2019 Keynote Speaker
Ruha Benjamin, Associate Professor at Princeton University
Ruha Benjamin is a sociology and African American studies scholar who examines the relationship between science, technology, medicine and society. She is the author of “People’s Science: Bodies and Rights on the Stem Cell Frontier” and is a professor of Sociology and African American studies at Boston University. Ruha’s work is at the forefront of the debate over the relationships between innovation & equity, science & citizenship and health & justice.
She is an American Council of Learned Societies fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Science, Technology and Society Program, and she serves on the editorial board of the New York University book series, Biopolitics: Medicine, Technoscience and Health in the Twenty-First Century.
Recently, Ruha began an international comparative project, Provincializing Science, which examines how the uptake of genomic science in different countries reflects, reinforces and sometimes challenges racial and caste hierarchies.
In her book, “People’s Science,” Ruha takes the reader inside California’s 2004 stem cell initiative— the first of many state referenda on scientific research— and examines the lives it has affected. Benjamin reveals the promise and peril of public participation in science, illuminating issues of race, disability, gender and socio-economic class that serve to define certain groups as more or less deserving in their political aims and biomedical hopes.
Ruha received a Ph.D. in sociology at the University of California Berkeley in 2008. She’s received numerous fellowships and grants for research and has been invited to dozens of international talks and panels.