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Research Ethics @ Noon

Grad Students and Postdocs: Join us for a drop-in series about research ethics, open to grad students and postdocs across the university. Each session features a Stanford researcher talking candidly about an ethical issue in his or her work. Come to ask related questions (you can submit one anonymously in advance if you wish), to share ethical dilemmas you've faced, or just to listen to the conversation.

Talks will be from 12 to 1 p.m. Space is limited, so RSVPs are required for each talk. RSVP links will be added below about one month in advance of each session. For questions about the series, please email Anne Newman.

Suggestions for future topics and speakers are welcome; please email Anne Newman.


Past Talks

Tuesday May 12, 2020: Sharika Thiranagama, Associate Professor of Anthropology, “Ethical Dilemmas Studying Political Violence in the Public and Private Sphere”

Sharika Thiranagama is Associate Professor of Anthropology. Her work explores the intersection of political mobilization and domestic life, with a focus on highly fraught contexts of violence, inequality, and intense political mobilization. Her work attempts to understand (rather than romanticize) patterns of sociality and how people actually live together, often in highly fractious and unequal ways, and, to situate these processes in specific historical formations of “privates” and “publics” in South Asia. Her fieldwork in Sri Lanka on war and political violence demonstrates how gendered and generational relations structured the experience of civil war. She has also carried out work in Kerala, South India focused on agricultural laborers from Dalit (formerly untouchable caste) communities. This work examines how communist led political mobilization both transformed everyday life and political mobilization, and also reconfigured older caste identities, re-entrenching caste inequities into new kinds of private neighborhood life. This work also takes the household as the prime site of the inheritance of work, stigma and servitude as well as the possibility of reproduction, dignity and social mobility. 

February 3, 2020: Tadashi Fukami, Associate Professor of Biology, "Reflections on Some of the Ethical Struggles of Being an Ecologist"  

Tadashi Fukami is Associate Professor of Biology at Stanford University. The main focus of his research is historical contingency in the assembly of ecological communities. We know that some communities develop toward a single final state regardless of community assembly history, with a deterministic composition of species that can be predicted from environmental conditions. However, the species membership and ecosystem functioning of some communities seem highly contingent on the history of species immigation. This contingency happens because the order and timing in which species immigrate determine the ways species affect one another in communities, the phenomenon known as priority effects. His work has found that priority effects could be strong enough to modify major patterns of biodiversity. His work involves a combination of observational, experimental, and theoretical methods applied to a variety of microbes, plants, and animals. He received his BA from Waseda University, a Masters degree from the University of Tokyo, and his PhD from the University of Tennessess, Knoxville. He joined the Stanford faculty in 2008. 

January 22, 2020: Greg Walton, Associate Professor of Psychology, "Ethical Issues in Wise Interventions: When You're Trying to Make People's Lives Better What Should You Test and When?" 

Greg Walton is Associate Professor of Psychology at Stanford Unviersity. Much of his research investigates psychological processes that contribute to major social problems and how "wise" interventions that target these processes can address such problems and help people flourish, even over long periods of time. Dr. Walton's research has been covered in major media outlets including the New York Times, Harvard Business Review and NPR, and he has received awards from numerous organizations and was identified as a "Rising Star" by the American Psychological Society in 2011. At Stanford, he teaches courses on psychology and social problems, including one entitled "Wise Interventions." He earned his AB in Philosophy from Stanford in 2000 and a PhD in Psychology from Yale in 2005. After graduate school, he worked for a year as a fellow in the Office of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and then completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Waterloo before joining the Stanford faculty in 2008. 

November 13, 2019: Sharad Goel, Assistant Professor of Management Science and Engineering and (by courtesy) of Computer Science and of Law, "Ethical Dilemmas in Computational Public Policy Work" 

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October 30, 2019: Matthew Clair, Assistant Professor of Sociology and (by courtesy) of Law, "Ethical dilemmas in studying race and class inequalities in the criminal justice system" 

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April 29, 2019: Katharine Mach, Senior Research Scientist, Earth System Science, "The ethics of creating actionable knowledge for the climate challenge"

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February 11, 2019: Mitchell Stevens, Associate Professor of Education, "Personalization, Prediction, Tracking: Parsing Responsible Use of Student Data in Higher Education"

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January 30, 2019: Michael Bernstein, Assistant Professor of Computer Science, "Ethics in Mechanical Turk, the Gig Economy, and the Future of Work"

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January 15, 2019: Jelena Obradović, Associate Professor, Graduate School of Education, "Ethical dilemmas in studying resilience in vulnerable children"

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December 4, 2018: Angèle Christin, Assistant Professor of Communication, “Ethical dilemmas in ethnographic work about the effects of algorithms”

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October 8, 2018: Michael Frank, Associate Professor of Psychology, “Reproducibility and the ethics of data management”

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