Presenter Information

Ali McLagan, University of San Diego

Description

Science as an institution has a history of exploitation of communities of color. There has been a lot of valuable literature outlining this history and critiquing the power imbalances that result from western understandings of science. These understandings are eurocentric in nature and have given scientists the power to claim inferiority of some people while being backed by their supposed objectivity. Many community knowledge bases have equally valuable knowledge describing our natural world and providing insight on the wellness of its community members. In this study, I will be exploring how some community advocates navigate being institutionally trained scientists in the fields surrounding community wellness while simultaneously being a part of a community that holds equally valuable ideas on wellness. I will be conducting interviews with community advocates from San Diego?s East African Immigrant Community to explore how they navigate the power dynamics involved with the scientific institution in which they were trained and the community and which they are a part of and serve. My hope is that these interviews, along with some observation from actively doing work within the community organizations, will allow for some analysis that will give insight into how to engage with both science and community in a way which both recognizes and respects both knowledge sources as valuable to the health of a community.

COinS
 

How to be a Community Advocate and a Scientist

Science as an institution has a history of exploitation of communities of color. There has been a lot of valuable literature outlining this history and critiquing the power imbalances that result from western understandings of science. These understandings are eurocentric in nature and have given scientists the power to claim inferiority of some people while being backed by their supposed objectivity. Many community knowledge bases have equally valuable knowledge describing our natural world and providing insight on the wellness of its community members. In this study, I will be exploring how some community advocates navigate being institutionally trained scientists in the fields surrounding community wellness while simultaneously being a part of a community that holds equally valuable ideas on wellness. I will be conducting interviews with community advocates from San Diego?s East African Immigrant Community to explore how they navigate the power dynamics involved with the scientific institution in which they were trained and the community and which they are a part of and serve. My hope is that these interviews, along with some observation from actively doing work within the community organizations, will allow for some analysis that will give insight into how to engage with both science and community in a way which both recognizes and respects both knowledge sources as valuable to the health of a community.

 

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