Science,Technology and Society Program

Director: Janet Gray (Psychology); Steering Committee: James F. Challey (Physics and Science, Technology and Society), Lucy Lewis Johnson (Anthropology), Robert E. McAulay (Sociology), Marque Miringoff (Sociology), Nancy Pokrywka (Biology); Participating Faculty:James F. Challey (Physics and Science, Technology, and Society), Elizabeth Collins (Biology), David Esteban (Biology), Janet Gray (Psychology), Lucy Lewis Johnson (Anthropology), Shirley Johnson-Lans (Economics), Robert E. McAulay (Sociology), Sarjit Kaur (Chemistry), Bill Lunt (Economics), Marque Miringoff (Sociology), Nancy Pokrywka (Biology), Molly Shanley (Political Science), Michael Bennett (Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow).

The multidisciplinary program in Science, Technology, and Society is designed to enable students to pursue three objectives: a) to understand the central role of science and technology in contemporary society; b) to examine how science and technology reflect their social, political, philosophical, economic and cultural contexts; and c) to explore the human, ethical and policy implications of current and emerging technologies.

Students interested in the program are urged to plan for declaration as early as possible in their college careers. Freshmen and sophomores should talk with the director concerning courses to be taken in the freshman and sophomore years.

Course Requirements: 141//2 units including: (1) Non-science disciplinary requirements: 3 units including Introductory Sociology (SOCI 151); Microeconomics (ECON 101); and at least one course selected from Cultural Anthropology (ANTH 140), Readings in Modern European History (HIST 121), Readings in U.S. History (HIST 160), Philosophy and Contemporary Issues (PHIL 106), or International Politics (POLI 160); (2) Natural science requirements: 4 units from at least 2 departments, 2 of which must include laboratory work from biology, chemistry, earth science, physics, psychology or statistics (e.g., PSYC 200, MATH 141, ECON 209); (3) STS 200 (Science and Technology Studies); (4) 5 additional units in STS, with only 1 at the 100-level. Ordinarily these are courses that originate or are cross-listed in STS. Additional courses may meet this requirement with the approval of the director, (5) STS 300 (thesis) and STS 301 (senior seminar).

After declaration of the major, all required courses must be taken for a letter grade.

Distribution Requirements: At least 3 units in a sequence of courses leading to the 300-level in one of the social sciences, or one of the natural sciences, or a discipline in one of the humanities by permission of the director; at least 5 units to be taken in any of the divisions other than the one in which the student has achieved the 300-level requirement; no more than 251//2 units may be taken within any one division of the college.

I. Introductory

131a. Genetic Engineering: Basic Principles and Ethical Questions(1)

This course includes a consideration of: 1) basic biological knowledge about the nature of the gene, the genetic code, and the way in which the genetic code is translated into the phenotype of the organism; 2) how this basic, scientific knowledge has led to the development of a new technology known as "genetic engineering''; 3) principles and application of the technology itself; 4) the ethical, legal, and economic issues which have been raised by the advent of this technology. Among the issues discussed are ethical questions such as the nature of life itself, the right of scientists to pursue research at will, and the role of the academy to regulate the individual scientific enterprise. Ms. Kennell.

138a. Energy: Sources and Policies(1/2)

A multidisciplinary introduction to the principal sources of energy currently being used in the United States and the economic, political, and environmental choices they entail. The two largest energy sectors, electrical generating and transportation, are the main focus for the course, but emerging technologies such as wind power and hydrogen are also examined. There are no science prerequisites except a willingness to explore the interconnections of scientific principle, engineering practice and social context. Mr. Challey.

Six-week course.

139b. The Electronic Media(1/2)

An introduction to the history and evolution of the three principal electronic media of the twentieth century, radio, television, and the Internet. In each case the course examines the ways the technology and its social context have shaped each other. As a result this course also serves as an introduction to some of the major themes and methodologies in the history of technology. Mr. Challey.

Six-week course.

[ 172a. Microbial Wars ](1)

(Same as Biology 172) Mr. Esteban

Not offered in 2009/10.

II. Intermediate

200b. Science and Technology Studies(1)

An introduction to the multidisciplinary study of contemporary science and technology through selected case studies and key texts representing the major perspectives and methods of analysis, including work by Thomas Kuhn, Karl Popper, Langdon Winner, Robert Merton, Bruno Latour, and Sandra Harding. Some of the issues include the concept of scientific revolution, the nature of "big science" and "high technology," the social construction of science and technology, technological determinism, and the feminist critique of science. Mr. Challey, Mr. McAulay.

Prerequisite: 1 unit of a natural or a social science.

Two 75-minute periods.

[ 202a. History of Modern Science and Technology ](1)

A survey of major developments in Western science and technology from 1800 to the present. Major topics include; Laplace and the rise of mathematical physics; the development of thermodynamics; the work of Darwin and Pasteur; Edison and the rise of electrical technology; the theories of relativity and quantum mechanics; the Manhattan Project; plate tectonics and molecular biology; and the development of computers and cybernetics. Special emphasis is placed on the concepts of "big science' and ‘high technology' and their role in contemporary social and political life. Mr. Challey.

Prerequisite: One unit of science or modern history or permission of instructor.

Not offered in 2009/10.

[ 206b. Environmental Biology ](1)

(Same as Biology 206).

Not offered in 2009/10.

220a. The Political Economy Health Care(1)

(Same as Economics 220) Ms. Shirley Johnson-Lans.

[ 226a. Philosophy of Science ](1)

(Same as Philosophy 226) Mr. Lam.

Not offered in 2009/10.

[ 230b. The Economics of Innovation ](1)

(Same as Economics 230) The department.

Not offered in 2009/10.

234b. Disability and Society(1)

(Same as Sociology 234b)

245a. Automobiles(1)

This course examines the evolution of the automobile both as a revolution in human transportation and as a case study in the complex ways in which technology and society shape each other. The course begins with a study of the history of the automobile, primarily from an American perspective, but culminating in the globalization of the automobile industry. The second half of the course examines the contemporary role of the automobile in such contexts as energy policy, the environment, gender, and urban and suburban planning and design. Mr. Challey.

[ 254a. Bio-politics of Breast Cancer ](1)

(Same as Women's Studies 254) We examine the basic scientific, clinical and epidemiological data relevant to our current understanding of the risks (including environmental, genetic, hormonal and lifestyle factors), detection, treatment (including both traditional and alternative approaches), and prevention of breast cancer. In trying to understand these data in the context of the culture of the disease, we explore the roles of the pharmaceutical companies, federal and private foundations, survivor and other activist groups, and the media in shaping research, treatment and policy strategies related to breast cancer. Ms. Gray.

Not offered in 2009/10.

[ 255a. The Science of Forensics ](1)

(Same as Chemistry 255)

Not offered in 2009/10.

260a. Health, Medicine, and Public Policy(1)

(Same as Sociology 260) Ms. Miringoff.

267b. Environmental and Natural Resource Economics(1)

(Same as Economics 267b.) Mr. Rudd.

272b. Bioethics and Human Reproduction(1)

Scientific and technological advances are revolutionizing the ways in which human beings can procreate. This has given rise to debates over the ethical use of these methods, and over whether and how law and public policy should regulate these procedures and recognize the family relationships created by their use. This course examines topics such as fertility treatments, the commodification of gametes and embryos, contraceptive development and use, genetic screening and genetic modification of embryos, genetic testing in establishing family rights and responsibilities, and human cloning. We examine issues surrounding the ethical use of these methods, and consider whether and how law and public policy should regulate these procedures and recognize the family relationships created by their use. Ms. Pokrywka, Ms. Shanley.

[ 273a. Sociology of the New Economy ](1)

(Same as Sociology 273) Mr. Nevarez.

Not offered in 2009/10.

284a. Molecular Coordinates: The Societal Implications of Emergent Nanotechnology(1)

This course is designed to enable students to analyze dynamics and relationships germane to the domestic arenas of emergent nanotechnological research and development from approximately 1980-2006, and, in turn, the enmeshed ethical, societal, legal, martial, political and imaginary implications they suggest. Our course places a particular emphasis on tracking the traffic of science fictional concepts and discourses in the formation of nanotechnology, its public perception to date and possible future significance. Mr. Bennett.

290a or b. Field Work(1/2 or 1)

298a or b. Independent Work(1/2 or 1)

III. Advanced

300a. Senior Thesis(1)

301b. Senior Seminar(1/2)

The seminar meets during the first six weeks of the second semester. Senior majors present and defend their senior theses before the student and faculty members of the program.

[ 302b. History of Science and Technology Since World War II ](1)

An examination of major developments in science and technology since 1945, with particular emphasis on the social contexts and implications. The topics to receive special attention are: the origins and growth of systems theories (systems analysis, operations research, game theory, cybernetics), the development of molecular genetics from the double helix to sociobiology; and the evolution of telecommunications technologies. Mr. Challey.

Prerequisites: 1 unit of natural science and 1 unit of modern history, or permission of instructor.

Not offered in 2009/10.

[ 353b. Bio-Social Controversy ](1)

(Same as Sociology 353) Mr. McAulay.

Not offered in 2009/10.

360a. Issues in Bioethics(1)

Topic for 2009/10: Picturing Personhood. This course will explore how advances in brain science and neurotechnologies are-and are not-changing what we think it means to be a person. More specifically, how are such advances changing our views about the relationship between the mind and body? How are we coming to understand the relationship between reason and emotion? And how are we coming to understand the difference between persons who are "normal" and those who are not? Ultimately, how do our answers to questions like those influence our ideas about normality, freedom, and love? There are no prerequisites for this course other than an eagerness to read texts from disparate disciplines including philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience. Mr. Parens.

[ 364b. Seminar on Selected Topics in Law and Technology ](1)

(Same as Environmental Studies 364) This course explores the dynamic interrelationship between technology and law, through the study of environmental protection, law and policy. It is designed to analyze the reciprocal effects of our society, a developing jurisprudence and the advancement and use of science and technology on each other. Areas explored include American Constitutional, international, environmental, criminal, and property law. This course is taught using the same Socratic methods used in American law schools.

Not offered in 2009/10.

[ 367a. Mind, Culture, and Biology ](1)

(Same as Sociology 367) Mr. McAulay.

Not offered in 2009/10.

[ 370b. Feminism and Environmentalism ](1)

(Same as Environmental Studies 370 and Women's Studies 370) Ms. Schneiderman.

Not offered in 2009/10.

380a. Risk Perception and Environmental Regulation(1)

(Same as Environmental Studies 380a) This course explores the relationship between how individuals perceive risk and attempts to regulate the environment. In particular, we examine problems (both conceptual and practical) that arise in attempting to effectively manage risks to the environment. Gathering together empirical insights from Psychology and Behavioral Economics, we evaluate a number of proposed theoretical frameworks for regulation regimes (e.g., the Precautionary Principle, and Cost benefit Analysis). Problems to be discussed include the roles of popular (e.g., referenda) and non-democratic (e.g., judicial review) institutions, the feasibility of identifying relevant scientific expertise, and difficulties posed by inequalities in political, and economic power. Readings include works by thinkers such as Kristin Shrader-Frechette, Cass Sunstein, and Richard Posner, as well as studies of existing legislation (e.g., the National Environmental Policy Act, the Clean Air Act, and the Clean Water Act). Mr. Kelly.

388b. Intellectual Property Law(1)

(Same as Political Science 388) This course examines the legal and theoretical foundations of domestic, international and transnational intellectual property law regimes. In covering the areas of patent, copyright, trademark, trade secret and espionage law, as well as their intermingled legislative histories, students gain in-depth knowledge of the prevailing domestic doctrines, as well as an understanding of how contemporary national policy is woven into international treaties and structures of transnational governance. Mr. Bennett.

399a or b. Senior Independent Work(1/2 or 1)