The Engineering, Social Justice, and Peace network will hold its ninth annual conference, with a theme of “Engineering and Development,” August 14-16 at Pat’s Barn in the Rensselaer Technology Park. The conference, sponsored by the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences and the Department of Science and Technology Studies at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, will focus on the social justice challenges faced by engineers working on international development projects.
“Engineers conceive, design, and develop technologies that transform our world, so it’s important for us to understand how those technologies serve some groups better than others,” said Dean Nieusma, an associate professor in the Rensselaer Department of Science and Technology Studies, editor of the International Journal for Engineering, Social Justice, and Peace, and the conference organizer. “Especially for engineers interested in international development work, it’s important to understand how to engage with the social dimensions of development – the culture, politics, economics, and, most importantly, the local communities who are intended to benefit from new technologies.”
Nieusma said the conference explores the intersections of technology, society and culture, and politics and economics, with the goal of identifying the structures and practices that lead to injustices. The conference is also a resource for guidance in engineering development work promoting social justice.
The conference program includes presentations by international experts in the field, a series of workshops and panel discussions, and a shadow theater performance. Registrants include scholars, practitioners, engineering education administrators, and Engineers Without Borders groups from around the world, as well as representatives of relevant research funding agencies.
A highlight of this year’s conference is the shadow theater performance— “My Revolutionary Dream Toilet!”—a journey through the heart of “toilet madness” in African slums, highlighting the degradation and humility surrounding sanitation challenges in impoverished urban environments. This performance will be held in the West Hall auditorium, on Wednesday, August 14, at 5 p.m., and is free and open to the public. The 20-minute performance will be followed by discussion with the creator/performers.
The Engineering, Social Justice, and Peace (ESJP) network is a diverse community comprised of engineers, social scientists, designers, artists, humanists, community builders, and others, working as scholars, students, practitioners, and activists. For additional information on the work of the ESJP network, see the group’s website at http://esjp.org.
For further information on the conference, including the complete program, and to register, visit the conference website at http://esjp.org/esjp-conference/esjp-2013 or contact Nieusma at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Economists Faye Duchin and John Gowdy (Rensselaer) will describe their current research, and how it advances contemporary theory and practice in Economics, while contributing to growing understanding of requirements for the sustainability of natural and human systems. The discussion will explore how economic research in this vein can build on and contribute to work in the interdisciplinary field of Science and Technology Studies.
Join us for a screening of “the best documentary about fracking”, followed by a discussion with filmmakers Joshua Pribanic and Melissa Troutman.
“Triple Divide is said to be the only documentary of its kind on the controversial subject of fracking capable of speaking to all sides, with exclusive interviews from the industry, experts, and Americans suffering in the wake of shale gas development. “It’s the best movie on fracking to date [using] facts, not fiction or spin” wrote Pennsylvania resident, Robert Donnan. Academy Award nominated actor Mark Ruffalo co-narrates the film, taking part in the project after being shown an online screener a few weeks before the final release. The film is co-directed by journalists Joshua Pribanic & Melissa Troutman.
The 90-minute documentary is a project by PublicHerald.org, a Pennsylvania based nonprofit organization. Triple Divide is built on evidence from cradle-to-grave investigations that attempt to answer the question, “How are state regulations and industry handling impacts from fracking?” Throughout the film’s 10 chapters, which cover waste, class II injection wells, drinking water contamination, split-estates, the “pre-drill test scandal”, and the “pressure bulb” are on the ground accounts of hair-raising journalism.
Hard-hitting, Triple Divide is also fair. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is highlighted in the film for weakly enforced regulations, but “the head of ‘Oil & Gas’ at DEP, Scott Perry, told me he’s seen the film and it’s very well done,” said Troutman. “This attests to Public Herald’s journalistic integrity and ability to reach both ends of the public spectrum: community members and heads of state.”
The film reveals how water contamination is being covered up by the industry and the state, essentially rewriting water quality history in the United States by dismissing predrill tests. Meanwhile, state regulators are using compliance as a means of regulating without enforcing the law, abandoning the public in the wake of shale gas development.”
Description and image from: http://tripledividefilm.org/about/