FALL 2019

Introductory Lectures

Botanical Roots of Modern Medicine (BIOL 0190E) STS 0050L - This course will explore a variety of medicinal plants found throughout the world, the diverse cultures that use them in their daily lives and the scientific underpinnings of their medicinal uses. In conjunction with readings, students will gain a hands-on approach in lab, observing, identifying and growing these plants. Enrollment limited to 19. Students MUST register for the lecture section and the lab.

Culture and Health (ANTH 0300) STS 0120 - 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 WRIT

Science and Social Controversy  (STS 0700B) - In this course we examine the institution of science and its relations to the social context in which it is embedded. Scientific objectivity, scientific consensus, scientific authority, and the social and moral accountability of scientists will be considered in the context of discussing such controversies as: the AIDS epidemic, climate change, science and religion, the Manhattan Project, the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment, genetic and pharmacological enhancement, the role of drug companies in science and medicine, psychiatric diagnosis and medication, robotics, and the implications of neuroscience for free will and moral responsibility. Enrollment limited to 20 first year students and sophomores. WRIT

Freshman/Sophomore Seminars

Pride and Prejudice in the Development of Scientific Theories (BIOL 0190P) STS 0050K -  We will examine how the pace and shape of scientific progress is affected by the social/cultural context and the "personality" of the individual. We will look into how the interplay between society and the individual affects how scientific theories arise, are presented, are debated and are accepted. The course will initially focus on Charles Darwin and his theory of Natural Selection using the biography of Adrian Desmond and James Moore, "Darwin: The Life of a Tormented Evolutionist." Enrollment limited to 19 first year students.

Chemistry and Art (CHEM 0999) STS 0770A - “Chemistry and Art” is an interdisciplinary course that explores different chemical concepts and techniques through the lenses of art and art history. The topics covered include paint and painting, stained glass; pottery and porcelains; gemstones and jewelry; color and art conservation. Drawing from early artistic texts, we will take a historically informed approach, connecting medieval stained-glass techniques, early pigmentation sourcing, and Qin dynasty pottery work to modern chemical explanations. Throughout the course, lectures, discussions, hands-on activities, and writing are totally integrated and the chemistry principles and techniques behind art objects and art-making are introduced through a series of case studies

Advanced Lectures

Astronomy Before the Telescope (ASYR 1600) STS 1161 - This course provides an introduction to the history of astronomy from ancient times down to the invention of the telescope, focusing on the development of astronomy in Babylon, Greece, China, the medieval Islamic world, and Europe. The course will cover topics such as the invention of the zodiac, cosmological models, early astronomical instruments, and the development of astronomical theories. We will also explore the reasons people practiced astronomy in the past. No prior knowledge of astronomy is necessary for this course.

Computers, Freedom, and Privacy (CSCI 1805) STS 1220A - Who is the Big Brother that we most fear? Is it the NSA -- or is it Google and Facebook? Rapidly changing social mores and the growing problem of cybersecurity have all contributed to a sense that privacy is dead. Laws protecting privacy and civil liberties are stuck in the analog age, while the capabilities for mass digital surveillance continue to advance rapidly. This course will examine a variety of informational privacy and technology issues. A major theme: the historical and contemporary struggle to bring surveillance under democratic control to protect against abuses of privacy, civil liberties and human rights.

Artists and Scientists as Partners (TAPS 1281W) STS 1694A - This course focuses on current research on and practices in arts and healing, with an emphasis on dance and music for persons with Parkinson's Disease (PD) and Autism (ASD). Includes guest lecturers, readings, field trips, and site placements. Admission to class will be through application in order to balance the course between self-identified artists and scientists and those primarily interested in PD and those primarily interested in ASD. Enrollment limited to 30.

Philosophy of Science (PHIL 1590) STS 1622 - Some very general, basic questions concerning science. Can evidence justify belief in theories which go beyond the evidence? What is the nature of good scientific reasoning? Is there a single scientific method? What is a scientific explanation? Does science reveal truths about unobservable reality, or merely tell us about parts of the world we can measure directly?

Nature, Knowledge, Power in Renaissance Europe (HIST 1825F) STS 1390K - This course examines the creation and circulation of scientific knowledge in Renaissance Europe, ca. 1450-1600. We will explore the practices, materials, and ideas not just of astronomers and natural philosophers, but also of healers, botanists, astrologers, alchemists, and artisans. How did social, political, economic, and artistic developments during this period reshape how naturalists proposed to learn about, collect, manipulate, and commercialize nature? We will also consider the ways in which colonial projects forced Europeans to engage with other “ways of knowing” and rethink classical knowledge systems.

Science at the Crossroads (HIST 1825M) STS 1390I - 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.

Advanced Seminars:

Health Inequality in Historical Perspective (AFRI 1920) STS 1701A – Seminar takes a historical perspective to explore causes of health inequality in the US.  Draws on studies from the 19th century-present.  Examines socio-political and economic context of health/disease, focusing on how race, class, and gender shape the experience of health, disease causality, and public health responses.  Includes health consequences of immigration, incarceration, race-based medicine, the Chicago heatwave, and Katrina.  Enrollment restricted to 20, second and third year students.

Social Impact of Emerging Technologies:  The Role of Engineers (ENGN 1931J) STS 1702A – The role of engineering sciences in an ever-changing technology-driven world. Students will develop basic working knowledge of selected contemporary technologies that help identify and forecast future prospects while discerning future disruptions.  Emphasis on the importance of ethical and social responsibilities that technologists must shoulder in answering societal challenges and contribution to policy making and corporate leadership.  How do we create beneficial technologies yet anticipate their potential social costs, such as workforce automation or overdependence on the internet?  Will we give up brains as our last private space?  Who will control the data/technology ecosystem that influences our decisions?

Anthropology of Addictions and Recovery (ANTH 1300) STS 1721 - The purpose of this course is to consider the uses and misuses alcohol, tobacco and drugs, and approaches to recovery from addictions. We will read some of the major cross cultural, ethnographic, linguistic, and social-political works on addictions. Students will have the opportunity to conduct their own anthropological interviews regarding substance misuse and recovery as well as observe a local 12 step recovery meeting. Enrollment limited to 20. WRIT

Cybersecurity Ethics (CSCI 1870) STS 1220B - This timely, topical course offers a comprehensive examination of ethical questions in cybersecurity. These issues pervade numerous, diverse aspects of the economy and society in the Information Age, from human rights to international trade. Students will learn about these topics, beginning first with acquaintance with the dominant ethical frameworks of the 20th and 21st centuries, then employing these frameworks to understand, analyze, and develop solutions for leading ethical problems in cybersecurity. The things that you learn in this course will stay with you and inform your personal and professional lives.

Senior Seminar in Science and Society (STS 1900) - This is an advanced seminar that uses a problem based learning style pedagogy to explore 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. WRIT

Advanced Graduate Seminars: 

The Politics of Knowledge (HIST 2981F) STS 2700A - The seminar offers an introduction to fundamental theoretical texts and exemplary works in the interdisciplinary field of Science and Technology Studies. Readings will be drawn from a range of time periods and geographical areas, and students will be asked to deploy the theoretical insights of our readings in working with sources in their own fields for a final research paper. Topics include: the gendered dimensions of knowledge, the moral economy of science, claims to expertise, and the stakes of "objectivity."

Independent Study 

Independent Study in Science and Society - SCSO 1970