Title Instructor Location Time All taxonomy terms Description Section Description Cross Listings Fulfills Registration Notes Syllabus Syllabus URL Course Syllabus URL
HSOC 003-401 Technology & Society Adelheid Voskuhl TR 12:00 PM-01:30 PM Technology plays an increasing role in our understandings of ourselves, our communities, and our societies, in how we think about politics and war, science and religion, work and play. Humans have made and used technologies, though, for thousands if not millions of years. In this course, we will use this history as a resource to understand how technolgoeis affect social relations, and coversely how the culture of a society shapes the technologies it produces. Do different technologies produce or result from different economic systems like feudalism, capitalism and communism? Can specific technologies promote democratic or authoritarian politics? Do they suggest or enforce different patterns of race, class or gender relations? Among the technologies we'll consider will be large objects like cathedrals, bridges, and airplanes; small ones like guns, clocks and birth control pills; and networks like the electrical grid, the highway system and the internet. STSC003401, SOCI033401 Society sector (all classes)
HSOC 100-401 Introduction To Sociological Research Melissa J. Wilde MW 02:00 PM-03:00 PM One of the defining chnaracteristics of all the social sciences, including sociology, is a commitmenmt to empirical research as the basis for knowledge. This course is designed to provide you with a basic understanding of research in the social sciences and to enable you to think like a social scientist. Through this course students will learn both the logic of sociological inquiry and the nuts and bolts of doing empirical research. We will focus on such issues as the relationship between theory and research, the logic of research design, issues of conceptualization and measurement, basic methods of data collection, and what social scientists do with data once they have collected them. By the end of the course, students will have completed sociological research projets utilizing different empirical methods, be able to evaluate the strenths and weaknesses of various research strategies, and read (with understanding) published accounts of social science research. SOCI100401 Registration also required for Recitation (see below)
HSOC 102-401 Bioethics Jonathan D Moreno MW 02:00 PM-03:00 PM This course is intended to introduce students to the fundamental principles of bioethics and the many ethical issues that arise in the rapidly changing fields of biomedicine and the life sciences. The first half of the course will provide an overview of the standard philosophical principles of bioethics, using clinical case studies to help illustrate and work through these principles. In the second half of the course we will focus on recent biomedical topics that have engendered much public controversy including diagnostic genetics, reproductive technologies and prenatal screening, abortion, physician assisted suicide, human experiments, and end of life decision making. We will use the principles learned in the first half of the course to systematically think through these bioethical issues, many of which affect our everyday lives. SOCI101401 Registration also required for Recitation (see below)
HSOC 111-401 Health of Populations Irma T. Elo MW 11:00 AM-12:00 PM This course develops some of the major measures used to assess the health of populations and uses those measures to consider the major factors that determine levels of health in large aggregates. These factors include disease environment, medical technology, public health initiatives, and personal behaviors. The approach is comparative and historical and includes attention to differences in health levels among major social groups. SOCI111401 Registration also required for Recitation (see below)
HSOC 112-001 The Peoples Health David S. Barnes TR 10:30 AM-12:00 PM While the scary threats of the moment in recent years, Ebola, MERS, swine flu, bioterrorism dominate media coverage of public health, most human suffering anddeath are driven by more mundane causes. This course critically addresses twenty-first-century public health science and policy by examining the long history (beginning with the plague epidemics of Renaissance Italy) that brought us to where we are today. Topics include responses to epidemics; socioeconomic, racial, and other disparities in health; occupational health; the rise of public health as a field of scientific inquiry; sanitary reform; the Bacteriological Revolution; the shift from disease causes to risk factors; and the social determinants of health. Registration also required for Recitation (see below)
HSOC 145-401 Comparative Medicine Projit Bihari Mukharji MW 11:00 AM-12:00 PM This course explores the medical consequences of the interaction between Europe and the "non- West." It focuses on three parts of the world Europeans colonized: Africa, South Asia, and Latin America. Today's healing practices in these regions grew out of the interaction between the medical traditions of the colonized and those of the European colonizers. We therefore explore the nature of the interactions. What was the history of therapeutic practices that originated in Africa or South Asia? How did European medical practices change in the colonies? What were the effects of colonial racial and gender hierarchies on medical practice? How did practitioners of "non-Western" medicine carve out places for themselves? How did they redefine ancient traditions? How did patients find their way among multiple therapeutic traditions? How does biomedicine take a different shape when it is practiced under conditions of poverty, or of inequalities in power? How do today's medical problems grow out of this history? This is a fascinating history of race and gender, of pathogens and conquerors, of science and the body. It tells about the historical and regional roots of today's problems in international medicine. STSC145401 History & Tradition Sector (all classes) Registration also required for Recitation (see below)
HSOC 152-301 Tech & Med in Mod Amer Meghan Crnic TR 12:00 PM-01:30 PM Medicine as it exists in contemporary America is profoundly technological; we regard it as perfectly normal to be examined with instruments, to expose our bodies to many different machines; and to have knowledge produced by those machines mechanically/electronically processed, interpreted and stored. We are billed technolgoically, prompted to attend appointments technologically, and often buy technologies to protect, diagnose, or improve our health: consider, for example, HEPA-filtering vacum cleaners; air-purifiers; fat-reducing grills; bathroom scales; blood pressure cuffs; pregancy testing kits; blood-sugar monitoring tests; and thermometers. Yet even at the beginning to the twentieth century, medical technolgies were scarce and infrequently used by physicians and medical consumers alike. Over the course of this semester, we will examine how technology came to medicine's center-stage, and what impact this change has had on medical practice, medical institutions and medical consumers - on all of us!
HSOC 240-301 Devices, Pills, People Jeffrey C Womack MW 02:00 PM-03:30 PM In this course, we approach some of the most pressing questions in the modern American medical marketplace, attempting to understand why it looks the way it does, how it developed, and what it offers (and takes) from patients. By the end of the course, we will also try to look forward and consider where current trends in American medicine might lead. The course is organized around six topics: 1) demography (changing patterns of health, disease, and death); 2) the growing and changing role of institutions, like hospitals and universities, in medical education and patient care; 3) the development and increasing role of technology in medicine; 4) changes in medical and pharmaceutical research and regulation; 5) patient experiences of health, illness, and patient-practitioner relations; 6) the construction of disease, or the broader social context and cultural representation of health and illness, both in culture and particular groups of patients. You will examine these issues through a mixture of readings, lectures, class discussion, short essays and a research project.
HSOC 251-301 Founda of Public Health: Foundations of Public Health MW 03:30 PM-05:00 PM Many factors have shaped, and continue to shape, population health and public health policy. This course will explore the concept, mission, and core functions of public health. Students will have a chance to learn about its key methodological (epidemiology, biostatistics) and content (environmental health, social and behavioral sciences, health policy) areas. In addition, we will focus on topics of particular relevance to the current health of the public; topics likely will include the basics of life (food, water, and shelter) and topics of current interest (e.g., motor vehicle crashes, mental health, violence).
HSOC 259-301 Intr Comple & Altern Med Elizabeth R. Mackenzie CANCELED This course will introduce the student to the field of complementary of and alternative medicine (or CAM). In addition to providing an overview of several common modalities and systems currently used in the U.S., the course will explore such topics as health belief systems, spirituality and health, ethnomedicine, the holistic paradigm, the social context of health, healthcare as a cultural construct, and the contemporary emergence of integrative medicine. I invite students to approach the subject matter with open-minded skepticism.
HSOC 259-601 Introduction Complementary & Alternative Medicine Elizabeth R. Mackenzie W 05:00 PM-08:00 PM This course will introduce the student to the field of complementary of and alternative medicine (or CAM). In addition to providing an overview of several common modalities and systems currently used in the U.S., the course will explore such topics as health belief systems, spirituality and health, ethnomedicine, the holistic paradigm, the social context of health, healthcare as a cultural construct, and the contemporary emergence of integrative medicine. I invite students to approach the subject matter with open-minded skepticism. https://pennintouchdaemon.apps.upenn.edu/pennInTouchProdDaemon/jsp/fast.do?webService=syllabus&term=2019A&course=HSOC259601
HSOC 260-301 Soc Determinants Hlth: Social Determinants of Health Andria Johnson TR 10:30 AM-12:00 PM Over the last century, we have witnessed dramatic historical change in population health, e.g. rising numbeers of obese Americans and dramatic declines in death from stomach cancer. There has also been highly visible social patterning of health and disease, such as socio-economic disparities in AIDS, substance abuse, and asthma in the U.S. to day or the association of breat cancer with affluence around the world. This course will explore the way researchers and others in past and present have tried to make sense of these patterns and do something about them. The course is historical and sociological. We will examine evidence and theories about how poverty, affluence and other social factors influence health AND we will examine how social and historical forces shape the ways in which health and disease are understood.
HSOC 277-401 Mental Illness Jason Schnittker MWF 10:00 AM-11:00 AM This course is designed to give a general overview of how sociologists study mental health and illness. We will be concerned with describing the contributions of sociological research and exploring how these contributions differ from those of other disciplines, including psychology, psychology, psychiatry, and social work. This overview will be done in three parts: we will discuss (1) what "mental illness" is, (2) how social factors (e.g. social networks) shape mental illness, and (3) how we as a society respond to and treat the mentally ill. Throughout the course, we will be concerned with unvcovering the assumptions behind definitions underlying mental "health" and exploring these assumptions political, social and legal implications. SOCI277401
HSOC 331-301 Reproductive Medicine John D. Gearhart TR 01:30 PM-03:00 PM Reproduction is essential for the survival of species. Adverse events during embryogenesis or pregnancy can not only have an immediate impact on the well-being of the developing embryo but also later in life as adolescents or adults. Startlingly, we are learning that environmental influences on the molecular mechanisms in germ cells over the reproductive lifespan of adults that regulate gene expression in eggs, sperm and embryos can have serious consequences on progeny and their progeny's progeny - over generations. We have long sought to control our fertility, for example, from the timing of a pregnancy in our lives; of overcoming infertility; and of ensuring the health and well-being of our progeny from the very beginning of development. Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) are now having a significant impact on fertility and embryo viability and well-being. However, they are not without controversy and society must be involved in important policy issues. For example, embryo selection is being used eliminate or reduce genetic-based diseases, but now genome editing, a powerful tool for effectively and safely modifying our genome in perpetuity presents a viable alternative. Should we do it and for which conditions? Since the lifestyles of parents and even grandparents can affect the future health of offspring, how do we ensure that individuals are aware of lifestyle effects and make the right choices for future generations?
HSOC 358-301 The Human Subject Jeffrey C Womack TR 03:00 PM-04:30 PM In this course, we will consider health and society from the perspective of the human subject. Because medicine is uniquely concerned with human bodies and minds, humans occupy a strange place in the medical landscape as both objects of care, but also of experimentation, and curiosity, and frustration, and agents, acting in a variety of roles (patient, researcher, doctor) and tasked with decision making in a complex technical and moral landscape. This course will explore the difficult ethical, practical, and technical questions that arise at that agent/object boundary by examining case studies from the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries. You will examine these issues through a mixture of readings, lectures, class discussion, short essays and a research project.
HSOC 381-401 Toxicity in Context Britt Dahlberg W 02:00 PM-05:00 PM We live amidst a constant stream of messages, practices, and regulations about things, behaviors, or relationships deemed "toxic." Within environmental health in particular, all sorts of actors grapple with complex decisions about what it means to live with materials and anticipate the ways they can interact with human health and the environment - at present through the distant future. What exactly do we mean when we categorize some substances as toxic, and by extension others as safe? Are there other ways of managing uncertainty or conceptualizing harm? How are these concepts built into broader social structures, economics, and regulations? What other work are they used to do? In this course, we will explore major social science approaches to toxicity and apply these theories to our own analysis of examples from the contemporary United States, and in particular, to a robust oral history collection with residents, developers, and government scientists grappling with these questions just outside of Philadelphia. This course grows out of scholarship in the history and anthropology of environmental risk, and health, as well as direct ethnographic, historical, and oral history research at a site outside of Philadelphia grappling with the meaning of materials that remain on site after past industrial manufacturing. In this course, students will gain an introduction to oral history and analysis of in-depth interviews, and introduction to key approaches in theorizing toxicity. By connecting life experiences of residents, government scientists and others, at an actual site, with the literatures we read in class, students will think critically about the ways the literatures we engage do and do not fully encompass the experiences and concerns that are intertwined with toxicity for actual people grappling with making sense of uncertain harms amidst urban planning. STSC381401
HSOC 411-401 Sport Science & Medicine Andria Johnson TR 01:30 PM-03:00 PM Why did Lance Armstrong get caught? Why do Kenyans win marathons? Does Gatorade really work? In this course, we won't answer these questions ourselves but will rely upon the methods of history, sociology, and anthropology to explore the world of the sport scientists who do. Sport scientists produce knowledge about how human bodies work and the intricacies of human performance. They bring elite (world-class) athletes to their laboratories-or their labs to the athletes. Through readings, discussions, and original research, we will find out how these scientists determine the boundary between "natural" and "performance-enhanced," work to conquer the problem of fatigue, and establish the limits and potential of human beings. Course themes include: technology in science and sport, the lab vs. the field, genetics and race, the politics of the body, and doping. Course goals include: 1) reading scientific and medical texts critically, and assessing their social, cultural, and political origins and ramifications; 2) pursuing an in-depth The course fulfills the Capstone requirement for the HSOC/STSC majors. Semester-long research projects will focus on "un-black-boxing" the metrics sport scientists and physicians use to categorize athletes' bodies as "normal" or "abnormal." For example, you may investigate the test(s) used to define whether an athlete is male or female, establish whether an athlete's blood is "too" oxygenated, or assess whether an athlete is "too" fast (false start). Requirements therefore include: weekly readings and participation in online and in-class discussions; sequenced research assignments; peer review; and a final 20+page original research paper and presentation. STSC411401
HSOC 420-301 Res Sem Health & Society: Research Seminar Health and Society Meghan Crnic R 01:30 PM-04:30 PM This course is designed to provide HSOC students with the tools necessary to undertake original research, guiding them through the research and writing process. Students will produce either a polished proposal for a senior thesis project, or, if there is room inthe course, a completed research paper by the end of term. Students work individually, in small groups and under the close supervision of a faculty member to establish feasible research topics, develop effective research and writing strategies, analyze primary and secondary sources, and provide critiques of classmates'drafts. Students must apply for this couse by December 1. Permission Needed From Instructor
HSOC 430-301 Disease & Society Robert A. Aronowitz T 01:30 PM-04:30 PM What is disease? In this seminar students will ask and answer this question by analyzing historical documents, scientific reports, and historical scholarship (primarily 19th and 20th century U.S. and European). We will look at disease from multiple perspectives -- as a biological process, clinical entity, population phenomenon, historical actor and personal experience. We will pay special attention to how diseases have been recognized, diagnosed, named and classified in different eras, cultures and professional settings.
HSOC 454-301 Military Medicine & Tech David J. Caruso TR 01:30 PM-03:00 PM War and its effects on the human body are brutal; the carnage of the battlefield and the conditions of camp life have presented special challenges to medicine throughout history. People and governments have sought to quell carnage and deter war through the development of ever-more-lethal technologies, though, in the end, they mostly created more spectacular ways of maiming flesh. But the significance of medicine and technology in a military context extends well beyond the injuries and illnesses of war. Looking more closely at the ways in which engineers, physicians, inventors, military officers, soldiers, and civilians have interacted with each other both in war and in peace reveals much about the political, cultural, and disciplinary formation of military medicine and technology in the modern era. This seminar surveys the history of medicine, technology, nursing, innovation, and public health as they are conducted in a military context, exploring the ways in which the practices, theories, tools and imagined needs of the military have played, and continue to play, a prominent role in conceptualizations of warfare morality, the body, and ethics. https://pennintouchdaemon.apps.upenn.edu/pennInTouchProdDaemon/jsp/fast.do?webService=syllabus&term=2019A&course=HSOC454301
HSSC 504-301 Reading Sem H&Ss Bekir Harun Kucuk R 01:30 PM-04:30 PM Survey of major themes and figures in the history of western science, technology, and medicine since the Renaissance, through reading and discussion of selected primary and secondary sources. Topics include: Kepler, Galileo, Bacon, Newtonainism, Pasteur, the Industrial Revolution, the rise of German science, etc. Concurrent attendance at STSC 1 lectures is recommended.
HSSC 506-301 Readings in Race & Scien Sebastian Gil-Riano W 02:00 PM-05:00 PM What accounts for the persistence and resilience of racial conceptions in science? In this course we will look for answers to this and other questions by examining the historiography of race, colonialism, and science. The standard historiography has focused on the rise and fall of racial typologies in the north Atlantic and their contributions to troublesome political projects such as the Atlantic slave trade, Jim Crow policies, the eugenics movement, and the Holocaust. More recent histories have taken inspiration from postcolonial studies, standpoint theories, and indigenous studies to insist on a more global reckoning of race and science. If we focus on the southern hemisphere, for instance, we can see scientific racial conceptions enrolled for a different though not necessarily less innocent set of projects: the dispossession of indigenous lands and effacement of indigenous peoples, the glorification of race-mixing as a tool of nation building, and the cultivation of whiteness as a means to modernity. By examining classic and recent approaches to race and science we will grapple with the following questions: Is 'race' a product of 18th century French and English science? Or can we find earlier iterations in the idioms of conquest of Spanish America during the early modern period? Do the standard narratives concerning the history of racial conceptions in science change when looked at from the frame of the global south? Does race get 'buried alive' after WWII? And do recent developments in human genomics bring "race" back from the dead, albeit in an anti-racist form?
HSSC 530-402 Sem in Amer Architecture David S. Barnes
Aaron V. Wunsch
CANCELED This seminar will challenge students to encounter and interpret the city around around them in unconventional ways. At a time when public commemoration has vigorously and sometimes violently re-entered our country's public discourse, we wish to re-examine how monuments, memory, politics, and our senses shape our understandings of Philadelphia's past, present, and possible futures. Our focus is on two intertwined themes: How we remember and What we remember. Treating monuments, films, and historical texts as key forms of interpretation - the building blocks of an official if unstable "public past," we will likewise attend to the "backdrop" of such written and built statements: everyday urban and domestic life as well as more public histories that have remained silent or risen to the surface at key moments. HSPV620402 Undergraduates Need Permission
HSSC 697-301 Other Reasons Projit Bihari Mukharji Postcolonial Theories, building largely on Frankfurt School theorists, have critiqued the totalizing aspirations of what it calls 'Enlightenment Rationality'. Such critiques have also fed a range of critiques of Science. At the heart of such critiques is a rather restricted and plastic idea of Science as a singular, homogenous body of knowledge that has steadily promoted the disenchantment of the world. In this course we seek to destablize this monolithic vision of science by revisiting its plural, heterogeneous histories. The course is particularly interested in exploring the historical entanglements between the sciences and the enchanted world of intangible entities such as spirits, ghosts and gods. The course will be divided into three broad sections. The first will deal with the theoretical critiques of 'Enlightenment Rationality' and 'Science' in postcolonial theory. The second will undertake a detailed and loosely chronological examination of the multifaceted entanglements of science and technology with the paranormal in the 19th and 20th centuries. Finally, the last section will explore the performative aspects of scientific rationality in colonial and postcolonial contexts in a bid to understand the background that led to the postcolonial theorization.
STSC 003-401 Technology & Society Adelheid Voskuhl TR 12:00 PM-01:30 PM Technology plays an increasing role in our understandings of ourselves, our communities, and our societies, in how we think about politics and war, science and religion, work and play. Humans have made and used technologies, though, for thousands if not millions of years. In this course, we will use this history as a resource to understand how technolgoeis affect social relations, and coversely how the culture of a society shapes the technologies it produces. Do different technolgoeis produce or result from different economic systems like feudalism, capitalism and communism? Can specific technologies promote democratic or authoritarian politics? Do they suggest or enforce different patterns of race, class or gender relations? Among the technologies we'll consider will be large objects like cathedrals, bridges, and airplanes; small ones like guns, clocks and birth control pills; and networks like the electrical grid, the highway system and the internet. HSOC003401, SOCI033401 Society sector (all classes)
STSC 118-401 Adv Journalistic Writing: Science/Technolgy/Societ Peter J Tarr T 01:30 PM-04:30 PM A workshop in creative writing devoted to original student work in journalism. See the English Department's website at www.english.upenn.edu for a description of the current offerings. ENGL158401
STSC 123-301 Darwin's Legacy Mary Susan Lindee TR 04:30 PM-06:00 PM Darwin's conceptions of evolution have become a central organizing principle of modern biology. This lecture course will explore the origins and emergence of his ideas, the scientific work they provoked, and their subsequent re-emergence into modern evolutionary theory. In order to understand the living world, students will have the opportunity to read and engage with various classic primary sources by Darwin, Mendel, and others. The course willconclude with guest lectures on evolutionary biology today, emphasizing currentissues, new methods, and recent discoveries. In short, this is a lecture course on the emergence of modern evolutionary biology--its central ideas, their historical development and their implications for the human future. Living World Sector (all classes)
STSC 135-401 Modern Biology and Social Implications John Ceccatti TR 06:00 PM-07:30 PM This course covers the history of biology in the 19th and 20th centuries, giving equal consideration to three dominant themes: evolutionary biology, classical genetics, and molecular biology. The course is intended for students with some background in the history of science as well as in biology, although no specific knowledge of either subject in required. We will have three main goals: first, to delineate the content of the leading biological theories and experimental practices of the past two centuries; second, to situate these theories and practices in their historical context, noting the complex interplay between them and the dominant social, political, and economic trends; and, third, to critically evaluate various methodological approaches to the history of science. HIST035401 Nat Sci & Math Sector (new curriculum only) Natural Science & Math Sector
STSC 145-401 Comparative Medicine Projit Bihari Mukharji MW 11:00 AM-12:00 PM This course explores the medical consequences of the interaction between Europe and the "non- West." It focuses on three parts of the world Europeans colonized: Africa, South Asia, and Latin America. Today's healing practices in these regions grew out of the interaction between the medical traditions of the colonized and those of the European colonizers. We therefore explore the nature of the interactions. What was the history of therapeutic practices that originated in Africa or South Asia? How did European medical practices change in the colonies? What were the effects of colonial racial and gender hierarchies on medical practice? How did practitioners of "non-Western" medicine carve out places for themselves? How did they redefine ancient traditions? How did patients find their way among multiple therapeutic traditions? How does biomedicine take a different shape when it is practiced under conditions of poverty, or of inequalities in power? How do today's medical problems grow out of this history? This is a fascinating history of race and gender, of pathogens and conquerors, of science and the body. It tells about the historical and regional roots of today's problems in international medicine. HSOC145401 History & Tradition Sector (all classes) Registration also required for Recitation (see below)
STSC 160-401 Information Age Stephanie A. Dick TR 01:30 PM-03:00 PM Certain new technologies are greeted with claims that, for good or ill, they must transform our society. The two most recent: the computer and the Internet. But the series of social, economic and technological developments that underlie what is often called the Information Revolution include much more than just the computer. In this course, we explore the history of information technology and its role in contemporary society. We will explore both the technologies themselves--calculating machines, punched card tabulators, telegraph and telephone networks, differential analyzers, digital computers, and many others--and their larger social, economic and political contexts. To understand the roots of these ideas we look at the prehistory of the computer, at the idea of the post-industrial or information society, at parallels with earlier technologies and at broad historical currents in the United States and the world. SOCI161401 Hum & Soc Sci Sector (new curriculum only) Humanities & Social Science Sector
STSC 207-301 Planting Empire Lawrence Kessler TR 12:00 PM-01:30 PM This course examines how agricultural science has shaped the modern world. It focuses on the lands touching the Pacific Ocean during the industrial era--from the late eighteenth century to the late twentieth century--to highlight how scientific knowledge of the natural world and regimes of agricultural production interacted to change spatial relations of power between distant places. We will explore the history of botany, chemistry, and entomology in the context of European and Euro-American exploration incursions into the Pacific. We will also explore the history of once-exotic but now commonplace things that sustain our existence, from sugar, rice, and palm oil to guano. In short, this course examines how ideas about nature, methods of converting nature into commodities, and nature itself all influence each other. Students will work throughout the semester to gain knowledge about the intersection of agriculture, science, and empire in the Pacific, while also developing and strengthening their ability to conduct historical research and produce original arguments.
STSC 208-001 Sci & Relig Global Persp Bekir Harun Kucuk MW 10:00 AM-11:00 AM This survey course provides a thematic overview of science and religion from antiquity to the present. We will treat well-known historical episodes, such as the emergence of Muslim theology, the Galileo Affair and Darwinism, but also look beyond them. This course is designed to cover all major faith traditions across the globe as well as non-traditional belief systems such as the New Age movement and modern Atheism Registration also required for Recitation (see below)
STSC 270-301 Digital Democracy Stephanie A. Dick MW 02:00 PM-03:30 PM Technological infrastructure shapes what forms of political life are possible within a society. Political campaigns, investigative journalism, public engagement, protest, government - all unfold on different time scales, in different forms, and with different consequences depending on what machines mediate them. This course explores the forms of American political life that have taken shape in and through modern digital computing. We will investigate especially a perceived tension at the heart of computing technologies - from artificial intelligence to social media - as they have been introduced to so many corners of American political life: Are computing technologies agents of liberation, or of control? The internet, for example, was embraced by some as an inherently democratizing and liberating force, giving users equal access to voice and information. On the other hand, many feared the internet as an unprecedented platform for corporate and government surveillance and manipulation. This course will analyze and historicize this tension, looking to unpack the complex and controversial role of computers in American political life from the Cold War to @POTUS.
STSC 289-301 Technologies of Self and Society Sebastian Gil-Riano TR 03:00 PM-04:30 PM As European empires expanded in the late eighteenth century, "social science" began to emerge in the lexicons of Western societies. Since these early beginnings in European imperialism, the social sciences have sought to represent, alter, and govern human existence while struggling to define "society" as something separate from "nature". This class examines how questions concerning the proper management of self and society are central to the ambitions and dilemmas of modern social sciences. We begin by tracing the origins of social science in late-eighteenth century thought and their professionalization in the nineteenth century. Continuing through to the twentieth century, we will observe how core social science disciplines like sociology, anthropology, and psychology attempted - in the name of anti-racism - to carve out distinct niches in opposition to biology and genetics. The course also examines the dramatic growth of the social sciences during the cold war period thanks to military funds. Our examination of cold war social science will focus on how social scientists began carving up the world into different "areas" of study and how they became increasingly oriented towards re-making individual psyches and societies in the "third world" to fit the image of an industrialized "West". The course will conclude by examining calls from indigenous scholars and scholars in the global South to decolonize social science.
STSC 317-401 Images in Science Tawrin E Baker MW 02:00 PM-03:30 PM Pictures, diagrams, graphs, and (more recently) computer images are ubiquitous in modern science. Visualizations are crucial in the process of research; for communicating evidence, theories, and experiments to other scientists; and for transmitting scientific ideas to the public. But serious questions about the validity of using images to convey knowledge about nature have been raised from the earliest natural philosophers onwards, and understanding precisely what any particular scientific image does can be surprisingly difficult. In this class we will investigate, as historical and cultural artifacts, images related to the generation or transmission of knowledge about nature, knowledge that has claims to a privileged epistemological status. The focus will be on three kinds of visual depictions: images of the macrocosm (the universe as a whole), images of the microcosm (the body and its parts), and the visualization of theories and data. What are the material and technological conditions underlying these images? What can the images we examine tell us about the communities and societies, including our own, in which they were created? What do they reveal about the nature of the scientific enterprise, about the relationship between the sensible world and the mind, and about ideals concerning truth, objectivity, and morality? VLST213401 https://pennintouchdaemon.apps.upenn.edu/pennInTouchProdDaemon/jsp/fast.do?webService=syllabus&term=2019A&course=STSC317401
STSC 381-401 Toxicity in Context Britt Dahlberg W 02:00 PM-05:00 PM We live amidst a constant stream of messages, practices, and regulations about things, behaviors, or relationships deemed "toxic." Within environmental health in particular, all sorts of actors grapple with complex decisions about what it means to live with materials and anticipate the ways they can interact with human health and the environment - at present through the distant future. What exactly do we mean when we categorize some substances as toxic, and by extension others as safe? Are there other ways of managing uncertainty or conceptualizing harm? How are these concepts built into broader social structures, economics, and regulations? What other work are they used to do? In this course, we will explore major social science approaches to toxicity and apply these theories to our own analysis of examples from the contemporary United States, and in particular, to a robust oral history collection with residents, developers, and government scientists grappling with these questions just outside of Philadelphia. This course grows out of scholarship in the history and anthropology of environmental risk, and health, as well as direct ethnographic, historical, and oral history research at a site outside of Philadelphia grappling with the meaning of materials that remain on site after past industrial manufacturing. In this course, students will gain an introduction to oral history and analysis of in-depth interviews, and introduction to key approaches in theorizing toxicity. By connecting life experiences of residents, government scientists and others, at an actual site, with the literatures we read in class, students will think critically about the ways the literatures we engage do and do not fully encompass the experiences and concerns that are intertwined with toxicity for actual people grappling with making sense of uncertain harms amidst urban planning. HSOC381401
STSC 400-301 Research Seminar Ann Norton Greene R 01:30 PM-04:30 PM This is a capstone seminar for STSC maors, and a required seminar for any STSC junior who wishes to write a senior thesis for honors in the major. It is designed to provide the tools necessary to undertake original research by guiding students through the research and writing process. Students will produce either a polished proposal for a senior thesis project, or a completed research paper by the end of the term. Although each student will work on a different topic, the class will focus on general aspects of historical, and social scientific research and guide students through a close reading of key texts in science and technology studies.
STSC 411-401 Sport Science & Medicine Andria Johnson TR 01:30 PM-03:00 PM Why did Lance Armstrong get caught? Why do Kenyans win marathons? Does Gatorade really work? In this course, we won't answer these questions ourselves but will rely upon the methods of history, sociology, and anthropology to explore the world of the sport scientists who do. Sport scientists produce knowledge about how human bodies work and the intricacies of human performance. They bring elite (world-class) athletes to their laboratories-or their labs to the athletes. Through readings, discussions, and original research, we will find out how these scientists determine the boundary between "natural" and "performance-enhanced," work to conquer the problem of fatigue, and establish the limits and potential of human beings. Course themes include: technology in science and sport, the lab vs. the field, genetics and race, the politics of the body, and doping. Course goals include: 1) reading scientific and medical texts critically, and assessing their social, cultural, and political origins and ramifications; 2) pursuing an in-depth The course fulfills the Capstone requirement for the HSOC/STSC majors. Semester-long research projects will focus on "un-black-boxing" the metrics sport scientists and physicians use to categorize athletes' bodies as "normal" or "abnormal." For example, you may investigate the test(s) used to define whether an athlete is male or female, establish whether an athlete's blood is "too" oxygenated, or assess whether an athlete is "too" fast (false start). Requirements therefore include: weekly readings and participation in online and in-class discussions; sequenced research assignments; peer review; and a final 20+page original research paper and presentation. HSOC411401