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Gender, Race, Science & Technology

What can we learn about science and technology—and what can we do with that knowledge? Who are “we” in these questions?—whose knowledge and expertise gets made into public policy, new medicines, topics of cultural and political discourse, science education, and so on? How can expertise and lay knowledge about science and technology be reconciled in a democratic society? How can we make sense of the interactions of living and non-living, humans and non-humans, individual and collectivities in the production of scientific knowledge and technologies? The course takes these questions as entry points into an ever-growing body of work to which feminist, anti-racist, and other critical analysts and activists have made significant contributions. The course also takes these questions as an invitation to practice challenging the barriers of expertise, gender, race, class, and place that restrict wider access to and understanding of the production of scientific knowledge and technologies. In that…

Teaching Social Justice and Social Responsibility in Science

Morgan Thompson, Ben Morris and Jon Beckwith What is education like in the United States for college and graduate school students pursuing scientific careers?  In many respects, it is a superb education that ensures a future workforce of scientists who can be imaginative, innovative and creative.  Young scientists learn how to be both technically and theoretically critical of their own work and that of others.  These aspects of their education and the massive amount of government funding for science are largely responsible for the major role U.S. scientists have played in scientific advances in the last 50 years or so. However, there are aspects of what prospective researchers learn that prevent them from becoming the whole scientists that society needs.  They learn that science is an objective pursuit, uncontaminated by social influences.  They learn an ivory tower perspective in which the social impacts of their accomplishments are not their concern. …

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