at UCSC.

Kate cares about bringing social justice and health inequalities to the center of discussions about the ethics and politics of biomedicine. Her research examines how chronic illness and complex disease are transformed by biomedical science and health policy in the U.S. In her forthcoming dissertation (2016), she asks what it means for HIV to be defined, managed and experienced as a chronic illness in U.S. healthcare and policy. She ethnographically traces how people living with HIV and their healthcare providers are navigating biomedical bureaucracies, grappling with new insurance markets and attempting to control healthcare costs. Adele Clarke, Janet Shim, Howard Pinderhughes and Jenny Reardon serve on her dissertation committee. She will be in residence at the Brocher Foundation in Geneva, Switzerland in Winter 2017 to extend her research into a book project.

Kate began her training in at UC Berkeley in the College of Natural Resources, where she studied Molecular Environmental Biology and volunteered at a feminist health clinic. She studied abroad in Santiago, Chile and then investigated the health effects of air pollution in New York City at the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health.

While a graduate student, she collaborated on research projects at UCSF and the Stanford Center for Biomedical Ethics. Through these collaborations, she has examined concepts of race/ethnicity in gene-environment interaction research, the history of race in genetics after World War II, and new frameworks for examining implicated values in biomedical research. Information on her current papers and upcoming presentations are available on academia.edu and Twitter @kwdetal.

Kate grew up in Santa Cruz County and lives in San Francisco with her family. She enjoys swimming, hiking, camping, gardening and making beer. Her parents are very proud UCSC alumni.