USI Hosts Academic Workshop on Global Climate Change
Southern Indiana University hosted a Global Climate Change Workshop featuring six discussion areas on Tuesday, June 28 and Wednesday, June 29 at the Griffin Center, located on the USI campus. Over 20 established scholars, early-career scholars, and graduate students attended from across the United States, along with several international scholars from Canada, Sweden, and Germany. [virtually attending]. Although the workshop is not open to the public, it has the potential to have academic and public impact for years to come.
The six focus areas include:
- How global climate change was constructed
- How global climate change has been communicated in various forms
- Governance issues related to global climate change
- Effects of climate change inequality and justice, nationally and globally
- Socio-technical advances in global climate change
- The future of global climate change
The workshop, co-organized by Dr. Stephen Zehr, Professor of Sociology at USI; Dr. Myanna Lahsen, Associate Professor in the Department of Subject Studies at Linköping University in Linköping, Sweden; and Dr. Roopali Phadke, professor of environmental studies at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, provided attendees with insight into future research questions, provided classroom instructional guidance, and encouraged global collaboration for future research and discussion. on the subject.
“This workshop aims to clarify what science, technology and society (STS) research has accomplished and what remains to be done,” Zehr said. “The interdisciplinary field of STS contains concepts and theory that offer insight into this complexity and can help guide solutions along sustainable and equitable paths. While many angles of this research will be discussed, one that stands out is a deeper understanding of how sociotechnical transitions occur (eg, from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources) and how they can be facilitated. These transitions often encounter resistance from entrenched economic interests, laws, cultural practices, political resistance, limited suppliers, etc., and may not initially seem economically rational. STS has the tools to understand how this resistance can be overcome in a sustainable and more equitably distributed way.
The workshop, funded by the National Science Foundation’s Science and Technology Studies (STS) program, was first presented in Zehr in 2019 at the Society for Social Studies (4S) annual conference at the New Orleans, Louisiana. The pandemic put the project on hold, but Zehr, who served as 4S secretary for 8 years, was finally able to help make the workshop a reality this year.
The workshop format provides an opportunity to bring together senior and early-career researchers to explore ideas and help shape the next generation of climate change research. In addition to research value, a goal of the workshop is to produce materials and ideas that enhance undergraduate STS courses on climate change and other environmental issues. At the end of the 2022 workshop, researchers will begin writing a formal paper on the topic that will be widely disseminated in the future.