Science, Technology & Society Courses

STS 010 HM Intro to Science, Technology & Society

Do you know how science “works”? Have you considered the many different ways in which technologies are made, used, and distributed — how technical objects acquire cultural meaning, shape the social and natural environments in which we live, and carry the signs and symbols of the cultures in which they are produced? What roles do various kinds of knowledge play in our daily lives; what are the conditions under which such knowledges emerge; why do we trust in numbers; how is it that we care so much about the differences between fiction and fact? STS — which stands both for “Science and Technology Studies,” and for (the Study of) “Science, Technology, and/in Society” — is an interdisciplinary field that seeks to answer such questions from a variety of social science and humanistic perspectives. This course provides an introduction to the field: we visit the cultures and practices of science and technology, their institutions, their habitats, and modes of knowledge-making – in order to find out how these are informed by, and in turn affect, the social world that we share.

STS 179F HM Wastescapes/Special Topics in STS

There are landscapes, often examined in terms of their aesthetic appeal. There are seascapes, vast horizons that inspire fear and desire. There are cityscapes, rising up in the distance to capture imagination. Arjun Appadurai has even suggested we could think with ethnoscapes, mediascapes, technoscapes… the list goes on. But what about waste? We largely ignore it in our everyday lives; a piece of garbage? Drop it in the trash. Poof! Gone. Policy makers, city planners and governments do not share the same luxury of ignorance. What happens when we, too, start paying attention to waste, tracking and mapping its movements? In this class, we pick up where geographers Ian Cook et al. left off: they “followed the thing” from production to consumption, now we–deploying the methods of STS–will follow where the thing(s) go when they are supposedly gone.