Laura Foster

Cite as:

Okune, Angela. 2018. "Laura Foster." In STS in "Africa" Personal Careers. In STS in "Africa" in Formation, created by Angela Okune and Aadita Chaudhury. In STS Across Borders Digital Exhibit, curated by Aalok Khandekar and Kim Fortun. Society for Social Studies of Science. August.


Laura Foster is a faculty member in the Department of Gender Studies at Indiana University. She earned a PhD in women’s studies from UCLA and a joint J.D/M.A. from the University of Cincinnati College of Law. Professor Foster specializes in qualitative studies of intellectual properties through her expertise in post-colonial science studies, feminist socio-legal studies, critical race theory, and biotechnologies. Her research draws upon her human rights work in Southern Africa since 1998 and previous practice experience in corporate transactions and taxation law.

This PECE essay helps to answer the STS Across Borders analytic question: “What people, projects, and products exemplify how this STS formation has developed over time?”

This essay highlights prominant and upcoming individuals working on critical science and technology issues in Africa and is part of a broader exhibit on "STS in Africa."

STS Across Borders In Brief

STS Across Borders is a special exhibit organized by the Society for Social Studies of Science (4S) to showcase how the field of Science and Technology Studies (STS) has developed in different times, places...Read more

Foster, Laura A. 2017. Reinventing Hoodia: Peoples, Plants, and Patents in South Africa. Feminist Technosciences. Seattle: University of Washington Press.

Abstract: " Native to the Kalahari Desert, Hoodia gordonii is a succulent plant known by generations of Indigenous San peoples to have a variety of uses: to reduce hunger, increase energy, and ease breastfeeding. In the global North, it is known as a natural...Read more

Traynor, Cath, and Laura Foster. 2017. “Principles and Practice in Open Science: Addressing Power and Inequality through ‘Situated Openness.’” OCSDNET (blog). October 5, 2017.

AO: This blog post on the Open and Collaborative Science in Development Network (OCSDNet)'s blog looks at situated openness in South Africa and suggests that "Community-researcher contracts" could be a tool to enable local communities, in particular, indigenous peoples, to negotiate with...Read more

2016. Foster. "A Postapartheid Genome Genetic Ancestry Testing and Belonging in South Africa"

“This article examines a genetic ancestry testing program called the Living History Project (LHP) that was jointly organized by a nonprofit educational institute and a for-profit genealogy company in South Africa. It charts the precise mechanisms by which the LHP sought...Read more