Program on Science, Technology and Society at Harvard

Harvard Kennedy School of Government | Harvard University
STS Summer School poster

STS Summer School: Science and Governance at the Frontiers of Life

July 27-August 2, 2014,
Harvard University Center for the Environment


Developments in the biosciences in the last half-century have posed novel challenges for governance. These have emerged as biological knowledge becomes more central to matters of safety, health and welfare; as biology is called upon to address moral uncertainty around ideas of human nature, identity and dignity; and as biology plays an increasingly central role in the technological alteration of human bodies, non-human entities and environments. Governance challenges have unfolded across several domains: internally within the research enterprise itself; externally where the biosciences are called upon to address social problems; and in moments of ethical doubt, for example, when institutions of governance are called upon to distinguish bioengineered artifacts from entities with human dignity. Scholarship in Science and Technology Studies (STS) has developed varied approaches and techniques for examining such phenomena, and drawing theoretically grounded generalizations from site-specific studies. This summer school will introduce participants to major approaches, and explore new research frontiers and possible directions for synthesis and innovation. It will emphasize engagement with theoretical issues in STS, with particular attention to moments of friction between science and institutions of democratic governance.

The 2014 Summer School is now full. If future summer schools are offered, they will be announced in this space. 


STS Summer School

Science and Governance at the Frontiers of Life

Harvard University


All meetings will take place in the Harvard University Center for the Environment (HUCE) Seminar Room, 24 Oxford Street, 3rd Floor unless otherwise noted.


Sunday, July 27:  Arrival


10:00-12:00    Check in at Lesley University Accommodations

Location:         9 Mellen Street

5:30-8:30        Check in at Lesley University Accommodations

Location:         9 Mellen Street

6:00-7:00        Registration

Location:         Maxwell Dworkin 119, 33 Oxford Street

7:00-9:00        Dinner (Sheila Jasanoff, Welcome and Introductions)

Location:         Maxwell Dworkin 119, 33 Oxford Street


Monday, July 28:  Science and Justice


9:00-10:15      Overview and Roadmap (Organizers)

10:15-10:30    Coffee Break

10:30-12:00    Session 1: Summer School Theories and Methods – Organizers

12:00-1:00      Lunch

1:00-2:30        Session 2: Faculty presentation – Joanna Radin

 “To Thaw or Not to Thaw: The Material Afterlives of Cold War Bioscience”

2:30-3:00         Coffee Break

3:00-4:30        Session 3: Faculty presentation – Alessandro Blasimme (Substituting for Jenny Reardon)

“The Postgenomic Condition: Ethics, Justice, Knowledge After the Genome”

4:30-5:30        Discussion

6:30-9:00        Dinner and Enrichment Event (Conversations with Historians)

Location:         Maxwell Dworkin 119, 33 Oxford Street

Guests:            Daniel Kevles, Yale University; Ilana Löwy, CNRS, France



Tuesday, July 29:  Governing Knowledge Production


9:00- 10:30      Session 4: Faculty Presentation – Krishanu Saha

“Constructing and Deconstructing Disease in a Dish”

10:30-10:45    Coffee Break

10:45-12:15    Session 6: Faculty Presentation – Stephen Hilgartner

“Knowledge and Control in the World of the Genome”

12:15-1:45      Lunch and Enrichment Event (Conversations with Scientists)

Guests:            Richard Pearse, Willy Lensch, Meelad Dawlaty (Theme: Governing Stem Cells)

1:45-2:00        Break

2:00-3:30        Session 6: Faculty presentation – Shobita Parthasarathy

“Invention in the Public Interest: Comparing the Life Form Patent Battles in the United States and Europe?”

3:30-4:0)         Coffee Break       

4:00-5:30        Faculty-student discussion (Sang-Hyun Kim)

“Life Sciences, Bioethics and National Imaginaries in Korea”

6:30-9:00         Dinner


Wednesday, July 30: Translations–From Bench to Bedside


9:00- 10:30     Session 7: Faculty Presentation – Giuseppe Testa

“Cellular Re-Orderings Across the Scales of Life and Power”

10:30-11:00    Coffee Break

11:00-12:30    Session 8: Faculty Presentation – Jeremy Greene

“Vital Objects: Pharmaceuticalization and Its Discontents”

12:30-2:30      Lunch

2:30-4:00        Discussion and Group Project Orientation

4:00-                Group Project Work (free time, dinner on your own)


Thursday, July 31:  Governing Publics and Politics


9:00- 10:30     Session 9: Faculty Presentation – Ben Hurlbut

“Bioethics, Democracy and the Politics of Imagined Futures”

10:30-10:45    Coffee Break

10:45-12:15    Session 10: Faculty Presentation – Pierre-Benoit Joly

“‘Scientific’ Objectivity and Policy-making: The Overlapping Trajectories of Animal Cloning in the United States and Europe”

12:15-1:30      Lunch

Guest:              David Kennedy, Harvard Law School

1:30-3:00        Small Group Discussions of student research projects

3:00-3:30        Coffee Break

3:30-5:00        Session 11: Faculty presentation – Ulrike Felt

“Beyond the macro/micro divide: Connecting scales in analyzing citizenship and governance of ‘the biomedical’”

6:00-8:30        Dinner and Enrichment Event (Conversations with Lawyers)

Location:         Harvard Faculty Club, 20 Quincy Street

Guests:              Aziza Ahmed, Northeastern Law School

                           Jeff Skopek, Faculty of Law, University of Cambridge


Friday, August 1:  Transnational Dimensions and Global Governance


9:00- 10:30     Session 12: Faculty Presentation – David Winickoff

“Coproduction in Global Governance: Science and Law in Biofuels and other Regulatory Arenas”

10:30-10:45    Coffee Break

10:45-12:15     Session 13: Faculty Presentation – Sheila Jasanoff

“Life and the Law: Concepts and Constitutions”

12:15-1:30      Lunch

1:30-3:00        Group Project Discussion

3:00-3:30        Coffee Break

3:30-5:00        Wrap up discussion (Organizers)

6:00-9:00        Closing Reception

Location:         Sheila Jasanoff’s home, 74 Garfield Street


Saturday, August 2: Departure