A picture of a blur strawberry

Book Release! Julie Guthman on Wilted: Pathogens, Chemicals, and the Fragile Future of the Strawberry Industry (UC Press, 2019),

Book Cover for Guthman’s “Wilted: Pathogens, Chemicals, and the Fragile Future of the Strawberry Industry”.

About the Book

Strawberries are big business in California. They are the sixth-highest-grossing crop in the state, which produces 88 percent of the nation’s favorite berry. Yet the industry is often criticized for its backbreaking labor conditions and dependence on highly toxic soil fumigants used to control fungal pathogens and other soilborne pests. In Wilted: Pathogens, Chemicals, and the Fragile Future of the Strawberry Industry (UC Press, 2019), Science & Justice Affiliate, UC Santa Cruz Professor of Social Sciences Julie Guthman tells the story of how the strawberry industry came to rely on soil fumigants, and how that reliance reverberated throughout the rest of the fruit’s production system. The particular conditions of plants, soils, chemicals, climate, and laboring bodies that once made strawberry production so lucrative in the Golden State have now changed and become a set of related threats that jeopardize the future of the industry.

Julie Guthman is Professor of Social Sciences at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her previous books include Agrarian Dreams: The Paradox of Organic Farming in California and Weighing In: Obesity, Food Justice, and the Limits of Capitalism.

Find out more in this campus news article:

Strawberries: The tasty fruit with a tainted environmental legacy and an uncertain future

The Software Arts (2019) by Warren Sack

Are the arts at the center of software’s evolution?

The Software Arts (2019) by Warren Sack

The Software Arts (2019) by Warren Sack

In his new book, The Software Arts (MIT Press 2019), Science & Justice Affiliate, UC Santa Cruz Professor of Film & Digital Media, Warren Sack presents an alternative history of computing that puts the arts at the center of software’s evolution.

Warren Sack is a media theorist, software designer, and artist whose work has been exhibited at SFMoMA, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Walker Art Center, and the ZKM Center for Art and Media. Warren is an affiliate of the Science & Justice Research Center, Chair and Professor of Film and Digital Media at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Find out more in the campus news article: https://news.ucsc.edu/2019/08/sack-software-arts.html

Read also:

Book Release! Warren Sack on The Software Arts (MIT Press, 2019)


Book Release! Jennifer Derr on The Lived Nile Environment, Disease, and Material Colonial Economy in Egypt (Stanford University Press, 2019)

About the Book

Book Cover for Derr’s “The Lived Nile: Environment, Disease, and Material Colonial Economy in Egypt”.

In October 1902, the reservoir of the first Aswan Dam filled, and Egypt’s relationship with the Nile River forever changed. Flooding villages of historical northern Nubia and filling the irrigation canals that flowed from the river, the perennial Nile not only reshaped agriculture and the environment, but also Egypt’s colonial economy and forms of subjectivity.

Science & Justice Affiliate, UC Santa Cruz Professor of History, Jennifer L. Derr, follows the engineers, capitalists, political authorities, and laborers who built a new Nile River through the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The river helped to shape the future of technocratic knowledge, and the bodies of those who inhabited rural communities were transformed through the environmental intimacies of their daily lives. At the root of this investigation lies the notion that the Nile is not a singular entity, but a realm of practice and a set of temporally, spatially, and materially specific relations that structured experiences of colonial economy. From the microscopic to the regional, the local to the imperial, The Lived Nile recounts the history and centrality of the environment to questions of politics, knowledge, and the lived experience of the human body itself.

Jennifer L. Derr is an Associate Professor of History at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and an affiliate of the Science & Justice Research Center. Derr’s research interests include: Colonial and Post-colonial Middle Eastern history; environmental history; history of science; history of medicine; critical geography.

The book is available at: https://www.sup.org/books/title/?id=29529


2019 SJRC Graduate Student Research Fellowships

The Science & Justice Research Center is pleased to announce we are now accepting applications for:

Summer Fellowships

The award was established to support summer research conducted by graduate students currently working on Center projects or are in the Science & Justice Training Program (SJTP). Graduate students in any UC Santa Cruz department may apply. Preference will be given to applicants who have completed or are going through the Training Program. The award is intended as a stipend to support general living expenses, fieldwork, travel, presentation of work, and/or research. Award amounts will vary based on proposed outcomes; a maximum of $2,200; depending on proposals, up to two awards will be distributed.

Fellowship projects may include: independent and collaborative research.


The Environmental Data & Governance Initiative

Jail Care: Amplifying Santa Cruz Community Voices on Health & Incarceration

Just Biomedicine

Queer Ecologies Research Cluster

The student should:

  • be an enrolled graduate student at UC Santa Cruz (enrollment during summer not required).

  • be currently working on an established Center or SJTP hosted project.

The student will:

  • be compensated up to $2200; distributed half at the beginning of summer, half at the end of summer.

  • adhere to IRB standards for working with human research subjects.

To Apply:

By Monday, June 17, students should email (scijust@ucsc.edu) expressing interest. Please let us know the following:

  1. your name, major, academic faculty advisors.

  2. name of the current project and any project faculty advisor(s); your role and experiences with the current project as related to items listed in the above outlined workplan (including human subjects research).

  3. why you are interested in the project and how your work/research/career goals would benefit from the fellowship.

  4. propose clear goals and intended outcomes with an outline of work to be completed over summer 2019; the methods of your research project; and briefly outline or describe the expenses to be supported by the award.

Information on SJRC Projects can be found at: https://scijust.ucsc.edu/research/projects/.

Information on the Science & Justice Training Program can be found at: https://scijust.ucsc.edu/pedagogy/sjtp/.

Developing: Debate on ‘Race’ and Genomics

In March 2018, Harvard geneticist David Reich published a New York Times op-ed, entitled “How Genetics is Changing Our Understanding of ‘Race.’” In the piece, Reich argues that geneticists “are learning that while race may be a social construct, differences in genetic ancestry that happen to correlate to many of today’s racial constructs are real.”

The article prompted 67 natural and social scientists, legal scholars and public health researchers to draft an open letter in response to Reich’s claims. The letter, published by Buzzfeed, asserts that Reich misrepresents critiques of of the use of ‘race’ and ‘population’ in biomedical and genetic research.  It urges collaboration between geneticists and their social science and humanities colleagues so that more careful thinking and writing can be brought to bear upon consequential and controversial questions about how human differences should be ordered and understood.

In following weeks and months, a debate took shape. This page will continue to follow this debate. It will serve as repository for related stories and will be regularly updated with new information and new links.

We will pay particular attention to how this debate is playing out differently in different countries.  Professor of Sociology and Science and Justice Director Jenny Reardon, who helped draft the Buzzfeed response, and who just finished a second book on the condition of living with genomes, has participated in this continuing discussion from Germany.  There she is collaborating with historians and population geneticists who are responding to efforts to re-introduce into Germany genetic definitions of human groups.  Since WWII, it has been taboo in the German context to use the term Rasse (the German word for ‘race’) to refer to humans.  However, many major German language media outlets are mobilizing the Reich op ed to argue that this taboo should end.  To give the reader some context for this current debate, in addition to the news coverage, we provide links to relevant academic articles.  We also provide links to coverage in other parts of the world.

In May 2019, Angela Saini published her book Superior: The Return of Race Science. This book takes up questions of scientific racism and its history, as well as its more recent relationship with genetics and genomics. Reviews and responses to the book are also linked and covered here.


Resources (updated regularly, last updated May 21, 2019):

Op-Ed and Initial Response:

Reich’s Op-Ed:


Buzzfeed response co-authored by natural and social scientists, legal scholars, and public health researchers:


Responses in the Popular Press:

United States:

  • Sam Harris, Charles Murray, and the Allure of Race Science – Vox, March 27, 2018
    • Ezra Klein discusses a debate between himself and Sam Harris reignited by Reich’s op-ed, arguing, in short, that “in this country, given our history, discussions about race and IQ need more care and context than they get.”
  • Denying Genetics is Not Shutting Down Racism, It is Fueling it – New York Magazine, March 30, 2018
    • Andrew Sullivan agrees with Reich’s op-ed, and argues that dismissing science as “racist” helps fuel racism.
  • Race, Genetics and a Controversy – The New York Times, April 2, 2018
    • A series of letters to the editor in response to Reich’s op-ed.
  • Scientific Racism Isn’t ‘Back’: It Never Went Away – The Nation, April 6, 2018
    • Edward Burmila argues that Reich’s op-ed is merely the latest example of scientific racism, which is finding new purchase in the current political climate.
  • What Happens When Geneticists Talk Sloppily About Race – The Atlantic, April 25, 2018
    • Ian Holmes argues that biologists’ use of race as a category often reinforces historical biases.
  • Stop Talking about Race and IQ – Slate, April 27, 2018
    • William Saletan reflects on his past as a believer in the scientific validity of racial IQ disparities and argues that “the genetics of intelligence” and “the genetics of race” are, and should remain, separate fields of research.
  • Race Has a Place in Human Genetics Research, Philosopher Argues – Penn Today, May 2, 2018
    • Michelle Berger profiles Penn philosopher Quayshawn Spencer, who uses semantic theory to reconcile US Census racial categories with population geneticists’ ancestry groups and encourages collapsing the former into the latter.
  • Push for Forensic DNA Phenotyping, Ancestry Testing in Germany Raises Discrimination Concerns – Genome Web, May 4, 2018
    • Turna Ray describes the concerns surrounding legislation introduced in the Bavarian parliament that would allow DNA collection from ‘dangerous’ individuals and forensic DNA phenotyping of crime scene samples. Chief among these concerns is discrimination against immigrants.
  • Observations: “Plug and Play” Genetics, Racial Migrations and Human History – Scientific American, May 29, 2018.
    • John Edward Terrell discusses Reich’s book and argues that writing about “populations,” “migration,” and “admixture” reinforces ideas about separate human groups in potentially dangerous ways.
  • James Watson Had a Chance to Salvage His Reputation on Race. He Made Things Worse. – The New York Times, January 1, 2019.
    • Scientists debate the reasons for James Watson’s re-assertion that differences in IQ between “blacks and whites” are genetic.  Is this just an “old man” out of step with his time, or is he part of a dominant but rarely spoken view in genomics, a view that appeared to be bolstered in the spring by David Reich’s editorial in The New York Times?
  • Is Ancient DNA Research Revealing New Truths — or Falling Into Old Traps? – The New York Times Magazine, January 17, 2019.
    • Gideon Lewis-Kraus explores how Reich’s ancient DNA work has challenged existing archaeological consensus and transformed the academic landscape. He points out that the pressure to work with the handful of powerful ancient DNA labs, which he calls an “oligopoly,” is strong enough to create a “smash-and-grab” environment of “suspicion, anxiety, and paranoia.” Lewis-Kraus also characterizes this as setting up a divide between “those [like Reich] bewitched by grand historical narratives… and those who wearily warn that such adventures rarely end well.” He thoughtfully explores the practical agendas of racialized histories and forms of knowledge that claim to say who people “really” are and where they are “really” from, describes some of the scientific concerns and broader controversy surrounding ancient DNA research in particular, and ultimately connects the claims in Reich’s op-ed to his “broad brush” view of history.
      • Response: Letter in response to Jan. 17 article in The New York Times – David Reich, January 19, 2019
        • Reich responds to Lewis-Kraus, admitting that ancient DNA research faces unresolved ethical issues but also arguing that Lewis-Kraus misapprehends the rigor and nuance of the science to make his argument. Reich argues that his research has “rendered racist and colonialist narratives untenable.”
  • Genetics and Race: How Do We Have This Awkward Conversation? – Genetic Literacy Project, February 13, 2019.
    • Patrick Whittle argues that “genetic facts — including evidence of genetic differences between racial populations — carry no necessarily social or political implications,” and that confirmation of human difference may aid in designing policies to reduce inequalities. He also suggests that human geneticists should acknowledge the history and politics of ideas of race and understand the motives of what he calls “the opposition.”




United Kingdom:

  • The Unwelcome Revival of ‘Race Science’The Guardian, March 2, 2018
    • Writing several weeks prior to Reich’s op-ed, Gavin Evans describes race science as “debunked” and notes how race science is taken up by the alt-right and defended as “standing up for uncomfortable truths.”
  • How ancient DNA is transforming our view of the pastBBC News, April 12, 2018
    • A BBC reporter asks Reich about Buzzfeed response.  Rather than responding to substance to the critique, Reich says he is “very pleased to be part of introducing this discussion.”
  • Neanderthals, Denisovans and Modern Humans – London Review of Books, September 13, 2018
    • Steven Mithen reviews Reich’s Who We are and How We Got Here. He notes that ancient DNA research has “implications for the politics of the present,” mentions the Buzzfeed-published response to Reich’s treatment of race. Ultimately, he argues that population genomics, while illuminating, ultimately stand on equal footing with culture and beliefs as ways of defining ‘who we are.’



  • Race, Genetics and Us – Korea Times, March 30
    • Jason Lim questions Reich’s optimism about the ability of society to not ‘weaponize’ findings about race and genomics.


  • Opinion: Is ‘Race” a Made-Up Label?The Globe and Mail, April 14, 2018
    • Margaret Wente defends Reich for “expanding the range of what is sayable on a topic that is explosive, uncomfortable, and also increasingly inescapable.”
  • Why Your DNA Test Won’t Reveal the Real You – The Globe and Mail, May 4, 2018
    • Timothy Caulfield argues that race is a “biological fiction” and that attempts to attach genetics to human classification, as exemplified by genetic ancestry testing, tend to reify and legitimate racist perspectives.


  • The Science is ComingIndia Times Magazine, April 5, 2018
    • Razib Khan compares Reich’s op-ed to “tossing a grenade into the public square,” but defends his work and his book as not controversial, but “wondrous.”


Race and Genomics Debates in the U.S. and Germany:


Superior: The Return of Race Science  – Angela Saini, May 21, 2019
  • Why Race Science is on the Rise Again – The Guardian, May 18, 2019
    • Angela Saini describes her new book, Superior: The Return of Race Sciencewhich focuses on the renewed growth of “intellectual racism” and its ties to global right-wing populist movements. She traces race science back to modern science’s earliest days, highlights its inherently political nature, and expresses concern for its growing acceptance in mainstream scientific publications.
  • The Disturbing Resilience of Scientific Racism – Smithsonian Magazine, May 20, 2019
    • Ramin Skibba reviews Saini’s book, drawing on W.E.B. Du Bois to argue that the “problem of the color line” has persisted in the 21st century and taken root in the field of genetics. He highlight’s Saini’s insistence on both keeping the study of race, a social construct, out of genetics research and studying race responsibly in other disciplines.
  • Medical Controversies – Start the Week, BBC Radio, May 21, 2019
    • Andrew Marr discusses a number of medical controversies with guests, including Angela Saini. Saini discusses her new book, and the panel discusses how race science has made a return to the mainstream. The program also deals with gender bias in medical research and with how personalized medicine reproduces existing inequalities.
  • Superior: The Return of Race Science by Angela Saini – review – The Guardian, May 27, 2019
    • Alok Jha writes, “This is an urgent, important book.” He observes that racialized science has proceeded “in the name of academic freedom to conduct dispassionate inquiry into the human condition” and notes the book’s timeliness amid the resurgence of white supremacist and authoritarian movements.
  • Superior by Angela Saini – are we all created equal? – Financial Times, May 29, 2019
    • Clive Cookson favorably reviews Saini’s new book but objects to the suggestion that “scientists refrain from investigating the genetic basic of human variation in intelligence and intellectual ability.” He suggests that this research is important to science’s attempts to understand “the brain,” as long as it is “conducted with proper safeguards.”
  • Why Do So Many Researchers Still Treat Race as a Scientific Concept? – Slate, May 30, 2019
    • Tim Requarth calls Saini’s book “damning” and says that she is not simply pointing out the abuse of science for racist political ends, but is telling a “complex and surprising story about the relationship between science and race today, one that is sure to challenge anyone who thinks these ideas are only kept afloat by avowed racists.” Requarth specifically mentions David Reich’s op-ed as an example of racialized science.
      • Requarth ends with a salient point for Science & Justice: “Scientists are required to take ethics courses, but these courses tend to focus on the ethical behaviors of scientists and the ethical ramifications of science. In other words, we consider how science percolates out of the lab and into the broader culture. What we tend not to address is how the broader culture finds its way back into the lab to influence our science. A small step would be for us to spend more time thinking not only about how our science shapes society, but also how society shapes our science. (After reading Saini’s books, I suggested we add such a section to the ethics course my department offers.) The best scientists relentlessly question their own scientific assumptions. It might make for even better science if they used this same self-awareness to question their cultural ones.”


Book cover for Herman Gray Racism postrace (Duke, 2019)

Book Release! Racism Postrace (Duke, 2019)


With the election of Barack Obama, the idea that American society had become postracial—that is, race was no longer a main factor in influencing and structuring people’s lives—took hold in public consciousness, increasingly accepted by many. The contributors to Racism Postrace examine the concept of postrace and its powerful history and allure, showing how proclamations of a postracial society further normalize racism and obscure structural antiblackness.

Book cover for Racism Postrace (Duke, 2019)

They trace expressions of postrace over and through a wide variety of cultural texts, events, and people, from sports (LeBron James’s move to Miami), music (Pharrell Williams’s “Happy”), and television (The Voice and HGTV) to public policy debates, academic disputes, and technology industries. Outlining how postrace ideologies confound struggles for racial justice and equality, the contributors open up new critical avenues for understanding the powerful cultural, discursive, and material conditions that render postrace the racial project of our time.

The book and introduction are available at: https://www.dukeupress.edu/racism-postrace


Roopali Mukherjee, Sarah Banet-Weiser, Herman Gray (UCSC Sociology)


Inna Arzumanova, Sarah Banet-Weiser, Aymer Jean Christian, Kevin Fellezs, Roderick A. Ferguson, Herman Gray, Eva C. Hageman, Daniel Martinez HoSang, Victoria E. Johnson, Joseph Lowndes, Roopali Mukherjee, Safiya Umoja Noble, Radhika Parameswaran, Sarah T. Roberts, Catherine R. Squires, Brandi Thompson Summers, Karen Tongson, Cynthia A. Young


“In this well-written, wide-ranging collection, imaginative and innovative researchers from across the disciplines conduct a post-mortem of the illusion of postracialism. Through case studies of the role race plays in diverse areas of contemporary culture, Racism Postrace takes stock of the continuing allure of the postracial despite its implausibility, but also of the ways in which its demise can point the way toward better and more effective imaginings of social justice.” — George Lipsitz, author of The Possessive Investment in Whiteness: How White People Profit from Identity Politics

“According to this stellar array of scholars, racism is alive, well, and thriving both in the United States and globally, and they offer important theoretical and empirical insights into why and how. This volume effectively dismantles the myth of postraciality, using a range of cultural forms and texts to demonstrate how racism rears its ugly head in the service of capitalism and white supremacy. Indeed, these essays tell us that the popular and common usage of ‘postrace’ neutralizes antiracist movements and props up antiblackness and other modes of racial and ethnic antipathy with devastating effect. This volume is a wake-up call to all who have luxuriated in the liberal fantasy of a democratizing media.” — Jane Rhodes, Professor of African American Studies, University of Illinois at Chicago

Thanks to Zoe Todd for the use of her artwork!

‘Indigeneity & Climate Justice’ conference foregrounds how to care for rather than manage the earth

The Feminist Studies Department at UC Santa Cruz presented Indigeneity & Climate Justice, a two-day conference at the Arboretum on May 30-31, 2019.

In a campus news article, Barad described the difference between environmental justice and climate justice, noting that the latter also ‘considers the mix of ecological, cultural, social, political, geological, legal, and biological forces.’

The campus article can be found at: https://news.ucsc.edu/2019/05/feminist-climate-justice.html

More on the conference at: https://feministstudies.ucsc.edu/news-events/department-news/science-conference/index.html


Call | Undergraduate Researcher for Science & Justice Jail / Care multimedia project

Interested in the Intersections of the Carceral State, Health Care and Interactive Multimedia?

SJRC will host one undergraduate student to collaborate on a center research project. The project will include guided independent and collaborative research, directed readings, and storytelling of the human condition.


Jail / Care: Amplifying Santa Cruz Community Voices on Health & Incarceration

From 2012 to 2016, there were five preventable deaths in the Santa Cruz County jail, more than twice the national per capita average. Last summer, a preliminary interview study was conducted to investigate the healthcare provided in the jail. This summer, we are expanding on this work with additional interviews (of formerly incarcerated people, healthcare providers, and other involved parties), which will be incorporated into an interactive online documentary on the issue. The Research Assistant will assist in various tasks toward the completion of this project: see below for a tentative list of duties.

Spring 2019

Attend at least one meeting to discuss the project and set workplan.

Summer 2019

Assist with transcribing and analyzing interviews, review literature on healthcare in prisons and jails and related topics, research organizations and institutions, research and analyze policy documents, and possibly other tasks as needed.

Fall 2019

Assist in developing a prototype of the online documentary, continue with data analysis, literature and policy review.

The student should:
  • be an enrolled student at UC Santa Cruz (enrollment during summer not required).

  • be living in Santa Cruz summer 2019; ideally through the end of fall 2019 – at least.

  • know NVIVO software (license provided; if not available).

The student will:
  • be compensated $500; distributed half at the beginning of summer, half at the end of summer.

  • be eligible to enroll in an Independent Study Fall 2019 for continued research.

  • adhere to IRB standards for working with human research subjects.

To Apply:

By Monday, May 20, students should email (scijust@ucsc.edu) expressing interest. Please let us know the following:

  1. Your name, major, college affiliation.

  2. Why you are interested in the project.

  3. Your experiences with NVIVO software and items listed in the above outlined workplan (including human subjects research).


2019-2020 Call for Graduate Student Researcher

Interested in the Intersections of Science and Justice?

Want to Develop Responsible Collaborative Research and Public Events?


Science & Justice seeks a graduate student researcher who:

  • has successfully completed the Science & Justice Training Program;
  • is able to attend SJWG meetings typically on Wednesday’s from 4-6PM and create rapporteur reports;
  • actively participates in building science and justice research and has an interest in mentoring others on research projects;
  • is interested in facilitating Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) trainings or workshops; and
  • can translate trending news items that integrate components of real world applications with science and justice concerns into blog pieces that are posted on the S&J website and shared on social media.

The Graduate Student Researcher (GSR) is offered a 50% appointment.


To Apply: submit materials to scijust@ucsc.edu

BY: Monday, May 20, 2019 (12:00noon)

Applicants should email their CV and a 1-2 page application that presents:

  • what experiences they have that would make them good for this position;
  • their interests in the Center’s research and how their work/research/career goals would benefit from the position;
  • their ideas about cross-divisional and interdisciplinary collaborations, especially among humanists, engineers, natural scientists, artists and social scientists as well as ones that are community/academia partnerships;
  • and what ideas they would bring to S&J.

Key Items for 2019-2020

Research Projects – Assist in Science & Justice research projects (for example: Just Biomedicine, Jail / Care, etc.); assist with developing and maintaining collaborations among humanists, engineers, natural scientists, artists and social scientists as well as community/academia partnerships.

RCR – work with faculty to develop and facilitate Responsible Conduct Research trainings or workshops.

Fall/Winter/Spring Programming – work with a planning committee on Science & Justice programming.

General ScopeIn consultation with the Center Manager and Director(s), the GSR will assist to implement Center programming and research. Correspond with Project Leaders on the development of research projects and help oversee undergraduate student researchers. Responsibilities may include: organizing, planning, and co-facilitating focus groups; training and coordinating a team of undergraduate researchers who may co-facilitate focus groups and assist with documentation, interviews, transcription and data analysis; fostering collaboration and teamwork among researchers; reviewing research relevant to Center themes and areas of inquiry; creating infographics, outreach materials, and reports based on findings or events; develop and contribute to Center communication channels (ie: blog posts, news articles) for sharing research findings on campus and to the broader public; and participating in core SJRC activities and happenings.