Ethics at the Intersection of Academic Research and Human Rights Practice

December 3, 2021 -
12:00pm to 1:00pm

Jay D. Aronson, PhD
Professor of Science, Technology, and Society
Department of History
​Carnegie Mellon University

Abstract: In this informal talk, I will focus on a few of the many ethical and moral dilemmas that I’ve faced working at the intersection of social science-oriented research and human rights practice for the past fifteen-plus years. Examples include my obligations to people I am interviewing about very painful moments in their lives (i.e., the deaths of loved ones); feelings of recurring regret (though I’m not even sure that’s the right word) about advancing my own career through the gathering and analysis of other peoples’ suffering; and, more generally, my responsibilities to the people I interact with who are in far more precarious positions than I am. Part of what I hope to accomplish during our hour together is just to clarify the actual ethical principles that underlie what I experience as feelings or thoughts that “keep me up at night.”

This talk inaugurates the Research, Ethics and Society Initiative Seminar Series.

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