Program on Science, Technology and Society at Harvard

Harvard Kennedy School of Government | Harvard University


STS Circle at Harvard

The STS Circle at Harvard meets weekly during the academic semester. For 2021-22, all meetings will take place on Mondays, from 12:15–1:30 p.m., remotely via Zoom. Sign up to our mailing list to receive weekly notifications of events.

STS Circle schedule poster

Spring 2022

Jan. 31:
Michelle Spektor (MIT HASTS)
Quantifying the 'National Physique': Deterioration, Degeneracy, and the Proposed British National Anthropometric Survey of 1904
Feb. 7:
Madisson Whitman (Center for Science & Society, Columbia)
As Close to Robot as Possible: The Making of Data Subjects in Higher Education
Feb. 14:
Tiffany Nichols (History of Science, Harvard)
Expanding the Astrophysics Laboratory: Environment, Ecosystem, and Experiment
Feb. 28:
Jason Jackson (DUSP, MITl)
Moral Orders of Capitalist Legitimacy In India
Mar. 7:
Laura Diaz Anadon (Centre for Environment, Energy and Natural Resource Governance, Cambridge University)
Technology Spillovers in the Energy Transition
Mar. 21:
Michaela Thompson (HUCE, Harvard)
Speaking (for) Sharks: Contested Expertise in Marine Conversation
Mar. 28:
Louis Hyman (ILR School, Cornell)
Migrant Labor and the Origin of Silicon Valley
Apr. 4:
Mary Gray (Microsoft Research, NE)
The Trouble with Dogfood: Towards a Theory of Mutuality in Computing
Apr. 11:
Gordon Hanson (Harvard Kennedy School)
Spatial Economic Analysis
Apr. 18:
Nicole Sintetos (Brown, Harvard STS)
Bureaucratizing Settler Colonialism: Race, Labor, and the Origins of the Bureau of Reclamation
Apr. 25:
Ya-Wen Lei (Sociology, Harvard)
Upgrading the Nation: Promise and Peril of Techno-Developmentalism in China

» More information and past schedules

Science & Democracy Lecture Series

Once a semester, the STS Program, with co-sponsorship from other local institutions, hosts an installation in its Science and Democracy Lecture Series.

Marcia K. McNutt event poster

Marcia K. McNutt

With panel discussion by Jason Furman, James H. Stock, and Latanya Sweeney.

March 23, 2022, 5:00pm-7:00pm ET

Democracy is famously described, in Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, as "government of the people, by the people and for the people." But how can leaders and policy makers know that the decisions they make are in the best interests of the people? Science is the only tool that humankind as devised for reliably peering into the future to determine how the laws of natural and human nature will play out under different policy and management options. It is not the role of science to prescribe what the policies should be, as there are factors other than science that must be weighed by leaders in any decision. However, by predicting what outcomes will ensue under different options, members of the public and others can ask: “Is this outcome compatible with our values?” The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) was established by Abraham Lincoln to provide science-based advice to better inform decisions on national security and the wellbeing of American citizens. In the more than 150 years since its founding, the NAS has weighed in on the challenges of the times, and we have emerged stronger thanks to this advice.

Co-sponsored by the Harvard University Center for the Environment and the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs.

» Lecture series archive

Workshops and Panels

May 4, 2022, 9:00am-5:00pm
Rubenstein 414 A.B., the David Ellwood Democracy Lab, Harvard Kennedy School

This interdisciplinary workshop is convened jointly by the Program on Science, Technology and Society (Sheila Jasanoff) and the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy (Mathias Risse) at the Harvard Kennedy School, as well as the Oxford Internet Institute (Philip Howard). The theme of the workshop sits at the intersection of various concerns: the massive spread of misinformation, disinformation, and fake news – as well as the characterizations of true but inconvenient reporting as fake. Workshop speakers will also explore the loss of trust in advice given and positions taken by scientific, economic, or political elites, against the backdrop of the decline in journalism as a “fourth estate.” Additionally, speakers will delve into how shared commitments to democratic governance has become less important than the victory of one’s own side in an election campaign and other matters. Registration is required, the agenda will be released soon.

» Workshops and panels archive

Program news

STS@HKS welcomes applications to its non-stipendiary pre- and postdoctoral fellowship program for AY 2022-2023. Please visit the STS@HKS Fellows page for more information and an application link.

This year's STS Graduate Research Seminar on "Beyond "Don't be evil': Embedding your research in social contexts," will be held from Jan 18-21. Learn more and register.

Read about STS in the Environmental Studies and Public Policy (ESPP) program and Sheila Jasanoff's work to spotlight what makes the environment a counterintuitively political subject in her teaching.

Listen to Sheila Jasanoff discuss science, technology and policy in the latest episode of HKS PolicyCast.

STS@Harvard director Sheila Jasanoff has been elected to the American Philosophical Society.

Registration is now open for this year's Science and Democracy Network Meeting, to be held virtually June 23-25. Full details can be found on the meeting page.

Read about the winner and three honorable mentions of this year's Undergraduate STS Essay Prize Competition here.

Sheila Jasanoff has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Abstracts are now being accepted from graduate researchers in STS and neighboring fields for the October 29-30 workshop, Disrupted Lives: Linking, De-linking and the Infrastructures of Recovery. Please submit via this online form. A full workshop description is here.

The Harvard-Cornell Comparative Covid Response (CompCoRe) study has released an interim report of its findings. Find coverage on the Kennedy School website here.

» Program news archive