Science, Technology and Society Seminar: STS Circle at Harvard (via Zoom)


Monday, March 29, 2021, 12:15pm to 1:30pm


Online Only

“Worker Coalitions in the Reagan-Era Silicon Valley"

Attend this event via Zoom (advance registration required)


Jeannette Estruth, Assistant Professor of American History, Bard College.


Paul Sherman

Co-sponsored by the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University.

This event is online only. Please click the "Read More" link for full instructions on how to attend this seminar.


Sheila JasanoffFaculty Associate. Pforzheimer Professor of Science and Technology Studies, Harvard Kennedy School.

Remote Access Information:

To join by computer:

Please note: This event requires registration in advance in order to receive the meeting link and password.


Betweenthe 1950s and early 1980s, Silicon Valley electronics manufacturers exposed thousands of assembly workers to carcinogenic and teratogenic chemicals, and unsafely disposed of those same chemicals in ways that poisoned the region’s water supply. In the early 1970s, local trade unions, women’s health advocates, immigrants’ rights groups, and environmental associations began to organize to learn more about the bodily and ecological hazards of this work. By the early 1980s, this coalition had pushed state and federal legislators to forge new and leading regulations of industrial chemicals. Using the personal records of activists, previously unprocessed archival material, and numerous oral histories, Jeannette Estruth’s talk uncovers the history of the anti-toxics movement in the Reagan-era Silicon Valley. In doing so, she examines innovative models of coalition organizing, and effective strategies for building power between workers and community groups in fighting environmental degradation. 

Speaker Bio:

Jeannette Alden Estruth is Assistant Professor of American History at Bard College, and a Faculty Associate at the Harvard Law School Berkman- Klein Center for Internet and Society. She received her doctorate in History, with honors, from New York University in 2018. In 2019, her book project was a finalist for the Herman E. Krooss Prize for Best Dissertation in Business History. Her research has been supported by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Huntington Library, the University of Virginia Miller Center, and the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians. Her writing has appeared in the Washington Post, Business Insider, Public Seminar, and Enterprise and Society, among others. Prior to her doctoral work, Estruth worked in editorial for Harvard University Press and the Radical History Review. She is currently working on her book manuscript, The New Utopia: A Political History of the Silicon Valley, which explores the history of social movements, the technology industry, and economic culture in the United States.