Steven W. Collins
Explores issues of social equity associated with environmental hazards, risks, and benefits. Examines the ways social structures, environmental decision-making procedures, and scientific and technological practices distribute the burden of environmental problems, as well as community response through political action and cultural production.
As the core course for the new IAS option in Science, Technology, and Society, BIS 307 introduces students to the concepts and methods used to interpret and critique the relationship between science, technology, and society. It combines approaches from social theory, history, politics, and cultural studies to situate science and technology in the broad context of human experience. Students engage science and technology as forms of socially created knowledge, while also exploring ways in which science and technology influence society, culture, and history. They encounter science and technology not as givens but as institutions and forms of knowledge subject to human agency, whose just and sustainable uses citizens of democratic societies have shared responsibilities to ensure.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Lectures combined with small group activities.
No prerequisites are expected. Since a lot of the course is about the practice of science and potentials and controversies of new technologies, past courses in science and a curiosity about inventions, medicine, computers and other gadgets will be helpful. If you're fascinated by new scientific discoveries and technologies, but also concerned about our responsible and ethical use of them, this course is for you.
Class assignments and grading
Varies. Likely scenarios include the following: Exams: May be a combination of an in-class midterm exam and take-home final, or several short quizes (scheduled or unscheduled) and a take-home final. Writing: Short essays based on required readings; depending on the quarter, a longer research paper on the history of a particular technology may be included. Other: Questions and problems to be done in and/or outside of class, usually in small groups.
Varies by quarter.