The idea that there is a set truth of the world that scientists must identify, codify, and disseminate in full is literally set in stone at the National Academies. It may come as a surprise, then that the Academies have also spent decades trying to figure out how to restrict or otherwise prevent certain knowledge to do with security concerns from spreading. After my Fall 2016 article on Biosecurity Governance… Read More »Constructing New Security Concerns in the Life Sciences
The new Handbook of Science and Technology Studies is now available, and I was lucky enough to work with a set of colleagues on a chapter about “Knowledge and Security”. This chapter discusses the STS contributions to security studies. The literature that comprises this chapter is grouped around four main themes and questions: 1. Imagining security: the scope, boundaries, and discourse of security; 2.Knowledge, non-knowledge, secrecy, and ignorance; 3.Knowing citizens:… Read More »Knowledge and Security
As we continually develop new areas of technology, how do we think about how that technology might cause harm? In this talk, I draw out some lessons that can be learned from how Americans have built scientific cultures and governance mechanisms for constructing and governing security concerns in the life sciences. These cultures andÂ mechanisms are built on a set of assumptions about the structure of knowledge and the relationship between… Read More »Words of Caution on Making Objects of Security Concern
Current efforts to limit the dissemination of dual-use biological research results are rooted in simplistic understandings of how such knowledge becomes dangerous. I argue in an article appearing in the Fall 2016 Issues in Science and Technology that it’s time for a new approach. Read the full preprint. With little fanfare, the National Academies ofÂ Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine set up a committee earlier this year on Dual Use Research of Concern: Options for… Read More »Biosecurity Governance for the Real World
Synthetic biology, from its early stages of development, has had an explicit focus on biosafety and biosecurity concerns. These concerns are being identified and addressed in different ways, including strategies that ‘take care of’ them by getting them off the mind, and approaches that attend to and ‘care for’ concerns in more open-ended ways. In this chapter, we look at the shaping of concerns and non-concerns relating to biosafety and… Read More »Book chapter on ‘Taking Care’ in synthetic biology
Started in 2016, Tufts University’s Program on Science, Technology, and Society offers an undergraduate Co-Major in STS an a Minor in STS. I am an Assistant Research Professor there.
This edited volume explores the concept of vulnerability as a useful analytic lens for studying big issues in technological cultures, providing a more compassionate and encompassing framing of issues than traditional risk analyses. â€œBook Review: Vulnerability in Technological Cultures: New Directions in Research and Governance. Edited by Anique Hommels, Jessica Mesman and Wiebe E. Bijker.â€Â Science and Public Policy. 17 February 2015.
In this brief Perspective in the Journal of Responsible Innovation, I discuss the different conceptions of security that are being debated over within the biology, and specifically the synthetic biology, community. I argue that understanding who is constructing security concerns, and how, should be an active area of research, as should be how to govern innovation now when potentially catastrophic outcomes might result from choosing one pathway over another. If… Read More »What’s the Matter with Biosecurity?
The Science and Democracy Network (SDN) was established in 2002 to enhance the quality and significance of scholarship in science and technology studies (STS) by training young professionals and by forging links between STS and related fields of study and practice. The SDN sponsors an annual meeting whose primary goal is to strengthen and deepen STS scholarship on science and democracy, and to provide training opportunities for young STS scholars… Read More »Science and Democracy Network
The Society for the Social Studies of Science (4S) is the leading academic society for Science and Technology Studies (STS). As an active member, I attend their annual meeting, where I often host sessions about building a community within STS around science, technology, and security issues research. This is a primary venue for sharing my current work, and learning about activity in the discipline.