Reading and discussion of selected works of major importance in interdisciplinary international studies. Restricted to majors in International Studies.
Modern science and technology empowers individuals and small groups to engage in activities previously limited to large institutions. This is welcomed and even celebrated by technological optimists such as Freeman Dyson, Ray Kurzweil or Hans Moravec, and it may indeed bring about a revolution in creativity, resulting in many benefits to the society.
On the other hand, this development also represents some new and serious problems. For the first time in human history, the capability of causing extreme harm is, or will soon be, in the hands of individuals or small groups. This is the 'Basic Problem' of science, technology and society. The actual manifestation of the problem will come as an intentional or accidental misuse of our new powers (see an essay at http://www.phys.washington.edu/users/vladi/bp.doc for a detailed discussion). The implications for International Studies are far reaching.
Student learning goals
Learn to critically read and analyze literature related to the issues.
Learn how to effectively find new references to literature related to the subject.
Learn to critically evaluate reviews of the literature (i.e. evaluate the evaluations).
Be able to function in a highly multidisciplinary environment. See http://www.phys.washington.edu/users/vladi/SIS498/Johnson for a fascinating example of a law professor dealing with the issue of black holes possibly produced by LHC at CERN.
General method of instruction
The initial lecture by the Instructor on the first day of classes will be followed by a research Seminar, with individual students reporting on their readings.
Status of a declared JSIS major, and an interest in the issues.
Class assignments and grading
Readings, several short papers and a final longer essay.
Quality of the papers and class participation.