Program on Science, Technology and Society at Harvard

Harvard Kennedy School of Government | Harvard University
Christian Ross

Christian Ross

christian_ross (at)

Christian H. Ross is a Ph.D. candidate and National Science Foundation Graduate Researcher in the Center for Biology and Society at Arizona State University. As a Visiting Research Fellow in the Program on Science, Technology & Society at the Harvard Kennedy School, he studies the governance of science and technology and how conceptualizations of science, publics, and human flourishing become configured in tandem with emerging technologies. His dissertation research follows public engagement a historical, conceptual category as well as an actors’ category within contemporary science discussions surrounding applications of genome editing technology. 

Christian’s research examines the historical and contemporary development of concepts of public engagement with science. Public engagement has become a frequently cited and often lauded endeavor to provide more democratic approaches for addressing the political, social, and ethical challenges of emerging science and technology. Public engagement with science also foregrounds the relationships among institutions of science and democracy with regard to deliberative discussion and decision making. As such, how public engagement becomes constructed around emerging technologies matters for the navigation of those sociotechnical landscapes.

In particular, he is interested in discussions around CRISPR and genome editing technologies as recent additions to broader historical patterns of public engagement to study how the category of public engagement is characterized, leveraged, and deployed in science discussions. He pays particular attention in the ways in which notions of public understanding of science, expertise, and scientific self-regulation have figured alongside societal and scientific controversies. The particulars of public engagement with science—who counts as what kinds of publics, what the aims and practice of engagement entail, what aspects of science issues warrant public engagement—he argues both shape and are shaped by the relationships among science, publics, and democratic decision making.

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