2019 Conference Keynote Speakers

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Ruha Benjamin

Ruha Benjamin is an Associate Professor in the Department of African American Studies at Princeton University where she studies the social dimensions of science, technology, medicine, race and citizenship, and knowledge and power. She is also the founder of the JUST DATA Lab, and a Faculty Associate in the Center for Information Technology Policy, Program on History of Science, Center for Health and Wellbeing, Program on Gender and Sexuality Studies, and Department of Sociology. She serves on the Executive Committees for the Program in Global Health and Health Policy and Center for Digital Humanities.

Her first book, People’s Science: Bodies and Rights on the Stem Cell Frontier (Stanford University Press 2013), investigates the social dimensions of stem cell science with a particular focus on the passage and implementation of a “right to research” codified in California. Her second book, Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code (Polity 2019) examines the relationship between machine bias and systemic racism, analyzing specific cases of “discriminatory design” and offering tools for a socially-conscious approach to tech development. Her next book project is tentatively titled The Emperor’s New Genes: Borders, Belonging, and Bioethics Beyond the Genome. It is a multi-sited investigation of how human population genomics reflects, reinforces, and sometimes challenges sociopolitical distinctions such as race, caste, and citizenship, focusing on initiatives in the US, South Africa, and India. Taken together, this body of work addresses debates about how science and technology shape the social world and how people can, should, and do engage technoscience, grappling all the while with the fact that what may bring health and longevity to some may threaten the dignity and rights of others.

For more information, please visit her personal website: https://www.ruhabenjamin.com

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Dean Spade

Dean Spade is a trans activist, writer and teacher who is currently an Associate Professor at Seattle University School of Law. Within his role at Seattle University, he teaches Administrative Law, Poverty Law, Gender and Law, Policing and Imprisonment, and Law and Social Movements. Prior to joining the faculty of Seattle University, Dean was a Williams Institute Law Teaching Fellow at UCLA Law School and Harvard Law School. His first book, Normal Life: Administrative Violence, Critical Trans Politics, and the Limits of Law, was released in January 2012 from South End Press and nominated for a 2011 Lambda Literary Award in the category of Transgender Nonfiction.

In 2002, Dean founded the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, a non-profit law collective that provides free legal services to transgender, intersex, and gender non-conforming people who are low-income and/or people of color. SRLP also engages in litigation, policy reform and public education on issues affecting these communities and operates on a collective governance model prioritizing the governance and leadership of trans, intersex, and gender non-conforming people of color. Spade was a staff attorney at SRLP from 2002 to 2006, during which time he presented testimony to the National Prison Rape Elimination Commission and helped achieve a major victory for transgender youth in foster care in the Jean Doe v. Bell case. More recently, Spade was involved with the campaign to stop Seattle from building a new jail.

For more information, please visit his personal website: http://www.deanspade.net