As a long time SftP member I strongly support your idea for a conference of the type you describe, though I would like to discuss it with you further. I also wish you could do it in the Spring of 2013, not 2014 which is too far in the future. At least, how about fall 2013? Please send me your telephone number so we can talk. As you know there are still many ex-SftP members in the Boston area who might also be interested in such a conference.
I still work for the Tellus Institute in Boston, which you should become familiar with if you don't already know it. (See www.tellus.org) It was started in the late 1970s by members of the New York City capter of SftP, and was inspired by the ideas that made SftP so important - how to relate science and politics. We have been successful for over 37 years now. Now I am working primarily on critiquing the economic modeling done for the IPCC on climate change mitigation, and on ideas for a New Economy. We might even be able to think of some funding sources for this conference. And we have listserves that might prove useful.
Richard Rosen, Ph.D.
Boston, MA 02116
From: Science for the People Discussion List [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Sigrid Schmalzer
Sent: Sunday, September 30, 2012 8:25 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Reunion / conference for Science for the People
Calling all former members and current fans of Science for the People!
Scientists are angry. They are angry about climate change denial. They are angry about bans on stem cell research. They are angry about attacks on teaching evolution in the schools. But are they organizing effectively? Do they have an effective analysis of the power structures that impede the production of socially beneficial scientific knowledge?
Should scientists be forming closer alliances with activist organizations to transform the social and political context in which scientists do their work?
What would Science for the People have said?
I am a history professor at UMass Amherst whose research focuses on the history of science in Mao-era China. A few years ago I interviewed some of you about the 1973 and 1978 Science for the People delegations to China. During my most recent meeting with Vinton Thompson (a member of the Chicago group of SftP and a delegate on the 1973 trip to China), we raised the possibility of holding a reunion / conference for former members of SftP and scholars interested in its history.
So I am writing to you now to obtain a general sense of how many people would be interested in participating in a conference on the history of Science for the People and the future of activism around science and technology. If there is enough interest, I will begin working to secure funding.
More specifically, I am proposing a weekend conference on the UMass Amherst campus to be held during the spring semester of 2014. Holding the conference on campus during the school year will make it possible for UMass scientists, scholars, and students to participate. I am especially excited to involve students in the radical undergraduate major Social Thought & Political Economy (STPEC, www.umass.edu/stpec), of which I am now associate director. As you may know, the Amherst area is also a hotbed of social and political activism, and I am confident we would also draw considerable interest from the surrounding community.
I would like to plan the details of the conference in collaboration with any of you who want to take an active role, along with interested students, professors, and activists in the greater UMass community.
Possibilities include (but are by no means limited to):
* panels on the history of SftP,
* workshops on building a movement that answers today's needs (how would it be similar to SftP? how would it be different? how can scientists and activists work together... and what tensions exist between them?),
* and of course lots of time for seeing old friends and building new connections.
All I need from you now is a reply to this email answering the following
1) Are you at least potentially interested in participating in a spring
2014 conference on the history of Science for the People and the future of activism around science and technology?
2) Would you like to help plan the conference?
3) Do you have any tips about (or better yet, connections to) possible funding sources?
4) Would you like to join a list-serv to keep in touch as we move forward with the organizing?
5) Do you have contact information (or clues as to the whereabouts) of former SftP members? If so, please share it with me.
Thank you very much, and I hope to hear from you soon!
Very best wishes,
Associate Professor, History Department
Acting Associate Director, Social Thought & Political Economy UMass Amherst