Science and Technology Studies


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JBS Haldane Lecture 2021 - Prof Ruha Benjamin: The New Jim Code, 9th June 2021

09 June 2021, 4:30 pm–6:00 pm

Prof Ruha Benjamin - JBS Haldane Lecture - 9 June 2021

Our JBS Haldane lecture of the 2020-21 Academic Year will be from Prof. Ruha Benjamin (Princeton), entitled "The New Jim Code: Reimagining the Default Settings of Technology & Society", taking place on Wednesday, 9th June, from 1630pm.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to







Department of Science and Technology Studies

As pioneers of Science & Technology Studies at UCL since 1921, the UCL Department of Science and Technology is delighted to welcome Prof. Ruha Benjamin (Princeton University) as the speaker of this year’s JBS Haldane Lecture. We welcome Prof. Ruha Benjamin for her insightful and ground-breaking critiques of the co-construction of technology and structural inequalities, with a focus in this talk, on the intersections of technology, race and gender.

In this talk, Prof Ruha Benjamin presents the concept of the “New Jim Code” to explore a range of discriminatory designs that encode inequity: by explicitly amplifying racial hierarchies, by ignoring but thereby replicating social divisions, or by aiming to fix racial bias but ultimately doing quite the opposite. This presentation takes us into the world of biased bots, altruistic algorithms, and their many entanglements, and provides conceptual tools to decode tech promises with historical and sociological insight. 

Prof Benjamin will also consider how race and gender are tools designed to stratify and sanctify social injustice and discuss how technology is and can be used toward liberatory ends. In doing so, she challenges us to question not only the technologies we are sold, but also the ones we manufacture ourselves.

About the STS JBS Haldane Memorial Lectures

The STS JBS Haldane Memorial Lectures were launched in 2014 in honour of UCL Professor JBS Haldane, a polymath not only in the life sciences but also in science communication and science policy. 

These talks are free to attend and open to the academic community. Please visit the dedicated JBS Haldane Memorial Lectures page on our website for details and recordings of previous talks.

About the Speaker

Prof Ruha Benjamin

Professor of African American Studies, Director Just Data Lab at Princeton University

Ruha Benjamin is Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University, Founding Director of the Ida B. Wells Just Data Lab, and author of the award-winning book Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code among many other publications. Her work investigates the social dimensions of science, medicine, and technology with a focus on the relationship between innovation and inequity, health and justice, knowledge and power. Ruha earned a BA in Sociology and Anthropology from Spelman College, MA and PhD in Sociology from UC Berkeley, and completed postdoctoral fellowships at UCLA’s Institute for Society & Genetics and Harvard’s Science, Technology & Society Program. She is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including from the American Council of Learned Societies, National Science Foundation, Marguerite Casey Foundation 2020 Freedom Scholar Award, and the President’s Award for Distinguished Teaching at Princeton.

For more info please visit www.ruhabenjamin.com

More about Prof Ruha Benjamin