EDGI at 4S

Enacting Environmental Data Justice

A 4S Pre-Meeting Event

Time: August 29, 4 – 8pm

Place: Northeastern University’s Snell Library

360 Huntington Ave, Boston, MA 02115

Update September 6, 2017 – This event has passed! You can read our blog post on moving Towards an Environmental Data Justice Statement.

The Environmental Data and Governance Initiative (EDGI) invites STS scholars, 4S participants, and Boston-area civic science, environmental justice, and critical data advocates to participate in an experimental workshop titled Enacting Environmental Data Justice. Held on Tuesday, August 29, the evening before the 4S annual meeting begins, this event will explore possibilities for data justice through a framework of environmental justice.

As the new presidential administration threatens to curtail environmental agencies and their infrastructures of data collection, a powerful grassroots movement has formed to archive and protect federally-maintained datasets and associated curated information. Including the many public data archiving events hosted by EDGI, these efforts have largely sought to maintain existing public resources and establish open data access in the face of efforts to undermine environmental science in the public interest. And yet the work of environmental justice, feminist science studies, and decolonial scholarship also cautions against an uncritical relationship with data, data collection, and data access. Diverse critical STS work on infrastructure, data, and design has much to offer to this conflicting moment when US state research practices are being dismantled, while at the same time projects of simple data preservation risk whitewashing science’s record of entanglement in economic, military, colonial and racist logics. Building from these insights, how can we develop a theoretically robust and politically engaged concept and practice of data justice?

The experimental workshop is designed as an open format with multiple tracks to draw together the heterogenous knowledges and communities. The event agenda and track descriptions are available.

Some guiding questions are:

  • What are the essential elements of a program to enact environmental data justice?
  • How can tech communities assist to decolonize environmental knowledge?
  • How can specific data resources like the Toxics Release Inventory or other data interfaces be re-imagined to support community organizing objectives?
  • How can environmental fabulations or related playful data projects affect a positive vision for visualizing, communicating or reconceiving environmental relations?
  • How can data justice support science for the people or be used to hold the state accountable?