// About

Established in Spring 2008 at the Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes (CSPO) at Arizona State University, ALTERNATIVE IMAGINATIONS (AI) Research Cluster is an intellectual space that seeks to cultivate complementary perspectives on science and technology to address inequality, ecological harmony and sustainability. AI’s mission is to promote dialogue and understanding of alternative knowledge systems in assessing the impacts of science, technology, policy and outcomes.

The name of this research cluster highlights the legitimacy of a plurality of alternative perspectives on the impact of science and technology on human life. Our goal is to enrich and extend existing intellectual analysis through study of knowledge systems originating in a variety of social, cultural, economic and spatial contexts. AI creates the environment for epistemological and ontological discourse in science, technology and policy beyond the usual context of first world perspectives.

When it comes to monitoring, analyzing, interpreting and responding to dynamic social and environmental changes, AI recognizes the complementarities of knowledge systems, including traditional, indigenous and contemporary, each of which has evolved through adaptive processes and generations of cultural transmission. AI recognizes the rationale of knowledge systems to be intrinsic to the maintenance of social, cultural and often ecological harmony and public health.


  • What are the limits of scientific methodology, credibility and authority in reference to questions of alternative knowledge systems?
  • Though alternative knowledge systems (traditional medicine or ecological practices, for example) are sometimes validated by scientific theories, on what other criteria may we assess the legitimacy of alternatives to science?
  • Given that embracing alternative knowledge systems is commonly understood to be a critique of modern knowledge systems, how can we move beyond this dualism to complementarity? What are the limits of complementarity in considering knowledge systems?


  • Netra Chhetri, Assistant Professor, CSPO
  • Merlyna Lim, Assistant Professor, CSPO
  • Nalini Chhetri, Postdoctoral Research Associate, CSPO
  • Farzad Mahootian, Lecturer, School of Letters and Sciences
  • Dan Sarewitz, Professor, CSPO
  • Debjani Chakravarty, Graduate Research Assistant
  • Cecilia Gonzalez, Graduate Research Assistant
  • Lijing Jiang, Graduate Research Assistant
  • Christine Luk, Graduate Research Assistant
  • Nicholas Natividad, Graduate Research Assistant
  • David Calderon, Undergraduate Research Intern