Social Justice: A vision of society with “full and equitable participation of people from all social identity groups in a society that is mutually shaped to meet their needs” (Bell, 2016 Theoretical Foundations for Social Justice Education p. 1)
Socially-just Science: Refers to research practices that challenge oppressive ideologies, reference diverse perspectives and ways of knowing, and are theoretically grounded in the idea that everyone, regardless of social group membership should be able to live free of the social constructions of domination and subordination. It also refers to the practice of science and science education that allows full and equitable participation of all people, in a community that is mutually shaped to meet their needs.
Liberatory science: Research practices that are theoretically grounded in a vision of a socially just society and directly seek to benefit the populations studied, incorporate the perspectives of the populations studied/referenced, and use methodology that respects the lived experiences of others.
SJS meets approximately once a month as a blended group of invited undergrads, graduate students, post-docs, staff, and faculty to discuss readings on a topic chosen by the SJS community. We collectively create community guidelines at the beginning of every semester, and maintain a flexible structure that allows the updating and refining of guidelines and approaches over time. SJS incorporates a variety of one-to-one conversations, small group discussions, and large group thought spaces within a single meeting. Those who prefer different environments for sharing their thoughts and perspectives are all welcome and supported. Our collective strives to uplift members at all stages in their personal journey through social justice, as they step outside their comfort zone and identify areas for growth. The readings selected for each meeting serve as background and a launching point for a conversation linking back to the science conducted by those at the table. Each meeting attempts to bring forward action items for ways that those in the scientific community can incorporate social justice into their everyday research and science communication.
In our collective, we allow two forms of community membership to provide flexibility for folks as they get involved and navigating all the other pieces of their lives. When one joins this community they are added to an email list, given the password for the website’s internal resources and are added to a Google Drive folder for the current semester. Our community membership roles and responsibilities include:
For Interested Members
- Co-creating community guidelines
- Holding each other accountable to the community guidelines
- Following the community guidelines as much as possible
- Providing honest and timely feedback
For Core Members
- All of the above and,
- Taking ownership in the collective
- Co-steering the trajectory of SJS
- Selecting topics and planning future programming
Core members are also given the opportunity to facilitate discussions and participate in workshop development.