Coleen Marie Carrigan
Examines a topic, theme, or problem at the intersection of science, technology, and society.
This course explores historical and contemporary intersections of gender, race, feminism, science, and technology, emphasizing medical and computing knowledge, practices and labor value. Oriented in a critical standpoint, the fundamental aim of this course of to engage in the theories and methods of anthropology of science and technology studies (STS) and feminist science and technology studies (FSTS) to gain a comprehensive understanding of the cultural production of science and technology. We investigate gender and race as co-constructions of science and the political as well as philosophical stake in diversifying technology production. We deconstruct entrenched binary oppositions, the historical and philosophical foundations of western science and technology and rely on feminist and postcolonial critiques of scientific epistemologies and practices to envision the transformation of the powers of technology to advance social justice. Our critical engagement with STS and FSTS scholarship focuses on the actors, approaches, epistemologies and applications of science and technology and interrogates the role of capitalism in the development and consumption of technology.
This course is interdisciplinary. Readings are drawn from anthropology, cultural studies, feminist theory and philosophy, gender and sexuality studies, social history, and science and technology studies. Students are challenged to identify questions, key concepts, theoretical frameworks and methodologies helpful in forming their own research goals and intellectual expertise.
Student learning goals
Introduce a variety of ways of thinking about the reciprocal relationships between science and technology (specialized knowledge and practices) and society (the organized collection of human culture and activity).
Understand how race, gender, class, and sexuality shape scientific practices, identities, relations, and institutions of scientific knowledge production.
Introduce participants to critical questions, key concepts and methodological approaches in social studies of science and technology. Apply these new concepts and orientations to one’s area of interest in preparation for future intellectual and professional work.
Learn to construct effective descriptions and analyses of both theoretical and mainstream discourses on science and technology.
Define ethnography and why it is a useful method to critically examine cultural norms and assumptions. Understand the value of “close-to-home” ethnography and “studying up” and why ethnographers of science and technology studies must adapt traditional ethnographic methods.
Apply critical thinking skills, including selecting topics to analyze and engaging in conversations with existing literature and class participants to understand the body in the contexts of power, inequality, marginality and activism.
General method of instruction
large group discussion, lecture, small group exercises and peer learning opportunities
Class assignments and grading