Stephen Straker Memorial Lecture

Past Speakers
About Stephen Straker

The 2015/16 Lecture

Charis Thompson, “Getting Ahead? Embodied Technologies, Democracy, and Inequality in the 21st Century.”
Thursday, 24 March 2016, 4:30-6:00 pm in IBLC 182


charis slideshow

Thompson’s talk looks at biometrics, egg freezing, gene editing, and bio-wearables, and compare and contrast elites’ and less privileged users’ interactions with these embodied technologies. She considers how these technologies both naturalize and trouble the idea of meritocratic elites.  She draws on STS, history of science, and on feminist, critical race, and disability scholarship to make the argument that the study of embodied technologies shows us that technical inequality—and consequently, substantive political inequality—has been growing alongside recent increases in income inequality.

Charis Thompson is Chancellor’s Professor and Chair of Gender & Women’s Studies, and a former founding director of the Science, Technology, and Society Center at UC Berkeley. She has a BA from Oxford University, and got her Ph.D. from the Science Studies program at UC San Diego. Before coming to Berkeley, she taught in the Science and Technology Studies Department at Cornell University, at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and in the History of Science Department at Harvard University.

She is the author of Making Parents: The Ontological Choreography of Reproductive Technologies (MIT Press, 2005), which won the 2007 Rachel Carson Award from the Society for the Social Study of Science, and of Good Science: The Ethical Choreography of Stem Cell Research (MIT Press, 2013).

Past Speakers

2014/15: Lorraine J. Daston
2013/14: Barbara Herrnstein Smith (Duke)
2012/13: Steven Shapin (Harvard)
2011/12: Adrian Johns (University of Chicago)
2010/11: Ted Porter (UCLA)
2009/10: Ludmilla Jordanova (UC London)
2007/08: Robert Westman (UCSD)
2006/07: Simon Schaffer (Cambridge)

About Stephen Straker


Stephen Straker (1942-2004) was a historian of science at UBC for thirty years and the chief inspiration for the creation of the STS program. We honor his memory with an annual distinguished lecture.

Stephen was an award-winning teacher and some of his own undergraduate lectures in history of science have been preserved here: