Courses

Courses by semester

Courses for Fall 2022

Complete Cornell University course descriptions are in the Courses of Study .

Course ID Title Offered
STS1123 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.

Full details for STS 1123 - FWS: Technology and Society Topics

Fall.
STS1180 Evolution Evolution is the central concept in biology. This course examines evolution as a science and places it in an historical context. Classes focus on descent with modification, the nature of natural selection, the history of the earth, the information content of the fossil record, and processes responsible for diversification (speciation and extinction). The science of evolutionary biology is presented in the context of a broader history of ideas in science. The course also explores the importance of evolutionary thinking in the 21st century, including discussion of antibiotic and pesticide resistance, personalized genomics, eugenics, and climate change.

Full details for STS 1180 - Evolution

Fall, Summer.
STS1201 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.  

Full details for STS 1201 - Information Ethics, Law, and Policy

Spring.
STS2051 Ethical Issues in Health and Medicine In the rapidly changing world of healthcare, complex ethical issues arise from interpersonal interactions between patients and clinicians to broad controversies that propel medicine into headline news. This course will examine ethical challenges in contemporary medicine, healthcare, and biomedical research from the bedside to health policy. Using case-vignettes, news stories, narratives, and readings from the healthcare, ethics, and social science literature we will examine issues from multiple vantage points. A range of topics will be explored including the patient-clinician relationship, heath care decision-making, issues at the beginning and end-of-life, technological advances, human experimentation, healthcare systems, and distributive justice. The course will also examine the fluidity of normative ethical boundaries, and how context and point of reference influence our perceptions of and approach to ethical issues. 

Full details for STS 2051 - Ethical Issues in Health and Medicine

Fall.
STS2451 Introduction to Bioethics Bioethics is the study of ethical questions raised by advances in the medical field.  Questions we'll discuss will include:  Is it morally permissible to advance a patient's death, at his or her request, to reduce suffering?  Is there a moral difference between killing someone and letting someone die?  What ethical issues are raised by advance care planning?  What is it to die?  What forms of cognitive decline or physical change could you survive (and still be you)?  On the flip side, were you ever a fetus?  How should the rights of pregnant women be balanced against those of the fetus?  Should parents be given control over the genetic make-up of their children?  Are some forms of human enhancement morally troubling?  Should we aim to be better than well?  What is it to be disabled?  How should scarce health care resources or costly therapies be allocated to those in need?  Should organ sales be permitted?  Should medical treatment (or health insurance!) ever be compulsory, or is mandating treatment unacceptably paternalistic?  Should doctors or hospitals be permitted to refuse to provide certain medical services that violate their consciences?

Full details for STS 2451 - Introduction to Bioethics

Fall.
STS2561 Medicine and Healing in China An exploration of processes of change in health care practices in China. Focuses on key transitions, such as the emergence of canonical medicine, of Daoist approaches to healing and longevity, of "scholar physicians," and of "traditional Chinese medicine" in modern China. Inquries into the development of healing practices in relation to both popular and specialist views of the body and disease; health care as organized by individuals, families, communities, and states; the transmission of medical knowledge; and healer-patient relations. Course readings include primary texts in translation as well as secondary materials.

Full details for STS 2561 - Medicine and Healing in China

Fall.
STS2641 The Technology of Ancient Rome In this course we will study the technologies – aqueducts, automata, catapults, concrete and more – that allowed the Roman Empire to prosper and expand. Technical and historical background will accompany hands-on work and discussion of philosophy of technology.

Full details for STS 2641 - The Technology of Ancient Rome

Fall.
STS3020 Science Writing for the Media How to write about science, technology, and medicine for the media. Writing assignments focus on writing news for web sites, blogs, magazines, and other media.

Full details for STS 3020 - Science Writing for the Media

Fall.
STS3311 Environmental Governance Environmental governance is defined as the assemblage of institutions that regulate society-nature interactions and shape environmental outcomes across a range of spatial and temporal scales. Institutions, broadly defined, are mechanisms of social coordination including laws (formal) and social norms (informal) that guide the behavior of individuals. Participants in the course will explore the roles of governments, markets, and collective action in environmental management and mismanagement. We will emphasize interactions among leading environmental policy strategies: public regulation, market-based incentives, and community-based resource management. The course is focused around a set of analytic perspectives. These theoretical frameworks allow us to synthesize empirical observations and material changes in ways that inform our understanding of contemporary evolution of environmental policy and management.

Full details for STS 3311 - Environmental Governance

Fall.
STS3650 History and Theory of Digital Art In this course, we will examine the role of electronic and digital technologies in the arts of the late 20th and 21st centuries with emphasis on Europe and North America. Beginning with the cybernetically and systems-inspired work of the late sixties, we will explore early uses of computer technology, including early experiments in synthetic video in the 1970s. An overview of pre-internet telematic experiments will lead to an investigation of net art and later currents of digital art. The ongoing development of behavioral art forms will be a central theme. Critical evaluation of various attitudes concerning technology will be encouraged.

Full details for STS 3650 - History and Theory of Digital Art

Fall.
STS3991 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.

Full details for STS 3991 - Undergraduate Independent Study

Fall, Spring.
STS4101 The Entangled Lives of Humans and Animals One animal behaviorist speculates that big brains develop when species are social; that is, when they must read cues from members of their group to understand when to approach, when to flee, when to fight, when to care. This course looks not only at animals in their social lives, but also at animals in their lives with us. We ask questions about how species become entangled and what that means for both parties, about the social lives of animals independently and with humans, about the survival of human and animal species, and about what it means to use animals for science, food, and profit. The course draws on readings from Anthropology, Science & Technology Studies, and animal trainers and behaviorists.

Full details for STS 4101 - The Entangled Lives of Humans and Animals

Fall.
STS4240 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?

Full details for STS 4240 - Designing Technology for Social Impact

Fall, Summer.
STS4412 Conceptions of the Body in Medicine and Healing The working of the human body is a universal phenomenon, yet different medical traditions have vastly different conceptions of what a body is. How can something so intimate and tangible like the body be understood so contrastingly in medicine across the world? With examples from classical Greek and ancient Chinese medicine to contemporary practices in biomedicine, Ayurveda, Unani and others, the course questions the everyday, taken for granted assumptions like the distinction between mind and the body, or what counts as a healthy body. It then explores how these multiple perceptions of the body in medicine are often culturally informed and are deeply linked with experiences of personhood and identity.

Full details for STS 4412 - Conceptions of the Body in Medicine and Healing

Fall.
STS4442 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.

Full details for STS 4442 - Toxicity

Fall.
STS4634 Curating the British Empire During Europe's colonial era, the modern museum emerged as a site of cultural and scientific authority. This course investigates the history of imperial collections and collectors, with a focus on Britain and the East India Company in the nineteenth century. Examples of topics include: the "supply chain" for artifacts and knowledge resources; changing conceptions of intellectual property, ownership and access; household versus public versus for-profit collections; museums and the narration of social values and cultural identities; debates over the function or aims of museums and related institutions; the collections and the administration of the empire; the collections and the growth of the sciences; the postcolonial legacies of colonial collections.

Full details for STS 4634 - Curating the British Empire

Fall.
STS4650 Advanced Topics in Clinical Ethics In this advanced discussion-based course, students will use their knowledge and analytical skills to explore complex value-laden issues in contemporary healthcare and health policy debate. News stories, books, and readings from the healthcare, ethics, humanities, and social science literature will springboard discussion around topics such as the illness experience, caregiving, the patient-clinician relationship, emerging medical technologies, contemporary health concerns, and the healthcare experience of marginalized and vulnerable populations. Case discussions based on the instructor's experience as a physician and clinical ethicist will provide students with an opportunity to explore how these issues filter down to and are experienced at the bedside. Discussions will also emphasize the importance of contextual issues, vantage point, and communication skills in creating and resolving disputes at both the individual and societal levels, as well as the interconnections between bedside ethical dilemmas and broader health system, health policy, and sociocultural/political issues. The topics covered will encompass the life span from birth to end-of-life.

Full details for STS 4650 - Advanced Topics in Clinical Ethics

Fall.
STS4675 Pandemics Past and Pending How have epidemics and pandemics changed social worlds and created new futures? How is colonization political and microbial? What will it take to repair human-animal-environmental relations when they can be pathologized as sources of contagion? By examining American colonization of the Philippines, One Health in contemporary Vietnam, and other ethnographic and historical examples, the course shows how interventions that took place in the wake of epidemics have had profound societal and planetary impacts. This course ultimately argues that pandemics are never just about a singular bacterium or virus. Instead, pandemics and epidemics reveal deeper social inequalities, interact with profound cultural and historical relations, and both create and foreclose different kinds of futures. For longer description and instructor bio visit the Society for the Humanities website.

Full details for STS 4675 - Pandemics Past and Pending

Fall.
STS4991 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.

Full details for STS 4991 - Honors Project I

Multi-semester course: (Fall, Spring).
STS6634 Curating the British Empire For description, see STS 4634. 

Full details for STS 6634 - Curating the British Empire

Fall.
STS6675 Pandemics Past and Pending How have epidemics and pandemics changed social worlds and created new futures? How is colonization political and microbial? What will it take to repair human-animal-environmental relations when they can be pathologized as sources of contagion? By examining American colonization of the Philippines, One Health in contemporary Vietnam, and other ethnographic and historical examples, the course shows how interventions that took place in the wake of epidemics have had profound societal and planetary impacts. This course ultimately argues that pandemics are never just about a singular bacterium or virus. Instead, pandemics and epidemics reveal deeper social inequalities, interact with profound cultural and historical relations, and both create and foreclose different kinds of futures. For longer description and instructor bio visit the Society for the Humanities website.

Full details for STS 6675 - Pandemics Past and Pending

Fall.
STS6991 Graduate Independent Study Applications and information are available in 303 Morrill Hall.

Full details for STS 6991 - Graduate Independent Study

Fall or Spring.
STS7005 STS Perspectives This one-credit seminar is designed to introduce PhD students in Science & Technology Studies (STS) to the faculty in the STS graduate field and their scholarly interests and work. Faculty members will be invited to lead one week of the course during the fall semester. Course leaders will set the agenda for their week (e.g., discussing a reading of their choice, introducing their research agenda, or discussing emerging issues the field). Reading assignments will be minimal; no more than 40 pages each week.

Full details for STS 7005 - STS Perspectives

Fall.
STS7111 Introduction to Science and Technology Studies Provides students with a foundation in the field of science and technology studies. Using classic works as well as contemporary exemplars, seminar participants chart the terrain of this new field. Topics for discussion include, but are not limited to, historiography of science and technology and their relation to social studies of science and technology, laboratory studies, intellectual property, science and the state, the role of instruments, fieldwork, politics and technical knowledge, philosophy of science, sociological studies of science and technology, and popularization.

Full details for STS 7111 - Introduction to Science and Technology Studies

Fall.
STS7442 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. 

Full details for STS 7442 - Toxicity

Fall.
STS7937 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. 

Full details for STS 7937 - Proseminar in Peace Studies

Spring.
BSOC2051 Ethical Issues in Health and Medicine In the rapidly changing world of healthcare, complex ethical issues arise from interpersonal interactions between patients and clinicians to broad controversies that propel medicine into headline news. This course will examine ethical challenges in contemporary medicine, healthcare, and biomedical research from the bedside to health policy. Using case-vignettes, news stories, narratives, and readings from the healthcare, ethics, and social science literature we will examine issues from multiple vantage points. A range of topics will be explored including the patient-clinician relationship, heath care decision-making, issues at the beginning and end-of-life, technological advances, human experimentation, healthcare systems, and distributive justice. The course will also examine the fluidity of normative ethical boundaries, and how context and point of reference influence our perceptions of and approach to ethical issues. 

Full details for BSOC 2051 - Ethical Issues in Health and Medicine

Fall.
BSOC2561 Medicine and Healing in China An exploration of processes of change in health care practices in China. Focuses on key transitions, such as the emergence of canonical medicine, of Daoist approaches to healing and longevity, of "scholar physicians," and of "traditional Chinese medicine" in modern China. Inquries into the development of healing practices in relation to both popular and specialist views of the body and disease; health care as organized by individuals, families, communities, and states; the transmission of medical knowledge; and healer-patient relations. Course readings include primary texts in translation as well as secondary materials.

Full details for BSOC 2561 - Medicine and Healing in China

Fall.
BSOC3311 Environmental Governance Environmental governance is defined as the assemblage of institutions that regulate society-nature interactions and shape environmental outcomes across a range of spatial and temporal scales. Institutions, broadly defined, are mechanisms of social coordination including laws (formal) and social norms (informal) that guide the behavior of individuals. Participants in the course will explore the roles of governments, markets, and collective action in environmental management and mismanagement. We will emphasize interactions among leading environmental policy strategies: public regulation, market-based incentives, and community-based resource management. The course is focused around a set of analytic perspectives. These theoretical frameworks allow us to synthesize empirical observations and material changes in ways that inform our understanding of contemporary evolution of environmental policy and management.

Full details for BSOC 3311 - Environmental Governance

Fall.
BSOC3751 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.

Full details for BSOC 3751 - Independent Study

Fall, Spring.
BSOC4101 The Entangled Lives of Humans and Animals One animal behaviorist speculates that big brains develop when species are social; that is, when they must read cues from members of their group to understand when to approach, when to flee, when to fight, when to care. This course looks not only at animals in their social lives, but also at animals in their lives with us. We ask questions about how species become entangled and what that means for both parties, about the social lives of animals independently and with humans, about the survival of human and animal species, and about what it means to use animals for science, food, and profit. The course draws on readings from Anthropology, Science & Technology Studies, and animal trainers and behaviorists.

Full details for BSOC 4101 - The Entangled Lives of Humans and Animals

Fall.
BSOC4634 Curating the British Empire During Europe's colonial era, the modern museum emerged as a site of cultural and scientific authority. This course investigates the history of imperial collections and collectors, with a focus on Britain and the East India Company in the nineteenth century. Examples of topics include: the "supply chain" for artifacts and knowledge resources; changing conceptions of intellectual property, ownership and access; household versus public versus for-profit collections; museums and the narration of social values and cultural identities; debates over the function or aims of museums and related institutions; the collections and the administration of the empire; the collections and the growth of the sciences; the postcolonial legacies of colonial collections.

Full details for BSOC 4634 - Curating the British Empire

Fall.
BSOC4650 Advanced Topics in Clinical Ethics In this advanced discussion-based course, students will use their knowledge and analytical skills to explore complex value-laden issues in contemporary healthcare and health policy debate. News stories, books, and readings from the healthcare, ethics, humanities, and social science literature will springboard discussion around topics such as the illness experience, caregiving, the patient-clinician relationship, emerging medical technologies, contemporary health concerns, and the healthcare experience of marginalized and vulnerable populations. Case discussions based on the instructor's experience as a physician and clinical ethicist will provide students with an opportunity to explore how these issues filter down to and are experienced at the bedside. Discussions will also emphasize the importance of contextual issues, vantage point, and communication skills in creating and resolving disputes at both the individual and societal levels, as well as the interconnections between bedside ethical dilemmas and broader health system, health policy, and sociocultural/political issues. The topics covered will encompass the life span from birth to end-of-life.

Full details for BSOC 4650 - Advanced Topics in Clinical Ethics

Fall.
BSOC4991 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.

Full details for BSOC 4991 - Honors Project I

Multi-semester course: (Fall, Spring).
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