Science & Justice: The Trouble and the Promise

Jenny Reardon, Jacob Metcalf, Martha Kenney, Karen Barad


Over the course of the last five years, a worldwide financial crisis combined with plummeting trust in institutions has led to significant changes in the organization and funding of research and education.  These changes have troubled the very foundations of universities, but they also have created new opportunities to re-imagine and re-form practices of knowledge production, a key concern of Science and Technology Studies (S&TS) and feminist science studies (FSS).  Here we reflect on how these changing institutional landscapes as well as increased demands for substantive ethics training create openings for novel institutional practices that embody core insights of S&TS and FSS.  Specifically, we describe the creation of the Science & Justice Graduate Training Program at University of California, Santa Cruz. Taking its inspiration from recent feminist science studies re-workings of responsibility as response-ability, the SJTP created novel pedagogical and research practices that enabled collaboration across all divisions of the University.  A focus on justice proved critical to our efforts.  In its call to attend to the first principles that shape collective life, justice allowed us to open up the space of research ethics in novel ways, and helped us to create the basis for working across disciplines on shared problems and objects.  As S&TS and FSS increasingly move toward generating new modes of gathering and practices of care, we suggest that justice might open up models of collectivity that fit better with the current zeitgeist and produce the kind of responsive knowledge and institutions long imagined. 


justice; response-ability; pedagogy; collaboration; institutions

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Copyright (c) 2018 Jenny Reardon, Jacob Metcalf, Martha Kenney, Karen Barad


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