Lessons from a Powerful Partnership for Reproductive Justice | Loretta Ross and Rickie Solinger

The newly restored Old Chapel crackled with energy on the morning of November 30, as an over-capacity crowd gathered to hear activist Loretta Ross and public scholar Rickie Solinger reflect on their decades-long collaboration to advance the movement for reproductive justice. The duo offered a frank discussion – punctuated by humor and warmth – about their commitment to work through what might easily have become deep-seated barriers to solidarity between a white historian of the struggle and the Black organizer who founded SisterSong. For the scholar-activist team, authenticity, vulnerability, humbleness and the power to imagine alliances for social justice across racial, class, gender and even international boundaries are all vital to sustaining a productive alliance.

Tackling Academia's Crisis of Relevance and the Emergent Role of the Engaged Scholar

In his December 7 seminar on what he termed “Academia’s crisis of relevance” at the Institute for Social Science Research, Professor Andrew Hoffman (University of Michigan) promised to be provocative, in order to push scientists outside of their comfort zones, and scientific institutions into faster change. Hoffman, who earned his BA in chemical engineering from UMass Amherst and his PhD in management/civil & environmental engineering from MIT, quickly delivered on that promise, with a rapid-fire review of studies on the “abysmal state” of public perceptions of science.

Big Data and Small City Governance: Whose Analysis? Whose Expertise?

On Friday, October 20, a crowded house of social scientists, computer scientists, and planners gathered in the new ISSR lab to discuss insights emerging from a National Science Foundation funded project on the social sciences and big data. Leading the dialogue were the project’s principal investigators, who have each been program directors at the National Science Foundation: Susan Sterett, Director of the School of Public Policy and Professor of Political Science at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and Kelly Joyce, Director of the Science, Technology & Society Center and Professor of Sociology at Drexel University.

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