Decolonising STEM

10 May 2017, 12:00 - 14:00

Seminar Room SG2, Alison Richard Building

Speakers

Professor Chanda Prescod-Weinstein 
(University of Washington, Seattle) 
Undefining Black Women Scientists:
Past, Present and Future  

Dr Arianne Shahvisi (University of Sussex)  


This panel will take the debate on decolonising the curriculum to STEM subjects, asking whether the basic axioms of scientific objectivity need rethinking when they are premised on the marginalisation of subaltern people from STEM. From this premise follows the axiom that the subaltern can be a subject of research, but it cannot itself research. Can science be objective when the language embedded in it works to 'unconstruct' Black and Indigenous women (and more broadly other minoritised peoples) as physicists? How might we develop a heuristic for disrupting problematic explanations and generalisations, and thereby refuse to be complicit in them?

 

Abstracts


Professor Prescod-Weinstein 
Undefining Black Women Scientists: Past, Present and Future 
To constitute a concept of 'physics community', physicists assume two foundational axioms. First, the laws of physics are independent of cognitive inference/interference, and, second, that they are unchanging or only evolving according to their own rules. This leads to the axion that the subaltern can be a subject of research, but it cannot itself research. Can science be objective when the language embedded in it works to 'unconstruct' Black and Indigenous women (and more broadly other minoritided peoples) as physicists? 

Dr Shahvisi
Using tools from the philosophy of science to examine the nature of explanations she asks how easily they lead us towards generalisations we should instead be equipping ourselves to resist (i.e. generalisations which are racist and/or sexist).

Open to all. No registration required.
Part of the Decolonising the Curriculum in Theory and Practice Research Group Seminar Series.
Administrative assistance: gradfac@crassh.cam.ac.uk