December 04, 2019 | Surrogate Humanity: Race, Robots, and the Politics of Technological Futures

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

4:00-6:00 PM

Engineering 2, 599

Co-authors Neda Atanasoski (UCSC Feminist Studies, CRES) and Kalindi Vora (UC Davis Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies) will present on their new book Surrogate Humanity: Race, Robots, and the Politics of Technological Futures (Duke University Press, March 2019), with responses by CRES Director Christine Hong and SJRC Director Jenny Reardon. A dessert reception will follow.

Book Description

In Surrogate Humanity Neda Atanasoski and Kalindi Vora trace the ways in which robots, artificial intelligence, and other technologies serve as surrogates for human workers within a labor system entrenched in racial capitalism and patriarchy. Analyzing myriad technologies, from sex robots and military drones to sharing economy platforms, Atanasoski and Vora show how liberal structures of antiblackness, settler colonialism, and patriarchy are fundamental to human-machine interactions as well as the very definition of the human. While these new technologies and engineering projects promise a revolutionary new future, they replicate and reinforce racialized and gendered ideas about devalued work, exploitation, dispossession, and capitalist accumulation. Yet, even as engineers design robots to be more perfect versions of the human—more rational killers, more efficient workers, and tireless companions—the potential exists to develop alternative modes of engineering and technological development in ways that refuse the racial and colonial logics that maintain social hierarchies and inequality.

About The Authors

Neda Atanasoski is Professor of Feminist Studies and Critical Race and Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and author of Humanitarian Violence: The U.S. Deployment of Diversity.

Kalindi Vora is Associate Professor of Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies at the University of California, Davis, and author of Life Support: Biocapital and the New History of Outsourced Labor.

Co-Sponsored by Critical Race and Ethnic Studies and The Humanities Institute.

December 03, 2019 | Forensic Genomics: New Frontiers and New Considerations

Tuesday, December 03


Namaste Lounge

Science & Justice Visiting Scholar and UC Santa Cruz Anthropology Alum, Cris Hughes, unites academics and forensic practitioners to discuss historical and current field training, genomic technological applications in forensic investigations, the problems and limits of interpretation, the resources available, and the incentives practitioners face tied to case resolution.

In addition, the event will focus on the societal and ethical questions raised by novel uses of genetics/genomics in forensics work. Think Golden Gate killer case, in which law enforcement used a publicly available server with genomic information from thousands of individuals who have completed commercial ancestry kits, to find potential leads for the assailant in question, a use not anticipated by many users of this ‘recreational’ service. There are also many difficult questions about whether and how DNA technologies are being used to identify ‘race’ or ‘ethnicity.’ As with any science with a public impact, thinking critically about the balance between ELSI (Ethical, Legal and Social Implications) concerns and the need to solve cases is an essential part of responsible science. For example, looking at police and lay perceptions of race, ancestry, and physical appearance, as well as the caveats with new genetic tools like HIrisPlex and Parabon’s® Snapshot® that are being incorporated into case investigations at an alarming rate.

This event follows the outcomes of the recently launched Forensic Genomics for Investigators course first offered for California investigators through P.O.S.T. November 12, 2019 here in Santa Cruz.

Bridget F.B. Algee-Hewitt is a biological anthropologist at Stanford University who studies skeletal and genetic trait variation in modern humans. Her research combines data analytic and hands-on laboratory approaches to the estimation of the personal identity parameters – like sex, ancestry, stature, and age – that are essential components of the biological profile used in forensic identification of unknown human remains and for the paleodemographic reconstruction of past population histories in bioarchaeology. Concerns for social justice, human rights, and issues of group disparities underlie much of her work. As a practicing forensic anthropologist and geneticist, she provides forensic casework consultation to the medico-legal community.

Ed Green is an Associate Professor of Biomolecular Engineering at UCSC and a principle investigator for the Paleogenomics lab. The Green lab, is interested in genome biology, particularly focused on the problems of assembly and comparative genome analysis. Recent and ongoing projects include genome-scale analysis of archaic human genome sequence, comparative genomics of Crocodilia, and the development of new methods to assemble high quality de novo genomes. The lab is also interested in applying high-throughput sequencing to address questions in molecular biology including the evolution of gene expression, alternative splicing, and population genetics.

Lars Fehren-Schmitz is both a physical anthropology professor at UCSC and principle investigator for the Human Paleogenomics lab. His research focuses on furthering the understanding of South American population history through altitude adaptation and human-environment systems.

Cris Hughes is a forensic anthropologist interested in perceptions of race, and the use of ancestry in both forensic investigations and the practice of forensic anthropology. Cris uses genetic and skeletal data to study estimates of ancestry in present day Latin American populations and is particularly interested in how ancestry as a piece of information drawn from the body, can impact the identification process of that person. As an Assistant Clinical Professor of Anthropology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Cris has lectured at  annual Genomics for™ workshops (e.g. Genomics for™ Teachers, Genomics for™ Judges, Genomics for™ Prosecutors, and Genomics for™ Police) since 2013 as an outreach affiliate for the Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology at the UIUC. Recently, Cris’ work with ancestry is centered around the deaths of migrants along the US-Mexico border. Cris is a visiting scholar with the UC Santa Cruz Science & Justice Research Center, and UC Santa Cruz Anthropology alum.

Co-Sponsored By: The UC Santa Cruz Science & Justice Research Center, the Institute for Genomic Biology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the UC Santa Cruz Institute for Social Transformation, Colleges Nine and Ten, the Anthropology and Sociology Departments, the Human Paleogenomics Lab, the UC Santa Cruz Genomics Institute, The Humanities Institute, and the Center for Racial Justice.

November 21/22/23, 2019 | FRANKENCON 2019

Thursday, Friday & Saturday, November 21/22/23, 2019

All Day – check official website for more information; and read the GoodTimes article.

For two hundred years, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein has haunted our days and chilled our dreaming nights. Delve into the enduring legacy of the first science-fiction horror story with FRANKENCON! Kicking off the three days is a back-to-back film screening on November 21 in downtown Santa Cruz, followed by a two-day conference of scientists, theorists, and artists, November 22-23, 2019 at UC Santa Cruz. 

In the centuries since Mary Shelley first penned the novel, the lore and magic of Frankenstein has molded the modern genre of science fiction. With the explosive proliferation of golems, robots, monsters of artificial intelligence and genetically-engineered dinosaurs, Frankenstein and its cultural progeny have come to dominate cultural discussions about the ethics of science, the problems of modernity, the obligations of parents and children, the painful act of creation itself.

November 21, 2019 Thursday

7PM & 8:30PM

FILM SCREENINGS: Frankenstein (1931) and Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

DNA’s Comedy Lab & Experimental Theatre (off-campus event)

155 S. River Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Two back-to-back film screenings at 7PM and 8:30PM followed by a film talk + Q&A led by some of Santa Cruz’s biggest monster experts. 

Panelists: Steve Palopoli (Good Times editor), Michael Chemers (UCSC Theater Arts), Renee Fox (UCSC Literature), Tad Leckman (UCSC Computational Media)

November 22, 2019 Friday

3PM – DARC 308

ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION: The Legacy of Frankenstein

The conference opens with a discussion of the impact of Frankenstein on the last two centuries of literature, theater, film, and games. 

Panelists: Marshall Leicester (Literature), micha cárdenas (AGPM), Renée Fox (Literature), Michael Chemers (Theater Arts)


A performance of The Frankenstein Project, a feminist and biotechnology-fueled play adaptation of Frankenstein, written and directed by Kirsten Brandt. (Please note: attendance at the conference does not include tickets to the play.) BUY TICKETS TO THE PLAY.


Q&A with the cast and crew of The Frankenstein Project and conference participants.

November 23, 2019 Saturday


Focus on Kiersten White

A conversation with New York Times bestselling author Kiersten White on the development of her novel, The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein, with audience Q&A.

10:45-11:00AM  BREAK


What is “mad science” and how do we guard ourselves against it? What has Frankenstein taught scientists and cultural critics about the dangers of science without conscience? Panelists: George Blumenthal (Astronomy & Astrophysics), David Haussler (Genomics Institute), Nandini Bhattacharya (Mathematics) and Jenny Reardon (Science & Justice Research Center).

12:45PM – 2PM BREAK


A conversation with playwright and TV writer Jennifer Haley about the ways she combines technology and horror in her writing (The Nether, Hemlock Grove, Mindhunter), with audience Q&A.


ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION: Adapting Frankenstein

In this panel, three artistic creators discuss their relationship to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and the challenges/delights of reinterpreting its themes for modern audiences. Panelists: Kiersten White, Jennifer Haley, and Kirsten Brandt

5PM – DARC 308

Dessert reception for all guests and attendees!

Hosted By:

UCSC Theater Arts

Co-Sponsored By:

FrankenCon 2019 is presented by The Humanities Institute and The Division of the Arts at UC Santa Cruz, with the support of Porter College, Crown College, the Science & Justice Research Center, the Theater Arts Department, Oakes College, and the Department of Art & Design: Games & Playable Media; and with the generosity of our friends at DNA’s Comedy Lab & Experimental Theatre and Good Times Santa Cruz.

More information can be found at:

November 21, 2019 | Visions of Star Women: A Cree Theory of Canada’s National Missing Person’s DNA Program

Thursday, November 21, 2019

7:10-8:45pm Cultural Center at Merrill

Hosted by the Crown College Core Course (Ethical and Political Implications of Emerging Technologies) and the Science & Justice Research Center, with an introduction on Indigenous STS from Kim TallBear.

Jessica Kolopenuk will present a talk titled, “Visions of Star Women: A Cree Theory of Canada’s National Missing Person’s DNA Program.”

Jessica Kolopenuk (Cree, Peguis First Nation) is Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Native Studies, University of Alberta and Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Political Science at the University of Victoria. Her doctoral project, The Science of Indigeneity: DNA Beyond Ancestry is a study of how, in Canada, genomic biotechnologies are impacting definitions of Indigeneity in the fields of forensic science, biomedical research, and physical anthropology. She identifies opportunities where Indigenous peoples may intervene to govern the genetic/genome sciences that affect their bodies, territories, and peoples. Over the past two years, with TallBear, she has been involved with co-developing the Indigenous Science, Technology, and Society Research and Training Program at the UofA. Jessica is a co-organizer of the Summer internship for INdigenous peoples in Genomics Canada (SING Canada).

Kim TallBear (UCSC HistCon, SJRC Advisor) Associate Professor, Faculty of Native Studies, University of Alberta, and Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Peoples, Technoscience & Environment. She is building a research hub in Indigenous Science, Technology, and Society ( Follow them at @indigenous_sts. TallBear is author of Native American DNA: Tribal Belonging and the False Promise of Genetic Science (University of Minnesota Press, 2013). Her Indigenous STS work recently turned to also address decolonial and Indigenous sexualities. She founded a University of Alberta arts-based research lab and co-produces the sexy storytelling show, Tipi Confessions, sparked by the popular Austin, Texas show, Bedpost Confessions. Building on lessons learned with geneticists about how race categories get settled, TallBear is working on a book that interrogates settler-colonial commitments to settlement in place, within disciplines, and within monogamous, state-sanctioned marriage. She is a citizen of the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate in South Dakota. She tweets @KimTallBear and @CriticalPoly.

Co-sponsored by: the Science & Justice Research Center, Crown College, Baskin Engineering Council on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, the American Indian Resource Center, the Human Paleogenomics Lab, The Humanities Institute, the Santa Cruz Institute for Social Transformation, the departments of Anthropology Feminist Studies, History of Consciousness and Sociology, and UCSCs Women in Science and Engineering.

November 19, 2019 | Theorizing Race After Race

5:00-6:30 PM

SJRC Common Room, Oakes 231

Join Science & Justice scholars for an open discussion of Theorizing Race After Race!

In thinking about how we might incorporate the upcoming discussion with Herman Gray and Alondra Nelson at Kuumbwa on January 22 into our work, we will be reading some pieces from both scholars:
  • The introduction to Herman Gray et al.’s new edited volume, Racism Postrace
  • Alondra Nelson’s introduction to the Social Text special issue on Afrofuturism
  • Two chapters from Nelson’s book The Social Life of DNA.
All readings will be available as PDFs on our Google Drive:–mITC3?usp=sharing

More information on the cluster can be found at:

November 15, 2019 | Looking for Marla’s Bilingual Book Launch

Friday, November 15, 2019


Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History

Nov 15 Marla Book Launch Flyer with book cover image

Nov 15 Marla Book Launch Flyer

Join us at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History to celebrate the diversity of sex and gender in nature! Science & Justice Training Program Fellow and Marla’s visionary Paloma Medina will launch a bilingual version of Looking for Marla. The Marla Team including Audrey Ford (writer), Jessica Kendall-Bar (illustrator), Karen Ross (Spanish translator), and Sofia Vermeulen (designer) will share the BILINGUAL version of the book, there will be performances, face painting, brainstorming on the meaning of parenthood, and activities for all ages!

The book is available from the Looking for Marla team.

Contact for your personal, classroom, or shop copy.

The launch is sponsored by the City of Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz City Arts, Ventana Surfboards, the UCSC Kenneth S. Norris Center for Natural History, the Diversity Center of Santa Cruz County, More Than Sex Ed, and the Science & Justice Research Center.


7:00 – 7:10 : Get there early to grab your seat!

7:10 – 7:30 : The Science Behind the Story

7:30 – 8:00 : Drag Queen Story Time: live and bilingual performance of Looking for Marla

8:00 – 8:30 : Triangle Speaker Panel: stories from our gender expansive community

8:30 – 9:00 : Visit the gender expression station, “ask a scientist” table or get your face painted

A portion of the book’s proceeds will be donated to the Diversity Center of Santa Cruz, to support diverse communities in Santa Cruz & Watsonville counties.

Find Marla on Instagram at

November 12, 2019 | Forensic Genomics for Investigators P.O.S.T. Course

8:30am – 5:00pm

Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office Community Room

5200 Soquel Avenue, Santa Cruz, CA 95062

Course Description

This 8-hour course is designed to assist understanding and engagement with new genomic technologies that are increasingly common as investigative leads, such as, DNA-predicted physical appearance (hair/eye/skin color, face shape) and ancestry estimations.

This course provides foundational information about the use and limitations of genomic technologies in the context of casework (both criminal and missing persons). Through activities and discussions, course participants will engage some of the common contexts in applying these DNA evidences to casework, such as translating ancestry to race labels, accounting for the accuracy of the genetic prediction in your investigation, and using the genetic results to narrow down your leads.

The course also offers a step-by-step guide to deciding which investigative genetics technology is right for an array of casework contexts (e.g. low quality DNA, DNA mixture, lead or no lead, skeletal DNA, touch DNA, diversity of suspect pool).


No fee


To improve the attendee’s understanding of the uses and limitations of genetic predictors of physical appearance and ancestry in case investigations. To develop a protocol for assessing the most useful genetic test (beyond CODIS), given the quality of the DNA and the case context. To provide a network of genetic researchers and practitioners for consultation.

Prerequisites and Eligibility

Must be currently employed by a Law Enforcement Agency. Participation in this workshop is limited to law enforcement practitioners where having an up-to-date grasp of genomic technological applications is imperative. This workshop is formatted and approved as an accredited continuing education course through the Commission for Peace Officers Standards and Training for California law enforcement.

Special Instructions 

An anonymous survey may be emailed to you prior to the start of the course to better understand the incoming perspectives and interests of the attendees.

To Register

Qualified participants are to enroll through Contact Dr. Cris Hughes at refer to POST Plan: N/A POST Course Number: 3180-11160-19. Participation will be capped at 65 attendees.

For information about the hosting agency, contact Dr. Lauren Zephro;

Course Instructors

Dr. Cris Hughes, Assistant Clinical Professor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Dr. Alison Galloway, Professor Emerita of Anthropology, UC Santa Cruz 

Dr. Chelsey Juarez, Assistant Professor, California State University, Fresno

Dr. Lauren Zephro, Forensic Services Director, Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office

Sponsored By

The UC Santa Cruz Science & Justice Research Center, the Institute for Genomic Biology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

November 06, 2019 | Meet & Greet

Wednesday, November 06, 2019

4:00-5:30 PM

SJRC Common Room, Oakes 231

Please join us for a beginning of quarter social hour. In addition to a chance to celebrate the new academic year and enjoy each other’s company over nice food and drink, we will be welcoming new members of our community, and welcoming back others.

This will be a great chance for everyone to meet and foster emerging collaborations! Attendees are highly encouraged to bring and share their objects of study as it is a fun and helpful way to find intersecting areas of interest.

Faculty or students interested in science and justice who want to learn more about SJRC, the Training Program offered in Winter 2020, or would like to affiliate with Science & Justice are highly encouraged to join us.

The Science & Justice Research Center is located on the second floor of the Oakes College Administrative Building, at the end the hallway to the left of the Mural Room as you come up the stairs; an elevator is located at the end of the building to the right.

Due to the PG&E power cut, the Meet & Greet was rescheduled from October 9, 4-5:30PM.

November 06, 2019 | Informational meeting for new cohort of Science & Justice Training Program

The Science and Justice Research Center will host an Informational Meeting on our internationally recognized interdisciplinary Graduate Training and Certificate Program:

Wednesday, November 06, 2019


Graduate Student Commons Fireside Lounge

Our Science and Justice Training Program (SJTP) is a globally unique initiative that trains doctoral students to work across the disciplinary boundaries of the natural and social sciences, engineering, humanities and the arts. Through the SJTP we at UC Santa Cruz currently teach new generations of PhD students the skills of interdisciplinary collaboration, ethical deliberation, and public communication. Students in the program design collaborative research projects oriented around questions of science and justice. These research projects not only contribute to positive outcomes in the wider world, they also become the templates for new forms of problem-based and collaborative inquiry within and beyond the university.

As SJTP students graduate they take the skills and experience they gained in the training program into the next stage of their career in universities, industry, non-profits, and government.

Opportunities include graduate Certificate Program, experience organizing and hosting colloquia series about the research projects, mentorship, potential for additional research funding and training in conducting interdisciplinary research at the intersections of science and society.


Science & Justice: Experiments in Collaboration (SOCY/BME/FMST 268A and ANTH 267), Prof. Jenny Reardon, scheduled tentatively Wednesdays 9am-12noon (to be confirmed). Enrollment in the course is required for participating in the Training Program. Attending the informational meeting is strongly encouraged, but not required.

Students from all disciplines are encouraged to attend

Prior graduate fellows have come from every campus Division.

20 Represented Departments: Anthropology, Biomolecular Engineering, Digital Arts & New Media, Earth and Planetary Sciences, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Education, Engineering, Environmental Studies, Feminist Studies, Film & Digital Media, History of Consciousness, Latin American & Latino Studies, Literature, Math, Philosophy, Physics, Politics, Psychology, Sociology, and Visual Studies.

Past collaborative research projects have included:

  • Physicists working with small scale farmers to develop solar greenhouses scaled to local farming needs.
  • Colloquia about the social and political consequences of scientific uncertainties surrounding topics such as climate change research, food studies, genomics and identity.
  • Examining how art can empower justice movements.
  • Working with local publics to improve African fishery science.

For more information on the Science & Justice Training Program, visit:

Join the SJRC at the October 9th Meet & Greet from 4:00-5:30 in the SJRC Common Room, Oakes 231!

November 5, 2019 | Theorizing Race After Race

5:00-6:30 PM

SJRC Common Room, Oakes 231

Join Science & Justice scholars for an open discussion of Theorizing Race After Race!

At this meeting, we will be talking about the following articles:

More information on the cluster can be found at: