Fall 2018 | Science & Justice Writing Together

Monday’s 1:00-4:00pm 
SJRC Common Room, Oakes 231

Wanting to establish a regular writing routine exploring science and justice? Beginning October 8th, Join SJRC scholars in the SJRC Common Room on Monday’s from 1:00-4:00pm for open writing sessions! Engage in six 25-minute writing sessions (with a 5 minute break in between). Open to all students, faculty and visiting scholars.

We continue to schedule quarterly writing sessions based on interest and availability.

For more information, please contact Lindsey Dillon (Assistant Professor of Sociology).

Writing Together sessions will not be held on campus holidays falling on the following Monday’s: Nov 12, Dec 24, Dec 31, Jan 21, Feb 18, March 25 (spring break), May 27.

Nov 14 | Works-in-Progress with Lindsey Dillon

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

4:00pm – 5:30pm

SJRC Common Room, Oakes 231

Join SJRC scholars in the SJRC Common Room for an open discussion of works-in-progress! This is a wonderful chance to engage with one another’s ideas, and support our own internal work. At this session, we will hear from Assistant Professor of Sociology, Lindsey Dillon who will discuss her research on redevelopment and racial capitalism in San Francisco.

Read more on Lindsey’s work in the Hastings Environmental Law Journal article The Breathers of Bayview Hill: Redevelopment and Environmental Justice in Southeast San Francisco.

Lindsey Dillon is a geographer with research interests in urban environments and social justice. Her research and writing is deeply engaged with political ecology, feminist geography, critical race theory, and science and technology studies. In addition to being a SJRC Steering Committee member, Lindsey is affiliated with the Community Studies Program, the Environmental Studies Department, and co-founded and serves on the steering committee of the Environmental Data and Governance Initiative.

Nov 28 | Algorithms, Mobility, and Justice

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

4:00-6:00 PM

Engineering 2, Room 599

Are moral algorithms a reasonable solution for taking advantage of life-saving potentials of self-driving cars? In this talk, Nassim JafariNaimi (Assistant Professor, Georgia Institute of Technology)  engages the utilitarian framings that are dominant in the discourses on self-driving cars inclusive of the assumptions that are folded into the question above: that algorithms can be moral and self-driving cars will save lives. Drawing on feminist and care ethics, the talk brings to fore the injustices built into current and future mobility systems such as laws and policies that protect car manufacturers and algorithmic biases that will have disproportionate negative impacts on the most vulnerable. Moreover, it is argued that a constricted moral imagination dominated by the reductive scenarios of the Trolley Problems is impairing design imagination of alternative futures. More specifically, that a genuine caring concern for the many lives lost in car accidents now and in the future—a concern that transcends false binary trade-offs and that recognizes the systemic biases and power structures—could serve as a starting point to rethink mobility, as it connects to the design of cities, the well-being of communities, and the future of the planet.
Abhradeep Guha Thakurta (UCSC Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Engineering) will be offering a response and comments.
Event hosted/organized by Neda Atanasoski (UCSC Professor of Feminist Studies and Director of Critical Race and Ethnic Studies)

Neda Atanasoski is Professor of Feminist Studies at UC Santa Cruz, Director of Critical Race and Ethnic Studies and affiliated with the Film and Digital Media Department. Atanasoski has a PhD in Literature and Cultural Studies from the University of California, San Diego. Her research interests include race and technology; war and nationalism; gender, ethnicity, and religion; cultural studies and critical theory; media studies.

Nassim JafariNaimi is an Assistant Professor of Digital Media at the School of Literature, Media, and Communication at Georgia Tech and the director of the Design and Social Interaction Studio which she established in 2013. JafariNaimi’s research engages the ethical and political dimensions of design practice and technology especially as related to democracy and social justice. Her research spans both theoretical and design-based inquiries situated at the intersection of Design Studies, Science and Technology Studies, and Human Computer Interaction. Her writing on topics such as participatory media, smart cities, social and educational games, and algorithms have appeared in venues such as Science, Technology, and Human Values, Design Issues, Digital Creativity, and Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW). JafariNaimi received her PhD in Design from Carnegie Mellon University. She also holds an MS in Information Design and Technology from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a BS in Electrical Engineering from the University of Tehran, Iran.

Abhradeep Guha Thakurta is Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Engineering at UC Santa Cruz. Thakurta’s research is at the intersection of machine learning and data privacy. Primary research interest include designing privacy-preserving machine learning algorithms with strong analytical guarantees, which are robust to errors in the data. In many instances, Thakurta harnesses the privacy property of the algorithms to obtain robustness and utility guarantees. A combination of academic and industrial experience has allowed Thakurta to draw non-obvious insights at the intersection of theoretical analysis and practical deployment of privacy-preserving machine learning algorithms.

Co-Sponsored by: Critical Race and Ethnic Studies, the Feminist Studies Department and The Humanities Institute’s Data and Democracy Initiative.

March 06 | Surrogate Humanity: Race, Robots, and the Politics of Technological Futures

Wednesday, March 06, 2019

4:00-5:30 PM

SJRC Common Room, Oakes 231

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).


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.

Spring: “No, Really, What Percentage are You?”: Genomics, Race, and Genetic Ancestry Testing

“No, Really, What Percentage are You?”:
Genomics, Race, and Genetic Ancestry Testing

Science & Justice Training Program Graduate Fellows Jon Akutagawa (Biomolecular Engineering), Dennis Browe (Sociology), Maggie Edge (Literature), Dorothy R. Santos (Film & Digital Media) and Caroline Spurgin (Education) with undergraduate fellow Diana Sernas (Pure Mathematics) will organize a public event exploring the promise and the problems of personal genetic testing services, under the broader umbrella of racial justice and genomics. The event will explore questions of personal identity around race and ethnicity, genetic essentialism and determinism, the ethics of having one’s genome sequenced and data collected, and the legal issues of what companies can do with DNA.

Aimed at developing a public conversation on genomics in society, the event will provide space for thinking through and speaking about how both science and art grapple with questions of race and ethnicity. Especially, in this age of data-driven identities that are so prevalent today. As science seeks to better understand the implications of the sequenced genome, and how it might provide further insights into our personal and ancestral identities, we ask how might science and art provide us with useful interpretive frameworks?

Within the backdrop of the postgenomic era, during winter we will work with an interdisciplinary model of engaging each other: we will bring together social scientists, scientists, and artists, as well as undergraduate docents, to offer a number of avenues through which these questions will be explored in spring with the public. A triadic model of education, particularly science communication; art; and science & technology studies (STS) will provide the foundation for this event. Models of science communication and studies of interdisciplinarity will set the framing of our event paying particular attention to: how can an event centered on personal genomics and race/ancestry best communicate and teach complex social and scientific concepts to the public, asking profound questions without easy answers, during the span of only a few hours?

If you are interested in being a part of the public conversation in spring or the interdisciplinary engagement in winter or feel that genetic ancestry testing has benefited or impacted you in some way, please inquire and send anecdotes to Dennis Browe.

Spring: The Futures of Critical Food Studies: Cross-Disciplinary Possibilities & Coalition Building

The Futures of Critical Food Studies:
Cross-Disciplinary Possibilities & Coalition Building

Science & Justice Training Program Graduate Fellows Halie Kampman (Environmental Studies) and Erica Zurawski (Sociology) will organize a campus-wide event on the futures of critical food studies. The event encourages previously unconsidered connections and relationships across the social sciences, arts, science and technical studies, humanities, and beyond, through addressing ongoing conversations around food and agriculture.

In the spirit of the UCSC Strategic Academic Planning and UCSC’s profound contributions in the field, this event will support generative interdisciplinary conversations to consider how to further important research within food studies, and to imagine what it would look like to reach across disciplinary boundaries towards the multiple futures of critical food and agriculture studies.

If you are interested in or considering planning an event addressing food studies, please contact Erica Zurawski.