Weaving on a Radical Loom: History, Epistemology, and Science Activism

Sigrid Schmalzer
Pages 65-89| Published online: 05 Nov 2023

Schmalzer, Sigrid. 2023. “Weaving on a Radical Loom: History, Epistemology, and Science Activism.” Marxism & Sciences 2(2): 65–89.


The author uses personal narrative to advocate for consciously interweaving intellectual, social, and political work to generate robust and liberatory alternatives to the worlds we inhabit. The narrative focuses especially on the author’s experiences studying the history of the original Science for the People and then participating in its revitalization, but also includes discussions of the anti-war movement, the history of science in Mao-era China, and radical education at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, among other topics. The author argues that the tools of history and epistemology, informed by Marxist analysis, can help activists navigate the tensions of generational difference, and that ideas generated through activist discussion enrich scholarship, as evidenced in the benefits she has drawn from conversations about indigenous knowledge with generations of Science for the People members.

KEYWORDS: Activism, history, epistemology, personal narrative, Science for the People, Maoism, generational difference, indigenous knowledge..


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