The Science & Justice Research Center (SJRC) aims to produce and support original research. Our community events and faculty-initiated research projects inform a range of interdisciplinary research topics at the intersection of science and justice. Find out more information on our fundraising efforts to further support Center researchers and projects as highlighted below. You can also view the Center’s completed projects.
Queer Ecologies Research Cluster
The Queer Ecologies cluster is a reading group that meets every other week to investigate how sexuality and concepts of nature have been historically linked. In particular, we are interested in how evolutionary and ecological science has informed what is “natural” and how we use this information to delineate certain sexual behaviors as normal or aberrant. Queer Ecologies seeks to examine the historical making of the natural as it relates to sexuality while communicating the overwhelming diversity of sex and gender in biology. For more information on this cluster, visit the Queer Ecology webpage and contact Paloma Medina.
The Race, Genomics, and Media Research Cluster
The Race, Genomics, and Media cluster examines the ways genomic research informs new discourses of difference and their junctures and disjunctures with older racialized constructs based on phenotype during colonial, postcolonial, and contemporary moments. We are particularly interested in how diverse media technologies of representation diffuse and reinfuse these racialized constructs in ways that rebiologize race to explain disparities in health and behavior, and their bioethical intersections with issues of research inclusion and informed consent in the absence of social justice. For more information on this cluster, contact James Doucet-Battle.
Science Feminist Anti-Racist Equity (FARE) Collective
Description coming soon. For more information on this cluster, contact Kate Darling.
Telling the Truth: Objectivity & Justice Research Cluster
The Objectivity & Justice cluster critically examines what the terms fact, truth, and reality signal to each of us in relations to our own research and disciplines since the inauguration of the 2016 U.S. presidential election. At the same time that it is of utmost importance that facts, truth, and reality be asserted to counter the normalization of lies and fake news used to obscure the truth and manipulate the public, large bodies of scholarship showing the non-innocent and often times harmful use of these terms in ways that collude with the forces of power, including colonialism, racism, militarism, etc. We anticipate that these terms will spark a variety of different associations depending on our fields of study and warmly welcome undergraduates, graduates, and faculty. For more information on this cluster, contact Karen Barad or email ObjectivityAndJustice@ucsc.edu.
Just Biomedicine is a UC Santa Cruz-based research collective that examines the meeting of biomedicine, biotechnology, and big data along the Third Street corridor in the Mission-Bay neighborhood of San Francisco. Many hope that this convergence will democratize access to health information and produce revolutionary new medical treatments that new companies will make available to the public through market mechanisms. Yet, as in other domains, living with technoscientific transformations over time reveals how they produce new inequalities and injustices: new challenges to democratic governance; new surveillance regimes; and new forms of social stratification. These often-hidden justice dimensions can be hard to visualize and hard to stand up for. This is especially the case in the biomedical informatic domain, where criticism of specific developments can be interpreted as standing against developments in healthcare more generally. Nonetheless, stratified health and wealth outcomes manifest at this celebrated innovative edge of technoscience. Our collective seeks to understand and bring into view how this happens in the spaces and infrastructures that shape life on Third Street, and asks how we might help bring about a more just form of biomedicine. For more information on this cluster, contact Jenny Reardon or Kate Darling.
Experiments in Participatory Data Science and Just Modelling
Melissa Viola Eitzel Solera is a graduate of the Environmental Science, Policy, and Management program at UC Berkeley (with dissertation work in Statistical Ecology) whose research goal is to improve the sustainability of Californian and global ecosystems using sophisticated data synthesis techniques that facilitate broad public engagement.
Working with Jenny Reardon (UC Santa Cruz Professor of Sociology and SJRC Director) and Ken Wilson (The Muonde Trust), Dr. Eitzel Solera leads the NSF-funded project, “Understanding Resilience in a Complex Coupled Human-Natural System: Integrating Qualitative and Quantitative Information and Community-Based Action Research,” involving a 35-year collaborative research project in rural Zimbabwe run by The Muonde Trust. Together with the community research team, they are developing methods of modeling the resilience of their system and synthesizing their long-term data to answer pressing concerns about sustainable environmental management. They are also making theoretical and practical contributions to more just modeling practices in an age of “big data.”