Abby Kinchy of Rensselaer To Discuss Social Perspectives on Hydraulic Fracturing at AAAS Annual Meeting
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Professor To
Present “Fractious Citizens: Sociological Perspectives on the
Hydraulic Fracturing Controversy”
A drilling rig in northeastern
Pennsylvania. Photo Credit: Abby Kinchy
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Assistant Professor Abby
Kinchy will discuss local perspectives on shale gas drilling in
the Marcellus Shale region of New York and Pennsylvania on Feb.
20 during the 2011 American Association for the Advancement of
Science Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.
Kinchy, a sociologist and assistant professor of science and
technology studies, researches social conflicts surrounding
potentially controversial scientific innovations, such as
genetically engineered food and new technologies to extract
natural gas from previously inaccessible sources. Kinchy will
present on Sunday, Feb 20, from 9 to 9:30 a.m. in room 147B of
the Washington Convention Center during the symposium titled
“Fractures Developing: The Science, Policy, and Perception of
Shale Gas Development.”
“As fossil fuels are becoming scarce, natural gas from
‘unconventional’ sources like the Marcellus Shale has been
promoted as a promising new source of domestic energy. My
research looks at what gas development looks like from the
perspective of people who live in the rural communities where
it is happening,” Kinchy said.
Before turning to the topic of natural gas drilling,
Kinchy’s research focused on the politics of genetically
modified food and historical opposition to the atomic bomb.
Examples of Kinchy’s published work include “Anti-genetic
engineering activism and scientized politics in the case of
‘contaminated’ Mexican maize,” in the most recent issue
of Agriculture & Human Values; “Epistemic
Boomerang: Expert Policy Advice as Leverage in the Campaign
Against Transgenic Maize in Mexico,” which appears in the June
2010 edition of Mobilization; “African Americans in
the Atomic Age: Post-War Perspectives on Science, Technology
and the Bomb, 1945-1960,” published in the April 2009 issue of
Technology & Culture; and “Local Variation or
Global Convergence in Agricultural Biotechnology Policy? A
Comparative Analysis,” co-written by Kinchy, Daniel Lee
Kleinman, and Robyn Autry in the June 2009 issue of Science
and Public Policy.
While much of the debate about hydraulic fracturing has
focused on the environmental or health hazards it might pose
(the United States Environmental Protection Agency has begun an
ambitious study to investigate this topic), Kinchy will discuss
the social, economic, and cultural, issues at the heart of the
Kinchy, whose work is supported by the New York State Energy
Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), will be joined in
the seminar by John P. Martin of NYSERDA and Anthony W.
Gorody, of Universal Geoscience Consulting Inc. To learn more
about Kinchy and her work, visit her website at http://abbykinchy.weebly.com/index.html.
Contact: Mary L. Martialay
Phone: (518) 276-2146