Science, Technology and Society Seminar: STS Circle at Harvard


Monday, September 30, 2019, 12:15pm to 2:00pm


CGIS South, S050, 1730 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, MA 02138

“When Repair Becomes Harm: Science, Law, and the Pursuit of Justice in Chile”


Eden Medina, Associate Professor of Science, Technology, and Society, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


Samuel Weiss Evans, Science, Technology & Society Fellow, Harvard Kennedy School.


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

Co-sponsored by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.


STS Program

Lunch is provided if you RSVP. via our online form before Thursday afternoon, September 26th:


In the 1990s, the Chilean government formed a team of forensic scientists to exhume and identify the skeletons of those who had been executed or disappeared by the Pinochet dictatorship. From 1993-2002, scientists working for the Chilean Medical Legal Service identified 96 sets of remains exhumed from one burial site—Patio 29—a lot in the General Cemetery in Santiago where the military buried hundreds of bodies in graves marked N.N. (nomen nescio). However, in 2006 it came to light that at least 48 of these identifications were incorrect. In this talk, I discuss the civil lawsuits families filed against the Chilean government for the misidentifications. I use these civil cases to study how the Chilean government responded to these new instances of harm and how different actors viewed these cases in the context of larger struggles for justice in the aftermath of human rights crimes.


Eden Medina is Associate Professor of Science, Technology, and Society at MIT. Her research uses technology as a means to understand historical processes and she combines history, science and technology studies, and Latin American studies in her writings. She is the author of Cybernetic Revolutionaries: Technology and Politics in Allende's Chile and co-editor of Beyond Imported Magic: Essays on Science, Technology and Society in Latin America.

A complete list of STS Circle at Harvard events can be found on the STS Circle website