Science is embedded into society and society into science. Often it is taught as a separate facts or terms with a missing humanistic link. The Ontario curriculum has done a good job putting STSE first in the curricular expectations but if it is implemented in the classroom is a different story. Through my masters study, many of those students lacked the connection between their lives and science.
Coming at science from a social justice perspective with a critical lens goes way beyond facts and terms. Who is using science to their benefit and who ends up paying the price?
Angela Calabrese Barton has inspired me with her book on social justice and science as well as her research. Working on the Africentric program science course profile, I wanted to ensure it included social justice at the core. It allows us to critically analyze society, race, class and many other aspects that are deeply rooted within science.
Here are several resources that can be used in class to demonstrate social justice within science and spark change.
Greening the Ghetto – Majora Carter – TED Talk
“As a black person in America, I am twice as likely as a white person to live in an area where air pollution poses the greatest risk to my health. I am five times more likely to live within walking distance of a power plant or chemical facility — which I do.” – Majora Carter
Blood in the Mobile – Documentary
“The main part of minerals used to produce cell phones are coming from the mines in the Eastern DR Congo. The Western World is buying these so-called conflict minerals and thereby finances a civil war that, according to human rights organisations, has been the bloodiest conflict since World War II: During the last 15 years the conflict has cost the lives of more than 5 million people and 300.000 women have been raped. The war will continue as long as armed groups can finance their warfare by selling minerals.” – Blood in the Mobile
94 Elements – Copper Acid and Dust – Documentary
“So I have mixed feelings about this film, knowing that we had to stop filming right when I felt we were just beginning to make something quite special with Sanjay. The workers in each compound usually all come from the same village, most having migrated from rural Bihar State, India’s poorest province. I was struck by the similarities between their new work with the copper and the agricultural labour they had left behind. The unhappy irony being that their work now poisons the same land which used to grow their crops.” – Mike Paterson