August 2023
Volume 23, Issue 9
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   August 2023
Making the Case for Critical Vision Science: Beyond Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Author Affiliations
  • Sholei Croom
    Johns Hopkins University
Journal of Vision August 2023, Vol.23, 4652. doi:
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      Sholei Croom; Making the Case for Critical Vision Science: Beyond Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Journal of Vision 2023;23(9):4652.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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The principles of “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion” (DEI) have become standard across industry and academic spaces to promote awareness and advocacy around issues of identity. Many institutions, including VSS, have dedicated DEI committees whose focus is to foster diversity in communities that have historically been homogenous. While such initiatives have certainly led to positive institutional changes and more cultural competency, a primary focus on diversity can obfuscate—rather than illuminate—the myriad ways in which power dynamics shape our field. Further, fixating on inclusion as the remedy to oppressive structures ignores opportunities within our research practices to promote social justice. In this respect, this symposium urges our community to adopt a more critical frame. Borrowing from contemporary perspectives in critical psychology, philosophy, and sociology, this introductory talk explores the premise that our current methods and theoretical frameworks in vision science reflect back the social conditions in which they are produced. Rather than framing structural forces as external to our scientific practice, revisiting the history of vision science reveals that such forces necessarily inform the way we perform our research. From the advent of psychophysics, to technological advances in neuroscience, to the cognitive revolution and the subsequent rise of computational modeling, each step in the intellectual history of our field has been shaped by ideological and socio-historical factors. By elevating this perspective, we hope that researchers in our vision science community can see our field in a new light; one that embraces rather than ignores context in service of positive social change.


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