JCSEPHS Social Engagement Showcase

Philosophy of Science Association
History of Science Society

Joint Caucus of Socially Engaged Philosophers and Historians of Science

Sheraton Seattle Hotel, Ballard (Third Floor)
2 November 2018, 

JCSEPHS — the Joint Caucus of Socially Engaged Philosophers and Historians of Science — welcomes you to a showcase of work on Friday evening from 7 until 8.30pm.  The session will involve a 2-minute presentation from the following people on their socially engaged work, and then small table discussions from other participants with those presenters on the details of the work described.  Please drop by an learn about the kind of socially engaged work that philosophers and historians are doing!

Julia Bursten, University of Kentucky. From 2012–2015, I served as the “Resident Philosopher” in the Millstone Nanosynthesis Laboratory at the University of Pittsburgh, where I attended weekly meetings and provided assorted support activities for the lab. These included using philosophy of science principles to assist in grant development and experimental design. 

Thomas V. Cunningham, Kaiser Permanente Southern California. In 2016, Texas passed a bill “to express the state’s profound respect for the life of the unborn by providing for a dignified disposition of embryonic and fetal tissue remains,” which required all such tissue to be disposed of in the same fashion as a deceased human being (rather than as medical waste). In 2018, I served as an expert witness for the plaintiffs challenging the law, where I appealed to work in bioethics, philosophy of biology, and the social sciences. The law was deemed unconstitutional, a judgment likely to be appealed. There are three similar laws in other states currently undergoing litigation.

Kristin Johnson, University of Puget Sound. Inspired by my students’ interest in science and activism, I composed an historical novel in which the main characters confront challenges and choices raised by prior “activist” applications of biology, including eugenics. My aim was to create something that would complement more academic sources, and inspire discussion and reflection via an alternative format.  

Sabina Leonelli, University of Exeter. My work on Open Data and Open Science led me to act as policy advisor for various national and international committees, government departments, funders and societies concerned with research governance, including the Open Science Policy Platform of the European Commission (where I represent the Global Young Academy), the Mutual Learning Exercise on Altmetrics and Rewards for Open Science (where I facilitated policy development for 13 European countries) and the board of the European open Science Cloud. 

Angela Potochnik and Melissa Jacquart, University of Cincinnati. We are developing UC's Center for Public Engagement with Science, which pursues local projects related to science education, science communication, and science’s responsiveness to the public, while centering philosophy and the humanities in these efforts. One early project was a philosophy course on scientific methods and reasoning that satisfies the natural sciences general education requirement. 

Ayelet Shavit, Tel Hai College.   In echo with a transformative vision of research and with the 2011 tent movement, “Town-Square Academia” galvanizes an interdisciplinary and activist learning community in an extremely peripheral region. We conduct free courses outside the campus walls, led by volunteering experts aimed to transfer existing scientific knowledge as well as document local tacit knowledge. Over 500 learners from highly diverse ethnicities, socio-economic levels, religions and ages attend courses in Bedouin villages, elementary schools and humus joints across the Upper Galilee, building new knowledge, new social ties between people, and promoting a specific policy change. 

Matthew H. Slater, Bucknell University. Since 2014, I have been leading an interdisciplinary project called the Production of Public Understanding of Science (PoPUS) that seeks to bring philosophy into collaboration with empirical research on improving public science communication outcomes (particularly concerning climate change and vaccine safety).

Wendy Wasman, Cleveland Museum of Natural History.  The CMNH Archives digitized a collection of material relating to Arthur B. Williams, a naturalist who pioneered outdoor education and made deep observations of local forests in the 1930's. Drawing from Williams' writings, the project team created a curriculum that includes both classroom and outdoor experiences.

Rob Wilson, La Trobe University.  From 2010 to 2015 I coordinated a team of 80 people in Alberta, including eugenics survivors, to explore the history and contemporary significance of eugenics, especially for disability.  We recorded video stories, built EugenicsArchive.ca, held over 50 public events, and made a 44-minute documentary with a classroom discussion guide. 

Chris Young, Alverno College. “Exploring the History of Ecology in Milwaukee”.  As a historian of science teaching in a biology department, I bring perspectives from multiple disciplines to my students. I share my strategy for building partnerships across the community. I will describe community partners who contribute to the course, as well as brief assignment descriptions.

The session is organized by Rachel Ankeny, Sean Valles, and Rob Wilson.

Please contact Rob at rwilson.robert@gmail.com if you have any questions

More information about JCSEPHS can be found here: https://jointcaucus.philsci.org. There you can also join the Joint Caucus and sign up at various levels of participation.

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