Courses - Fall 2019

STS 1101 Science, Technology, and Politics

From global warming to surveillance of citizens to health-care reform, issues in science, technology, and medicine are also 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.

Distribution: (SBA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Christine Leuenberger (cal22)
Full details for STS 1101 : Science, Technology, and Politics
STS 1123 FWS: Technology and Society Topics

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.

Academic Career: UG Instructor: Derek Parrott (dtp39)
Full details for STS 1123 : FWS: Technology and Society Topics
STS 1126 FWS: Science and Society Topics

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.

Academic Career: UG Instructor: Rebecca Harrison (rah288)
Full details for STS 1126 : FWS: Science and Society Topics
STS 1180 Evolution

Evolution is the central concept in biology. This course examines evolution as a science and places it in an historical context. Classes 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, and climate change.

Distribution: (BIOLS-AG, OPHLS-AG, PBS-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Michelle Smith (mks274)
Full details for STS 1180 : Evolution
STS 2051 Ethical Issues in Health and Medicine

In the rapidly changing world of healthcare, complex ethical issues arise from interpersonal interactions between patients and clinicians to broad controversies that propel medicine into headline news.  This course will examine ethical challenges in contemporary medicine, healthcare, and biomedical research from the bedside to health policy.  Using case-vignettes, news stories, narratives, and readings from the healthcare, ethics, and social science literature we will examine issues from multiple vantage points. A range of topics will be explored including the patient-clinician relationship, heath care decision-making, issues at the beginning and end-of-life, technological advances, human experimentation, healthcare systems, and distributive justice. The course will also examine the fluidity of normative ethical boundaries, and how context and point of reference influence our perceptions of and approach to ethical issues. 

Distribution: (KCM-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Kim Overby (kjo46)
Full details for STS 2051 : Ethical Issues in Health and Medicine
STS 2131 Science Fiction

Science fiction is not merely a literary genre but a whole way of being, thinking, and acting in the modern world. This course explores classic and contemporary science fiction from Frankenstein to The Hunger Games alongside a rich array of fiction and films from Asia, Africa, Europe, 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 our selves, our world, and our future.

Distribution: (CA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Anindita Banerjee (ab425)
Full details for STS 2131 : Science Fiction
STS 2280 What is Public Health?

How have different dimensions of our lives become matters of public health? Focusing on modern America, this course explores how public health has been bound up with histories of the state, the economy, and inequality. Most broadly, we will ask what is defined as a public health problem and why. The class examines early attempts to control infectious disease, the expansion of public health in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and new dimensions of public health in the post-war period. In the final portion, the class will explore recently recognized threats to the public's health. Throughout, we will pay attention to the practices of public health that have fostered or challenged hierarchies of race, gender, class, and ability.

Distribution: (HA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Hannah LeBlanc (hfl22)
Full details for STS 2280 : What is Public Health?
STS 2451 Introduction to Bioethics

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?

Distribution: (KCM-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Julia Markovits (jm2476)
Full details for STS 2451 : Introduction to Bioethics
STS 2470 Digital Latinxs

Digital technology has been a part of modern life in the U.S. since the Cold War. A growing population of users works, plays, become politically active and fight-off boredom through digital technology. But who are these users? Where do they congregate and how do they emerge? How do they make meaning of their lives? This course focuses on the everyday experiences of Latinxs as users. It examines their participation in digital environments and their engagements with technology while paying attention to their social, political, and cultural contexts. Rather than imagine "users" as a universal category, students will learn about the experiences of Latinxs in digital spaces and their contributions to what scholars call digital culture.

Distribution: (CA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Ivan Chaar Lopez (ic349)
Full details for STS 2470 : Digital Latinxs
STS 2561 Medicine and Healing in China

An exploration of processes of change in health care practices in China. Focuses on key transitions, such as the emergence of canonical medicine, of Daoist approaches to healing and longevity, of "scholar physicians," and of "traditional Chinese medicine" in modern China.  Inquires into the development of healing practices in relation to both popular and specialist views of the body and disease; health care as organized by individuals, families, communities, and states; the transmission of medical knowledge; and healer-patient relations. Course readings include primary texts in translation as well as secondary materials. 

Distribution: (HA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Tj Hinrichs (th289)
Full details for STS 2561 : Medicine and Healing in China
STS 2751 Ethical Issues in Intelligent Autonomous Systems

Covers the ethics of intelligent autonomous systems. Fulfills liberal studies credit – is not an ECE technical elective. 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 use. 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, social media, robot artists, robot scientists, automation, medical robotics, and policing, among others.

Distribution: (KCM-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Park Doing (pad9)
Full details for STS 2751 : Ethical Issues in Intelligent Autonomous Systems
STS 2921 Inventing an Information Society

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.

Distribution: (HA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Ron Kline (rrk1)
Full details for STS 2921 : Inventing an Information Society
STS 3011 Life Sciences and Society

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.

Distribution: (SBA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Christopher Roebuck (cr566)
Full details for STS 3011 : Life Sciences and Society
STS 3020 Science Writing for the Media

How to write about science, technology, and medicine for the media. Writing assignments focus on writing news for web sites, blogs, magazines, and other media.

Academic Career: UG Instructor: Danielle Eiseman (dle58)
Full details for STS 3020 : Science Writing for the Media
STS 3111 Sociology of Medicine

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.

Distribution: (SBA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Christine Leuenberger (cal22)
Full details for STS 3111 : Sociology of Medicine
STS 3231 Global Health Security and Diplomacy

This course analyzes the development of foreign policy at the nexus of global health and national security in an attempt to better define and understand the evolving concept of "Global Health Security and Diplomacy". Interdisciplinary in nature, the course covers a broad set of themes and their intersection, including science and technology policy, biodefense and counter terrorism, gender disparity and development, nonproliferation, food security, global health, and U.S. diplomacy. Emphasis is placed on the current U.S. administration's efforts to advance a national security and foreign policy agenda inclusive of global grand challenges. We will also pay particular attention to understanding to the role of non-governmental organizations in global health security.

Distribution: (SBA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Jason Rao (jr797)
Full details for STS 3231 : Global Health Security and Diplomacy
STS 3311 Environmental Governance

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.

Distribution: (SBA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Steven Wolf (saw44)
Full details for STS 3311 : Environmental Governance
STS 3911 Science in the American Polity, 1960 to Now

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.

Distribution: (SBA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Stephen Hilgartner (shh6)
Full details for STS 3911 : Science in the American Polity, 1960 to Now
STS 3991 Undergraduate Independent Study

Applications for research projects are accepted by individual STS faculty members. Students may enroll for 1–4 credits in STS 3991 with written permission of the faculty supervisor and may elect either the letter grade or the S–U option. Information on faculty research, scholarly activities, and undergraduate opportunities are available in the Science & Technology Studies office, 303 Morrill Hall. Independent study credits may not be used in completion of the major requirements.

Academic Career: UG Instructor: Peter Dear (prd3)
Full details for STS 3991 : Undergraduate Independent Study
STS 4041 Controversies in Science, Technology and Medicine: What They Are and How to Study Them

Scientists in the main try to avoid controversy whilst STS scholars argue that controversy can be a motor of scientific change. There is a lengthy tradition of research into different forms of controversies within science, technology, and medicine. We will read selectively and discuss critically this literature. Students will differentiate between "priority disputes" over credit for discoveries and wider controversies, such as "global warming", which bring in many diverse audiences.  We will cover historical cases as well as contemporary ones.  Students will critically evaluate the main analytical approaches towards controversies and we will also explore new web-based tools for researching controversies.   

Distribution: (SBA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Trevor Pinch (tjp2)
Full details for STS 4041 : Controversies in Science, Technology and Medicine: What They Are and How to Study Them
STS 4240 Designing Technology for Social Impact

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?

Distribution: (CA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Phoebe Sengers (pjs54)
Full details for STS 4240 : Designing Technology for Social Impact
STS 4312 Synthesizing Pop: Electronics and the Musical Imagination

From Switched-On Bach to Synthpop and EDM, since the late 1960s electronic synthesizers have expanded the sonic palette and identity formation of popular musicians, leading to new concepts of sound and performance as well as communal, technological, and human interfaces. This course will explore the cultural history of analog synthesizers and their progeny of digital devices (samplers, sequencers, drum machines) and desktop technologies that revolutionized popular music soundscapes and embodiment. Synthesis will be considered as both a musical technology and theoretical concept that together spark imagined cyborg identities and post-human futures, challenging and resynthesizing categories of gender, sexuality, and race. Student will also have the opportunity to engage with Cornell's Robert Moog Archive and develop research, creative, or curation projects that may be featured in the spring 2020 exhibition and programming to celebrate this collection.  This course is open to graduate students and fourth-year undergraduates by permission.  Undergraduates should contact the instructor before enrolling.

Distribution: (CA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Roger Moseley (rsm253)
Judith Peraino (jap28)
Full details for STS 4312 : Synthesizing Pop: Electronics and the Musical Imagination
STS 4330 How Do We Know Nature? Language, Knowledge and the Environment

How do we perceive and know the world around us? Which are the multiple ways in which we negotiate this knowledge into language and embodied practice? Does one's position in society matter? Is the thing reducible to its representation? This senior seminar proposes to confront the production of knowledge on nature through the lenses of our (and others') ways of wording it. Towards the end of the semester, we will focus on the concept of adaptation: how do we cope with an increasingly difficult environment? This course includes an engaged research component and experiential learning—we will prepare an art/research installation called "The Flood Room: Environmental Knowledge, Disaster Preparedness, Community Resilience and Climate Change Communication in Ithaca, New York" in collaboration with local community organizations.

Distribution: (CA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Luisa Cortesi (lc937)
Full details for STS 4330 : How Do We Know Nature? Language, Knowledge and the Environment
STS 4641 Technologies of Power in Latin American Dirty Wars

This seminar explores Latin American political violence since the 1970s, focusing on the role technology played in internal conflicts called "Dirty Wars," in which the state employed extrajudicial violence to halt leftist or communist "subversion." These responses by police, military, and paramilitary groups left hundreds of thousands of civilians dead. Reports from large-scale investigations called truth commissions, first-person testimonies, fiction, and films underscore the employment of technology in these conflicts—electrical torture, the destruction of electrical towers, foreign-made weapons and vehicles, and seizures of media stations and newspapers. The seminar emphasizes the history of technology in human rights violations more broadly, from the 1994 Rwandan genocide to the United States' responses to extremism after 9/11. For longer description and instructor bio, visit societyhumanities.as.cornell.edu/courses

Academic Career: UG Instructor: Willie Hiatt (wlh57)
Full details for STS 4641 : Technologies of Power in Latin American Dirty Wars
STS 4751 Science, Race, and Colonialism

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.

Distribution: (HA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Suman Seth (ss536)
Full details for STS 4751 : Science, Race, and Colonialism
STS 4841 What is (an) Epidemic? (Infectious Diseases in Historical, Social, and Political Perspective)

The term "epidemic" travels widely and wildly in contemporary worlds.  But, what, when and where is "the epidemic"? How and why does epidemic unfold? This senior seminar offers an interdisciplinary exploration of infectious diseases.  Our investigations take us from medieval Europe's "Black Plague," to Tuberculosis in early twentieth century United States and its global resurgence at the turn of the twenty-first, to Ebola and its ongoing, periodic outbreaks today. We consider the consequences epidemics have for how we live and imagine shared ecological futures.  Examining work from the life sciences, social sciences, and arts & humanities, we explore the ways in which life and death, disease and survivability, health and thriving are shaped by infectious microbes, embodied eco-social forces, and contingent regimes of knowledge-power. 

Distribution: (SBA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Christopher Roebuck (cr566)
Full details for STS 4841 : What is (an) Epidemic? (Infectious Diseases in Historical, Social, and Political Perspective)
STS 4902 Environmental Humanities: Theories and Methods

The environmental humanities pose a radically different set of questions to texts, materials, and contexts that were previously approached in terms of human intentions and actions alone. This seminar explores the theoretical and methodological potentials of this rapidly emerging and constantly evolving field from the interdisciplinary, comparative perspective that it also axiomatically demands. Together we will discuss seminal works that tackle four foundational concepts imperative for reframing the traditional concerns of the humanities under the sign of anthropogenic planetary change -- scale, form, matter/ energy, and distribution. The seminar will develop ways to configure these focal points to the theoretical and practical concerns of various disciplinary approaches and, especially, to participants' individual interests and research projects.

Distribution: (CA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Anindita Banerjee (ab425)
Full details for STS 4902 : Environmental Humanities: Theories and Methods
STS 4991 Honors Project I

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.

Academic Career: UG Full details for STS 4991 : Honors Project I
STS 6061 Science, Technology and Capitalism

This course examines the relationship between scientific development, technological innovation and maintenance, and the capitalistic forces that support and benefit from these activities.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Jessica Ratcliff (jrr47)
Full details for STS 6061 : Science, Technology and Capitalism
STS 6121 Environmental History

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.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Aaron Sachs (as475)
Full details for STS 6121 : Environmental History
STS 6312 Synthesizing Pop: Electronics and the Musical Imagination

From Switched-On Bach to Synthpop and EDM, since the late 1960s electronic synthesizers have expanded the sonic palette and identity formation of popular musicians, leading to new concepts of sound and performance as well as communal, technological, and human interfaces. This course will explore the cultural history of analog synthesizers and their progeny of digital devices (samplers, sequencers, drum machines) and desktop technologies that revolutionized popular music soundscapes and embodiment. Synthesis will be considered as both a musical technology and theoretical concept that together spark imagined cyborg identities and post-human futures, challenging and resynthesizing categories of gender, sexuality, and race. Student will also have the opportunity to engage with Cornell's Robert Moog Archive and develop research, creative, or curation projects that may be featured in the spring 2020 exhibition and programming to celebrate this collection.  This course is open to graduate students and fourth-year undergraduates by permission.  Undergraduates should contact the instructor before enrolling.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Roger Moseley (rsm253)
Judith Peraino (jap28)
Full details for STS 6312 : Synthesizing Pop: Electronics and the Musical Imagination
STS 6321 Inside Technology

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.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Trevor Pinch (tjp2)
Full details for STS 6321 : Inside Technology
STS 6641 Technologies of Power in Latin American Dirty Wars

This seminar explores Latin American political violence since the 1970s, focusing on the role technology played in internal conflicts called "Dirty Wars," in which the state employed extrajudicial violence to halt leftist or communist "subversion." These responses by police, military, and paramilitary groups left hundreds of thousands of civilians dead. Reports from large-scale investigations called truth commissions, first-person testimonies, fiction, and films underscore the employment of technology in these conflicts—electrical torture, the destruction of electrical towers, foreign-made weapons and vehicles, and seizures of media stations and newspapers. The seminar emphasizes the history of technology in human rights violations more broadly, from the 1994 Rwandan genocide to the United States' responses to extremism after 9/11. For longer description and instructor bio, visit societyhumanities.as.cornell.edu/courses.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Willie Hiatt (wlh57)
Full details for STS 6641 : Technologies of Power in Latin American Dirty Wars
STS 6902 Environmental Humanities: Theories and Methods

The environmental humanities pose a radically different set of questions to texts, materials, and contexts that were previously approached in terms of human intentions and actions alone. This seminar explores the theoretical and methodological potentials of this rapidly emerging and constantly evolving field from the interdisciplinary, comparative perspective that it also axiomatically demands. Together we will discuss seminal works that tackle four foundational concepts imperative for reframing the traditional concerns of the humanities under the sign of anthropogenic planetary change -- scale, form, matter/ energy, and distribution. The seminar will develop ways to configure these focal points to the theoretical and practical concerns of various disciplinary approaches and, especially, to participants' individual interests and research projects.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Anindita Banerjee (ab425)
Full details for STS 6902 : Environmental Humanities: Theories and Methods
STS 6991 Graduate Independent Study

Applications and information are available in 303 Morrill Hall.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Peter Dear (prd3)
Full details for STS 6991 : Graduate Independent Study
STS 7111 Introduction to Science and Technology Studies

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.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Jessica Ratcliff (jrr47)
Rebecca Slayton (rs849)
Full details for STS 7111 : Introduction to Science and Technology Studies
STS 7937 Proseminar in Peace Studies

The Proseminar in Peace Studies offers a multidisciplinary review of issues related to peace and conflict at the graduate level. The course is led by the director of the Judith Reppy Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies and is based on the Institute's weekly seminar series, featuring outside visitors and Cornell faculty. 

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Rebecca Slayton (rs849)
Full details for STS 7937 : Proseminar in Peace Studies
BSOC 2051 Ethical Issues in Health and Medicine

In the rapidly changing world of healthcare, complex ethical issues arise from interpersonal interactions between patients and clinicians to broad controversies that propel medicine into headline news.  This course will examine ethical challenges in contemporary medicine, healthcare, and biomedical research from the bedside to health policy.  Using case-vignettes, news stories, narratives, and readings from the healthcare, ethics, and social science literature we will examine issues from multiple vantage points. A range of topics will be explored including the patient-clinician relationship, heath care decision-making, issues at the beginning and end-of-life, technological advances, human experimentation, healthcare systems, and distributive justice. The course will also examine the fluidity of normative ethical boundaries, and how context and point of reference influence our perceptions of and approach to ethical issues. 

Distribution: (KCM-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Kim Overby (kjo46)
Full details for BSOC 2051 : Ethical Issues in Health and Medicine
BSOC 2101 Plagues and People

Human diseases 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.

Academic Career: UG Instructor: Marina Caillaud (cmc27)
Laura Harrington (lch27)
Full details for BSOC 2101 : Plagues and People
BSOC 2131 Science Fiction

Science fiction is not merely a literary genre but a whole way of being, thinking, and acting in the modern world. This course explores classic and contemporary science fiction from Frankenstein to The Hunger Games alongside a rich array of fiction and films from Asia, Africa, Europe, 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 our selves, our world, and our future.

Distribution: (CA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Anindita Banerjee (ab425)
Full details for BSOC 2131 : Science Fiction
BSOC 2245 Health and Disease in the Ancient World

The history of humankind is also a history of health and disease; the rise of agricultural societies, ancient cities, and colonial empires had wide-ranging effects on diet and nutrition, the spread of infectious diseases, and occurrence of other health conditions. This history has also been shaped by complex interactions between environment, technology, and society. Using archaeological, environmental, textual, and skeletal evidence, we will survey major epidemiological transitions from the Paleolithic to the age of European conquest. We will also examine diverse cultural experiences of health, illness, and the body. How do medical practices from "pre-modern" societies, such as the medieval Islamic world and the Inca Empire, challenge dominant narratives of scientific development? The implications of past health patterns for modern-day communities will also be explored.

Distribution: (HA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Matthew Velasco (mcv47)
Full details for BSOC 2245 : Health and Disease in the Ancient World
BSOC 2420 Nature/Culture: Ethnographic Approaches to Human-Environment Relations

One of the most pressing questions of our time is how we should understand the relationship between nature (or "the environment") and culture (or society) - and/or whether these should be viewed as separate domains at all.  How one answers this question has important implications for how we go about thinking and acting in such diverse social arenas as environmental politics, development, and indigenous-state relations.  This course serves as an introduction to the various ways anthropologists and other scholars have conceptualized the relationship between humans and the environment and considers the material and political consequences that flow from these conceptualizations.

Distribution: (CA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Paul Nadasdy (pn79)
Full details for BSOC 2420 : Nature/Culture: Ethnographic Approaches to Human-Environment Relations
BSOC 2561 Medicine and Healing in China

An exploration of processes of change in health care practices in China. Focuses on key transitions, such as the emergence of canonical medicine, of Daoist approaches to healing and longevity, of "scholar physicians," and of "traditional Chinese medicine" in modern China.  Inquires into the development of healing practices in relation to both popular and specialist views of the body and disease; health care as organized by individuals, families, communities, and states; the transmission of medical knowledge; and healer-patient relations. Course readings include primary texts in translation as well as secondary materials. 

Distribution: (HA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Tj Hinrichs (th289)
Full details for BSOC 2561 : Medicine and Healing in China
BSOC 2781 Body as Text: Pleasure and Danger

We experience our bodies as so much a part of who we are that we take them for granted. Yet the way we think about the body has a history of its own. This class looks at how the idea of "the body" gets constructed over time. How has the body come to have attributes called "gender," "sexuality," and "race"? Why have some bodies been seen as monstrous, perverted, and unholy, others as gorgeous, normal, and divine? What makes bodies pleasurable and dangerous? We'll find out by examining a broad range of evidence from the ancient era to the present day, including literature (Ovid, Kafka, Octavia Butler), philosophy (Plato, Descartes, Judith Butler), film, and the history of science.

Distribution: (LA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Masha Raskolnikov (mr283)
Full details for BSOC 2781 : Body as Text: Pleasure and Danger
BSOC 3011 Life Sciences and Society

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.

Distribution: (SBA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Christopher Roebuck (cr566)
Full details for BSOC 3011 : Life Sciences and Society
BSOC 3111 Sociology of Medicine

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.

Distribution: (SBA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Christine Leuenberger (cal22)
Full details for BSOC 3111 : Sociology of Medicine
BSOC 3231 Global Health Security and Diplomacy

This course analyzes the development of foreign policy at the nexus of global health and national security in an attempt to better define and understand the evolving concept of "Global Health Security and Diplomacy". Interdisciplinary in nature, the course covers a broad set of themes and their intersection, including science and technology policy, biodefense and counter terrorism, gender disparity and development, nonproliferation, food security, global health, and U.S. diplomacy. Emphasis is placed on the current U.S. administration's efforts to advance a national security and foreign policy agenda inclusive of global grand challenges. We will also pay particular attention to understanding to the role of non-governmental organizations in global health security.

Distribution: (SBA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Jason Rao (jr797)
Full details for BSOC 3231 : Global Health Security and Diplomacy
BSOC 3311 Environmental Governance

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.

Distribution: (SBA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Steven Wolf (saw44)
Full details for BSOC 3311 : Environmental Governance
BSOC 3441 Insect Conservation Biology

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).

Academic Career: UG Instructor: John Losey (jel27)
Full details for BSOC 3441 : Insect Conservation Biology
BSOC 3751 Independent Study

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. Information on faculty research, scholarly activities, and undergraduate opportunities are available in the Biology and Society Office, 303 Morrill Hall. Independent study credits may not be used in completion of the major requirements.

Academic Career: UG Instructor: Peter Dear (prd3)
Full details for BSOC 3751 : Independent Study
BSOC 4390 Primate Conservation: Cross-cultural Perspectives on Wilderness Preservation and Animal-Human

Primate species are going extinct. The goal of this seminar is to examine a variety of issues related to conservation in general, and to the conservation of primates in particular. For example, what is "wilderness"? Is there cross-cultural variation in how wild nature is valued? Can ethics be extended beyond humans? Is consumerism the real culprit in the global ecological crisis? How do human and nonhuman primate ecologies intersect, and how can understanding these intersections be integrated into conservation efforts? How, in practice, does one develop and implement a real-world conservation action plan? Discussions will focus both on theoretical issues and on the analysis of a new generation of real-world conservation initiatives that depend on interdisciplinary collaboration.

Distribution: (CA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Adam Arcadi (apc13)
Full details for BSOC 4390 : Primate Conservation: Cross-cultural Perspectives on Wilderness Preservation and Animal-Human
BSOC 4841 What is (an) Epidemic? (Infectious Diseases in Historical, Social, and Political Perspective)

The term "epidemic" travels widely and wildly in contemporary worlds.  But, what, when and where is "the epidemic"? How and why does epidemic unfold? This senior seminar offers an interdisciplinary exploration of infectious diseases.  Our investigations take us from medieval Europe's "Black Plague," to Tuberculosis in early twentieth century United States and its global resurgence at the turn of the twenty-first, to Ebola and its ongoing, periodic outbreaks today. We consider the consequences epidemics have for how we live and imagine shared ecological futures.  Examining work from the life sciences, social sciences, and arts & humanities, we explore the ways in which life and death, disease and survivability, health and thriving are shaped by infectious microbes, embodied eco-social forces, and contingent regimes of knowledge-power. 

Distribution: (SBA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Christopher Roebuck (cr566)
Full details for BSOC 4841 : What is (an) Epidemic? (Infectious Diseases in Historical, Social, and Political Perspective)
BSOC 4991 Honors Project I

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.

Academic Career: UG Full details for BSOC 4991 : Honors Project I