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Whites need not apply: Campus sci-tech symposium to only feature scholars of color

Event at Williams College to explore sci-tech’s ‘relationship to society’

An upcoming science and technology symposium slated to take place at Williams College promises a unique feature: it will showcase “new” voices in the field, and those voices will only come from scholars of color.

“New Voices in Science and Technology Studies: A C3 Symposium,” set for early November at the private Massachusetts-based liberal arts university, invited scholars to submit papers if they represent a “historically underrepresented group.”

The call for papers specifies that means either “African Americans, Alaska Natives, Arab Americans, Asian Americans, Latinx, Native Americans, Native Hawaiians, and other Pacific Islanders.”

Part of the application process asked applicants to write a couple sentences proving themselves as a member of a “historically underrepresented group.” Yet the application also provides an equal employment opportunity statement that people from all backgrounds are welcome.

Chosen scholars will receive a $500 honorarium and be hosted by Williams College as they present their papers to the audience, organizers state, adding “we aim to create an inclusive, intellectually enriching experience for all involved, including the visiting speakers and the faculty and students of Williams.”

Williams College Associate Professor of Political Science and Chair of Science and Technology Studies Laura Ephraim is the point of contact for the event. For the last three weeks she has ignored repeated phone calls and emails from The College Fix seeking comment on the event.

Williams College’s media affairs office and several faculty members in the Science and Technology Studies program at the school also ignored repeated requests for comment.

The only person at the college willing to return numerous requests for comment was an administrative assistant in Science and Technology Studies who said they were unsure who could help The College Fix with its questions.

Promotional materials for the symposium state: “The Science & Technology Studies Program at Williams College invites papers on any topic concerned with science and technology and their relationship to society for a day-long symposium showcasing the work of early-career scholars (ABD or recent PhD) from historically underrepresented groups.”

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As for the science and technology program at Williams, it is an interdisciplinary social sciences field, its website states.

“The Program in Science and Technology Studies (STS) aims to provide students with an interdisciplinary framework through which to appreciate the complex interactions between science, technology and society, and with which to analyze and understand the ways science and technology give shape to, and are in turn given shape by, society, culture and history,” the website states.

The program also works on “critical dialogue” issues.

“The STS Program furthermore serves as a forum in which students from all divisions are invited to partake in critical dialogue on a range of pressing issues: scientific controversies, expert knowledge, innovation and sociohistorical transformation, politics and policy, media and communication infrastructure, public understanding of science and technology, and philosophical questions,” according to its website.

MORE: University hosts no-whites-allowed faculty and staff listening sessions

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About the Author
Brittany Slaughter is a sophomore at Liberty University studying journalism with a minor in criminal justice. She has worked as an editor and writer for Odyssey, and has also been published in the Washington Examiner. She was previously nominated for the Network of enlightened Women’s Writer of the Year award.

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