Courses - Spring 2020

STS 1113 FWS: Vital Politics: Science, Medicine, Activism

During Spring 2017, headlines across multiple media announced: "Thousands Rally in DC for March for Science;"  "March for Science: Crowds Join International Global Earth Day Protests."   But why are people gathering to assert – publically – that science matters?   Why now?   What is the relationship between science and politics, science and democracy, science and social change?  This seminar tackles these questions and others by examining social movements in which issues of science and medicine have become objects of contentious political debate.  We explore environmentalism and green movements, reproductive justice, HIV & AIDS, and related topics in the interdisciplinary field of Science and Technology Studies.  Closely examining the craft and rhetoric of effective communication, we "read" academic scholarship, print and web-based media, fiction and film – both words and images. 

Academic Career: UG Instructor: Christopher Roebuck (cr566)
Full details for STS 1113 : FWS: Vital Politics: Science, Medicine, Activism
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: Vu Tien Dung Ha (dvh27)
Full details for STS 1123 : FWS: Technology and Society Topics
STS 1201 Information Ethics, Law, and Policy

This course investigates the ethical, legal, and policy foundations of contemporary information technology. Through lectures, readings, discussions, and short assignments, we will address contemporary challenges ranging from privacy in big data and social computing to the nature of innovation, property, and collaboration in a networked world. We will cover key areas of technology law and policy such as telecommunications and network policy; concentration and antitrust; free speech and the first amendment; intellectual property; and privacy, security and freedom of information. We will also address new ethical questions and controversies that law and policy has yet to sort out. Through this course you'll learn about the key frameworks, processes, and institutions that govern the contemporary world of technology, along with key theories and methods from the academic fields that shape and inform them (law, philosophy, economics, political science, communication, sociology, etc.). You'll also learn core writing and analytic skills central to success in the worlds of social science, law, policy, and many other settings. But above all you'll learn to engage critically and strategically with the worlds of information and technology around you, deciding what kind of information consumer, user, and citizen YOU want to be.  

Distribution: (CA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Steven Jackson (sjj54)
Karen Levy (kl838)
Full details for STS 1201 : Information Ethics, Law, and Policy
STS 1942 The History of Science in Europe: Newton to Darwin; Darwin to Einstein

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. 

Distribution: (HA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Peter Dear (prd3)
Full details for STS 1942 : The History of Science in Europe: Newton to Darwin; Darwin to Einstein
STS 2011 What Is Science? An Introduction to the Social Studies of Science and Technology

This course introduces some central ideas in the field of S&TS. It is aimed at students from any background who are challenged to think more critically about what counts as scientific knowledge and why, and how science and technology intervene in the wider world. It also serves as an introduction to majors in Biology and Society or in Science and Technology Studies. The course mixes lectures, discussions, writing, and other activities. The discussion sections are an integral part of the course and attendance is required. A series of take-home written assignments and quizzes throughout the semester comprise the majority of the grade.

Distribution: (CA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Full details for STS 2011 : What Is Science? An Introduction to the Social Studies of Science and Technology
STS 2061 Ethics and the Environment

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?

Distribution: (KCM-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Sara Pritchard (sbp65)
Full details for STS 2061 : Ethics and the Environment
STS 2071 Introduction to the History of Medicine

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.

Distribution: (HA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Suman Seth (ss536)
Full details for STS 2071 : Introduction to the History of Medicine
STS 2468 Medicine, Culture, and Society

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.

Distribution: (CA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Stacey Langwick (sal54)
Full details for STS 2468 : Medicine, Culture, and Society
STS 2721 History of Mental Health and Mental Illness in the United States

This course examines the history of mental illness—its conception and treatment—in the United States, from the early 1800s to the present, focusing on four major questions: (1) How have understandings of mental illness been developed and deployed by psychologists, psychiatrists, psychoanalysts, and social workers, and how have those understandings varied across time and place? (2) How have understandings and treatments of mental illness shaped, and been shaped by, conceptions of race, class, gender, and sexuality? (3) In what ways have treatment of mental illness and "social deviance" operated as a form of social control? (4) How do conceptions of mental illness come to circulate in popular culture and everyday life? Pairing historical scholarship with autobiographical writing and case studies from the 1800s to the present, the course moves chronologically in order to track, and draw connections between, a wide range of movements within American psychological and social welfare history, including the creation and closing of mental hospitals, the pathologization of racial, gender, and sexual difference, psychopharmacology, anti-psychiatry, and the politics of diagnosis.

Distribution: (HA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Stephen Vider (sv484)
Full details for STS 2721 : History of Mental Health and Mental Illness in the United States
STS 2841 Viruses- Humans-Viral Politics (Social History and Cultural Politics of HIV & AIDS)

This course explores what has been termed "the modern plague."  It investigates the social history, cultural politics, biological processes, and global impacts of the retrovirus, HIV, and the disease syndrome, AIDS. It engages material from multiple fields: life sciences, social sciences, & humanities as well as media reports, government documents, activist art, and community-based documentaries. It explores various meanings and life-experiences of HIV & AIDS; examines conflicting understandings of health, disease, the body; investigates political struggles over scientific research, biomedical & public health interventions, and cultural representations; and queries how HIV vulnerability is shaped by systems of power and inequality. As well, we come to learn about the practices, the politics, and the ethics of life and care that arise in "the age of epidemic."

Distribution: (CA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Christopher Roebuck (cr566)
Full details for STS 2841 : Viruses- Humans-Viral Politics (Social History and Cultural Politics of HIV & AIDS)
STS 2851 Communication, Environment, Science, and Health

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.

Distribution: (SBA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Danielle Eiseman (dle58)
Full details for STS 2851 : Communication, Environment, Science, and Health
STS 3181 Living in an Uncertain World: Science, Technology, and Risk

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.

Distribution: (HA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Rebecca Slayton (rs849)
Full details for STS 3181 : Living in an Uncertain World: Science, Technology, and Risk
STS 3241 Environmental Sociology

Humans have fraught relationships with the animals, plants, land, water—even geological processes—around us. We come together to revere, conserve, protect the things many call nature. We struggle over who gets to use what, which resources to use or to keep intact, which scientific claims are true and worthy of action. Every environmental concern is on some level a social concern, and more social concerns than we often realize are environmental concerns. In this course, we will examine how people make and respond to environmental change and how groups of people form, express, fight over, and work out environmental concerns. We will consider how population change, economic activity, government action, social movements, and changing ways of thinking shape human-environmental relationships. The fundamental goal of this course is to give you knowledge, analytical tools, and expressive skills that make you confident to address environmental concerns as a social scientist and a citizen. 

Distribution: (SBA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: John Zinda (jaz65)
Full details for STS 3241 : Environmental Sociology
STS 3440 Data Science & Society Lab

The next generation of thinkers and leaders will need a firm grasp on the practices and values implicated in designing and using data science tools. The Data Science & Society Lab is a project-based course that welcomes students from across the disciplines, or anyone who uses or studies data science. The lab is designed to sensitize students early on to the complexities of data science as both a social and a technical project. In an immersive and hands-on learning experience, we will lay the groundwork for future coursework and critical engagement with data science. Students from the social sciences, humanities, and STEM fields will work together to critically examine data science concepts and engage in social, ethical, and policy analysis.

Academic Career: UG Instructor: Stephen Hilgartner (shh6)
Malte Ziewitz (mcz35)
Full details for STS 3440 : Data Science & Society Lab
STS 3561 Computing Cultures

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.

Distribution: (CA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Full details for STS 3561 : Computing Cultures
STS 3601 Ethical Issues in Engineering Practice

Studies ethical issues involved in engineering practice. Explores the engineer's role in technical decision-making in organizations. Considers the engineer's relationship to the uses of technology in society, especially emerging technologies. Case studies covered include the Space Shuttle Challenger, the Space Shuttle Columbia, The Macondo Well Blowout, The Ford Pinto Case, The VW Emissions scandal, the Tesla Automatic Driving accident, Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, Fukushima, and the Bhopal case, among others. Technology topics considered include brain-machine interface, human enhancement, genetic engineering, intelligent autonomous systems, privacy and surveillance, energy technologies, and environmental issues, among others. Codes of ethics in engineering, ethical theory, philosophical models of knowledge production, and sociological models of human and technological agency are introduced to analyze these issues.

Distribution: (KCM-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Park Doing (pad9)
Full details for STS 3601 : Ethical Issues in Engineering Practice
STS 3636 Floods, Toxic Drinking Water and Other Muddy Disasters

This is an interdisciplinary course on water and disasters. It confronts the question about which environmental phenomena (restricted to watery ones) we consider disasters (whether fast-onset or slow-onset), how are they represented, and what is missing in such representation. We will build on theory in the social sciences (anthropology, development sociology), humanities (history in particular) and natural sciences of water (geology/hydrogeology, fluvial morphology, geochemistry of water, water management), but ground our discussion in case studies of floods, mudslides, water toxicity, and water scarcity/insecurity. The course will comprise of interactive lectures and experiential learning, including building an art/research installation "The Flood Room: Environmental Knowledge, Disaster Preparedness, Community Resilience and Climate Change Communication in Ithaca, New York."

Academic Career: UG Instructor: Luisa Cortesi (lc937)
Full details for STS 3636 : Floods, Toxic Drinking Water and Other Muddy Disasters
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 4040 Due Process Clinic

Automated scoring systems play an increasingly important role in ordering our lives. Whether we want to obtain a loan, rent an apartment, be found in search results, qualify for government assistance, or make the shortlist for a job – all of these decisions involve a range of computational techniques, including large-scale data analytics and predictive algorithms. So what to do when things go wrong and individuals feel mistreated by these systems? The Due Process Clinic is a semester-long, 4-credit course that focuses on the capacities of ordinary people to cope with, understand, and challenge automated scoring systems. It involves a mixture of hands-on fieldwork and seminar discussions, ranging from social and technical analyses of scoring practices to the ethical challenges of representing data subjects.

Distribution: (SBA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Malte Ziewitz (mcz35)
Full details for STS 4040 : Due Process Clinic
STS 4122 Darwin and the Making of Histories

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. 

Distribution: (HA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Peter Dear (prd3)
Full details for STS 4122 : Darwin and the Making of Histories
STS 4280 Health and Environmental Justice

Human bodies are inescapably enmeshed in our environments: human health and environmental health are inseparable. But human bodies are not equally impacted by environmental degradation and toxicity. Environmental injustice physically reproduces structures of power along lines of race, gender, global position, and wealth disparity. This upper-level seminar examines global and US case studies of environmental injustice and public health. Topics include waste flows, dump and industrial siting, environmental monitoring, and agriculture and aquaculture. We will also examine the politics of environmental health knowledge and movements for environmental justice.

Academic Career: UG Instructor: Hannah LeBlanc (hfl22)
Full details for STS 4280 : Health and Environmental Justice
STS 4410 Bending Instruments

What is a sounding object or musical instrument and how does human culture shape these unique human-made material sources of sound? How can instruments and sound objects be modified or "bent" to produce yet more sounds? In a workshop environment participants will treat these topics through practical exploration as well as reading the history and culture of instruments/sound objects or devices. By using ideas from the new interdisciplinary field of sound studies, and inspired by visiting instrument makers, we will explore what instruments are and could be. Students, working alone or in collaboration, will design and build (could include a conceptual reworking) their own instrument or sounding object that they will learn to operate and modify to make new sounds.

Academic Career: UG Instructor: Marianthi Papalexandri-Alexandri (mp955)
Trevor Pinch (tjp2)
Full details for STS 4410 : Bending Instruments
STS 4442 Toxicity

Identifying and managing the "toxic" is critical to medical and environmental sciences as well as techniques of governing (and resisting). This course takes up the subject of toxicity as a field of expertise, an object of knowledge and ethical substance. We will consider the specific histories of industrialization and of the sciences that shape modern engagements with toxicity, and we will explore other ways that the sorts of harms, poisons, and powers glossed as toxicity have been articulated. Over the course of the semester, students will develop the skills to "provincalizing" relations between toxicity, remedy and memory. Texts will draw from social theory, anthropology, science and technology studies and history as well as art and activism.

Distribution: (CA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Stacey Langwick (sal54)
Full details for STS 4442 : Toxicity
STS 4451 Making Science Policy: The Real World

This course focuses on what happens when science meet the policy-making world. We will discuss theoretical and empirical studies in Science & Technology Studies that analyze the interactions between science, society and politics. We will specifically investigate the mechanisms by which science may impact policy-making by focusing on: the rise of science diplomacy, initiatives to use science in order to further development goals, and efforts to produce evidence-based foreign policy. We will also focus on currently hotly debated political issues in government affairs, including the politization and militarization of space, the rise of big data, the politics of climate change, and the construction of border walls. As part of this course we will hear from experts in the federal government on how they attempt to integrate science into the everyday workings of governance.

Distribution: (SBA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Christine Leuenberger (cal22)
Full details for STS 4451 : Making Science Policy: The Real World
STS 4460 Lightscapes

Sunset, polar night, Times Square, satellites in space—these are just four lightscapes. Light is essential to humanity in multifaceted ways. It both reflects and shapes human interactions with the environment. Yet light is also complex, multiple, and contested. This seminar explores diverse lightscapes in varied contexts. How do we know light? How does light define and shape landscapes and nightscapes? How have people managed, transformed, and valued different lightscapes over time? This course draws primarily from the history of science and technology, STS, and environmental history with forays into anthropology, environmental humanities, geography, media studies, and more. We will examine texts and images, and engage with lightscapes at Cornell and in Ithaca. The seminar culminates in a class project centered on student-selected lightscapes. 

Academic Career: UG Instructor: Sara Pritchard (sbp65)
Full details for STS 4460 : Lightscapes
STS 4470 Data Bodies: Art and Politics in the Digital Age

Long before the advent of digital platforms such as Facebook, Google, Instagram and Twitter, artists began questioning the growing production and commodification of "data bodies." Groups such as Critical Art Ensemble helped highlight the ways that surveillance, power, new technologies and bodies interacted with one another. This course asks, what shapes do data and bodies take in digital environments? Conversely, how have computing cultures and networks been shaped by data and bodies? What kinds of politics can be performed in such conditions? We use a particular context, the little-discussed practices of Latina/o/x artists as well as their contributions to the history of performance, multimedia art and tactical media since the late-twentieth century, to explore these questions.

Distribution: (LA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Ivan Chaar Lopez (ic349)
Full details for STS 4470 : Data Bodies: Art and Politics in the Digital Age
STS 4644 Animal Power

The modern world relies on a vast array of natural resources to drive its activities, but for most of human history, animals have provided energy to people. Animals were, and often still are, the energy fueling human transportation, agriculture, nutrition, and even entertainment. This course examines Classical and modern representations of animals as workpower, food and fuel, and raw materials for manufacture. We will read a wide array of sources that depict the work of animals in Classical antiquity and the modern world; we will also look at texts that attempt to describe how the animal body creates energy. For longer description and instructor bio, visit societyhumanities.as.cornell.edu/courses

Academic Career: UG Instructor: Athena Kirk (aek238)
Full details for STS 4644 : Animal Power
STS 4646 Moving and Knowing

A martial artist learns movements and quirks unique to his teacher. A dancer conveys unbearable sorrow with a curve of her back. An artist's charcoal flies across the page. Horse and rider make a pirouette in perfect balance. This course emerges from the idea that we know our worlds through movement. Using texts drawn from anthropology, philosophy, sensory studies, science studies, and animal studies, this course pushes against any simple division of mind and body by examining balance, kinesthesia, and proprioception as often-neglected means of knowing our worlds. It also critiques the static and fixed nature of "rational-centric" thinking, considering how the movement energy of living beings challenges and disrupts division, separation and stabilization. For longer description and instructor bio, visit societyhumanities.as.cornell.edu/courses

Academic Career: UG Instructor: Rachel Prentice (rep35)
Full details for STS 4646 : Moving and Knowing
STS 4647 The Energy Transition in the Nineteenth Century

This course explores the epochal transition from organic to mineral energy sources during the nineteenth century. The idea of an "energy transition" seems to pinpoint the underlying material transformation that wrought the modern world and the critical necessity of saving modernity from itself. On both counts, it is important to try to understand the shift from an organic to a mineral energy regime that occurred most decisively in the 1800s. Approaching the topic from multiple angles, the course aims to illuminate the structures, experiences and meanings of a transitional energy regime. For longer description and instructor bio, visit societyhumanities.as.cornell.edu/courses.

Academic Career: UG Instructor: Ariel Ron (ar2422)
Full details for STS 4647 : The Energy Transition in the Nineteenth Century
STS 4650 Advanced Topics in Clinical Ethics

In this advanced course, students will use their knowledge and analytical skills to explore complex value-laden issues in contemporary healthcare and health policy debate.  Case studies and news stories will springboard discussion around topics including the changing professional-patient relationship, medical decision-making, emerging technologies, contemporary health concerns, evolving care-delivery systems, and the healthcare experience of vulnerable populations.  Discussions will emphasize contextual issues and vantage point at the individual and societal levels, as well as the interconnections between bedside ethical dilemmas and broader health system, health policy, and sociocultural/political issues. Topics will encompass the life span from maternal-fetal to end-of-life. We will utilize speakers/field trips to enhance exposure to different voices.  Readings will be selected from the popular press and healthcare, ethics, social science, and law literatures.

Distribution: (CA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Kim Overby (kjo46)
Full details for STS 4650 : Advanced Topics in Clinical Ethics
STS 4691 Food, Agriculture, and Society

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.

Distribution: (PBS-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Alison Power (agp4)
Full details for STS 4691 : Food, Agriculture, and Society
STS 4721 Peace Building in Conflict Regions: Case Studies Sub-Saharan Africa Israel Palestinian Territories

This course focuses on issues of conflict, peace, and reconciliation in Israel and the Palestinian Territories as well as Sub-Saharan Africa. Both regions exemplify how issues ranging from nationalism and ethnocentrism to land, water and resource management, climate change and migration, as well as socio-psychological dynamics, can exacerbate conflicts. At the same time, these regions also exemplify how trans-border collaboration and regional integration, civilian peace building efforts, strategies for achieving historical justice, as well as science education and science diplomacy can become crucial tools for long-term peace-building, reconciliation and development. In this course we will work with and discuss issues of peace and conflict with policy-makers and local stakeholders involved in peace-building efforts.

Distribution: (CA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Christine Leuenberger (cal22)
Full details for STS 4721 : Peace Building in Conflict Regions: Case Studies Sub-Saharan Africa Israel Palestinian Territories
STS 4992 Honors Project II

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.

Academic Career: UG Instructor: Malte Ziewitz (mcz35)
Full details for STS 4992 : Honors Project II
STS 6311 Qualitative Research Methods for Studying Science

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.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Trevor Pinch (tjp2)
Full details for STS 6311 : Qualitative Research Methods for Studying Science
STS 6410 Bending Instruments

What is a sounding object or musical instrument and how does human culture shape these unique human-made material sources of sound? How can instruments and sound objects be modified or "bent" to produce yet more sounds? In a workshop environment participants will treat these topics through practical exploration as well as reading the history and culture of instruments/sound objects or devices. By using ideas from the new interdisciplinary field of sound studies, and inspired by visiting instrument makers, we will explore what instruments are and could be. Students, working alone or in collaboration, will design and build (could include a conceptual reworking) their own instrument or sounding object that they will learn to operate and modify to make new sounds.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Marianthi Papalexandri-Alexandri (mp955)
Trevor Pinch (tjp2)
Full details for STS 6410 : Bending Instruments
STS 6644 Animal Power

The modern world relies on a vast array of natural resources to drive its activities, but for most of human history, animals have provided energy to people. Animals were, and often still are, the energy fueling human transportation, agriculture, nutrition, and even entertainment. This course examines Classical and modern representations of animals as workpower, food and fuel, and raw materials for manufacture. We will read a wide array of sources that depict the work of animals in Classical antiquity and the modern world; we will also look at texts that attempt to describe how the animal body creates energy. For longer description and instructor bio, visit societyhumanities.as.cornell.edu/courses.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Athena Kirk (aek238)
Full details for STS 6644 : Animal Power
STS 6646 Moving and Knowing

A martial artist learns movements and quirks unique to his teacher. A dancer conveys unbearable sorrow with a curve of her back. An artist's charcoal flies across the page. Horse and rider make a pirouette in perfect balance. This course emerges from the idea that we know our worlds through movement. Using texts drawn from anthropology, philosophy, sensory studies, science studies, and animal studies, this course pushes against any simple division of mind and body by examining balance, kinesthesia, and proprioception as often-neglected means of knowing our worlds. It also critiques the static and fixed nature of "rational-centric" thinking, considering how the movement energy of living beings challenges and disrupts division, separation, and stabilization. For longer description and instructor bio, visit societyhumanities.as.cornell.edu/courses.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Rachel Prentice (rep35)
Full details for STS 6646 : Moving and Knowing
STS 6647 The Energy Transition in the Nineteenth Century

This course explores the epochal transition from organic to mineral energy sources during the nineteenth century. The idea of an "energy transition" seems to pinpoint the underlying material transformation that wrought the modern world and the critical necessity of saving modernity from itself. On both counts, it is important to try to understand the shift from an organic to a mineral energy regime that occurred most decisively in the 1800s. Approaching the topic from multiple angles, the course aims to illuminate the structures, experiences and meanings of a transitional energy regime. For longer description and instructor bio, visit societyhumanities.as.cornell.edu/courses.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Ariel Ron (ar2422)
Full details for STS 6647 : The Energy Transition in the Nineteenth Century
STS 6661 Public Engagement in Science

In recent years, the scientific community has increasingly referred to "public engagement in science." This seminar explores the scholarly literature addressing that move; the links between "public engagement" and earlier concerns about sciences literacy, public understanding of science, and outreach; and the intersections between literature in communication and in science studies on issues involving the relationships among science(s) and public(s).

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Bruce Lewenstein (bvl1)
Full details for STS 6661 : Public Engagement in Science
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 7001 Special Topic 1: Science Studies and the Politics of Science

The field of Science & Technology Studies (STS) has called attention to the contingent and socially embedded character of knowledge and technology. This seminar explores the consequences of these findings for the analysis of politics, considering such issues as trust and skepticism, political and legal agency, science and norms, responsible research and innovation, and the co-production of knowledge and social order. A prominent theme will be the role of science and technology in ordering the politics of democratic societies. What role does technical knowledge play in underwriting democracy? What problems of legitimacy arise from the interpretive flexibility of knowledge? How are stable settlements (sometimes) achieved in contexts of contingency? How are science and technology implicated in structuring power relations and shaping relationships between citizens and the state?

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Stephen Hilgartner (shh6)
Full details for STS 7001 : Special Topic 1: Science Studies and the Politics of Science
STS 7442 Toxicity

Identifying and managing the "toxic" is critical to medical and environmental sciences as well as techniques of governing (and resisting). This course takes up the subject of toxicity as a field of expertise, an object of knowledge and ethical substance. We will consider the specific histories of industrialization and of the sciences that shape modern engagements with toxicity, and we will explore other ways that the sorts of harms, poisons, and powers glossed as toxicity have been articulated. Over the course of the semester, students will develop the skills to "provincalizing" relations between toxicity, remedy and memory. Texts will draw from social theory, anthropology, science and technology studies and history as well as art and activism. 

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Stacey Langwick (sal54)
Full details for STS 7442 : Toxicity
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 1942 The History of Science in Europe: Newton to Darwin; Darwin to Einstein

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. 

Distribution: (HA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Peter Dear (prd3)
Full details for BSOC 1942 : The History of Science in Europe: Newton to Darwin; Darwin to Einstein
BSOC 2061 Ethics and the Environment

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?

Distribution: (KCM-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Sara Pritchard (sbp65)
Full details for BSOC 2061 : Ethics and the Environment
BSOC 2071 Introduction to the History of Medicine

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.

Distribution: (HA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Suman Seth (ss536)
Full details for BSOC 2071 : Introduction to the History of Medicine
BSOC 2201 Society and Natural Resources

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.

Distribution: (SBA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Richard Stedman (rcs6)
Full details for BSOC 2201 : Society and Natural Resources
BSOC 2468 Medicine, Culture, and Society

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.

Distribution: (CA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Stacey Langwick (sal54)
Full details for BSOC 2468 : Medicine, Culture, and Society
BSOC 2581 Environmental History

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.

Distribution: (HA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Aaron Sachs (as475)
Full details for BSOC 2581 : Environmental History
BSOC 2721 History of Mental Health and Mental Illness in the United States

This course examines the history of mental illness—its conception and treatment—in the United States, from the early 1800s to the present, focusing on four major questions: (1) How have understandings of mental illness been developed and deployed by psychologists, psychiatrists, psychoanalysts, and social workers, and how have those understandings varied across time and place? (2) How have understandings and treatments of mental illness shaped, and been shaped by, conceptions of race, class, gender, and sexuality? (3) In what ways have treatment of mental illness and "social deviance" operated as a form of social control? (4) How do conceptions of mental illness come to circulate in popular culture and everyday life? Pairing historical scholarship with autobiographical writing and case studies from the 1800s to the present, the course moves chronologically in order to track, and draw connections between, a wide range of movements within American psychological and social welfare history, including the creation and closing of mental hospitals, the pathologization of racial, gender, and sexual difference, psychopharmacology, anti-psychiatry, and the politics of diagnosis.

Academic Career: UG Instructor: Stephen Vider (sv484)
Full details for BSOC 2721 : History of Mental Health and Mental Illness in the United States
BSOC 2841 Viruses- Humans-Viral Politics (Social History and Cultural Politics of HIV & AIDS)

This course explores what has been termed "the modern plague."  It investigates the social history, cultural politics, biological processes, and global impacts of the retrovirus, HIV, and the disease syndrome, AIDS. It engages material from multiple fields: life sciences, social sciences, & humanities as well as media reports, government documents, activist art, and community-based documentaries. It explores various meanings and life-experiences of HIV & AIDS; examines conflicting understandings of health, disease, the body; investigates political struggles over scientific research, biomedical & public health interventions, and cultural representations; and queries how HIV vulnerability is shaped by systems of power and inequality. As well, we come to learn about the practices, the politics, and the ethics of life and care that arise in "the age of epidemic."

Distribution: (CA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Christopher Roebuck (cr566)
Full details for BSOC 2841 : Viruses- Humans-Viral Politics (Social History and Cultural Politics of HIV & AIDS)
BSOC 3181 Living in an Uncertain World: Science, Technology, and Risk

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.

Distribution: (HA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Rebecca Slayton (rs849)
Full details for BSOC 3181 : Living in an Uncertain World: Science, Technology, and Risk
BSOC 3390 Primate Behavior and Ecology with Emphasis on African Apes

The course will investigate all aspects of non-human primate life. Based on the fundamentals of evolutionary theory, group and inter-individual behaviors will be presented. In addition, an understanding of group structure and breeding systems will be reached through an evaluation of ecological constraints imposed on primates in different habitats. Subjects include: primate taxonomy, diet and foraging, predation, cooperation and competition, social ontogeny, kinship, and mating strategies.

Distribution: (PBSS-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Adam Arcadi (apc13)
Full details for BSOC 3390 : Primate Behavior and Ecology with Emphasis on African Apes
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 4122 Darwin and the Making of Histories

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. 

Distribution: (HA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Peter Dear (prd3)
Full details for BSOC 4122 : Darwin and the Making of Histories
BSOC 4127 The Body Politic in Asia

Visions of bodily corruption preoccupy ruler and ruled alike and prompt campaigns for moral, medical, and legal reform in periods of both stability and revolution.  This seminar explores the links between political, sexual, and scientific revolutions in early modern and modern Asia.  The focus is on China and Japan, with secondary attention to South Asia and Korea.  Interaction with the West is a major theme.  Topics include disease control, birth control and population control, body modification, the history of masculinity, honorific violence and sexual violence, the science of sex, normative and stigmatized sexualities, fashion, disability, and eugenics.  The course begins with an exploration of regimes of the body in "traditional" Asian cultures.  The course then turns to the medicalization and modernization of the body under the major rival political movements in Asia: feminism, imperialism, nationalism, and communism.

Distribution: (HA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Kristin Roebuck (kar79)
Full details for BSOC 4127 : The Body Politic in Asia
BSOC 4425 Victorian Evolutions

In the nineteenth century, evolution was a "dangerous" yet seductive concept. How did competing ideas of evolution impact the literary imagination? This course examines the influence of evolutionary thinking on nineteenth-century literature. Examining Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species and The Descent of Man, we will consider how a galvanizing scientific theory took narrative shape before turning to the work of major Victorian novelists and poets. We will analyze how evolutionary ideas affected how the Victorians understood relations with animals, the status of religion, and the concept of race. In turn, these ideas affected how literary forms and genres themselves (realism, nonsense, elegy, science fiction) "adapted" to evolution's new horizons on the human. Authors will include Tennyson, Eliot, Carroll, Hardy, Hopkins, Schreiner, and Wells.

Academic Career: UG Instructor: Elisha Cohn (ejc244)
Full details for BSOC 4425 : Victorian Evolutions
BSOC 4460 Lightscapes

Sunset, polar night, Times Square, satellites in space—these are just four lightscapes. Light is essential to humanity in multifaceted ways. It both reflects and shapes human interactions with the environment. Yet light is also complex, multiple, and contested. This seminar explores diverse lightscapes in varied contexts. How do we know light? How does light define and shape landscapes and nightscapes? How have people managed, transformed, and valued different lightscapes over time? This course draws primarily from the history of science and technology, STS, and environmental history with forays into anthropology, environmental humanities, geography, media studies, and more. We will examine texts and images, and engage with lightscapes at Cornell and in Ithaca. The seminar culminates in a class project centered on student-selected lightscapes. 

Academic Career: UG Instructor: Sara Pritchard (sbp65)
Full details for BSOC 4460 : Lightscapes
BSOC 4650 Advanced Topics in Clinical Ethics

In this advanced course, students will use their knowledge and analytical skills to explore complex value-laden issues in contemporary healthcare and health policy debate.  Case studies and news stories will springboard discussion around topics including the changing professional-patient relationship, medical decision-making, emerging technologies, contemporary health concerns, evolving care-delivery systems, and the healthcare experience of vulnerable populations.  Discussions will emphasize contextual issues and vantage point at the individual and societal levels, as well as the interconnections between bedside ethical dilemmas and broader health system, health policy, and sociocultural/political issues. Topics will encompass the life span from maternal-fetal to end-of-life. We will utilize speakers/field trips to enhance exposure to different voices.  Readings will be selected from the popular press and healthcare, ethics, social science, and law literatures.

Distribution: (CA-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Kim Overby (kjo46)
Full details for BSOC 4650 : Advanced Topics in Clinical Ethics
BSOC 4691 Food, Agriculture, and Society

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.

Distribution: (PBS-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Alison Power (agp4)
Full details for BSOC 4691 : Food, Agriculture, and Society
BSOC 4992 Honors Project II

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.

Academic Career: UG Instructor: Malte Ziewitz (mcz35)
Full details for BSOC 4992 : Honors Project II