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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Coleen Marie Carrigan
BISSTS 397
Bothell Campus

Topics in Science, Technology, and Society

Examines a topic, theme, or problem at the intersection of science, technology, and society.

Class description

This course explores the intersections of gender, race, feminism, science, and technology, emphasizing medical and computing knowledge, practices and labor. Oriented in a critical standpoint, the aim of this course is to engage in the theories and methods 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 the foundations of western science and technology, the role of capitalism in scientific knowledge production and the power dynamics involved in making science appear to be the only valid form of inquiry. We rely on feminist and postcolonial critiques of science to envision the transformation of the powers of technology to advance social justice.

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

Understand how race, gender, class, and sexuality shape scientific practices, identities, relations, and institutions of scientific knowledge production.

Understand the value of “close-to-home” ethnography and “studying up” and why anthropologists of science and technology studies must adapt traditional ethnographic methods.

Explain how science and technology can serve or contest power on multiple levels, including structural, cultural, ideological and material.

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.

Read other scholars’ work to buttress one’s own intellectual curiosities and communicate, both verbally and literately, one’s analyses soundly and logically.

General method of instruction

large group discussion, lecture, small group exercises and peer learning opportunities.

Recommended preparation

No prerequisites are required. However, a willingness to think critically about the outcomes and applications of science and technology will be useful to you. Also, you will be asked to understand the historical legacies of systems of oppression as they related to science and techology practices and artifacts and to envision the transformations of these legacies.

Class assignments and grading


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Coleen Marie Carrigan
Date: 03/07/2014