Mail Code: 94305-2120
Phone: (650) 723-2565
Web Site: http://sts.stanford.edu
Mission of the Undergraduate Program in Science, Technology, and Society
The Program in Science, Technology, and Society (STS) aims to provide students with an interdisciplinary framework through which to understand the complex interactions of science, technology and the social world. To major in STS, students work through a common core of courses drawn from the social sciences, the humanities, the natural and physical sciences and engineering. Students pursue coursework in one of five specialized areas:
- Communication and Media
- Innovation and Organization
- Nature and Environment
- Life Sciences and Health
- Politics and Policy
Students may also undertake research in affiliated laboratories and through the honors program for course units. All students complete a capstone project, either by taking one of the senior capstone courses (STS 200) or by applying for and completing an STS honors thesis. Students are encouraged to pursue mastery in at least one field from within the humanities or social sciences and at least one field from within the sciences or engineering. Majors may declare either a B.A. or a B.S. degree (see the specific requirements for each degree).
The Program's affiliated faculty represent over a dozen departments, including Anthropology, Communication, Computer Science, Education, Electrical Engineering, History, Law, Management Science and Engineering, Political Science and Sociology. By learning to bring such a rich collection of disciplinary approaches to bear on questions of science and technology, students graduate uniquely equipped to succeed in professions that demand fluency with both technical and social frameworks. Recent graduates of STS have entered top-ranked Ph.D. and MBA programs and forged successful careers in a variety of fields, including business, engineering, law, public service, medicine and academia.
Learning Outcomes (Undergraduate)
The Program expects undergraduate majors to be able to demonstrate the following learning outcomes. These learning outcomes are used in evaluating students and the Program in Science, Technology, and Society. Students are expected to demonstrate:
- A knowledge of core theories and methods in the interdisciplinary field of STS.
- An ability to deploy these theories and methods to analyze interactions between science, technology and society in particular historical and cultural contexts.
- An ability to critically evaluate empirical evidence and theoretical claims in STS-related debates.
- An ability to communicate clearly and persuasively about STS issues to a general audience in multiple media including oral presentation and writing.
Advising and Course Selection
The Program in Science, Technology, and Society offers an advising process that includes faculty, staff and peer advisers. Prospective majors must first meet with a peer adviser and then with the Program’s Student Services Officer to determine which degree they will pursue (the B.A. or B.S.) and how they will fulfill the Program’s basic requirements. When they are ready to declare, they meet with the Program's Student Services Officer to submit their degree plan and then the Associate Director reviews the coursework for intellectual coherence. Majors are then assigned to a faculty adviser who serves as an intellectual mentor and helps them identify the core questions driving their interest in the field. The Program also sponsors a wide variety of events designed to help students meet their colleagues and Program alumni, discover research and internship opportunities, and make their way toward the career of their choice.
The program offers a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science in Science, Technology, and Society. Both degree programs require that the student complete the STS Core.
|With a grade of 'C' or higher in each course, complete 8 courses satisfying the following requirements:|
|A. Gateway Requirement|
|STS 1||The Public Life of Science and Technology||4|
|B. Disciplinary Requirement: six courses, one of these courses must be a STS WIM course and at least one of these courses must be a STS Global course. Note 1 & 2|
|1. Social Sciences and Humanities Courses (complete 4 courses) Note 3 & 4||13-20|
|Genes and Identity|
|Theory of Ecological and Environmental Anthropology|
|Prefield Research Seminar: Non-Majors|
|Urban Culture in Global Perspective|
|Medical Ethics in a Global World: Examining Race, Difference and Power in the Research Enterprise|
|A Wilderness Empire: The Political Ecology of California|
|Cultures of Disease: Cancer and HIV/AIDS|
|Culture and Madness: Anthropological and Psychiatric Approaches to Mental Illness|
|Ten Things: An Archaeology of Design|
|Digital Media in Society|
|World Food Economy|
|Sociology of Science|
|International Security in a Changing World|
|World History of Science|
|The Scientific Revolution|
|Introduction to Philosophy of Science|
|Philosophy of Biology|
|Science, technology and society and the humanities in the face of the looming disaster|
|The Religious Life of Things|
|The Future of Information|
|Knowledge and Information Infrastructures|
|Techno-metabolism: technology and society in the Anthropocene|
|2. Engineering and Science Courses (complete 2 courses)||6-10|
|Ethics in Bioengineering|
|Air Pollution and Global Warming: History, Science, and Solutions|
|Computers, Ethics, and Public Policy|
|Human Society and Environmental Change|
|Engineering Economics and Sustainability|
|Ethical Issues in Engineering|
|Science, Innovation and the Law|
|Technology and National Security|
|C. Senior Requirement||4-10|
|Food and Society: Politics, Culture and Technology|
or STS 200D
|Predictive Technologies of Text|
or STS 200H
|Ethics, Science, & Technology|
or STS 200J
or STS 200K
|Sciences of Learning|
|Advanced Individual Work|
1WIM courses: ANTHRO 90C, COMM 120W, CS 181W, HISTORY 140A, HISTORY 232F, MS&E 193 or MS&E 197
2Global courses: ANTHRO 41, ANTHRO 126, ANTHRO 138, ANTHRO 186, ECON 106, HISTORY 131, HISTORY 140, HISTORY 44Q, HISTORY 144, HISTORY 203J, HISTORY 208A, CEE 64, POLISCI 233F
3May only take HISTORY 140A or HISTORY 232F
4May only take HISTORY 144 or HISTORY 44Q
In addition to the Core requirements common to all STS students, a minimum of 50 units, at least twelve courses, are required from among those designated on the appropriate Concentration Area course list (available in the Related Courses tab and on the STS website). All courses must be taken for a letter grade if offered and may not be double-counted with core coursework. Students may count no more than two course petitions outside the list of approved Concentration Area courses toward their STS degree plan. Thematic concentrations are organized around an STS-related area or topic:
Communication and Media
Innovation and Organization
Nature and Environment
Life Sciences and Health
Politics and Policy
A student pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree must take at least 8 classes from the Socio-Cultural Course menus, including at least 3 designated as Foundational, and at least 4 classes from the Technical Course menus.
A student pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree must take at least 8 classes from the Technical Course menu, and at least 4 classes from the Socio-Cultural Course menus, including at least 3 designated as Foundational.
Students in both degree programs are encouraged to pursue sequences of courses that build on one another to increase the coherence of their program and give depth to their skill set and knowledge related to STS.
Alternatively, subject to program approval, a student may choose to design a self-designed concentration. Students interested in designing their own concentration must work with the associate director and have their proposal approved at least 2 quarters prior to your graduating quarter. A proposal (5 to 10 pages) should (a) describe your intellectual objectives in detail, (b) explain why a self-designed concentration is the optimal way to pursue these objectives (as opposed to the five STS concentrations or other majors at Stanford), and (c) list at least 12 courses and 50 units that comprise the plan of study. Students with a self-designed concentration must fulfill the same core requirements as other STS students. More information can be found on the STS website.
Each student's Concentration Area, certified or self-designed, requires the approval of the STS Associate Director.
Interdisciplinary Honors in Science, Technology, and Society
The Program in Science, Technology, and Society (STS) offers an opportunity for undergraduates to graduate with Interdisciplinary Honors in STS. The STS honors program is open to STS majors as well as students from other majors.
Students accepted into the program carry out an original honors project, working with a faculty adviser. For STS majors, this project also fulfills the requirements for a capstone course and a sociocultural concentration course. An STS honors thesis tackles a significant problem or question related to the intersection of science, technology, and society. Students draw research methods from one or more of the disciplines that shape STS, such as history, sociology, communication, anthropology, environmental science, computer programming/modeling, engineering, economics, political science, and art history, while also capitalizing on unique analytical perspectives of STS as an intellectual field. STS interdisciplinary honors signals expertise in a given area, organizational skills, and intellectual rigor, and students have used it as a springboard for graduate studies and for careers in fields such as information technology, entrepreneurship, finance, public policy, media, education, law, medicine, and the nonprofit sector. Past honors projects are on file in the STS office library, as well as the digital repository.
Students are encouraged to apply to the STS honors program during the Spring Quarter of their junior year. Late application is considered up to the add/drop deadline of the Autumn Quarter of their senior year.
For Majors in Science, Technology, and Society
In preparation for applying to the honors program in STS, students should:
- Select an area of research interest in STS, prepare related research questions, and identify potential faculty advisers for an honors thesis based on those questions.
- Attend one or more of the quarterly STS workshops offered for prospective honors students, and/or take STS 191 Introduction to Research in STS (offered Winter Quarter) or an alternative course on research methods approved by the STS honors program director, and/or speak with the STS honors program director.
- Submit a research statement and an honors program application, following the parameters set out at STS Honors Program web site.
For Majors in Other Departments and Programs
In addition to the requirements for STS majors, applicants from other departments should:
- Meet with the honors program director as early as possible to ensure that they have sufficient background in relevant analytical and methodological approaches.
- Satisfy one of the following:
- Complete STS 1 The Public Life of Science and Technology, and either two courses approved as sociocultural foundational courses in STS, or two alternative courses approved by the STS honors program director as relevant to the proposed honors research in STS; or
- Complete three courses approved by the STS honors program director as relevant to the proposed honors research in STS.
Interdisciplinary Honors Requirements
To graduate with Interdisciplinary Honors in STS, seniors in the honors program need to meet the following criteria:
- Enroll in STS 299 with an honors faculty adviser to oversee the thesis for a minimum of 10 units total, with up to 5 units per quarter, over Autumn, Winter and Spring quarters. Students who choose to obtain Permit for Services Only (PSO) status during their final quarter may do so with the consent of the STS honors program director but they must still have enrolled in a minimum of 10 units of STS 299 during previous quarters.
- Attend required monthly workshops for current STS honors students.
- Complete a thesis judged worthy of an honors program by the faculty adviser and STS adviser.
- Have an overall Stanford GPA of 3.4 at the end of Winter Quarter, senior year, or demonstrated academic competence.
Minor in Science, Technology, and Society
The program no longer offers a minor. Students currently enrolled in the minor should consult the Stanford Bulletin 2011-12 for degree requirements.
STS Affiliated Faculty
Director and Professor of Education: John Willinsky
Associate Director: Kyoko Sato
William J. Perry Fellow in International Security: Paul N. Edwards
Executive Board: Paula Findlen (History), Duana Fullwiley (Anthropology), Mark Granovetter (Sociology), Hank Greely (Law), Sarah Lochlann Jain (Anthropology), Robert McGinn (Management Science and Engineering), Brad Osgood (Electrical Engineering), Eric Roberts (Computer Science), Scott Sagan (Political Science), Fred Turner (Communication), John Willinsky (Education)
Affiliated Faculty and Staff: Jeremy Bailenson (Communication), Adam Banks (Graduate School of Education), Thomas Byers (Management Science and Engineering), Angèle Christin (Communication), Jean-Pierre Dupuy (French), Paula Findlen (History), Duana Fullwiley (Anthropology), Mark Granovetter, (Sociology), Hank Greely (Law), Ann Grimes (Communication), James T. Hamilton (Communication), Pamela Hinds (Management Science and Engineering), Hector Hoyos (Iberian and Latin American Cultures), Miyako Inoue (Anthropology), Sarah Lochlann Jain (Anthropology), Robert Laughlin (Physics), Pamela Lee (Art and Art History), Sandra Soo-Jin Lee (Biomedical Ethics), Helen Longino (Philosophy), Henry Lowood (Stanford University Libraries), Robert McGinn (Management Science and Engineering), Thomas Mullaney (History), Brad Osgood (Electrical Engineering), Walter Powell (Education), Robert Proctor (History), Jessica Riskin (History), Scott Sagan (Political Science), Kyoko Sato (STS), Londa Schiebinger (History), Michael Shanks (Classics, Anthropology), Mitchell Stevens (Education), Elaine Treharne (English), Fred Turner (Communication), John Willinsky (Education)
Emeriti: James Adams (Management Science and Engineering, Mechanical Engineering), Barton Bernstein (History), Martin Hellman (Electrical Engineering), Eric Roberts (Computer Science), Walter Vincenti (Aeronautics and Astronautics), Gavin Wright (American Economic History)
Overseas Studies Courses in Science, Technology, and Society
The Bing Overseas Studies Program manages Stanford study abroad programs for Stanford undergraduates. Students should consult their department or program's student services office for applicability of Overseas Studies courses to a major or minor program.
The Bing Overseas Studies course search site displays courses, locations, and quarters relevant to specific majors.
|OSPAUSTL 10||Coral Reef Ecosystems||3|
|OSPAUSTL 25||Freshwater Systems||3|
|OSPAUSTL 30||Coastal Forest Ecosystems||3|
|OSPBER 115X||The German Economy: Past and Present||4-5|
|OSPBER 126X||A People's Union? Money, Markets, and Identity in the EU||4-5|
|OSPBER 161X||The German Economy in the Age of Globalization||4-5|
|OSPCPTWN 36||The Archaeology of Southern African Hunter Gatherers||4|
|OSPCPTWN 43||Public and Community Health in Sub-Saharan Africa||3|
|OSPCPTWN 67||ICT4D: An Introduction to the Use of ICTs for Development||3|
|OSPFLOR 28||Between Art and Science: the Evolution of Techniques from Antiquity to Leonardo da Vinci||4|
|OSPFLOR 41||The Florentine Sketchbook: A Visual Arts Practicum||4|
|OSPFLOR 48||Sharing Beauty in Florence: Collectors, Collections and the Shaping of the Western Museum Tradition||4|
|OSPFLOR 49||On-Screen Battles: Filmic Portrayals of Fascism and World War II||5|
|OSPFLOR 58||Space as History: Social Vision and Urban Change||4|
|OSPFLOR 67||The Celluloid Gaze: Gender, Identity and Sexuality in Cinema||4|
|OSPFLOR 85||Bioethics: the Biotechnological Revolution, Human Rights and Politics in the Global Era||4|
|OSPFLOR 115Y||Building the Cathedral and the Town Hall: Constructing and Deconstructing Symbols of a Civilization||4|
|OSPKYOTO 45||Japan's Energy-Environment Conundrum||4|
|OSPMADRD 27||Canarian Night Skies||4|
|OSPMADRD 45||Women in Art: Case Study in the Madrid Museums||4|
|OSPMADRD 57||Health Care: A Contrastive Analysis between Spain and the U.S.||4|
|OSPMADRD 72||Issues in Bioethics Across Cultures||4|
|OSPOXFRD 19||Constructing Natures: Science and Technology in the British Landscape||5|
|OSPOXFRD 45||British Economic Policy since World War II||5|
|OSPOXFRD 57||The Rise of the Woman Writer 1660-1860||5|
|OSPOXFRD 58||Ethical, Legal, and Policy Issues in the Biosciences: Comparative Perspectives||3|
|OSPPARIS 30||The Avant Garde in France through Literature, Art, and Theater||4|
|OSPPARIS 44||EAP: Analytical Drawing and Graphic Art||2|
|OSPPARIS 72||The Ceilings of Paris||4|
|OSPPARIS 91||Globalization and Its Effect on France and the European Union||5|
|OSPPARIS 92||Building Paris: Its History, Architecture, and Urban Design||4|
|OSPPARIS 97||Le Grand Paris: Paris of the 21st Century||4|
|OSPPARIS 98||Global Health Systems: the Future||5|
|OSPSANTG 29||Sustainable Cities: Comparative Transportation Systems in Latin America||4-5|
|OSPSANTG 71||Santiago: Urban Planning, Public Policy, and the Built Environment||4-5|
|OSPSANTG 119X||The Chilean Economy: History, International Relations, and Development Strategies||5|
STS 1. The Public Life of Science and Technology. 4 Units.
The course focuses on key social, cultural, and values issues raised by contemporary scientific and technological developments through the STS interdisciplinary lens by developing and applying skills in three areas: (a) The historical analysis of contemporary global matters (e.g., spread of technologies; climate change response); (b) The bioethical reasoning around health issues (e.g., disease management; privacy rights); and (c) The sociological study of knowledge (e.g., intellectual property, science publishing). A discussion section is required and will be assigned the first week of class.
STS 103Q. Reading and Writing Poetry about Science. 4 Units.
Preference to sophomores. Students will study recent poetry inspired by the phenomena and history of the sciences in order to write such poems themselves. These poems bring sensuous human experience to bear on biology, ecology, astronomy, physics, earth science, and medicine, as well as on technological advances and calamities. Poets such as Linda Bierds, Mark Doty, Albert Goldbarth, Sarah Lindsay, W.S. Merwin, Adrienne Rich, Pattiann Rogers, Tracy K. Smith, Arthur Sze, and C. K. Williams. Grounding in poetics, research in individually chosen areas of science, weekly analytical and creative writing. Fulfills the Creative Expression requirement. Enrollment limited to 12.
STS 123. Making of a Nuclear World: History, Politics, and Culture. 4 Units.
Nuclear technology has shaped our world through its various applications (e.g., weapons, energy production, medicine) and accidents and disasters (e.g., Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, Fukushima). This course will examine the development of nuclear technology and its consequences to politics and culture at the global, national, regional and local levels from interdisciplinary perspectives. Some of the key questions addressed are: How did different countries and communities experience and respond to the 1945 bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki? How did such experiences affect the later development of the technology in different national contexts? How have nuclear tests and disasters change the ways in which risks are understood and managed globally and locally? What kinds of political activism, international arrangements, and cultural tropes and imageries emerged in response to nuclear technology? We explore these questions through key works and recent studies in history, anthropology, sociology, and science and technology studies, as well as through films and literature.
STS 131. Science, Technology, and Environmental Justice. 4 Units.
The Bay Area is renowned for its technological innovations and progressive politics, including environmental justice activism. This course explores the multifaceted intersections of science, technology, and environmental issues, in the Bay Area and beyond. Throughout, students investigate the politics of place, with an eye to inequalities of race, class, gender, generation, and citizenship. Topics include: histories of environmentalism; socio-technological systems; urban and regional planning; public health and biomedicine; food systems; climate change; innovation ecosystems; undone science.
STS 136. Anthropological Inquiries: Cold War, Nuclear Testing, Energy, and Human Rights. 4 Units.
The atomic age has remade communities, public cultures, and the consciousness of individuals all across the globe. What are the political, social, cultural, and scientific legacies of nuclear testing and disasters? Think: Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Chernobyl, Fukushima and Soviet, French, and American nuclear weapons testing. But also think: nuclear energy production as a ¿forward thinking¿ solution to carbon emissions. Indeed, the military and peaceful use of the atom is a transnational phenomenon with local manifestations and consequences, but what are the social implications of the nuclear age? How do scientists and institutions attempt to manage and control risk? This class explores these questions by studying the aftermath of the nuclear age through full-length ethnographies, journal articles, and film. Each week we will investigate the contested nature of this topic through a diversity of perspectives, past and present. This is a survey course, designed for advanced placement high school, undergraduate, and graduate students.
STS 140. Science, Technology and Politics. 5 Units.
This course will critically interrogate the relationship between science and technology and politics. Politics plays a significant role in the production of scientific knowledge and technological artifacts. Science and technology in turn constitute crucial elements of politics and governance in modern democracy. This course will explore these interactions through (1) key theoretical texts in STS and (2) case studies of such issues as climate change, race and science, urban planning, elections and technology, and information technology in social movements. Preference to juniors and seniors. First class attendance mandatory. Enrollment limited to 16.
STS 151. The Future of Information. 4 Units.
As information has a fascinating history (see HISTORY 5A), so it possesses a promising if concerning future. Through lecture, demonstration, and in-class web-work, this course will provide students with advanced strategies in (a) identifying sources and tools for advancing the quest for information; (b) assessing elements of trust, authority, and chicanery in the provision of information; (c) recognizing the economic and legal structures shaping information sources, services, and rights; and (d) discovering who is behind what information. With a focus on the info-worlds of journalism, learning, governance, students will acquire and practice the forensic skills and web savvy of fact-checkers and investigative reporters, activists and scholars. Here¿s a class set to determine the future course of information.
Same as: EDUC 151
STS 160Q. Technology in Contemporary Society. 4 Units.
Preference to sophomores. Introduction to the STS field. The natures of science and technology and their relationship, what is most distinctive about these forces today, and how they have transformed and been affected by contemporary society. Social, cultural, and ethical issues raised by recent scientific and technological developments. Case studies from areas such as information technology and biotechnology, with emphasis on the contemporary U.S. Unexpected influences of science and technology on contemporary society and how social forces shape scientific and technological enterprises and their products. Enrollment limited to 12.
STS 165N. Cars: Past, Present, and Future. 3 Units.
(Formerly COMM 165N.) Preference to freshmen. Focus is on the past, present and future of the automobile, bridging the humanities, social sciences, design, and engineering. Focus on the human experiences of designing, making, driving, being driven, living with, and dreaming of the automobile. A different theme featured each week in discussion around a talk and supported by key readings and media. Course is informed by history, archaeology, ethnography, human-technology interaction, mechanical engineering, and cognitive science.
STS 166. Knowledge and Information Infrastructures. 3-4 Units.
This course introduces historical, theoretical, and comparative perspectives on knowledge and information systems from the medieval world to the present. Cases include libraries, meteorology, climate science, the Internet, the World Wide Web, and social science data systems. It theorizes how infrastructures form, how they change, and how they shape (and are shaped by) social systems. The course ends with challenges to modern knowledge infrastructures, such as crowdsourcing, citizen science, and alternative and bogus knowledge.
STS 181. Techno-metabolism: technology and society in the Anthropocene. 3-5 Units.
The technosphere metabolizes energy, materials, and information to feed human consumption. It transforms not only fossil fuels, but also solar energy, through processes such as photosynthesis (agriculture), wind, and hydroelectric power. The technosphere also metabolizes information, ingesting some kinds of data as inputs and producing other data as outputs. Techno-metabolism's waste products-greenhouse gases, microplastics, nuclear waste, etc. - are transforming both the biosphere and the geosphere, with radically different effects on disparate peoples and places. Scientists, historians, and others have proposed new ways to conceptualize techno-metabolism in order to reduce energy requirements and material waste. Meanwhile, "data exhaust" - the "waste" data generated by individual activity, from web searches to Facebook and Instagram - is increasingly "recycled" to detect patterns, trends, and individual preferences. Can data exhaust be harnessed to tame the technosphere's destructive effects? Course assignments include readings and group projects that creatively visualize the interplay of energy, materials and information in the radical inequality of the technosphere.
STS 190. Issues in Technology and the Environment. 4 Units.
Humans have long shaped and reshaped the natural world with technologies. Once a menacing presence to conquer or an infinite reserve for resources, nature is now understood to require constant protection from damage and loss. This course will examine humanity's varied relationship with the environment, with a focus on the role of technology. Topics include: industrialization, modernism, nuclear technology, and biotechnology. Students will explore theoretical and methodological approaches in STS and conduct original research that addresses this human-nature-technology nexus. Enrollment limited to juniors and seniors, or with consent of instructor. First week attendance mandatory.
STS 191. Introduction to Research in STS. 4 Units.
This seminar introduces key analytical approaches and methodologies in STS, as well as basic tools for conducting original research in STS. Students survey a series of influential empirical studies; identify productive questions of their own interest; and explore how to pursue them through strong research design. Research proposal as final assignment. Preference to STS juniors and those seeking Interdisciplinary Honors in STS; others require consent of instructor. The final proposal can serve as an honors prospectus for students who seek to participate in the STS honors program.
STS 199. Independent Study. 1-5 Unit.
Every unit of credit is understood to represent three hours of work per week per term and is to be agreed upon between the student and the faculty member. Instructor consent required. Please contact the department for a permission number.
STS 199A. Curricular Practical Training. 1 Unit.
Students obtain internship in a relevant research or industrial activity to enhance their professional experience consistent with their degree program and area of concentration. Prior to enrolling students must get internship approved by the STS Program Director. At the end of the quarter, a one-page final report must be supplied documenting work done and relevance to degree program. Meets the requirements for Curricular Practical Training for students on F-1 visas. Student is responsible for arranging own internship. Limited to declared STS majors only. Course may be repeated twice. Instructor consent required. Please contact the department for a permission number.
STS 199J. Editing a Science Technology and Society Journal. 1-2 Unit.
The Science Technology and Society (STS) Program has a student journal, Intersect, that has been publishing STS student papers for a number of years. This course involves learning about how to serve as an editor of a peer-reviewed journal, while serving as one of the listed editors of Intersect. Entirely operated online, the journal uses a work-flow management to help with the submission process, peer-review, editing, and publication. Student editors learn by being involved in the publishing process, from soliciting manuscripts to publishing the journal's annual issue, while working in consultation with the instructor. Students will also learn about current practices and institutional frameworks around open access and digital publishing.
STS 200A. Food and Society: Politics, Culture and Technology. 5 Units.
This course will examine how politics, culture, and technology intersect in our food practices. Through a survey of academic, journalistic, and artistic works on food and eating, the course will explore a set of key analytical frameworks and conceptual tools in STS, such as the politics of technology, classification and identity, and nature/culture boundaries. The topics covered include: the industrialization of agriculture; technology and the modes of eating (e.g., the rise of restaurants); food taboos; globalization and local foodways; food and environmentalism; and new technologies in production (e.g., genetically modified food). Through food as a window, the course intends to achieve two broad intellectual goals. First, students will explore various theoretical and methodological approaches in STS. In particular, they will pay particular attention to the ways in which politics, culture, and technology intersect in food practices. Second, student will develop a set of basic skills and tools for their own critical thinking and empirical research, and design and conduct independent research on a topic related to food. First class attendance mandatory. STS majors must have Senior status to enroll in this Senior Capstone course.
STS 200D. Predictive Technologies of Text. 5 Units.
This course will examine conventions and patterns in the history of recorded human communication to consider how future technologies of text (methods of recording, modes of information exchange, devices for reading text) might develop. All forms of communication from the earliest times to today belong to discrete, discernible systems, whether that's writing, or representational (art, music, binary code) or paralinguistic (gesture, radio-waves, the stars) and all, it might be argued, follow similar biographies that we'll describe, authenticate, and model predictively.
Same as: ENGLISH 184G
STS 200E. Technology, Nature, and Environmentalism. 5 Units.
Humans have long shaped and reshaped the natural world with technologies. Once a menacing presence to conquer or an infinite reserve for resources, nature is now understood to require constant protection from damage and loss. Humanity's relationships with the environment have changed over time and differed across societies. In this course, students (1) explore diverse ways in which people in different historical and cultural settings have conceptualized nature and their relationships with it, with a focus on the role of technology; and (2) learn the basics of STS research and conduct an original study that addresses this human-nature-technology nexus. First class attendance mandatory. STS majors must have senior status to enroll in this senior capstone course.
STS 200F. Sociology of Innovation and Invention. 5 Units.
This course examines the social, cultural, and economic factors that foster novelty. We will study a wide array of historical contexts, from the Renaissance to the present day, in which clusters of related innovations transformed the way things are done. We ask when do such innovations cascade out and produce social inventions that, for good and bad, create profound changes in how things are done, leading to new forms of organizations and new categories of people. Seminar/lecture format, reading intensive, final term paper. Prerequisite: admission to the course is restricted to declared STS seniors and is by application only. Email Emily Van Poetsch (email@example.com) for an application. Applications must be submitted by 5pm on November 1st.
STS 200H. Ethics, Science, & Technology. 4 Units.
Critical analysis of ethical issues raised by recent or emerging advances in science and engineering. Issues: privacy, intellectual property, design equity, the public interest, ethical responsibilities of technical practitioners, research ethics, and freedom of inquiry. Advances from fields such as IT, biotechnology, nanotechnology, neurotechnology, construction technology, and transport technology. Seminar limited to 20 senior STS majors. Prerequisite: a course in ethics or permission of the instructor.
STS 200K. Sciences of Learning. 4 Units.
Understanding the process of learning has enticed and eluded scientists for generations. Abetted by the rise of massive open online courses (MOOCs), learning has attracted new cadres of researchers and stars from scientists in adjacent fields, as well as new forms of financial support and visibility. This seminar investigates the recent dynamics of learning science as a case study in the politics of knowledge. Student projects will enable focused empirical inquiry.
STS 200L. Critique of Technology. 3-5 Units.
Informed citizens living in today's world, and especially in Silicon Valley, should be able to formulate their own articulate positions about the role of technology in culture. The course gives students the tools to do so. Against the trend towards the thoughtless celebration of all things technological, we will engage in critique in the two senses of the term: as careful study of the cultural implications of technology and as balanced, argumentative criticism. Can technology make life more meaningful, society more fair, people smarter, and the world smaller? We will pay special attention to the insights that literature, and other arts, can offer for reframing digital culture. Selections by Latin American fiction writers (Cortázar, Zambra), philosophers and thinkers (Heidegger and Beller), as well as recent popular works of social commentary, such as You are not a Gadget, The Shallows, 24/7, and Present Shock. Taught in English.
STS 200M. Tobacco and Health in World History. 4-5 Units.
Cigarettes are the world's leading cause of death--but how did we come into this world, where 6 trillion cigarettes are smoked every year? Here we explore the political, cultural, and technological origins of the cigarette and cigarette epidemic, using the tobacco industry's 80 million pages of secret documents. Topics include the history of cigarette advertising and cigarette design, the role of the tobacco industry in fomenting climate change denial, and questions raised by the testimony of experts in court.
STS 200N. Funkentelechy: Technologies, Social Justice and Black Vernacular Cultures. 4 Units.
From texts to techne, from artifacts to discourses on science and technology, this course is an examination of how Black people in this society have engaged with the mutually consitutive relationships that endure between humans and technologies. We will focus on these engagements in vernacular cultural spaces, from storytelling traditions to music and move to ways academic and aesthetic movements have imagined these relationships. Finally, we will consider the implications for work with technologies in both school and community contexts for work in the pursuit of social and racial justice.
Same as: AFRICAAM 200N
STS 299. Advanced Individual Work. 1-5 Unit.
For students in the STS Honors program. Every unit of credit is understood to represent three hours of work per week per term and is to be agreed upon between the student and the faculty member. May be repeated for credit.