Courses

Spring 2016

First Year Seminars 

Crossing the Consumer Chasm by Design (ENGN0120A-S01) SCSO 0050E –
Technologies have shaped human life since tools were sticks and flints to today's hydrocarbon powered, silicon managed era. Some spread throughout society; bread, cell phones, airlines, but most never do; personal jet packs, Apple Newton, freeze dried ice cream. Space Tourism, the Segway, electric cars: Can we predict which ones will cross the chasm to broad application? Can we help them to by combining design, engineering, marketing, communications, education, art, and business strategies?  Student teams identify potential new products, conceptualize, package, and define their business mode. By plotting their course across the chasm, we confront the cross-disciplinary barriers to realizing benefits from technology.
Enrollment limited to 18 first year students. Instructor permission required. FYS WRIT

Crossing the Space Chasm Through Engineering Design (ENGN0120B-S01) SCSO 0050F - Five decades of human activity in space has provided the world community with benefits including instant global communications and positioning, human and robotic exploration of the moon, planets and sun, and a perspective of earth which continues to inform and influence our relationship with our environment.  Unlike other technical revolutions of the 20th century space has not transitioned to a commercial, consumer market commodity. Rather its users and applications remain primarily large and institutional.  To experience the challenges of engineering design and of changing an industrial paradigm, we will work in one or several groups to identify a use of space, and a plan for its implementation, that could help transition space from its status as a niche technology. Through the process of design, we will confront the technical, economic, societal and political barriers to obtaining increased benefits from technologies in general, and space in particular, and to making new technologies beneficial to a wider range of users. Enrollment limited to 18 first year students. Instructor permission required. FYS WRIT

Introductory Lectures

Culture and Health (ANTH0300-S01) – SCSO0120 - An introduction to the field of Medical Anthropology. Lecture reading and discussion will examine the social context of health and illness, looking at the diverse ways in which humans use cultural resources to cope with disease and develop medical systems. The course will provide an introduction to the overall theoretical frameworks that guide anthropological approaches to studying human health related behavior. Medical anthropology offers a unique and revealing perspective on the cultural diversity that characterizes human experiences of sexuality, disease, aging, mental illness, disability, inequality and death. DPLL LILE WRIT

Introduction to Environmental Social Science (ENVS0495) – SCSO 0292 - This course introduces students to core areas of theory and research in the environmental social sciences. It also challenges students to think carefully about what we learn and don’t learn when we apply different disciplinary lenses to interdisciplinary environmental challenges. 

The Philosopher’s Stone:  Alchemy from Antiquity to Harry Potter (HIST0150B-S01) SCSO 0381 – Alchemy today conjures Harry Potter or Full Metal Alchemist, not the serious scholarly tradition that captivated Isaac Newton and Carl Jung. We will explore alchemy’s long history, examining how it has endured and adapted to different cultural, social, intellectual, economic, and religious contexts. What did alchemists do? How did they explain their art? And why has alchemy come to represent fraud and folly in some circles and wisdom in others? Students will answer these questions by conducting research in the Hay. HIST 0150 courses introduce students to methods of historical analysis, interpretation, and argument. Presumes no previous history courses.  

The Phoenix and the Hummingbird:  Natural History from Antiquity to Evolution SCSO 0391 – Scientists love to solve mysteries. From the philosophers of antiquity to the pioneers of Biology, the study of nature has focused on the creatures that have most puzzled humankind. These have inspired natural histories: encompassing studies covering everything that could be known about an animal –from what it symbolized and how it behaved to its place in the natural order. By looking at issues of truth and its relationship to myth, direct experience, and nature’s systematization, this course provides an introduction to the history of science through what naturalists have written about the more mystifying creatures in the natural world. *Under review

Digital Media (MCM0230 – S01) SCSO 0470 - This course introduces students to the critical study of digital media: from surveillance to activism, from cyberpunk fiction/films to art installations, from social media to video games. We will analyze the aesthetics, politics, protocols, history and theory of digital media. Special attention will be paid to its impact on/relation to social/cultural formations, especially in terms of new media’s “wonderful creepiness,” that is, how it compromises the boundaries between the public and private, revolutionary and conventional, work and leisure, hype and reality. Students MUST register for the lecture section and one lab. A sign up-sheet will be available for conferences after the first class meeting. 

Freshman/Sophomore Seminars

Science and Social Controversy – SCSO0700B – In this course we will examine the institution of science and its relations to the social context in which it is embedded. Such topics as scientific objectivity, scientific consensus, scientific authority, and social and moral accountability of scientists will be considered in the context of discussing several controversies including: the AIDS epidemic, cultural impact of communications technologies, climate change, science and religion, the Manhattan Project, the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment, genetic and pharmacological enhancement of human capacities, the role of drug companies in science and medicine, psychiatric diagnosis and medication, and the implications of neuroscience for free will and moral responsibility. Enrollment limited to 20 first year students and sophomores.

Concentration  Required Course

Introduction to Science and Society:  Theories and Controversies - SCSO1000-S01 - What is "science"? How do scientific ideas become knowledge? What is the nature of scientific objectivity, how can it be compromised? What is a scientific community, scientific consensus, and scientific authority? What roles does science play in our culture, and how is science related to other social institutions and practices? The interdisciplinary field of science studies is introduced through exploration of topics that include: gender and race, psychiatric classification, the drug industry, science and religion, and the use of nuclear weapons during World War II. Enrollment limited to 30 sophomores, juniors, seniors; other may enroll with permission of instructor. LILE WRIT

1100 Advanced Lectures

Health and Healing in American History (AMST 1601) – SCSO 1110 - Surveys the history of American medicine in its social and political contexts, including changing understandings of disease, treatment practices, and medical institutions. Focuses on how gender and race have informed how patients and healers have made sense out of pain and disease. WRIT

Environmental Law and Policy (ENVS 1410) - SCSO 1290 - Introduces students to environmental law in the United States. Uses legal decisions and policy frameworks to consider the roles of non-/governmental actors in formation and implementation of environmental policy. Students will become familiar with major federal environmental laws and regulatory databases and see how legal precedent; differing understandings of risk and alternative regulatory and market-enlisting strategies have shaped solutions to environmental problems. Provides opportunity to apply legal skills to local environmental legislation or legal problem. Intermediate coursework in Environmental Studies, Political Science, Community Health, Urban Studies or other environmentally related coursework is recommended. First year students need instructor permission. 

History of Medicine II:  The Development of Scientific Medicine in Europe and the World (HIST 0286B) – SCSO 1386 - From the 18th century onward, Western medicine has claimed universal validity due to its scientific foundations, relegating other kinds of medicine to the status of "alternative" practices. The course therefore examines the development of scientific medicine in Europe and elsewhere up to the late 20th century, and its relationships with other medical ideas, practices, and traditions. Students with a knowledge of languages and the social and natural sciences are welcome but no prerequisites are required. Not open to first year students

From Medieval Bedlam to Prozac Nation (HIST 1830M) – SCSO 1391 Humankind has long sought out keepers of its secrets and interpreters of its dreams: seers, priests, and, finally, psychiatrists. This lecture course will introduce students to the history of psychiatry in Europe, the United States, and beyond, from its pre-modern antecedents through the present day. Our focus will be on the long age of asylum psychiatry, but we will also consider the medical and social histories that intersect with, but are not contained by, asylum psychiatry: the rise of modern diagnostic systems, psychoanalysis, sexuality and stigma, race, eugenics, and pharmaceutical presents and futures.

Philosophy of Quantum Mechanics (PHIL 1620) – SCSO 1520 - Can cats be both dead and alive? Can baseballs tunnel through solid walls? Is the universe constantly branching? What does that even mean? In this course we’ll examine the standard non-relativistic quantum mechanical formalism and show how various interpretations of that formalism give surprising answers to the questions above. Among the philosophical issues at stake: the nature of explanation and probability in the physical world, how if at all we can make choices between empirically equivalent theories, and the role of appeals to intuition, common sense, and simplicity in science. Prerequisite: One previous course in philosophy. No physics experience required. WRIT

1700 Advanced Seminars: Topics in Science and Society

Community Engagement with Health and the Environment (AMST 1700I) – SCSO 1700R - This junior seminar explores how local community organizations are taking up issues of health and the environment in culturally relevant contexts. We will examine issues of environmental justice, health disparities and the basic tenets of community based participatory research. We will then partner with a local community organization and, depending on need, assist in the design, implementation, and/or evaluation of a program designed to improve the local environment and/or health status of the community. WRIT

Environmentalism and the Politics of Nature (ANTH 1556) – SCSO 1701J – What is the place of people in the natural world? How do we go about understanding it? What forms of order do we impose on the landscape—and, so doing, on one another? This course covers fundamental themes and advanced topics in the field of environmental anthropology. It is the overarching approach of this course that environmental problems are social problems.  Bearing this in mind, we read and analyze a series of articles and ethnographies that examine the social dynamics of environmental issues in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.  Enrollment limited to 20. *Under review

Climate Change as Social History (HIST 1976E) – SCSO 1701H - This seminar will explore ramifications of the concept of the Anthropocene. The Anthropocene has been proposed as a new human-driven geologic age that began with the increased exploitation of fossil fuels in the late eighteenth century. Its proponents emphasize transformations through anthropogenic climate change, but we will also consider the effects of population growth, pollution, habitat destruction, and extinction. To assess the historical validity of the concept, we will discuss the impact of humans on the environment before 1800, the extent of transformation since 1800, and whether human-environmental interactions can be usefully generalized to our species as a whole. WRIT

The World of Isaac Newton (HIST 1976I) – SCSO 1701I - This course will focus on the work of Isaac Newton in the context of his times and its impact in the centuries that followed. WRIT

Independent Study (Honors)

Independent Study in Science and Technology – SCSO 1971  

Advanced Graduate Seminars

The Body (HIST 2981J) – SCSO 2700D - This seminar will consider theories of the body as a site of knowledge, politics, culture, gender, and identification in a broad range of temporal and geographic contexts. We will also examine how historians have written the history of the body, and what sources they have used to do so. 

 

Fall 2015

Freshmen/Sophomore Seminar

The Social Lives of Dead Bodies in China and Beyond (HIST 0685A) – CRN 16392 – SCSO 0700D – S01

Interested students must register for HIST 0685A (CRN 15417 )

Associated Term: Fall 2015
Registration Dates: 
Levels: Extra Credit Graduate, Undergraduate

Corpses, much like the living, are not neutral bodies, but are managed into structures of social meaning. This course aims to uncover corpses as signifiers and actors during times of community upheaval. We will take modern China as our focal point, but also look elsewhere in the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia since the 19th century, when the broadening scale and nature of warfare; state expansion; rapid urban and rural development; global circulations of technology; and the interplay of international philanthropies with older forms of charity and ritual pacification significantly affected the treatment, conceptions, and actions of the dead. WRIT SOPH

Introductory Lectures

Modern Science and Human Values (PHIL 0060) - CRN: 17188 -  SCSO 0520 - S01

Interested students must register for PHIL 0060 (CRN 15085)

Associated Term: Fall 2015
Registration Dates:
Levels: Extra Credit Graduate, Undergraduate 

Devoted to the critical study of moral problems that have been raised or affected by modern science and technology, with a particular emphasis on problems in bioethics and environmental ethics. Possible topics include abortion, euthanasia, organ transplantation, pharmaceutical enhancement, animal rights, population control, and climate change. Throughout the course we will keep track of recurring questions about obligations, rights, harm, and justice, as well as the various ways in which philosophers have attempted to answer these questions. WRIT

1100 Advanced Lectures

International Health: Anthropological Perspectives  (ANTH 1310)  - CRN:17186 -  SCSO 1120 - S01

Interested students must register for ANTH 1310 (CRN 16189)

Associated Term: Fall 2015
Registration Dates:  
Levels: Extra Credit Graduate, Undergraduate 

This upper-level medical anthropology course focuses on the social and cultural complexity of health problems in developing nations, employing anthropological approaches to public health. International health issues such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, leprosy, reproductive health, violence, and mental illness will be examined. The historical, political and socio-cultural dimensions of international health problems will be explored through reading ethnographic case studies. WRIT DPLL LILE

Astronomy, Divination and Politics in the Ancient World (ASYR 1700) – CRN 16310 – SCSO 1152 – S01

Interested students must register for ASYR  1700 (CRN 14845 )

Associated Term: Fall 2015
Registration Dates: 
Levels: Extra Credit Graduate, Undergraduate

This course will explore the relationship between astronomy, divination and politics in the ancient world. The sky provided ancient cultures with many possibilities for observing occurrences that could be interpreted as omens. In many cultures, celestial omens were directed towards the king and his government. As a result, interpreting and controlling celestial omens became an important political activity. In this course, we will explore how and why astronomical events were used politically in ancient Mesopotamia, the Greco-Roman world, and ancient and medieval China. No prior knowledge of astronomy is necessary for this course. WRIT

History of Medicine I: Medical Traditions in the Old World Before 1700 (HIST 0286A) – CRN 16311 – SCSO 1385 – S01

Interested students must register for HIST 0286A (CRN 14896)

Associated Term: Fall 2015
Registration Dates: 
Levels: Extra Credit Graduate, Undergraduate

People have always attempted to promote health and prolong life, and to ameliorate bodily suffering. Those living in parts of Eurasia also developed textual traditions that, together with material remains, allow historians to explore their medical practices and explanations, including changes in their traditions, sometimes caused by interactions with other peoples of Europe, Asia, and Africa. We'll introduce students to major medical traditions of the Old World to 1700, with emphasis on Europe, and explore some reasons for change.  A knowledge of languages and the social and natural sciences is welcome not required. Not open to first year students. P

Science at the Crossroads (HIST 1825M) – CRN 16393 – SCSO 1390 – S01

Interested students must register for HIST 1825M (CRN 15424)

Associated Term: Fall 2015
Registration Dates: 
Levels: Extra Credit Graduate, Undergraduate

This course will look closely at the dramatic developments that fundamentally challenged Western Science between 1859 and the advent of the Second World War in the 1930s. Its primary focus will be on a variety of texts written in an effort to understand and interpret the meanings of fundamentally new ideas including from the biological side--evolutionary theory, genetic theory, and eugenics; from the physical side relativity theory, and quantum mechanics. The class should be equally accessible to students whose primary interests lie in the sciences and those who are working in the humanities. WRIT 

1700 Advanced Seminars: Topics in Science and Society

War and the Mind in Modern America (AMST 1905N) CRN:17154 - SCSO 1701G – S01

Interested students must register for AMST 1905N (CRN 15643)

Associated Term: Fall 2015
Registration Dates:  
Levels: Extra Credit Graduate, Undergraduate 

This course examines how the crucible of war has shaped modern conceptions of human nature. Moving from the Civil War to the present, we will consider questions such as changing theories of combat trauma, evolutionary and social scientific explanations for why people fight wars, and the role of memory in individual and collective understandings of violent conflicts. Students will analyze representations of war in film and literature in addition to reading historical and theoretical texts. WRIT

Neuroethics  – CRN 16312 – SCSO 1700P – S01

Associated Term: Fall 2015
Registration Dates:
Levels: Graduate, Undergraduate
Attributes: Liberal Learning, Writing - Designated Courses

Main Campus
Primary Meeting Schedule Type
1.000 Credits
In this course, we will examine ethical, social, and philosophical issues raised by developments in the neurosciences. Topics will include: neurodevelopment and the emergence of persons; the impact of child abuse on brain development; aging, brain disease, and mental decline; life extension research; strategies and technologies for enhancement of human traits; "mind-reading" technologies; agency, autonomy, and excuse from responsibility; error and bias in memory; mind control; neuroscientific and evolutionary models of religious belief and moral judgement. Enrollment limited to 20. Instructor permission required. LILE

 Instructors: Jeffrey S. Poland, Arto Nurmikko  Day/Time: Tuesday 4-6:30pm

The First Scientific Americans: Exploring Nature in Latin America, 1500-1800– CRN – SCSO 1701C – S01

Associated Term: Fall 2015
Registration Dates:
Levels: Graduate, Undergraduate
Attributes: Liberal Learning, Writing - Designated Courses

Main Campus
Primary Meeting Schedule Type
1.000 Credits
Who were the “first scientists” in the Americas?, what exactly do we mean by “science” in this context?, and what has amounted to “America” in the past? Focusing on present-day Latin America, this seminar analyses the links between the exploration of the New World and scientific discovery in the early modern period. We will explore issues of primacy (why have both empires and scientists cared about “arriving first”); the nature of science (what kind of knowledge has been considered “scientific” in different periods); and locality in knowledge production (was there something special about the New World in fostering scientific thinking).

Instructor: Iris M. Montero Sobrevilla  Day/Time: Monday 3-5:30pm

Race, Difference, and Biomedical Research: Historical Considerations (BIOL 1920D) – CRN 16355 - SCSO 1701E – S01

Interested students must register for BIOL 1920D (CRN 15124)

Associated Term: Fall 2015
Registration Dates: 
Levels: Extra Credit Graduate, Undergraduate

This advanced seminar places the current debate over race, health, and genetics in historical context. An overarching goal is to understand how the social world informs the scientific questions we ask, design of research studies, and interpretation of findings. How have the theories and practices of biomedical science and technology produced knowledge of “race” and racial difference historically? How does race relate to gender and class? What are the implications of this debate for understanding health inequality? Previous coursework in Africana Studies, biomedical science, history of science, and/or science and technology studies preferred. Enrollment limited to 20; instructor permission. WRIT

The Nuclear Age (HIST 1974S) – CRN 16313 – SCSO 1701F – S01

Interested students must register for HIST 1974S (CRN 15428)

Associated Term: Fall 2015
Registration Dates: 
Levels: Extra Credit Graduate, Undergraduate

This is a course for students interested in questions about the development of atomic weapons, their use on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Cold War arms race that followed, and debates over the risks associated with other nuclear technologies. We will look carefully at the scientific and military imperatives behind the Manhattan Project, the decisions that led to the use of atomic weapons on Japan, and subsequent efforts to reflect on the consequences of those choices. We will also explore how popular protest and popular culture after 1945 shaped our understanding of the terrors and promise of the nuclear age. WRIT

1900 Senior Seminar in Science and Society – CRN 16314 – SCSO 1900 – S01

This is an advanced senior seminar that explores real- world problems in STS. To solve assigned problems students will want to explore critical scholarship in areas such as laboratory studies, feminist science and technology studies, the rhetoric and discourse of science and technology, expertise and the public understanding of science. Course is intended for Science and Society senior concentrators, but is open to others with appropriate background. Enrollment limited to 20.

Associated Term: Fall 2015
Registration Dates:
Levels: Graduate, Undergraduate
Attributes: Liberal Learning, Writing - Designated Courses

Main Campus
Primary Meeting Schedule Type
1.000 Credits

Instructor: Sherine Hamdy     Day/Time: Monday 3-5:30pm

Independent Study in Science and Society – CRN – SCSO 1971 - S01

Associated Term: Fall 2015
Levels: Graduate, Undergraduate

Main Campus
Independent Study/Research Schedule Type
1.000 Credits
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