Working Groups

Working Groups are spaces for sustained scholarly conversations centered around specific issues, projects, or questions. Through curated reading lists, working papers, screenings and presentations, WG members work together to develop new approaches and tackle critical questions.

The Black, Brown, and Queer Science, Religion, and Culture (BBQ-SRC) Working Group is  a space for graduate students, faculty, and other scholars at Harvard to focus primarily on work and critical perspectives in postcolonial, critical race, and queer theory, both as they relate to one another and to studies of science, religion, and culture. As a core tenant, the group is dedicated to addressing criticisms
of contemporary postcolonial and queer theory and to mapping new directions in these fields in the work of scholars across Harvard and beyond. This orientation is rooted in a shared intellectual commitment to analyzing colonized, racialized, and queered bodies and histories as intersecting and mutually constituted. To receive more information, contact the BBQ Coordinator.

The Middle East Science, Religion, and Culture (MESRC) Working Group provides a venue for the study of the history of science and medicine in the Middle East from the Classical to the contemporary period. It engages graduate students in the critical study of regional history with the aim of enriching their scholarship historiographically and methodologically. This scholarly forum contribute to the innovative nature of its participants’ research and explores different pedagogical approaches to teaching the history of science and medicine in the Middle East. Participants will dedicate time each meeting to discuss teaching the history of science and medicine in the Middle East and will work towards producing an undergraduate syllabus based on the material and themes discussed in the group.  To receive more information, contact the MESRC Coordinators.

The Middle East Women's Studies Working Group (MEWS) is the featured 2018-2019 Gender and Sexuality Seminar series. The group discusses key debates and new approaches to the theory and study of women, gender and sexuality in the Middle East and Islamic World, and the implications of those on the theory and study of women, gender and sexuality in the Global South. The Spring semester will include a sub-series discussing the work and contributions of the late Professor Saba Mahmood, from the perspectives of leading and upcoming scholars in the field. The seminar meets biweekly on Mondays 3-5 p.m., alternating between a speaker events and collective reading and discussion sessions led by the graduate coordinators and faculty members. To receive more information, contact the MEWS CoordinatorThe seminar is co-sponsored by the Committee on Degrees in Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality (WGS), the Science, Religion and Culture Program (SRC), the Mahindra Humanities Center at Harvard, and the Journal of Middle East Women Studies (JMEWS). This year’s seminar inaugurates the residence of  the Journal of Middle East Women's Studies (JMEWS) at Harvard, which extends from May 2018 to May 2022.

The Science Fiction, Religon, and Culture  (SfRC) Working Group is an interdisciplinary forum for graduate students, faculty, and other scholars to share ideas and discuss work regarding speculative/science fiction (SF) and futurism, with a focus on the political dimension of claims about the future. Through biweekly meetings, the SfRC Working Group affords graduate students the opportunity to present and obtain useful feedback on their projects and fosters an intellectual community for Harvard scholars analyzing SF. In doing so, the group generates lively and productive conversations across several disciplines, including science and technology studies (STS), the history and anthropology of science, queer theory, postcolonial studies, English and comparative literature, African and African-American studies, religious studies, political ecology, and the natural sciences.

The Technology and Capitalism (TCWG).  How have capitalist economies facilitated technological change? Conversely, how have technological developments shaped and sustained the system of capitalism? Technological inventions and innovations have resulted in products that have generated consumer demand and desire, as well as new forms of power, access, and inequality. Technology has also altered processes of production, and, in so doing, shifted the meaning of work and the geopolitics of labor. Yet, technology is often treated as an exogenous factor in political and economic histories. This working group looks at the complex relationship between technology and capitalism through cases drawn from all around the global. To receive more information, contact the TCWG Coordinator.