#decolonizeSTEM Reading List by Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, theoretical astrophysicist at MIT

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There is a lot that has been hidden from mainstream narratives about the history of astronomy, including 20th century history. Where has the colonial legacy of astronomy taken us?

From Europe to Haiti to now Hawai’i. Hawai’i is the flash point for this conversation now, even though the story goes beyond Hawai’i. If we are going to understand the context of what is happening in Hawai’i with the Thirty Meter Telescope, we must understand that Hawai’i is not the first or only place where astronomers used and benefited from colonialism. And in connection, we have to understand Hawaiian history. Thus, my reading list also includes important materials about Hawai’i’s history.

tl;dr: science has roots outside of the Eurasian peninsula known as Europe, it likely has its limitations as one of multiple ontologies of the world, it has been used in really grotesque ways, and we must understand all of these threads to truly contextualize the discourse in Hawai’i around science, Hawaiian epistemologies and who gets to determine what constitutes “truth” and “fact” when it comes to Mauna a Wakea.

Excerpts from list:

  • Science, Colonialism and Indigenous Peoples: The Cultural Politics of Law and Knowledge by Laurelyn Whitt
  • Multicultural settler colonialism and indigenous struggle in Hawai’i: The politics of astronomy on Mauna a Wakea a dissertation by Joseph Salazar (available on ProQuest)
  • Is Science Multicultural? Postcolonialisms, Feminisms, and Epistemologies by Sandra Harding
  • Aloha Betrayed: Native Hawaiian Resistance to American Colonialism by Noenoe K. Silva
  • A Nation Rising: Hawaiian Movements for Life, Land and Sovereignty, Noelani Goodyear-Ka’opua, Ikaika Hussey, and Erin Kahunawaika’ala Wright, editors
  • voices of fire: reweaving the literary lei of pele and hi’iaka by ku’ualohoa ho’omanawanui

(read full article here)

Source: Chanda Hsu Prescod-Weinstein for Medium.com

3 responses to “#decolonizeSTEM Reading List by Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, theoretical astrophysicist at MIT

  1. If science is bad then how come you own a computer which was made possible due to scientific knowledge that came through astronomy? The laws of physics were discovered because of Astronomy. Even the native Hawaiians were able to navigate by using astronomy. That aside, Isaac Newton discovered the laws of motion and physics due to astronomical observation of the planetary movement. Einstein’s discoveries are based on astronomy too. You didn’t know that? Without understanding the laws of physics –which comes from astronomy — all our advances in medicine, technology would have been impossible.

    With the TMT telescope we can unlock even more secrets of the universe and this will allow civilization to progress and more advanced technologies to be developed.

    Like

    • Again nowhere do we say science is “bad.” Why would you pretend otherwise? As for the TMT being built in Hawaii- no thank you. This is not the only place in the world and the TMT should not be forced upon us. It should also follow laws of construction and permitting. Which it did not. And what we “can unlock” is still up for debate. The other 13 telescopes did not unlock what you stated and to fool us 14 times is ridiculous. Hawaii has done its share in supporting astronomy and NO the ancient Hawaiians did not need to degrade an endangered species environment, circumvent law, desecrate burial grounds and significant archaeological sites to do what the scientists on the Mauna now continue to fail to replicate: that is to navigate WITHOUT western instruments so before you assume you should look at the facts. My people understood the non-sustainable exploitation of nature as sacrilege and that’s what this is. Aside from the spiritual beliefs this is an ever degrading endangered species environment set aside for protection not for industrialization. Furthermore the TMT, State and UH have no title. These lands do not belong to them or to you to exploit without clear title. The clear title belongs to the Hawaii National Body Politic. Not you. Not the State of Hawaii. Not Uh. And not the TMT Corp. Laws exist for humanity not for corporation to belligerently ignore the needs of human existence. Of the people who actually live here and practice generational stewardship of the Mauna despite theft of jurisdiction.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on American Occupied Hawaii and commented:

    From Europe to Haiti to now Hawai’i. Hawai’i is the flash point for this conversation now, even though the story goes beyond Hawai’i. If we are going to understand the context of what is happening in Hawai’i with the Thirty Meter Telescope, we must understand that Hawai’i is not the first or only place where astronomers used and benefited from colonialism. And in connection, we have to understand Hawaiian history. Thus, my reading list also includes important materials about Hawai’i’s history.

    Like

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