Trang X. Ta
Clarifies the scientific, political, economic, and ethical dimensions of new genetic technologies. Explores the tension between biotechnology as a source of economic opportunity and as a potential threat to the environment and human freedom, and the role of government in promoting and regulating science and technology to resolve this tension.
BIS 411 Biotechnology and Society
The global pharmaceutical industry, the expanding human tissue market, and new medical technologies will be the points of entry for our exploration of biotechnology and society. These examples illustrate the complex network of market logic, medical ethics, public policy, and social values that inform biotechnological research and development. As the boundaries between synthetic and natural, mimesis and reality, sacred and profane, and human and non-human become increasingly blurred, the practices and products of the biotech industry represent a provocative new understanding of the limits of the human body and the extremes of the commodification of life.
Student learning goals
To become an open thinker who can engage with complex ideas.
To become a close reader of theoretically challenging material.
To develop better writing skills through weekly writing assignments.
To develop skills in public speaking, making presentations, and leading class discussions.
General method of instruction
This is a discussion-based seminar course. Every student will be responsible for doing all the readings, making presentations, and leading class discussions.
Social theory, philosophy of science, history of medicine, political economy, and biology courses would be helpful preparation for a course of this nature.
Class assignments and grading
This is a reading and writing intensive course so students will be required to turn in papers each week along with preparing for presentations and leading class discussions which will all be graded.
Quality of papers, projects, and presentations.