Reevaluating Science for the People: New Directions in Teaching and Scholarship

AHA Session 268
Sunday, January 7, 2018: 9:00 AM-10:30 AM
Embassy Room (Omni Shoreham, East Lobby)
Alondra Nelson, Columbia University and Social Science Research Council
Alyssa Botelho, Harvard University
Sarah Bridger, California Polytechnic State University
Daniel Chard, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Kelly Moore, Loyola University Chicago
Sigrid Schmalzer, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Session Abstract

As the world grapples with the crisis of climate change and a myriad of other problems related to science and technology, this roundtable will re-evaluate the significance of Science for the People (SftP), the most influential radical science organization in U.S. history. Between 1969 and 1989, SftP mobilized American scientists, engineers, teachers, and students who yearned to practice a socially just science, rather than one that served militarism and corporate profits. However, despite the fact that SftP waged a substantial effort to transform the political economy of science, contributed to all of the period’s major progressive movements, and played a formative role in the field of science and technology studies (STS), to date only a few scholars have researched the organization.

The session brings together scholars with expertise on SftP and related movements to discuss new possibilities for research and teaching in light of recent scholarship, including a new collection of primary sources edited by three of the session’s presenters (Science for the People: Documents from America’s Movement of Radical Scientists, 1969-1989, forthcoming, University of Massachusetts Press, December 2017). Using visual presentations of primary sources, the presenters will briefly discuss SftP’s relevance to research and teaching on STS, climate change, biology, medicine, race and gender, state surveillance, and postwar social movements. The presenters will keep their presentations under ten minutes to ensure time for interactive audience discussion.

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