Announcing YASMIN discussion: Science for the People; Radical Science for the 21st Century


we are pleased to announce a new YASMIN discussion

TITLE:  “Science for the People: Radical Science for the 21st Century

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In the late 1960s through late 1980s, scientists unwilling to contribute to the development of technologies that pollute, oppress, and destroy, or to research tainted by military, political, and corporate interests, were organizing around the questions  “Why are we scientists? For whose benefit do we serve? What is the full measure of our moral and social responsibility?”. Members of Science for the People (SftP) (sometimes referred to more generally as “the radical science movement”) were dedicated to crafting a science that is ethical, egalitarian, and cooperative, and were committed in their own work to research that above all serves the health of humans and the environment.

Science for the People is currently being revitalized by scientists and scholars on college campuses across the US. Science for the People: Documents from America’s Movement of Radical Scientists, a brand new anthology of historical material, is fresh off the presses. The second annual SftP National Convention took place at the University of Michigan from February 2-4, 2017.

A bit more background:

Don’t Just Defend Science, Mobilize It for the People: While science is under attack, it could be an opportunity to advance a much stronger vision of how it can serve the common good,  writes Sigrid Schmalzer:

Which Way for Science? A statement by the SftP editorial team on the occasion of the April 2017 March for Science



Lisette E. Torres is a disabled mother-scholar-activist of color dedicated to critically examining the intersections of race, gender, disability, and science identity and how they impact knowledge production and STEM. She is a former aquatic ecologist, a member of Science for the People, and a co-founder for the National Coalition for Latinxs with Disabilities (CNLD).

Abha Sur is a scientist turned historian of science. She is the author of Dispersed Radiance: Caste, Gender, and Modern Science in India (New Delhi: Navayana, 2011). She teaches in the Program in Women’s & Gender Studies and in the Program in Science, Technology, and Society at MIT. Abha Sur is a longstanding member of the Alliance for a Secular and Democratic South Asia, a Cambridge based organization that raises awareness about issues of social justice through seminars, panel discussions and cultural events.

John Vandermeer is a theoretical ecologist, agroecologist and tropical ecologist, who teaches at the University of Michigan and does research in Michigan, Mexico and Puerto Rico.  He was a long term member of the original SftP, having been at the Chicago AAAS meetings where at least one of the beginnings of the organization is reported to have happened.  He also is a founding member of the New World Agriculture and Ecology group, an offshoot of SftP.

Ben Allen is a scientist, educator, and labor activist in east Tennessee. He is an organizer for the revitalized Science for the People and is member of the Science for the People Research Collective. In addition to organizing, he works as a contractor on computational biology projects related to energy and environment.

Alyce Santoro is a conceptual/sound artist and writer with a background in biology and scientific illustration. She will be a candidate in RISDs new Nature-Culture-Sustainability MA program starting in fall 2018.

Yasmin Moderators:

Alyce Santoro and Roger Malina

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Lessons Learned  

  1.  Whenever possible, the discussion goes better if the posts address one point or at most two,

  2. Posts should be ‘short’: 2-3 paragraphs max

  3. The organiser of the discussion ‘manages’ the central topic being discussed at a given time( otherwise the discussion goes into multiple direction and tends to dissipate).

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  5. Best not to approve more than 1-2 posts a day. Otherwise most yasminers will disconnect,

  6. Moderators over the years have had to block certain posts after discussion with the person posting, because the topic had little connection with the discussion under way, or was basically a personal marketing promotion rather than engaging in discussion. The moderators can block a post for ‘reason’ but must notify the other moderators and the person posting that the post has been blocked. In some cases there are culturally awkward discussions which are difficult to do on line, and easier face to face.

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