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STS 1101 : Science, Technology, and Politics
Semester offered: Spring 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 1116 : FWS: Global Darwin
Semester offered: Spring 2017 Instructor:
Charles Darwin (1809-1882) lived during an extraordinary period in global history. In Darwin's time, imperial politics combined with the rise of industrial capitalism to produce a world order dominated by Victorian Britain.  This class will investigate how these larger social developments would become crucial to the origin and reception of Darwin's scientific work. We will explore topics such as: natural history and colonialism; Darwin's scientific theories and Victorian political and economic theories; social Darwinism and scientific racism; and the use of evolutionary ideas by anti-imperialist intellectuals in the Middle East, Asia and Africa. We will tackle recent Darwin scholarship, and we will also make use of online databases of Darwin's letters and Victorian texts in the library's special collections.
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STS 1123 : FWS: Technology and Society Topics
Semester offered: Spring 2017 Instructor:
This seminar explores the ways in which Technology and Society shape one another and provides the opportunity to write extensively about this mutual shaping. Topics vary by section.
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STS 1126 : FWS: Science and Society Topics
Semester offered: Spring 2017 Instructor:
This seminar explores the ways in which Science and Society shape one another and provides the opportunity to write extensively about this mutual shaping. Topics vary by section.
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STS 1201 : Information Ethics, Law, and Policy
Crosslisted as: INFO 1200 Semester offered: Spring 2017 Instructor:
This course investigates the ethical, legal, and social foundations of information. Through lectures, readings, and independent projects, the class will learn to analyze and engage key challenges ranging from privacy in big data and ubiquitous computing environments, to the nature of property, organization, collaboration, and innovation in an increasingly networked world. With cases drawn from the fields of science, health care, education, politics, culture, and international development, and theories and methods from across the humanities and social sciences (law, philosophy, cultural studies, sociology, organizations, and several others) this course will teach students to engage critically and strategically with the worlds of information and technology around them.
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BSOC 1942 : The History of Science in Europe: Newton to Darwin; Darwin to Einstein
Crosslisted as: HIST 1942, STS 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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BSOC 2051 : Ethical Issues in Health and Medicine
Crosslisted as: STS 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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BSOC 2061 : Ethics and the Environment
Crosslisted as: PHIL 2460, STS 2061 Semester offered: Spring 2017 Instructor:
Politicians, scientists, and citizens worldwide face many environmental issues today, but they are neither simple nor straightforward. Moreover, there are many ways to understand how we have, do, and could value the environment from animal rights and wise use to deep ecology and ecofeminism. This class acquaints students with some of the challenging moral issues that arise in the context of environmental management and policy-making, both in the past and the present. Environmental concerns also highlight important economic, epistemological, legal, political, and social issues in assessing our moral obligations to nature as well as other humans. This course examines various perspectives expressed in both contemporary and historical debates over environmental ethics by exploring four central questions: What is nature? Who counts in environmental ethics? How do we know nature? Whose nature?
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BSOC 2071 : Introduction to the History of Medicine
Crosslisted as: HIST 2710, STS 2071 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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BSOC 2131 : Science Fiction
Crosslisted as: COML 2035, ENGL 2035, STS 2131 Semester offered: Spring 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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BSOC 2201 : Society and Natural Resources
Crosslisted as: DSOC 2201, NTRES 2201 Semester offered: Spring 2017 Instructor:
The actions of people are crucial to environmental well-being. This course addresses the interrelationships between social phenomena and the natural (i.e., biophysical) environment. It is intended to (1) increase student awareness of these interconnections in their everyday lives; (2) introduce students to a variety of social science perspectives, including sociology, economics, psychology, and political science, that help us make sense of these connections; (3) identify the contributions of each of these perspectives to our understanding of environmental problems; and (4) discuss how natural resource management and environmental policy reflect these perspectives.
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BSOC 2350 : Literature and Medicine
Crosslisted as: ENGL 2350, FGSS 2350, LGBT 2350 Semester offered: Spring 2017 Instructor:
How does literary language depict the experience of physical suffering? Can a poem or a novel palliate pain, illness, even the possibility of death? From darkly comic narratives of black plague to the rise and fall of hysteria to depictions of the AIDS crisis, this course examines literature centered on medical practices from the early modern period through the twentieth century. Why have medical practices changed, and how do writers address their political, social, and ideological implications? Readings will include a broad range of genres, including poetry (Dickinson, Whitman, Keats), fiction (McEwan, Chekhov, Gilman, Kafka, Camus), theater (Kushner), nonfiction prose (Woolf, Freud), and critical theory (Foucault, Scarry, Canguilhem, Sontag).
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STS 2451 : Introduction to Bioethics
Crosslisted as: PHIL 2455 Semester offered: Spring 2017 Instructor:
Bioethics is the study of ethical problems brought about by advances in the medical field.  Questions we'll discuss may include:  Is it morally permissible to advance a patient's death, at his or her request, to reduce suffering?  Is there a moral dilemma between killing someone and letting someone die?  What ethical issues are raised by advance care planning?  How should the rights of pregnant women be balanced against those of the fetus?  What constitutes informed consent?  Should medical treatment ever be compulsory?  Should parents be given control over the genetic make-up of their children?  Are some forms of human enhancement morally troubling?  Should we aim to be better than well?  How should scarce health care resources or costly therapies be allocated to those in need?  Should organ sales be permitted?  Should doctors or hospitals be permitted to refuse to provide certain medical services that violate their consciences?
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BSOC 2468 : Medicine, Culture, and Society
Crosslisted as: ANTHR 2468, STS 2468 Semester offered: Spring 2017 Instructor:
Medicine has become the language and practice through which we address a broad range of both individual and societal complaints. Interest in this "medicalization of life" may be one of the reasons that medical anthropology is currently the fastest-growing subfield in anthropology. This course encourages students to examine concepts of disease, suffering, health, and well-being in their immediate experience and beyond. In the process, students will gain a working knowledge of ecological, critical, phenomenological, and applied approaches used by medical anthropologists. We will investigate what is involved in becoming a doctor, the sociality of medicines, controversies over new medical technologies, and the politics of medical knowledge. The universality of biomedicine (or hospital medicine) will not be taken for granted, but rather we will examine the plurality generated by the various political, economic, social, and ethical demands under which biomedicine has developed in different places and at different times. In addition, biomedical healing and expertise will be viewed in relation to other kinds of healing and expertise. Our readings will address medicine in North America as well as other parts of the world. In class, our discussions will return regularly to consider the broad diversity of kinds of medicine throughout the world, as well as the specific historical and local contexts of biomedicine.
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BSOC 2581 : Environmental History
Crosslisted as: AMST 2581, HIST 2581 Semester offered: Spring 2017 Instructor:
This lecture course serves as an introduction to the historical study of humanity's interrelationship with the natural world. Environmental history is a quickly evolving field, taking on increasing importance as the environment itself becomes increasingly important in world affairs. During this semester, we'll examine the sometimes unexpected ways in which "natural" forces have shaped human history (the role of germs, for instance, in the colonization of North America); the ways in which human beings have shaped the natural world (through agriculture, urbanization, and industrialization, as well as the formation of things like wildlife preserves); and the ways in which cultural, scientific, political, and philosophical attitudes toward the environment have changed over time. This is designed as an intensely interdisciplinary course: we'll view history through the lenses of ecology, literature, art, film, law, anthropology, and geography. Our focus will be on the United States, but, just as environmental pollutants cross borders, so too will this class, especially toward the end, when we attempt to put U.S. environmental history into a geopolitical context. This course is meant to be open to all, including non-majors and first-year students.
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BSOC 2821 : Science in Western Civilization: Newton to Darwin, Darwin to Einstein
Crosslisted as: HIST 2820, STS 2821 Semester offered: Spring 2017 Instructor:
This course aims to make comprehensible both to science majors and to students of the humanities the historical  structure and development of modern science and to show sciences as cultural phenomena. Changing perceptions of nature and human knowledge from Greek Antiquity to the twentieth century form the framework for current Western views of the world, while the roots of the present-day dominance of "science" as a symbol of progress and modernity lie in an alliance between knowledge of nature and power over nature that took shape in the nineteenth century after a long period of emergence. This course covers the eighteenth, nineteenth, and early twentieth centuries.  
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STS 2851 : Communication, Environment, Science, and Health
Crosslisted as: COMM 2850 Semester offered: Spring 2017 Instructor:
Environmental problems, public health issues, scientific research-in each of these areas, communication plays a fundamental role. From the media to individual conversations, from technical journals to textbooks, from lab notes to the web, communication helps define scientifically based social issues and research findings. This course examines the institutional and intellectual contexts, processes, and practical constraints on communication in the sciences.
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BSOC 3011 : Life Sciences and Society
Crosslisted as: STS 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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BSOC 3111 : Sociology of Medicine
Crosslisted as: DSOC 3111, SOC 3130, STS 3111 Semester offered: Spring 2017 Instructor:
This course provides an introduction to the ways in which medical practice, the medical profession, and medical technology are embedded in society and culture. We will ask how medicine is connected to various sociocultural factors such as gender, social class, race, and administrative cultures. We will examine the rise of medical sociology as a discipline, the professionalization of medicine, and processes of medicalization and demedicalization. We will look at alternative medical practices and how they differ from and converge with the dominant medical paradigm. We will focus on the rise of medical technology in clinical practice with a special emphases on reproductive technologies. We will focus on the body as a site for medical knowledge, including the medicalization of sex differences, the effect of culture on nutrition, and eating disorders such as obesity and anorexia nervosa. We will also read various classic and contemporary texts that speak to the illness experience and the culture of surgeons, hospitals, and patients, and we will discuss various case studies in the social construction of physical and mental illness.
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BSOC 3181 : Living in an Uncertain World: Science, Technology, and Risk
Crosslisted as: HIST 3181, STS 3181 Semester offered: Spring 2017 Instructor:
This course explores the history, sociology, and ethics of risk. In particular, we will focus on the complex and often ambiguous relationship between science, technology, and risk. A historical perspective shows how science and technology have generated risks while they have also played key roles in managing and solving those very risks. By examining several case studies, including 19th-century mining, the 1911 Triangle fire, nuclear science, the space shuttle disasters, asbestos litigation, Hurricane Katrina, and the contemporary financial crisis, we will consider how risk and ideas about risk have changed over time. By exploring different historical and cultural responses to risk, we will examine the sociopolitical dimensions of the definitions, perceptions, and management of risk both in the past and the present.
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STS 3241 : Environmental Sociology
Crosslisted as: DSOC 3240, SOC 3240 Semester offered: Spring 2017 Instructor:
The course examines the relationships between human populations and the environment, with an emphasis on the importance of demographic change in shaping the natural environment. We will examine a variety of theoretical perspectives used in the analysis of population- environmental relationships, and will consider how a range of forces (technology, institutions, culture) might mediate these linkages. Focus on population will expand beyond traditional emphasis on population size to also consider the role that population composition and other population processes play in driving environmental change (including climate, land-use, water, energy resources), and how this change, in turn, impacts human populations. We will also raise some of the methodological challenges that arise when studying these linkages, and students will work with secondary data to conduct their own analyses on population-environment questions. By the end of the course, students should have the theoretical and methodological tools to better connect with public debates around issues of environmental justice, sustainability, conservation, and population policy.
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BSOC 3311 : Environmental Governance
Crosslisted as: DSOC 3311, NTRES 3311, STS 3311 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 3481 : British Romanticism
Crosslisted as: ENGL 3400 Semester offered: Spring 2017 Instructor:
With the exhilarating and terrifying historical "experiments" of the French and American Revolutions in the background, English Romantic writers tackled the question of the personal and political effects of literary experimentation. They did so in dialogue with new methods of experimental science that were unsettling traditional conceptions of thinking, feeling, nature and social progress. Could new literary techniques have revolutionary or reactionary effects, or elude the very logic of cause and effect? Might poems and novels alter routines of perception or harbor lost histories and futures? Such possibilities for "experiment" will guide this survey of Romantic literature, from poetic neuroscience to the Revolution controversy and experimental writing from Blake, the Shelleys, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Burke, Goethe, Baillie and Barbauld.
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STS 3561 : Computing Cultures
Crosslisted as: ANTHR 3061, COMM 3560, INFO 3561, VISST 3560 Semester offered: Spring 2017 Instructor:
Computers are powerful tools for working, playing, thinking, and living. Laptops, PDAs, webcams, cell phones, and iPods are not just devices, they also provide narratives, metaphors, and ways of seeing the world. This course critically examines how computing technology and society shape each other and how this plays out in our everyday lives. Identifies how computers, networks, and information technologies reproduce, reinforce, and rework existing cultural trends, norms, and values. Looks at the values embodied in the cultures of computing and considers alternative ways to imagine, build, and work with information technologies.
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STS 3601 : Ethical Issues in Engineering Practice
Crosslisted as: ECE 3600, ENGRG 3600 Semester offered: Spring 2017 Instructor:
Studies major ethical and social issues involved in engineering practice. The issues include responsibility for designing products that do not harm public health, safety, and welfare; rights of engineers in large corporations; risk analysis and the principle of informed consent; conflict of interest; whistle blowing; trade secrets; and broader concerns such as environmental degradation, cost of health care, computer ethics, and working in multinational corporations. Codes of ethics of the professional engineering societies, ethical theory, and the history and sociology of engineering are introduced to analyze these issues.
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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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BSOC 3751 : Independent Study
Semester offered: Spring 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 3911 : Science in the American Polity, 1960 to Now
Crosslisted as: AMST 3911, GOVT 3091 Semester offered: Spring 2017 Instructor:
This course reviews the changing political relations between science, technology, and the state in America from 1960 to the present. It focuses on policy choices involving science and technology in different institutional settings, such as Congress, the court system, and regulatory agencies. The tension between the concepts of science as an autonomous republic and as just another interest group is a central theme.
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STS 3991 : Undergraduate Independent Study
Semester offered: Spring 2017 Instructor:
More information and applications available in 306 Rockefeller Hall.
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STS 4031 : From Mug Shots to Biometrics: Global Technologies of Identification
Crosslisted as: HIST 4031 Semester offered: Spring 2017 Instructor:
The course is designed to introduce students to the historical background of a set of debates and problems pertaining to the role technologies of identification have played in shaping our understanding of citizenship, exclusion, personal liberties, and democracy. Since these are current topics that we read about in the media every day, the course offers the necessary analytical skills to frame them in a larger context from an inter-disciplinary perspective. Readings, discussions, and assignments seek to encourage students to enrich their personal analysis by combining their own experience with identification and identity documents, specific cases from different contexts and critical reflection.
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BSOC 4071 : Law, Science, and Public Values
Crosslisted as: STS 4071 Semester offered: Spring 2017 Instructor:
Examines problems that arise at the interface of law and science. These problems include the regulation of novel technology, the role of technical expertise in public decision making, and the control over scientific research. The first part of the course covers basic perspectives in S&TS and how they relate to legal decisions and processes. The second part covers a series of examples and legal cases on the role of expert judgments in legal and legislative settings, intellectual property considerations in science and medicine, and legal and political oversight of scientific research. The final part examines social processes and practices in legal institutions, and relates these to specific cases of scientific and technological controversy. Lectures and assignments are designed to acquaint students with relevant ideas about the relationship between legal, political, and scientific institutions, and to encourage independent thought and research about specific problems covered in the course.
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STS 4101 : The Entangled Lives of Humans and Animals
Crosslisted as: ANTHR 4101 Semester offered: Spring 2017 Instructor:
One animal behaviorist speculates that big brains develop when species are social; that is, when they must read cues from members of their group to understand when to approach, when to flee, when to fight, when to care. This course looks not only at animals in their social lives, but also at animals in their lives with us. We ask questions about how species become entangled and what that means for both parties, about the social lives of animals independently and with humans, about the survival of human and animal species, and about what it means to use animals for science, food, and profit. The course draws on readings from Anthropology, Science & Technology Studies, and animal trainers and behaviorists.
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BSOC 4122 : Darwin and the Making of Histories
Crosslisted as: HIST 4122, STS 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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BSOC 4351 : Postcolonial Science
Crosslisted as: ANTHR 4435, ANTHR 7435, STS 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 4352 : Medieval Cosmologies: Text, Image, and Music
Crosslisted as: ARTH 4352, ARTH 6352, CLASS 4753, CLASS 7753, MEDVL 4352, MEDVL 6352, MUSIC 4352, NES 4352, NES 6352, RELST 4352, RELST 6352, STS 6352, VISST 4352 Semester offered: Spring 2017 Instructor:
Cosmology can be understood as the search for order in the universe, for an underlying logic that structures and renders intelligible the raw chaos of sensory experience. In this sense, the production of cosmologies is not only a scientific or theoretical enterprise, but also has direct implications for religion, politics, and social ideology. We will adopt a broad approach to the study of the dominant cosmological models in the medieval Mediterranean (ca. 500-1500 C.E.), considering both their sources (Greco-Roman science, mythology, revealed religion, etc.) and their expressions in literature, art, and music.
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BSOC 4431 : Victorian Literature and Psychology: Madness, Monstrosity, and the Science of Mind
Crosslisted as: ENGL 4430 Semester offered: Spring 2017 Instructor:
This course examines a range of nineteenth-century British literature, focusing on how Victorian writers represented the workings of the human mind. In particular, we examine how novels (and a few poems) trace the development of subjectivity in a variety of genres, while also reading selections from psychological texts of the period. In these works, we study Victorian interest in the relation between the self and society as it emerges through sympathy, memory, emotion, reverie, obsession, hysteria, monomania, insanity, and double consciousness. We will also evaluate how well more recent psychological concepts like trauma can elucidate Victorian texts. Readings may include Charlotte Brontë, Villette; Robert Browning, selected poems; Wilkie Collins, The Woman in White; Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Lady Audley's Secret; George Eliot, Daniel Deronda; Elizabeth Gaskell, Mary Barton; Robert Louis Stevenson, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde; Tennyson, Maud.
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STS 4541 : Risk and Society
Semester offered: Spring 2017 Instructor:
Hurricanes. Guns. Zika. Contaminated food. Climate change. Hazardous chemicals. Accidents. Cyber warfare. We live in a hazardous world of uncertainty, surrounded by claims about risks, some sounding the alarm, some seeking to reassure. Scientists, engineers, and managers try to measure and model the risks embedded in complex systems, hoping to improve our understanding and guide decisions. This seminar will consider risk from the perspective of the social sciences. How do individuals, organizations, and societies produce knowledge about hazards? How do they decide which threats deserve their attention? How do conflicting viewpoints about risk shape technology and politics? We will examine controversies in public health, disaster management, medicine, finance, emerging technologies, and the environment. The central theme of the course will be a social investigation of how natural and social sciences have approached the problem of risk.
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STS 4561 : Stars, Scores, and Rankings: Evaluation and Society
Crosslisted as: INFO 4561, SOC 4560 Semester offered: Spring 2017 Instructor:
Evaluation is a pervasive feature of contemporary life. Professors, doctors, countries, hotels, pollution, books, intelligence: there is hardly anything that is not subject to some form of review, rating, or ranking these days. This senior seminar examines the practices, cultures, and technologies of evaluation and asks how value is established, maintained, compared, subverted, resisted, and institutionalized in a range of different settings. Topics include user reviews, institutional audit, ranking and commensuration, algorithmic evaluation, tasting, gossip, and awards. Drawing on case studies from science, technology, culture, accounting, art, environment, and everyday life, we shall explore how evaluation comes to order our lives – and why it is so difficult to resist.
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STS 4601 : Deep Skin in Digital Architecture
Crosslisted as: ARCH 6308, SHUM 4609, VISST 4609 Semester offered: Spring 2017 Instructor:
The building skin separates and provides a controlled atmosphere for the interior space of a building, set off from the surrounding environment. When architecture is understood as an organism, and the skin and structure of architecture as a system, the conflation of structure into the skin is a way of thinking of the architectural enclosure as a deep skin, and the individual parts of which an architectural skin is constructed, as a study of the tissue of structure. This seminar will  engage these ideas across a wide range of disciplines and topics including: the specular/reflecting skin, mediatic skins, metabolism and megastructures, the digital skin, the new grotesque, and Big Data and networked skins. The skin of architecture is the intersection of theory, materiality, affect, signification, and comfort.
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STS 4610 : Media and Elemental Things
Crosslisted as: SHUM 4610, VISST 4610 Semester offered: Spring 2017 Instructor:
The pervasiveness of media in and through the planet has rendered the term "media" a muddy one, situated between technics, nature, and human. This seminar develops a set of theoretical frameworks and methodologies for thinking about the ontologies, ecologies, and materialities of media with a particular focus on the relationship between media and the elemental world – the world of clouds, sediment, water, ecological systems, atmospheres, and bodies. How is an understanding of media in relation to elemental materiality transforming the ontological, ecological, intellectual, and political contours of media studies? To explore this topic, this seminar draws material from media studies and new materialism in conversation with perspectives in anthropology, science and technology studies, environmental studies, and art history, and philosophy.
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BSOC 4651 : Bodies and Diseases in the Middle East (1500-2000)
Crosslisted as: FGSS 4652, NES 4652, NES 6652 Semester offered: Spring 2017 Instructor:
Bodies and Diseases in the Middle East (1500-2000) will explore the history of medicine and science in the Middle East from early modern period to the present. It covers the main topics and questions regarding bodies, diseases, and medical institutions within the framework of major historical developments in world and region's history. The course investigates how medicine and knowledge about diseases and bodies changed political and social conditions as well as how the latter defined and transformed the ways in which people imagined health, life, and environment. Scholars have often analyzed history of medicine in the Middle Eastern societies either in relation to Islamic culture in the early modern period or in relation to more recent Westernization. This course seeks to challenge these fixed paradigms and shed light onto questions and research agendas that will unearth the encounters, connections and mobility of bacteria, bodies, and medical methods among various communities by locating the history of medical knowledge and practices of the Middle East within global history.  It will highlight that the history of medicine in the colonial world itself is varied and wide ranging, investigating how medical missions intersected with civilizing missions, how colonial discourses were used to explain disease prevalence, and the relationship between the metropole and colony in propagating certain medical theories and practices. The course seeks to facilitate student engagement with various primary and secondary sources and new technologies to teach both historiographical methods and the content of the history of medicine in the Middle East.
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STS 4661 : Public Communication of Science and Technology
Crosslisted as: COMM 4660 Semester offered: Spring 2017 Instructor:
Explores the structure, meanings, and implications of "public communication of science and technology" (PCST). Examines the contexts in which PCST occurs, looks at motivations and constraints of those involved in producing information about science for nonprofessional audiences, and analyzes the functions of PCST. Ties existing ideas about PCST to general communication research, and leads to developing new knowledge about PCST. Format is primarily seminar/discussion.
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BSOC 4691 : Food, Agriculture, and Society
Crosslisted as: BIOEE 4690, STS 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 4751 : Science, Race, and Colonialism
Crosslisted as: HIST 4751 Semester offered: Spring 2017 Instructor:
This course is divided into three major thematic sections. The first looks at the history of racial thinking in the West. We begin with the existence (or not) of conceptions of biological race in the early- modern period, focusing on early voyages of discovery and so-called "first encounters" between the peoples of the Old and New Worlds.  In the second part of the course we will look at early enunciations of racial thought in the late 18th century and at the problems of classification that these raised, before examining the roots of "Scientific Racism." We close with a look at Darwin, Social Darwinism, and eugenics movements in different national contexts.  The last third of the course looks at science and technology in colonial contexts, including "colonial technologies" (guns, steam- ships, and telegraphs) as well as medicine and public hygiene.
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STS 4821 : What was Film?
Crosslisted as: COML 4312, GERST 4312, PMA 4512 Semester offered: Spring 2017 Instructor:
In retrospect, was film anything more than some highly flammable strips of celluloid? Taking its cue from the "digital turn," this course rephrases a traditional question asked in film theory about the nature of the medium (What is film?) in terms of a historical question: What was film when it was still something to be cut, wound up, and carried around, a thing with a literally explosive potential? Reframing the object of study in this manner will help situate familiar narrative cinema within more unfamiliar scientific, aesthetic, and experimental contexts. Early film theorists saw great potential in the new medium, thought to be capable of conveying a new experience of movement and time, creating a new art of light and shadow, or functioning as a new kind of scientific instrument. Screenings will put readings of early film theory in dialogue with early European silent films that address similar concerns about the nature of cinema, such as A Trip to the Moon (1902), The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920), The Adventures of Prince Achmed (1926), and Man with a Movie Camera (1929).
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BSOC 4991 : Honors Project I
Crosslisted as: STS 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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BSOC 4992 : Honors Project II
Crosslisted as: HE 4992, STS 4992 Semester offered: Spring 2017 Instructor:
Students must register for the 4 credits each semester (BSOC 4991-BSOC 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 6061 : Science, Technology and Capitalism
Crosslisted as: HIST 6065 Semester offered: Spring 2017 Instructor:
This course examines the relationship between scientific development, technological innovation and maintenance, and the capitalistic forces that support and benefit from these activities.
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STS 6071 : Ethnomethodology
Semester offered: Spring 2017 Instructor:
Ethnomethodology (literally people's methodology) is the study of practices through which people collectively organize and sustain social activities. After being introduced as a subfield of sociology in the 1960s, ethnomethodology became an interdisciplinary program with representation ins several social science fields, including Science & Technology Studies. This course begins with an examination of ethnomethodology's philosophical roots. It then examines some of the main theoretical and conceptual issues in ethnomethodology, before focusing on ethnomethodological studies of the natural science and mathematics, and other areas of technical work. The aim of the course is to acquaint students with a conceptual background and research strategies that continue to have value for developing insightful empirical studies of a broad range of social phenomena.
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STS 6181 : Confluence: Environmental History and Science & Technology Studies
Crosslisted as: HIST 6181 Semester offered: Spring 2017 Instructor:
This course uses water to examine the confluence of two fields: environmental history and the social and historical studies of science and technology. Although preliminary scholarship has begun to demonstrate the fruitful integration of these fields, a number of methodological and theoretical tensions remain. Some of these tensions include the social construction of "nature," nature as a historical actor, accounts of the emergence of "environmental" "problems," constructivist models of science and technology, and scholars' use of technoscientific sources to assess environmental change. This class, therefore, examines a number of scholarly debates about key terms, definitions, and categories (both historical actors' and analysts'), knowledge-making about "nature" and human interactions with nonhuman nature, and the concept of agency. Weekly seminars are organized around readings in environmental history, science studies, and/or their intersection that explore these issues in diverse ways while usually addressing various aquatic environments in comparative historical and cultural perspective.
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STS 6311 : Qualitative Research Methods for Studying Science
Crosslisted as: SOC 6310 Semester offered: Spring 2017 Instructor:
In this Graduate seminar we will discuss the nature, politics and basic assumptions underlying qualitative research. We will examine a selection of qualitative methods ranging from interviewing, oral history, ethnography, participant observation, archival research and visual methods. We will also discuss the relationship between theory and method. All stages of a research project will be discussed - choice of research topic and appropriate methods; human subject concerns and permissions; issues regarding doing research; as well as the process of writing up and publishing research findings.
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STS 6321 : Inside Technology
Crosslisted as: SOC 6320 Semester offered: Spring 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 6352 : Medieval Cosmologies: Text, Image, and Music
Crosslisted as: ARTH 4352, ARTH 6352, CLASS 4753, CLASS 7753, MEDVL 4352, MEDVL 6352, MUSIC 4352, NES 4352, NES 6352, RELST 4352, RELST 6352, STS 4352, VISST 4352 Semester offered: Spring 2017 Instructor:
Cosmology can be understood as the search for order in the universe, for an underlying logic that structures and renders intelligible the raw chaos of sensory experience. In this sense, the production of cosmologies is not only a scientific or theoretical enterprise, but also has direct implications for religion, politics, and social ideology. We will adopt a broad approach to the study of the dominant cosmological models in the medieval Mediterranean (ca. 500-1500 C.E.), considering both their sources (Greco-Roman science, mythology, revealed religion, etc.) and their expressions in literature, art, and music.
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STS 6991 : Graduate Independent Study
Semester offered: Spring 2017 Instructor:
Applications and information are available in 306 Rockefeller Hall.
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