Science for the People: The 1970s and Today
A 3-Day Conference (11-13 April 2014) at UMass Amherst
Hosted by the Social Thought & Political Economy Program
*** Come explore the history of the 1970s-1980s organization Science for the People
*** Join veteran members of Science for the People along with other scientists, scholars, science activists, graduate students, and undergraduates who want to harness scientific resources for social needs
*** Learn how Science for the People analyzed the political, economic, and social power structures that shape scientific research
*** Debate Science for the People’s analysis and methods, and discuss their relevance for current movements around
* climate change
* the militarization of science
* agricultural science and food justice
* the scientific construction of race and gender
* and more!
What was Science for the People?
Science for the People arose in 1969 out of the anti-war movement and lasted until 1989. With a Marxist analysis and non-hierarchical governing structure, Science for the People tackled the militarization of scientific research, the corporate control of research agendas, the political implications of sociobiology and other scientific theories, the environmental consequences of energy policy, inequalities in health care, and many other issues.
Its members opposed racism, sexism, and classism in science and above all sought to mobilize people working in scientific fields to become active in agitating for science, technology, and medicine that would serve social needs rather than military and corporate interests. They organized in universities and communities, published a magazine offering sharp political analysis, and sought meaningful scientific exchange internationally in Vietnam, China, Cuba, Nicaragua, and other countries.
Some of the issues we face today have changed in important ways, but fundamental questions of power, ideology, and democracy in science remain. The time is ripe to gather SftP veterans with other scientists, activists, students, and scholars in an exploration of what the history of SftP can teach us… and where we go from here.
UMass Units: College of Social and Behavioral Sciences; College of Humanities and Fine Arts; Afro-American Studies Department; Center for Public Policy & Administration; Economics Department; School of Education; History Department; Political Science Department; Science, Technology, and Society Initiative; Special Collections and University Archives; Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies Program
Other Five-College Units: Hampshire College Dean of Faculty; Hampshire College School of Critical Social Inquiry; Hampshire College School of Natural Science; Smith College History of Science
Major funding provided by the National Science Foundation.