Not-Your-Grandma’s Social Movements: Activism through science: citizen scientists after the Fukushima nuclear accident

September 29, 2017

Not-Your-Grandma’s Social Movements

Activism through science: citizen scientists after the Fukushima nuclear accident

Speaker Series

The Fukushima nuclear accident in March 2011 brought tremendous uncertainty regarding the extent of contamination. Taking matters into their own hands, citizens started various projects to collect radiation data by themselves, such as setting up organizations that help citizens test their own foods and find radiation hotspots in their neighborhood. This lecture explores these as examples of citizen science (participation by lay citizens in getting scientific information), and examines its relationship to social movements. As in the case of nuclear accidents, many environmental and health controversies revolve around scientific uncertainties and gaps in data. Scientific projects by citizens are increasingly common in social movements. This lecture points to the possibilities and challenges in this  “activism through science.”

Friday, September 29, 2017


David See-chai Lam Centre
SFU Harbour Centre
1600 Canfor Policy Room
515 West Hastings Street

Register online

September 28, 2017

Women’s participation in post Fukushima radiation monitoring: exploring gendered scientization


Citizen radiation measuring organizations (CRMO) were citizens’ groups established to measure the concentration of radioactive materials in food to ensure its safety after the Fukushima nuclear accident. CRMOs had active participation by laywomen. This lecture explores the motivations of these women to get involved in CRMOs and how they understood the value of using science in the face of the nuclear accident. The concept of gendered scientization highlights how the turn to science in dealing with environmental threats might result in gendered opportunities and challenges in pursuing environmental justice.


Aya H. Kimura is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Hawai`i-Manoa. She is the author of Hidden Hunger: Gender and Politics of Smarter Foods (2013, Cornell University Press, winner of the Rural Sociological Society Outstanding Scholarly Award) and Radiation Brain Moms and Citizen Scientists: The Gender Politics of Food Contamination after Fukushima (2016, Duke University Press). She has also co-edited Food and Power: Visioning Food Democracy in Hawai’i (2016, University of Hawaii Press, co-editor with Krisnawati Suryanata). She is currently writing, with Abby Kinchy, a book on citizen science.

Thursday, September 28, 2017


Department of Sociology & Anthropology
5067 Ellen Gee Room
Academic Quadrangle
SFU Burnaby

No registration required


  • David See-chai Lam Centre (DLC)
  • Department of Sociology and Anthropology (SA)