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STS 1101 : Science, Technology, and Politics
Semester offered: Fall 2017 Instructor:
From global warming to surveillance of citizens to health-care reform, issues in science, technology, and medicine also are political issues. This course uses contemporary scientific controversies to explore the intersections of science and politics. Issues explored may include the role of the military and private sector in funding research, the politics of experts and expertise, computer privacy and national security, and environmental politics.
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STS 1942 : The History of Science in Europe: Newton to Darwin; Darwin to Einstein
Crosslisted as: BSOC 1942, HIST 1942 Semester offered: Fall 2017 Instructor:
What is modern science? And how did it get that way? This course examines the emergence of the dominant scientific worldview inherited by the 21st century, to trace how it, and its associated institutional practices, became established in largely European settings and contexts from the 18th to the early 20th centuries. It focuses on those broad conceptions of the universe and human knowledge that shaped a wide variety of scientific disciplines, as well as considering the twin views of science as "natural philosophy" and as practical tool.
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STS 2011 : What Is Science? An Introduction to the Social Studies of Science and Technology
Crosslisted as: SOC 2100 Semester offered: Fall 2017 Instructor:
This course introduces some central ideas in the field of S&TS. It is aimed at students from any background who are challenged to think more critically about what counts as scientific knowledge and why, and how science and technology intervene in the wider world. It also serves as an introduction to majors in Biology and Society or in Science and Technology Studies. The course mixes lectures, discussions, writing, and other activities. The discussion sections are an integral part of the course and attendance is required. A series of take-home written assignments and quizzes throughout the semester comprise the majority of the grade.
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STS 2051 : Ethical Issues in Health and Medicine
Crosslisted as: BSOC 2051 Semester offered: Fall 2017 Instructor:
In today's rapidly changing world of health and medicine, complex ethical issues arise in many contexts from the private, interpersonal interactions between doctor and patient to the broad, mass-mediated controversies that make medicine into headline news. This course examines ethical problems and policy issues that rise in contemporary medicine, health care, and biomedical research. Tools for ethical research are applied to a variety of topics and fundamental questions in bioethics. Perspectives from social science, history, and law also inform the course, which will consider ethical issues in their social and institutional context. We will explore problems that arise in a number of substantive areas, including the doctor-patient relationship, end-of-life decision making, distributive justice and health care, human experimentation, reproductive technology, public health, and human genetics. The course will also examine the relatively new field of bioethics itself, raising questions about what issues count as ethical ones and exploring the role of ethical expertise in contemporary societies. This course is also designated as a University Course.  Please visit blogs.cornell.edu/universitycourses/ for further information.
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STS 2071 : Introduction to the History of Medicine
Crosslisted as: BSOC 2071, HIST 2710 Semester offered: Fall 2017 Instructor:
This course offers an introductory survey of the history of medicine (principally in Europe and the United States) from classical antiquity to the early twentieth century. Using a combination of both primary and secondary sources, students will learn about the "Hippocratic Heritage" of contemporary western medicine; medicine in late antiquity; faith and healing in the medieval period; medicine and knowledge in the Islamic world; medicine during the Renaissance (particularly the rise of the mechanical philosophy); medicine in the age of Enlightenment; professionalization, women-doctors and midwives, and battles over 'quackery' in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries; the role of medicine in colonialism and empire; and the promises and perils of modern medicine (dramatic decreases in mortality on the one hand, the rise of Eugenics and the importance of Medicine to the National Socialist State on the other). As well as this temporal survey, we will consider a number of ongoing themes: race, bodily difference, and medicine; medicine and the environment; women, gender, and medicine; the history of the body; the history of sexuality; and the close connections between forms of social order and forms of medical knowledge. The course meets three times a week (for two lectures and a section) and is open to all.
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BSOC 2101 : Plagues and People
Crosslisted as: BSOC 2101, ENTOM 2100, BSOC 2101, ENTOM 2100 Semester offered: Fall 2017 Instructor:
Human diseases transmitted by insects and related forms (arthropods) have affected human lives and society through history. This course focuses on the pathogens, parasites, and arthropods causing human plagues through multiple perspectives (biomedical, social, ethical, cultural). Those plagues that have had the greatest impact on human culture and expression are emphasized. Lectures are supplemented with readings, videos and discussions. Also addresses emerging diseases, bioterrorism, and future plagues. Students taking the course for 3 credits participate in one discussion session each week and may do a comprehensive final project rather than a final exam. This course is also designated as a University Course.  Please visit blogs.cornell.edu/universitycourses/ for further information.
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STS 2131 : Science Fiction
Crosslisted as: BSOC 2131, COML 2035, ENGL 2035 Semester offered: Fall 2017 Instructor:
Science fiction, as Fredric Jameson put it, is "the only kind of literature that can reach back and colonize reality." Today more than ever, when science and technology have penetrated everyday life in ways that would have seemed impossible only a few decades ago, it has become apparent that science fiction is not merely a literary genre but a whole way of being, thinking, and acting in the modern world. The course explores classic and contemporary science fiction from Frankenstein to The Hunger Games alongside a rich array of fiction, films, and new media from Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Our discussions will position these works vis-à-vis seminal thinkers, ranging from Plato to Descartes and Donna Haraway to Paul Crutzen, who ask the same questions as science fiction does about ourselves, our world, and our future.
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STS 2751 : Ethical Issues in Intelligent Autonomous Systems
Crosslisted as: ECE 2750, ENGRG 2750, INFO 2750 Semester offered: Fall 2017 Instructor:
As technologies and algorithms that can autonomously take in information, make decisions, and act on those decisions become more and more prevalent, questions arise as to the moral and ethical aspects of their interactions with people and society. What are the philosophical foundations for a new Robot Ethics? Topics covered include social and therapeutic robotics, search and rescue, surveillance, military decision making, financial markets, robot artists, robot scientists, automation, medical robotics, policing, robot smog, and attention dilution.
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STS 2871 : Evolution
Crosslisted as: BIOEE 2070 Semester offered: Fall 2017 Instructor:
Evolution is the central concept in biology. This course examines evolution as a science and places it in an historical context. Lectures focus on descent with modification, the nature of natural selection, the history of the earth, the information content of the fossil record, and processes responsible for diversification (speciation and extinction). The science of evolutionary biology is presented in the context of a broader history of ideas in science. The course also explores the importance of evolutionary thinking in the 21st century, including discussion of antibiotic and pesticide resistance, personalized genomics, climate change, and the conflict between creationists and evolutionists.
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STS 2921 : Inventing an Information Society
Crosslisted as: AMST 2980, ECE 2980, ENGRG 2980, HIST 2920, INFO 2921 Semester offered: Fall 2017 Instructor:
Explores the history of information technology from the 1830s to the present by considering the technical and social history of telecommunications (telegraph and the telephone), radio, television, computers, and the Internet. Emphasis is on the changing relationship between science and technology, the economic aspects of innovation, gender and technology, and other social relations of this technology.
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STS 3011 : Life Sciences and Society
Crosslisted as: BSOC 3011 Semester offered: Fall 2017 Instructor:
Biology and biotechnology are major influences on modern life. In addition, socio-political and historical conditions have shaped biological research and its applications in medicine, agriculture, environmental science, etc. Life science research is itself a social process involving complex human dynamics, different kinds of work and an array of social and natural systems. The course aims to introduce students to critical science and technology studies (S&TS) perspectives on the knowledge and practices of life sciences. The course is designed to prepare students for more advanced courses in the Biology & Society and S&TS majors, but students who do not plan to take further courses in those subjects can get critical insight into biology's profound role in both science and society.
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STS 3121 : Sound Studies: An Introduction
Crosslisted as: MUSIC 3432 Semester offered: Fall 2017 Instructor:
Sound as a medium has been neglected not only in the sciences but also in social sciences and humanities. We will engage with new emerging work in sound studies by addressing specific locations and activities where sound is important. These include histories of key sonic technologies such as the phonograph and electronic music synthesizer; places where sound is particularly pertinent such as the recording studio and the Laboratory of Ornithology; and practices where sound is the medium such as the use of the stethoscope in medicine. We will also examine interesting sonic locales such as the rain forests of Papua New Guinea. We will cover how sound figures in everyday activities such as economic exchange and in new media such as movies and video games.
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STS 3311 : Environmental Governance
Crosslisted as: BSOC 3311, DSOC 3311, DSOC 6320, NTRES 3311, NTRES 6310 Semester offered: Fall 2017 Instructor:
Environmental governance is defined as the assemblage of institutions that regulate society-nature interactions and shape environmental outcomes across a range of spatial and temporal scales.  Institutions, broadly defined, are mechanisms of social coordination including laws (formal) and social norms (informal) that guide the behavior of individuals.  Participants in the course will explore the roles of governments, markets, and collective action in environmental management and mismanagement. We will emphasize interactions among leading environmental policy strategies: public regulation, market-based incentives, and community-based resource management. The course is focused around a set of analytic perspectives.  These theoretical frameworks allow us to synthesize empirical observations and material changes in ways that inform our understanding of contemporary evolution of environmental policy and management.
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BSOC 3441 : Insect Conservation Biology
Crosslisted as: ENTOM 3440 Semester offered: Fall 2017 Instructor:
In-depth look at the concepts and issues surrounding the conservation of insects and other invertebrates. Topics include sampling rare populations; insect conservation genetics; the role of phylogeny in determining conservation priorities; refuge design; saving individual species; plus the unique political, social, and ethical aspects of insect conservation and preservation of their ecological services (i.e., pollination, decomposition, pest suppression, and insectivore food sources).
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BSOC 3751 : Independent Study
Semester offered: Fall 2017 Instructor:
Projects under the direction of a Biology and Society faculty member are encouraged as part of the program of study within the student's concentration area. Applications for research projects are accepted by individual faculty members. Students may enroll for 1 to 4 credits in BSOC 3751 Independent Study with written permission of the faculty supervisor and may elect either the letter grade or the S-U option. Students may elect to do an independent study project as an alternative to, or in advance of, an honors project. Applications and information on faculty research, scholarly activities, and undergraduate opportunities are available in the Biology and Society Office, 306 Rockefeller Hall. Independent study credits may not be used in completion of the major requirements.
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STS 3991 : Undergraduate Independent Study
Semester offered: Fall 2017 Instructor:
More information and applications available in 306 Rockefeller Hall.
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STS 4122 : Darwin and the Making of Histories
Crosslisted as: BSOC 4122, HIST 4122 Semester offered: Fall 2017 Instructor:
The power of a name is sometimes as great as that of an idea.  This course will study how Darwin became, then and now, an icon rather than just a Victorian naturalist.  We will look at writings of Darwin himself, especially On the Origin of Species (1859), Descent of Man (1871), and his short autobiography, and attempt to understand what they meant in their own time, how Darwin came to write them, and how his contemporaries helped to shape their future.  How did Victorian ideologies of gender, race, and class shape the production and reception of Darwin's work?  We will also examine the growth of "Darwinism" as a set of broader social and cultural movements, particularly in Britain and the United States.  Were eugenics movements examples or perversions of Darwinism?  Finally, we will consider how Darwin's name has been used by more recent evolutionary biologists and by American anti-evolutionists.
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STS 4240 : Designing Technology for Social Impact
Crosslisted as: INFO 4240 Semester offered: Fall 2017 Instructor:
The social impact of technologies is typically thought about fairly late, if ever, in the design process. Indeed, it can be difficult at design time to predict what effects technologies will have. Nevertheless, design decisions can inadvertently "lock in" particular values early on. In this course, we will draw on science & technology studies, technology design, and the arts to analyze the values embodied in technology design and to design technologies to promote positive social impact. What social and cultural values do technology designs consciously or unconsciously promote? To what degree can social impact be "built into" a technology? How can we take social and cultural values into account in design?
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STS 4351 : Postcolonial Science
Crosslisted as: ANTHR 4435, ANTHR 7435, BSOC 4351 Semester offered: Fall 2017 Instructor:
This course examines science and technology in so-called "non-Western" countries as well as the ways that science and technology are shaping new "transnational" or "global" relations. We will explore the post-colonial as a dynamic space that both plays off of and refigures the complicated dynamics of colonialism. The postcolonial challenges the dichotomies through which colonial power moved: western/indigenous, white/black, modern/traditional, global/local, developed/underdeveloped, and science/non-science. At the same time, it confronts the ways in which colonial histories are still embodied in institutions, identities, environments, and landscapes. Techno-scientific knowledge and practice have both enacted colonial divisions and been called on in post-colonial struggles. How them might we understand the work of scientific knowledge and practice in the kinds of hegemonies and struggles that shape our world today? We will explore this question by examining the way that technoscience is performed-by scientists, development workers, activists, government officials, and others. The class will pay particular attention to the located processes through which claims to the universal or global emerge. In addition by considering controversies over the environment, medicine, and indigenous knowledge, we will consider the effects of such claims.
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STS 4616 : Corrupting Environmental Media
Crosslisted as: COML 4614, SHUM 4616 Semester offered: Fall 2017 Instructor: Description
STS 4618 : Data Corruption's Deep History
Crosslisted as: ARKEO 4618, CLASS 4632, COML 4615, MEDVL 4718, SHUM 4618 Semester offered: Fall 2017 Instructor: Description
STS 4691 : Food, Agriculture, and Society
Crosslisted as: BIOEE 4690, BSOC 4691 Semester offered: Fall 2017 Instructor:
Multidisciplinary course dealing with the social and environmental impact of food production in the United States and developing countries. Agroecosystems of various kinds are analyzed from biological, economic, and social perspectives. The impacts of traditional, conventional, and alternative agricultural technologies are critically examined in the context of developed and developing economies. Specific topics include biodiversity and ecosystem services in agriculture, transgenic crops, biofuels, urban agriculture, and sustainable development.
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STS 4991 : Honors Project I
Crosslisted as: BSOC 4991 Semester offered: Fall 2017 Instructor:
Students must register for 4 credits each semester (4991-4992) for a total of 8 credits. After the first semester, students receive a letter grade of "R"; a letter grade for both semesters is submitted at the end of the second semester whether or not the student completes a thesis or is recommended for honors. Minimally, an honors thesis outline and bibliography should be completed during the first semester. In consultation with the advisors, the director of undergraduate studies will evaluate whether the student should continue working on an honors project. Students should note that these courses are to be taken in addition to those courses that meet the regular major requirements. If students do not complete the second semester of the honors project, they must change the first semester to independent study to clear the "R" and receive a grade. Otherwise, the "R" will remain on their record and prevent them from graduating.
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STS 6121 : Environmental History
Crosslisted as: HIST 6221 Semester offered: Fall 2017 Instructor:
This graduate seminar offers an introduction to environmental history—the study of human interactions with nonhuman nature in the past. It is a subfield within the historical discipline that has complex roots, an interdisciplinary orientation, and synergies with fields across the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. This seminar explores environmental history on three levels: historically, historiographically, and theoretically. What are some of the key historical processes that have shaped humans' historical relationships with the environment at various scales? How have environmental historians (re)conceptualized the field as it has developed over the past half-century? What analytic concepts have environmental historians used to understand human-natural relations? Select themes include ecological imperialism, labor and work, body/environment, global environmental history, "mainstreaming" environmental history, and the Anthropocene.
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STS 6321 : Inside Technology
Crosslisted as: SOC 6320 Semester offered: Fall 2017 Instructor:
Rather than analyze the social impact of technology upon society, this course investigates how society gets inside technology. In other words, is it possible that the very design of technologies embody assumptions about the nature of society? And, if so, are alternative technologies, which embody different assumptions about society, possible? Do engineers have implicit theories about society? Is technology gendered? How can we understand the interaction of society and technology? Throughout the course the arguments are illustrated by detailed examinations of particular technologies, such as the ballistic missile, the bicycle, the electric car, and the refrigerator.
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STS 6481 : Readings in the History of Medicine
Semester offered: Fall 2017 Instructor: Description
STS 6991 : Graduate Independent Study
Semester offered: Fall 2017 Instructor:
Applications and information are available in 306 Rockefeller Hall.
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STS 7111 : Introduction to Science and Technology Studies
Semester offered: Fall 2017 Instructor:
Provides students with a foundation in the field of science and technology studies. Using classic works as well as contemporary exemplars, seminar participants chart the terrain of this new field. Topics for discussion include, but are not limited to, historiography of science and technology and their relation to social studies of science and technology, laboratory studies, intellectual property, science and the state, the role of instruments, fieldwork, politics and technical knowledge, philosophy of science, sociological studies of science and technology, and popularization.
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STS 7937 : Proseminar in Peace Studies
Crosslisted as: GOVT 7937 Semester offered: Fall 2017 Instructor:
This course provides an overview of the interdisciplinary field of Peace and Conflict Studies for graduate students.   The core of the course is a series of weekly lectures with Cornell and visiting speakers, supplemented by additional meetings with the visitors. 
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