The Science & Justice Research Center (SJRC) aims to produce and support original research. Our community events and affiliated 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.
The Pandemicene Project: Re-worlding Towards Justice
How do we create knowledge that orients us towards justice at this critical historical juncture, in the middle of a viral pandemic, and a pandemic of social inequality and racial discrimination that has sparked global unrest? The Pandemicene Project begins from the premise that creating trust-worthy knowledge that can foster a more just world requires attending to both COVID-19 pandemic and the deep inequalities and fissures in the polity that this pandemic has laid bare. It also requires attending both to what is going on locally (e.g., from the shelter-in-place locations of our students), while drawing on the power and insights of global networks. In this project, UCSC faculty, graduate students and undergraduates will work together to interview members of their communities and the Science and Justice network about scholarly and activist responses to this critical historical moment. The project will produce a podcast series for our local radio station (KZSC), and expand the blog series on the SJRC website. Ultimately, through engaging our communities—both locally and globally—we aim to produce knowledge that can help all of us – scholars and scientists, students and activists – imagine and enact just futures both in our home state of California and in our communities worldwide. If you would like to take part in or contribute to this project, email Jenny Reardon and/or Colleen Stone. Learn more.
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.”
Jail / Care: Amplifying Santa Cruz Community Voices on Health & Incarceration
The project is investigating the conditions of health care in the Santa Cruz County jails. After a series of preventable deaths in the local jail, concern has arisen in the community regarding the quality and accessibility of health care in Santa Cruz jails. This project will document health care in the Santa Cruz jail, using the methodologies and perspectives of research team members in the Sociology, Film and Digital Media, and Psychology departments, as well as community organization Sin Barras. Learn more.
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. Learn more.
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.
Science Feminist Anti-Racist Equity (FARE) Collective
Science FARE (Feminist, Anti-racist, Equity) is a collective to stand up for truth and justice. We advocate robust science, evidence based politics, and the integration up stream of justice goals in science and technology infrastructure. Our social and natural contracts are broken, and so is the link between them. For more information on this cluster, contact Jenny Reardon.
Sociology and Science, Technology, and Society Studies Pathways Project
Focusing on sociology and science, technology, and society studies, the Pathways Project, engages transdisciplinary thought and collaboration, and the critical skills needed for building our capacities to address problems of our time that span disciplines and areas of practice. The broader mission of the Pathways Project seeks to engage undergraduate students in robust intellectual linkages between the social sciences, African Diaspora Studies, history, politics, and genomic science to better understand the question of diversity. For more information, contact James Doucet-Battle.
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.
Theorizing Race After Race
In the post-WWII, post-fascist, post-nationalist moment, a dominant story developed both within and outside the academy that ‘race’ had no meaning or value for understanding human biology. Despite the so-called end of ‘race’ over the last several decades, scholars continued to track the subtle manner in which racial thinking continued under the cover of culture, religion, population and ethnicity. Today, however we see an overt return to race, a return facilitated and mediated by novel forms of science and technology: genomics; machine learning; algorithmically driven media platforms. Learn more.