"Open Spaces for Changing Science and Society," New England Workshop on Science and Social Change, 15–18 May 2011
May 15, 2011 - May 18, 2011
Woods Hole, MA, USA
Applications are sought from teachers and researchers (including graduate students) who are interested in moving beyond their current disciplinary and academic boundaries to explore concepts and practices that help us work in the arena bordered on one side by critical interpretation of the directions taken by scientific and technological research and application and on the other side by organizing social movements so as to influence those directions.
The metaphor of "open spaces" suggests that the issue is not so much to bridge the two sides as it is to acknowledge the value of discussion, reflection, and clarifying one's identity and affinities with both sides kept in view. Whereas the young Karl Marx proclaimed that the "philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point, however, is to change it," what happens when we allow for more dialogue and deliberation before-or as a complement to-jumping into campaigns for change? (In this spirit, open spaces have been used to characterize Social Forum meetings at the world, national, or regional levels.) Interpretations from science and technology studies often suggest that things could be (or could have been) otherwise, but when should effecting change be the litmus test of STS critique? What can we learn from examples of explicit and implicit open spaces and what can we share from our own experience? In particular, how can NewSSC articulate and develop its role as a valued open space for participants, some of whom return many times for a recharge and affirmation of aspirations that are not well supported in home institutions and day-to-day interactions?
Participants are encouraged, but not required, to submit a manuscript or sketch related to the workshop topic that would be read by others before the workshop and be subject to focused discussion during the workshop. There is also room for participants to develop--either before or during the workshop--activities or interactive presentations to engage the other participants. Talk to the organizer to explore the options for bringing your thinking into the workshop interactions. (For a preview of how this plays out, see forthcoming paper on NewSSC dynamics, http://www.faculty.umb.edu/pjt/08c.pdf).