Science Activism: Gender, Race, and Power

 A bronze bust of a woman with strong features and wavy hair.

A bronze bust of Rachel Carson. Carson’s book Silent Spring alerted the public to the dangers of chemical pesticides and launched the environmental movement. (Image courtesy of jfholloway on Flickr. License CC BY-NC-SA.)



MIT Course Number

WGS.160J / STS.021J

As Taught In

Fall 2019



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Course Description

Course Features

Course Description

This subject examines the role scientists have played as activists in social movements in the U.S. following World War II. Themes include scientific responsibility and social justice, the roles of gender, race, and power, the motivation of individual scientists, strategies for organizing, and scientists’ impact within social movements. Case studies include atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons and the nuclear freeze campaign, climate science and environmental justice, the civil rights movement, Vietnam War protests, the March 4 movement at MIT, concerns about genetic engineering, gender equality, intersectional feminism, and student activism at MIT.

Read a profile of the class "Scientists as Engaged Citizens" by the MIT School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences. 

Related Content

Edmund Bertschinger. WGS.160J Science Activism: Gender, Race, and Power. Fall 2019. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare, License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA.

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