Courses - Spring 2021

STS 1102 Histories of the Future

From Frankenstein to The Matrix, science fiction and film have depicted contemporary science, technology, and medicine for almost two centuries. This course introduces students to historical and social studies of science and technology using science-fiction films and novels, as well as key readings in science and technology studies. What social questions can fictional accounts raise that factual ones can only anticipate? How have "intelligent machines" from Babbage's Analytical Engine to Hal raised questions about what it means to be human? What can Marvel Comics teach us about changes in science and technology? When can robots be women and, in general, what roles did gender play in scientific, technological, and medical stories? How was the discovery that one could look inside the human body received? How do dreams and nightmares of the future emerge from the everyday work of scientific and technological research?

Distribution: (CA-AS, ALC-AS, HST-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Rachel Prentice (rep35)
Full details for STS 1102 : Histories of the Future
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: Martin Abbott (mja273)
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: Amanda Domingues (aad247)
Full details for STS 1126 : FWS: Science and Society Topics
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, ETM-AS, SSC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Juno Parrenas (jsp324)
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, HST-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Suman Seth (ss536)
Full details for STS 2071 : Introduction to the History of Medicine
STS 2381 Ten Technologies That Shook the World?

In 1919, journalist John Reed published Ten Days That Shook the World about the 1917 Russian Revolution. Some events are so transformative, Reed argued, they change the course of history. This class examines ten technologies that "shook" the world over the past half millennium. Or did they? Can technology drive history? How should we think about the relationship between technology and culture, society, politics, and the environment? This course challenges many popular understandings of technology and technological change, introducing students to major concepts in the history and social studies of technology, including technological determinism, systems, infrastructure, skill, technopolitics, envirotech, users, and maintenance and repair. Technologies addressed will vary, but may include the slave ship, factory, climate control, atomic bomb, and plastic.  

Distribution: (HA-AS, HST-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Sara Pritchard (sbp65)
Full details for STS 2381 : Ten Technologies That Shook the World?
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, GLC-AS, SCD-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Stacey Langwick (sal54)
Full details for STS 2468 : Medicine, Culture, and Society
STS 2750 Introduction to Humanities

This seminar offers an introduction to the humanities by exploring the historical, cultural, social and political themes. Students will explore themes in critical dialogue with a range of texts and media drawn from the arts, humanities, and/or humanistic social sciences. Guest speakers, including Cornell faculty and Society for the Humanities Fellows, will present from different disciplines and points of view. Students will make field trips to local sites relevant to the theme, and visit Cornell special collections and archives. Students enrolled in this seminar will have the opportunity to participate in additional programming related to the Society's annual focus theme and the Humanities Scholars Program for undergraduate humanities research.

Academic Career: UG Instructor: Ellen Abrams (ema85)
Full details for STS 2750 : Introduction to Humanities
STS 2812 Hieroglyphs to HTML: History of Writing

An introduction to the history and theory of writing systems from cuneiform to the alphabet, historical and new writing media, and the complex relationship of writing technologies to human language and culture. Through hands-on activities and collaborative work, students will explore the shifting definitions of "writing" and the diverse ways in which cultures through time have developed and used writing systems. We will also investigate the traditional divisions of "oral" vs. "written" and consider how digital technologies have affected how we use and think about writing in encoding systems from Morse code to emoji.

Distribution: (LA-AS, ALC-AS, HST-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Athena Kirk (aek238)
Stephen Sansom (sas688)
Full details for STS 2812 : Hieroglyphs to HTML: History of Writing
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, SSC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Danielle Eiseman (dle58)
Full details for STS 2851 : Communication, Environment, Science, and Health
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, SSC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Noah Tamarkin (nt383)
Full details for STS 3011 : Life Sciences and Society
STS 3042 The Politics of Technology

This course will examine the politics of technology, with an emphasis on dual use technologies such as social media, artificial intelligence, and facial recognition. It will look at political consequences of those technologies, including the way that social media can be manipulated in an electoral context, how AI and automation can affect public policies (e.g., predictive policing) and ways to mitigate algorithmic biases embedded in these technologies, and questions of whether the United States and China are locked in a technology arms race and if global governance proposals can defuse the adverse consequences of great power competition over technology.

Academic Career: UG Instructor: Sarah Kreps (sk2245)
Full details for STS 3042 : The Politics of Technology
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, HST-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, SSC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: John Zinda (jaz65)
Full details for STS 3241 : Environmental Sociology
STS 3440 Data Science and Society Lab

The next generation of thinkers will need a firm grasp on the practices and values implicated in designing and using data science tools. The class will sensitize students from the social sciences, humanities, and STEM to the complexities of data science as both a social and a technical project. We will conduct group research, mapping data flows and frictions within the university while engaging in critical discussion about our findings at Cornell and what we see in the larger social world. Through this immersive and hands-on learning experience: we will lay the groundwork for future coursework and critical engagement with data science, examine data science concepts, track the expansion of data science into several areas of daily life, and engage in social, ethical, and policy analysis.

Distribution: (SBA-AS, SSC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Stephen Hilgartner (shh6)
Malte Ziewitz (mcz35)
Full details for STS 3440 : Data Science and 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, SSC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Malte Ziewitz (mcz35)
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, ETM-AS, SSC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Park Doing (pad9)
Full details for STS 3601 : Ethical Issues in Engineering Practice
STS 3651 Freud and the Invention of Psychoanalysis

Psychoanalysis considers the human being not as an object of treatment, but as a subject who is called upon to elaborate an unconscious knowledge about what is disrupting her life, through analysis of dreams, symptoms, bungled actions, slips of the tongue, and repetitive behaviors.  Freud finds that these apparently irrational acts and behavior are ordered by the logic of the fantasy, which provides a mental representation of a traumatic childhood experience and the effects it unleashes in the mind and body-effects he called drives.  As "unbound" energies, the drives give rise to symptoms, repetitive acts, and fantasmatic stagings that menace our health and sometimes threaten social coexistence, but that also rise to the desires, creative acts, and social projects we identify as the essence of human life.  Readings will include fundamental texts on the unconscious, repression, fantasy, and the death drive, as well as case studies and speculative essays on mythology, art, religion, and group psychology.  Students will be asked to keep a dream journal and to work on their unconscious formations, and will have the chance to produce creative projects as well as analytic essays.

Distribution: (KCM-AS, ETM-AS, SSC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Tracy McNulty (tkm9)
Full details for STS 3651 : Freud and the Invention of Psychoanalysis
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: Stephen Hilgartner (shh6)
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, SCD-AS, SSC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Malte Ziewitz (mcz35)
Full details for STS 4040 : Due Process Clinic
STS 4200 Information Policy: Applied Research and Analysis

This course will address a wide range of information policy issues such as privacy, security, antitrust, intellectual property, algorithmic fairness, net neutrality, risk mitigation strategies, and other legal and policy compliance concerns in a simulated project management environment. Patterned on life cycle project management for products and services in contemporary large-scale technology companies, students will adopt specific topic areas for applied research and analysis working dynamically with other team members.  Course outcomes include conducting upper-level research in specific information policy domains, experiential group dynamics, persuasive analytic presentations, fundamentals of project management in the technology sector, and insights into corporate hierarchies, organization, and functionalities.

Academic Career: UG Instructor: Tracy Mitrano (tbm3)
Full details for STS 4200 : Information Policy: Applied Research and Analysis
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, SSC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Christopher Csikszentmihalyi (cpc83)
Phoebe Sengers (pjs54)
Full details for STS 4240 : Designing Technology for Social Impact
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.

Distribution: (SBA-AS, SCD-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Hannah LeBlanc (hfl22)
Full details for STS 4280 : Health and Environmental Justice
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, SSC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Christine Leuenberger (cal22)
Full details for STS 4451 : Making Science Policy: The Real World
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, ETM-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Kim Overby (kjo46)
Full details for STS 4650 : Advanced Topics in Clinical Ethics
STS 4661 Public Communication of Science and Technology

Explores the structure, meanings, and implications of "public communication of science and technology" (PCST). Examines the contexts in which PCST occurs, looks at motivations and constraints of those involved in producing information about science for nonprofessional audiences, and analyzes the functions of PCST. Ties existing ideas about PCST to general communication research, and leads to developing new knowledge about PCST. Format is primarily seminar/discussion.

Distribution: (SSC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Bruce Lewenstein (bvl1)
Full details for STS 4661 : Public Communication of Science and Technology
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, BIO-AS, GLC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Alison Power (agp4)
Full details for STS 4691 : Food, Agriculture, and Society
STS 4699 Medieval Technologies of the Self

Recent years have seen a boom in ways to use technology in order to learn about and improve the self. This course examines contemporary cultural orientations toward technology by exploring how medieval thinkers turned to language, images, books, and other tools and means of making in order to develop a sense of themselves in ethical relationship to others and to the world around them. We will place medieval work (such as Chaucer and Kempe) in conversation with resonant modern and contemporary writing (including Haraway, hooks, and Foucault). Advertisements and marketing for apps like "Co-Star", and "Calm" will supplement our discussions. For longer description and instructor bio visit the Society for the Humanities website.

Distribution: (LA-AS, ALC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Adin Lears (ael74)
Full details for STS 4699 : Medieval Technologies of the Self
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, GLC-AS, SSC-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 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 Instructor: Suman Seth (ss536)
Full details for STS 4991 : Honors Project I
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: Suman Seth (ss536)
Full details for STS 4992 : Honors Project II
STS 6261 Seminar in the History of Technology

A seminar on the global historiography of technology. Typical topics include industrialization; military science and technology; science and engineering in corporate settings; engineering as a profession; technology, colonialism, and development; race, gender, class, and technology; labor and technologies' users; urbanization, "modernization," and technology in rural life; consumers of technology; technology and the nation-state; and environmental technologies.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Sara Pritchard (sbp65)
Full details for STS 6261 : Seminar in the History of Technology
STS 6301 Social Theory

Sociologist C. Wright Mills challenged his readers to develop their "sociological imagination" to understand the social and historical forces at work in seemingly individual events, such as the receipt of a pink slip, a draft card, or a drug prescription. Within science and technology studies, scholars have documented how social issues can become scientific, technological, or medical, often appearing to leave the social realm naturalized, normalized, or pathologized. This course introduces graduate students to classic texts and concepts in social theory with a focus on how scholars apply such theories to empirical research. It will consider major thinkers and schools of social thought, such as Marx, Weber, Durkheim, Mannheim, Foucault, and the Frankfurt School. It will also consider how a nuanced interplay of theory and empirical data can bring critically important insights to both theoretical and empirical understandings of the world. The course is relevant for students in sociology, history, and anthropology who are interested in social theory.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Rachel Prentice (rep35)
Full details for STS 6301 : Social Theory
STS 6699 Medieval Technologies of the Self

Recent years have seen a boom in ways to use technology in order to learn about and improve the self. This course examines contemporary cultural orientations toward technology by exploring how medieval thinkers turned to language, images, books, and other tools and means of making in order to develop a sense of themselves in ethical relationship to others and to the world around them. We will place medieval work (such as Chaucer and Kempe) in conversation with resonant modern and contemporary writing (including Haraway, hooks, and Foucault). Advertisements and marketing for apps like "Co-Star", and "Calm" will supplement our discussions. For longer description and instructor bio visit the Society for the Humanities website.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Adin Lears (ael74)
Full details for STS 6699 : Medieval Technologies of the Self
STS 6991 Graduate Independent Study

Applications and information are available in 303 Morrill Hall.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Stephen Hilgartner (shh6)
Full details for STS 6991 : Graduate Independent Study
STS 7201 Studying Emerging Technologies

This course will examine the peculiar speculative world of emerging technologies-a social and technical "space," found at the edges of expanding technological systems, where new technologies are being most actively constructed and transformed. In this dynamic world, emerging technologies exist in a state of flux as a mixture of blueprint and hardware, plan and practice, the nearly on-line and the almost obsolete, surrounded by speculation and speculators, who make often-contested claims about their promises, perils, and possibilities. Among the characteristics of this space are:  the frequent appearance of unverifiable claims about technologies that have yet to materialize; an entrepreneurial drive for commercial implementation; ongoing institutional innovation; frequent public controversies; and problems of political legitimacy. The course will examine the epistemic, discursive, institutional, and political dimensions of emerging technologies in an effort to understand the social worlds that shape technological change. Open to graduate students in the social sciences, sciences, and humanities.

Academic Career: GR Instructor: Stephen Hilgartner (shh6)
Full details for STS 7201 : Studying Emerging Technologies
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 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, ETM-AS, SSC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Juno Parrenas (jsp324)
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, HST-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: Roberta Nilson (rsn54)
Full details for BSOC 2201 : Society and Natural Resources
BSOC 2211 Early Agriculture

Throughout most of the human career, people survived by hunting and gathering wild foods. The advent of food production is one of the most profound changes in history and prehistory. This course examines the current evidence for the appearance and spread of agriculture - plant and animal domestication - around the world. We will consider definitions of agriculture and domestication, the conditions under which it arises, the consequences for those who adopt it, and why it has spread over most of the world. 

Distribution: (HA-AS, GLC-AS, HST-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Nerissa Russell (nr29)
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BSOC 2350 Literature and Medicine

How does literary language depict the experience of physical suffering? Can a poem or a novel palliate pain, illness, even the possibility of death? From darkly comic narratives of black plague to the rise and fall of hysteria to depictions of the AIDS crisis, this course examines literature centered on medical practices from the early modern period through the twentieth century. Why have medical practices changed, and how do writers address their political, social, and ideological implications? Readings will include a broad range of genres, including poetry (Dickinson, Whitman, Keats), fiction (McEwan, Chekhov, Gilman, Kafka, Camus), theater (Kushner), nonfiction prose (Woolf, Freud), and critical theory (Foucault, Scarry, Canguilhem, Sontag).

Distribution: (LA-AS, ALC-AS, SCD-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Elisha Cohn (ejc244)
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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, GLC-AS, SCD-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Stacey Langwick (sal54)
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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, HST-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Aaron Sachs (as475)
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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, SSC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Noah Tamarkin (nt383)
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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, HST-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Rebecca Slayton (rs849)
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BSOC 3230 Humans and Animals

Human-animal relationships are often seen in utilitarian, nutritional terms, particularly in archaeology. But animals and meat have significance far beyond their economic value. This course focuses on a broad range of these non-dietary roles of animals in human societies, past and present. This includes the fundamental shift in human-animal relations associated with domestication; the varied meanings of wild and domestic animals; as well as the importance of animals as wealth, as objects of sacrifice, as totems or metaphors for humans, and as symbols in art. Meat can be used in feasting and meat sharing to create, cement, and manipulate social relationships. This course is open to students of archaeology, cultural anthropology, and other disciplines with an interest in human-animal relations.

Distribution: (CA-AS, GLC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Nerissa Russell (nr29)
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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, BIO-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Adam Arcadi (apc13)
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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: Stephen Hilgartner (shh6)
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BSOC 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.

Distribution: (SBA-AS, SCD-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Hannah LeBlanc (hfl22)
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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, ETM-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Kim Overby (kjo46)
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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, BIO-AS, GLC-AS)
Academic Career: UG Instructor: Alison Power (agp4)
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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 Instructor: Suman Seth (ss536)
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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: Suman Seth (ss536)
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