Reading and discussion of selected works of major importance in interdisciplinary international studies. Restricted to majors in International Studies.
This course will consider the role of technology in social change from the printing press to the rise of the networked society. We will be specifically dealing with issues of technological determinism and the role of human agency in the relationships of technology to society and vice versa. Technology is a tool, an extention of human creativity, and a quest for efficiency. Yet technology as a technique or skill, (which is the meaning of the Greek root from which it is derrived), shapes culture and behavior as well as changes human relationships, especially relations of power, authority and human capacity, both brawn and brain. We will also consider the place of cultural difference in global technological projects, especially when considering the rise of the networked society which is borderless.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
This is a readings course, and an upper division seminar. The method of instruction will be discussion based, although supplimented with an intellectual contextualization by the professor of each work we read. Students will play an active role in leading the group in coming to terms with the meanings and implications of the course's assigned readings.
Students should begin familiarizing themselves with the vast literature on technology and society. They may want to read Science, Technology and Society by Robert E. McGinn, a recommended pre-reading for the course. Moreover, given the heavy reading load for the course, students may find it prudent to begin exploring the texts for the course over spring break.
Class assignments and grading
There will be four short papers, each written on a question provided by the instructor, and based upon the course readings. There will be one longer paper which integrates these four papers into a larger, more detailed analysis. Students are also responsible to lead class discussion. Participation in the class discussion is also expected of each student. Obviously, doing the weekly readings is an important part of all of these assingments.
Students will be graded on their papers, on their assignment to lead class discussion, and on their participation and preparedness in class.