Enlightening Lunch : Lindsay Smith

Lindsay Smith

Centering Justice: Human Rights Social Movements and Citizen-led Science

Wednesday, Oct. 09
12 - 1 p.m.
Computing Commons Rm 120, ASU Tempe campus

 In 1983 a group of Argentine Grandmothers organized with geneticists to create the first forensic DNA test, materializing new tools of affiliation in the face of genocide.  They went on to create the first national genetic databank and enshrine the right to identity in the rights of the child.  Through an attention to the organizing of the Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo and allied human rights social movements, I ask: What imaginaries of science are necessary to create just worlds? How does centering justice in scientific practice shift the relationship between scientists, subjects, participants, and the public? In this talk, I draw on over 42 months of ethnographic fieldwork within human rights social movement in Latin America to explore the potentials and limits of citizen-led science in post-conflict settings. I suggest that a shift from citizen science to citizen-led science allows for a radical reframing of scientific epistemologies, privileging connection, emotion, and most of all justice as the basis of innovation and technological change.


Lindsay A. Smith
Smith is an assistant professor in the School for the Future of Innovation in Society. She studies the role of genetic technologies in post-conflict settings and has worked with families, scientists, and activist groups in Argentina, Guatemala, and Peru to document DNA as a tool for justice.  In her current work, Dr. Smith focuses on migration from Central America to understand the role of technology in migrant safety and security. At the core of her writing, research and teaching lies the question of how social movements draw on technology to demand and enact human rights. The recipient of fellowships from the Mellon Foundation, the Wenner-Gren Foundation, and grants from the National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health, she has published articles in key journals in the social studies of science and is completing her book, “Subversive Genes: Making DNA and Human Rights in Argentina


Computing Commons