Graduate Courses

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Courses of Interest

Winter 2018

WMS 201: Feminist Science and Democracy

Have you seen the signs? “Support Science; Defend the Earth,” “Black Lives Matter; Science is Real; Women’s Rights are Human Rights…” As political sides are being drawn, science curiously finds itself lumped with a politics of anti-racism, feminism, and gay inclusion. Inside the academy, debates proliferate on feminists’ engagement with “the body” itself through new materialisms. However, at the same time as scientists and science lovers lament the potential budget cuts to government science grants, resources for science research remains at least an order of magnitude higher than humanities funding. And popular calls for more public engagement initiatives are abundant but seem to be little more than an appropriation of social justice rhetoric for the continuation of a science as usual. These moves for more democratic science focus on innovation and science entrepreneurship while health inequities and environmental damage continue to increase.

How as feminists do we makes sense of this current moment and how can we engage in science – or should we? Feminists have had a fraught relationship with science. A recurring set of questions circulate in feminist science studies literature over the last four decades: Should feminists engage in science and if so, how? And, what would a feminist science look like?

In this course, we will delve into current feminist science studies literature at the same time as conducting hands-on experiments with social justice organizations. This class will be for those who are interested in engaging with science and social justice as we will be developing a collaborative research project through the quarter. No previous science background is necessary. If you have already have an ongoing project with a social justice organization and would like to incorporate feminist science, you will have opportunities throughout this course to develop those links and work on your own project. If you are looking to engage with primary science literature to further your project, we will work on developing critical science literacy skills to help aid you in this direction.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact the instructor: Dr. Sara Giordano (Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies) at sgiordano@ucdavis.edu.