Hear SJRC Director Jenny Reardon on Radio Australia

Radio Australia recently aired an episode of its Big Ideas program featuring a talk by SJRC Director Jenny Reardon. The episode highlighted her research on genomics and justice, as well as her forthcoming book from the University of Chicago Press, The Postgenomic Condition: Ethics, Justice, and Knowledge After the Genome. Reardon specifically discussed the ways in which, despite the hype and real advances of genomic science in recent decades, genomics also has produced a pervasive “dis-ease” that must be addressed through a turn to justice as a guiding principle if the hope for a genomics that serves public values is to be realized. You can listen to the entire episode via Radio Australia’s website here and see Professor Reardon discuss her book in person on November 29 at UC Santa Cruz.

Engagements with Decolonization and Decoloniality in and at the Interfaces of STS | Lyons | Catalyst: Feminism, Theory, Technoscience

In a double issue of Catalyst, curated and introduced by S&J Professor Kristina Lyons with Juno Salazar Parreñas and Noah Tamarin, is a critical perspectives piece on decolonization, decoloniality and STS.

Engagements with Decolonization and Decoloniality in and at the Interfaces of STS” includes wonderful contributions by the following scholars.

Lesley Green on “Thinking Decoloniality with Perlemoen”

Kristina Marie Lyons on “On the Situated Politics of Analytic Symmetry”

Tania Pérez-Bustos on “A Word of Caution toward Homogenous Appropriations of Decolonial Thinking In STS”

Juno Salazar Parreñas on “Orangutan Rehabilitation as an Experimental Project of Decolonization”

Banu Subramaniam on “Recolonizing India: Troubling the Anticolonial, Decolonial, Postcolonial”

Noah Tamarin on “Genetic Ancestry and Decolonizing Possibilities”

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Call for Undergraduate Individual Study (2017-2018)

 

The SJRC will host up to 4 Individual Study students to collaborate on research papers and proposals as well as Center events and programming for the academic year. Students can also work on senior thesis projects related to Center Themes (Genomics, Data Justice, Climate Justice) and/or assist SJRC Graduate Training Program Fellows in planning and organizing events. The Individual Study course, can range from 2-5 units, be independent or group and will include directed readings, guided independent and collaborative research and project planning.

Interested in the Intersections of Science and Justice?

Want to Develop Collaborative Research or Public Events?

 

Available Fall 2017

Telling the Story of Science & Justice: Individual Study with SJRC

SJRC regularly documents our events in written form, and writes digests of events for non-academic audiences. This student would assist documenting Science & Justice events, taking detailed notes during the events, recording brief interviews conducted with guests and participants, and producing creative short pieces that publicize the Center and demonstrate the importance of our mission. The student will develop a portfolio demonstrating their ability to produce short, engaging videos and web content that publicize and further an organization’s mission.

Please contact Kate Darling kdarling@ucsc.edu by October 17th.

 

Find ways undergraduates can get involved in Science and Justice research. Apply no later than the Monday of Week 1 and email a writing sample to scijust@ucsc.edu.

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

Society for Cultural Anthropology Honors S&J’s Kristina Lyons and Anna Tsing

The Society for Cultural Anthropology has awarded UCSC Assistant Professor and S&J Steering Committee member Kristina Lyons (Feminist Science Studies) the 2017 Cultural Horizons Prize for her article “Decomposition as Life Politics: Soils, Selva, and Small Farmers under the Gun of the U.S.–Colombia War on Drugs,” which appeared in Cultural Anthropology 31, no. 1 (2016): 56–81.

Stating, “This is not an ethnographic enterprise in which the objects of inquiry are slotted into narrow disciplinary agendas, but rather an exercise in accounting for and responding to when the material suggests, even demands, theoretical jumps.”

Find more information on Lyons’ community call to action to bring relief aid for Mocoa following the devastating natural disasters earlier this year.

Receiving honorable mention was UCSC Professor Anna Tsing (Anthropology) along with UCSC graduate student Isabelle Carbonell (Film & Digital Media), Joelle Chevrier (Land Dyke Feminist Family Farm) and Yen-Ling Tsai (National Chiao Tung University) for their article “Golden Snail Opera: The More-than-Human Performance of Friendly Farming on Taiwan’s Lanyang Plain,” which appeared in Cultural Anthropology 31, no. 4 (2016): 520–44.

Find the full award announcement at 2017 Cultural Horizons Prize.

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 29, 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 (1:00 -4:00PM, DARC Light Lab)

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 09/29/17.

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.)