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From science and justice to thinking with prairies.

Jenny ReardonFrom science and justice to thinking with prairies.

Adventurous interdisciplinarity beyond the science/non science binary

Talk and forum discussion with Professor Jenny Reardon

Science and Justice Research Centre, University of California Santa Cruz

22 May 2019 – 2.30-5pm – Humanities Studio, University of Warwick

It is common talk in and beyond academia that today’s social and ecological challenges do not respect disciplinary boundaries. Issues concerning pollution, climate change, food security, health epidemics, data privacy call for scientists and engineers to work together with social and humanities scholars. But anyone who has tried knows that these efforts bring with them practical and conceptual challenges. This seminar aims to unpack and go beyond the stubborn binary that still hinders collaborative interdisciplinarity: the science/non science distinction. Collaborative research across this boundary, or even divide, faces specific disciplinary constraints and traditions as well as splits in project “workpackages” that divide out collection of social/behavioural and material/objective evidence. The Science and Justice Research Centre at the University of California, Santa Cruz, was funded in the spirit of challenging this binary and promoting critical friendships between scientists and non-scientists. For the past 15 years it is a space that nurtures radical interdisciplinary experimental spaces, collaborative practices, and novel alliances. In the first part of the seminar the founding director, Professor Jenny Reardon will reflect on her trajectory in developing the centre and on how working in this particularly rich context has affected her own work and methodologies to investigate the human-prairies relations in the high plains of the North American mid-west. In the second part of the seminar Warwick academics and scientists will use this session to engage in a conversation that reflects and envisions future avenues of adventurous interdisciplinary crossings.

2.30 -3.30 – Jenny Reardon Talk & Questions

3.30 – 4pm - Research speed chats & coffee and cake break

4-5-pm – Respondents, reactions and open discussion

About Jenny Reardon

Jenny Reardon is a Professor of Sociology and the Founding Director of the Science and Justice Research Center at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her research draws into focus questions about identity, justice and democracy that are often silently embedded in scientific ideas and practices, particularly in modern genomic research. Her training spans molecular biology, the history of biology, science studies, feminist and critical race studies, and the sociology of science, technology and medicine. She is the author of Race to the Finish: Identity and Governance in an Age of Genomics(Princeton University Press, 2005) and The Postgenomic Condition: Ethics, Justice, Knowledge After the Genome(Chicago University Press, Fall 2017). She has been the recipient of fellowships and awards from, among others, the National Science Foundation, the Max Planck Institute, the Humboldt Foundation, the London School of Economics, the Westinghouse Science Talent Search, and the United States Congressional Committee on Science, Space and Technology.

The Science & Justice Research Centre at the University of California, Santa Cruz ( is a globally unique endeavour that cultivates experimental spaces, collaborative practices, and novel alliances for exploring today’s most pressing challenges. Biomedical innovation, species extinction, toxic ecologies, healthcare reform, and many other contemporary matters of concern provoke questions that traverse multiple intellectual, institutional and ethico-political worlds. Science & Justice generates modes of inquiry and empirically rigorous research that address these enormous challenges to support liveable worlds.

 This event inaugurates the Adventurous Interdisciplinary in Practice seminar series

Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies, University of Warwick

We are currently witnessing a new wave of excitement around the possibilities of interdisciplinarity. Working interdisciplinarily remains an enticing prospect, if not the only way to understand and tackle the complex problems we face today. And yet, the meanings of interdisciplinarity remain as varied and contested as ever, while efforts to distinguish it from trans- and multi-disciplinarity can seem arbitrary or even contradictory. This seminar series explores the meanings of interdisciplinarity in practice. Rather than once again attempting to define boundaries and programmes for interdisciplinary research, we aim to enter in fertile conversations with projects, research centres, institutions, researchers and leaders that are experimenting with adventurous interdisciplinarity configurations. What are the conditions of felicity for interdisciplinary success, the challenges, the obstacles, even impasses and the enduring promise? We invite speakers from a range of backgrounds to tell us their stories grounded in actual experiences and share their recipes and formulae and enter in conversations with researchers and practitioners at Warwick interested in learning about interdisciplinarity in practice.