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Science, Technology, and Society
Fall 2024


Undergraduate Subjects


Tier I Subjects

STS.001 Technology in American History
______

Undergrad (Fall) HASS Humanities
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
Add to schedule Lecture: M2-5 (E51-057)
______
A survey of America's transition from a rural, agrarian, and artisan society to one of the world's leading industrial powers. Treats the emergence of industrial capitalism: the rise of the factory system; new forms of power, transport, and communication; the advent of the large industrial corporation; the social relations of production; and the hallmarks of science-based industry. Views technology as part of the larger culture and reveals innovation as a process consisting of a range of possibilities that are chosen or rejected according to the social criteria of the time.
D. A. Mindell
No textbook information available

STS.002 Finance and Society
______

Not offered academic year 2024-2025Undergrad (Spring) HASS Social Sciences Communication Intensive HASS
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
______
Examines finance as a social technology intended to improve economic opportunity by moving capital to where it is most needed. Surveys the history of modern finance, from medieval Italy to the Great Depression, while addressing credit, finance and state (and imperial) power, global financial interconnection, and financial crises. Explores modern finance (since about 1950) from a variety of historical and social-scientific perspectives, covering quant finance, financialization, the crisis of 2007-2008, and finance in the digital age. Enrollment limited.
W. Deringer

STS.003 Ancient Greeks to Modern Geeks: A History of Science
______

Not offered academic year 2025-2026Undergrad (Fall) HASS Humanities Communication Intensive HASS
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
Add to schedule Lecture: MW3 (4-231) Recitation: W4 (4-257, 4-261)
______
Covers the development of major fields in the physical and life sciences, from 18th-century Europe through 20th-century America. Examines ideas, institutions, and the social settings of the sciences, with emphasis on how cultural contexts influence scientific concepts and practices.
W. Deringer and E. Nelson
No required or recommended textbooks

STS.004 Intersections: Science, Technology, and the World
______

Undergrad (Fall) HASS Humanities
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
Add to schedule Lecture: MW1-2.30 (E51-390)
______
Exposes students to multidisciplinary studies in Science, Technology, and Society (STS), using four case studies to illustrate a broad range of approaches to basic principles of STS studies. Case studies vary from year to year, but always include a current MIT event. Other topics are drawn from legal and political conflicts, and arts and communication media. Includes guest presenters, discussion groups, field activities, visual media, and a practicum style of learning. Enrollment limited.
D. Kaiser
No required or recommended textbooks

STS.005[J] Data and Society
______

Not offered academic year 2024-2025Undergrad (Spring) HASS Humanities
(Same subject as 11.155[J], IDS.057[J])
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
______
Introduces students to the social, political, and ethical aspects of data science work. Designed to create reflective practitioners who are able to think critically about how collecting, aggregating, and analyzing data are social processes and processes that affect people.
E. Medina, S. Williams

STS.006[J] Bioethics
______

Not offered academic year 2025-2026Undergrad (Fall) HASS Humanities Communication Intensive HASS
(Same subject as 24.06[J])
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
URL: https://philosophy.mit.edu/subjects/
Add to schedule Lecture: WF11 (1-190) Recitation: F12 (66-156, 56-180) or F1 (56-191, 56-180) or F2 (56-162, 56-180)
______
Considers ethical questions that have arisen from the growth of biomedical research and the health-care industry since World War II. Should doctors be allowed to help patients end their lives? If so, when and how? Should embryos be cloned for research and/or reproduction? Should parents be given control over the genetic make-up of their children? What types of living things are appropriate to use as research subjects? How should we distribute scarce and expensive medical resources? Draws on philosophy, history, and anthropology to show how problems in bioethics can be approached from a variety of perspectives.
R. Scheffler, M. Masny
No required or recommended textbooks

STS.008 Technology and Experience
______

Not offered academic year 2024-2025Undergrad (Fall) HASS Social Sciences Communication Intensive HASS
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
______
Introduces the "inner history" of technology: how it affects intimate aspects of human experience from sociological, psychological and anthropological perspectives. Topics vary, but may include how the internet transforms our experience of time, space, privacy, and social engagement; how entertainment media affects attention, creativity, aesthetics and emotion; how innovations in wearable and textile technologies reshape notions of history and identity; how pharmaceuticals reshape identity, mood, pain, and pleasure. Includes in-class discussion of readings, short written and multimedia assignments, final project. Enrollment limited.
Staff

STS.009 Evolution and Society
______

Not offered academic year 2024-2025Undergrad (Fall) HASS Humanities Communication Intensive HASS
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
______
Provides a broad conceptual and historical introduction to scientific theories of evolution and their place in the wider culture. Embraces historical, scientific and anthropological/cultural perspectives grounded in relevant developments in the biological sciences since 1800 that are largely responsible for the development of the modern theory of evolution by natural selection. Students read key texts, analyze key debates (e.g. Darwinian debates in the 19th century, and the creation controversies in the 20th century) and give class presentations.
J. Durant, R. Scheffler

STS.011 Engineering Life: Biotechnology and Society
______

Not offered academic year 2024-2025Undergrad (Fall) HASS Humanities
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
______
Provides instruction in the history of humanity's efforts to control and shape life through biotechnology, from agriculture to gene editing. Examines the technologies, individuals and socio-economic systems that are associated with such efforts, as well as the impact that these efforts have on society and science as a whole. Explores these issues with particular attention to the development of the modern biotechnology industry in the Greater Boston area. Includes a field trip.
R. W. Scheffler

STS.012[J] Science in Action: Technologies and Controversies in Everyday Life
______

Undergrad (Spring) HASS Social Sciences
(Same subject as WGS.120[J])
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
______
Explores a range of controversies about the role of technology, the nature of scientific research and the place of politics in science: debates about digital piracy and privacy, the role of activism in science, the increasingly unclear boundaries between human and non-human, the role of MRIs as courtroom evidence, the potential influence of gender on scientific research, etc. Provides exposure to science in a dynamic relation with social life and cultural ideas. Materials draw from humanities and social science research, ethnographic fieldwork, films and science podcasts, as well as from experimental multimedia. Enrollment limited.
D. Banerjee

STS.014 Embodied Education: Past, Present, Future
______

Not offered academic year 2024-2025Undergrad (Spring) HASS Social Sciences
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
______
Discusses recent scientific and educational research that finds that the human body in motion is a medium for learning. Explores how and why physical education was integrated into the US educational system while remaining separate from academic subjects — and how and why 21st-century institutions might combine the two. Weekly in-lecture labs demonstrate how exercise can inform academic instruction and invite students to create future curricula. Students who enroll in this class may receive both HASS-S credit for it and may enroll to earn two Physical Education and Wellness (PE&W) points. Limited to 20.
J. S. Light, DAPER Instructors


Tier II Subjects

STS.021[J] Science Activism: Gender, Race, and Power
______

Undergrad (Fall) HASS Elective
(Same subject as WGS.160[J])
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
URL: http://wgs.mit.edu/wgs-subjects/fall2020/wgs160
Add to schedule Lecture: MW1-2.30 (56-162)
______
Examines the role scientists have played as activists in social movements in the US following World War II. Themes include scientific responsibility and social justice, the motivation of individual scientists, strategies for organizing, the significance of race and gender, and scientists' impact within social movements. Case studies include atmospheric testing of nuclear weapons and the nuclear freeze campaign, climate science and environmental justice, the civil rights movement, Vietnam War protests, the March 4 movement at MIT, and concerns about genetic engineering, gender equality, intersectional feminism, and student activism at MIT.
E. Bertschinger
Textbooks (Fall 2024)

STS.022[J] Gender, Race, and Environmental Justice
______

Not offered academic year 2025-2026Undergrad (Spring) HASS Social Sciences
(Same subject as 21A.407[J], 21G.057[J], WGS.275[J])
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
______
Provides an introduction to the analysis of gender in science, technology, and environmental politics from a global perspective. Familiarizes students with central objects, questions, and methods in the field. Examines existent critiques of the racial, sexual and environmental politics at stake in techno-scientific cultures. Draws on material from popular culture, media, fiction, film, and ethnography. Addressing specific examples from across the globe, students also explore different approaches to build more livable environments that promote social justice. Taught in English. Limited to 18.
B. Stoetzer

STS.023[J] Science, Gender and Social Inequality in the Developing World
______

Not offered academic year 2024-2025Undergrad (Spring) HASS Humanities
(Same subject as WGS.226[J])
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
______
Examines the influence of social and cultural determinants (colonialism, nationalism, class, and gender) on modern science and technology. Discusses the relationship of scientific progress to colonial expansions and nationalist aspirations. Explores the nature of scientific institutions within a social, cultural, and political context, and how science and technology have impacted developing societies
A. Sur

STS.024[J] Thinking on Your Feet: Dance as a Learning Science
(New)
______

Not offered academic year 2025-2026Undergrad (Fall) HASS Arts
(Same subject as CMS.524[J])
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
Add to schedule Lecture: TR11-12.30 (1-134)
______
Explores the past, present, and future of dance as a learning science. Combines readings and discussion with experiential learning. Readings span the science of movement and learning, studies of educational dance, and research on school reform. Lab exercises led by guest artists introduce the rich possibilities of dance for teaching subjects across the curriculum. For their final project, students choreograph a lesson on a topic of their choosing. This is an introductory class; no dance background is required. Limited to 20 students.
J. S. Light
No required or recommended textbooks

STS.025[J] Making the Modern World: The Industrial Revolution in Global Perspective
______

Undergrad (Spring) HASS Humanities
Not offered regularly; consult department
(Same subject as 21H.285[J])
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
______
Global survey of the great transformation in history known as the "Industrial Revolution." Topics include origins of mechanized production, the factory system, steam propulsion, electrification, mass communications, mass production and automation. Emphasis on the transfer of technology and its many adaptations around the world. Countries treated include Great Britain, France, Germany, the US, Sweden, Russia, Japan, China, and India. Includes brief reflection papers and a final paper.
M. R. Smith

STS.026 History of Manufacturing in America
______

Undergrad (Spring) HASS Humanities
Not offered regularly; consult department
(Subject meets with STS.425)
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
______
Introductory survey of fundamental innovations and transitions in American manufacturing from the colonial period to the mid-twentieth century. Primary emphasis on textiles and metalworking, with particular attention to the role of the machine tool industry in the American manufacturing economy. Students taking graduate version are expected to explore the material in greater depth.
M. R. Smith

STS.027[J] The Civil War and the Emergence of Modern America: 1861-1890
______

Undergrad (Fall) HASS Humanities
Not offered regularly; consult department
(Same subject as 21H.205[J])
(Subject meets with STS.427)
Prereq: Permission of instructor
Units: 3-0-9
______
Using the American Civil War as a baseline, considers what it means to become "modern" by exploring the war's material and manpower needs, associated key technologies, and how both influenced the United States' entrance into the age of "Big Business." Readings include material on steam transportation, telegraphic communications, arms production, naval innovation, food processing, medicine, public health, management methods, and the mass production of everything from underwear to uniforms – all essential ingredients of modernity. Students taking graduate version complete additional assignments.
M. R. Smith

STS.028 Seven Wonders of the Engineering World
______

Undergrad (Spring) HASS Humanities
Not offered regularly; consult department
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
______
Uses case studies to take a broad-ranging look at seven major engineering achievements in world history. Examines the nature of engineering as a source of knowledge production/application, how it reflects the cultural settings in which it emerges, and how it changes as it enters different cultural and economic settings. Includes weekly reflection papers. Achievements covered vary from term to term. Limited to 20.
M. R. Smith

STS.030 Forensic History: Problem Solving into the Past
______

Not offered academic year 2024-2025Undergrad (Spring) HASS Social Sciences
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
______
Explores new pathways to use the latest science and technologies to understand the past. Working like detectives, students draw on research methods from such fields as climate science, geology, molecular biology, proteomics, DNA testing, carbon dating and big data analysis to invent their own forensic historical research techniques. They also study new narrative forms to accompany novel research techniques. Instruction and practice in oral and written communication provided. Enrollment limited.
K. Brown

STS.031[J] Environment and History
______

Undergrad (Spring) HASS Social Sciences Communication Intensive HASS
Not offered regularly; consult department
(Same subject as 12.386[J], 21H.185[J])
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
______
Focusing on the period from 1500 to the present, explores the influence of climate, topography, plants, animals, and microorganisms on human history and the reciprocal influence of people on the environment. Topics include the European encounter with the Americas, the impact of modern technology, and the current environmental crisis. Enrollment limited.
Staff

STS.032 Energy, Environment, and Society
______

Not offered academic year 2024-2025Undergrad (Spring) HASS Humanities
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
______
Uses a problem-solving, multi-disciplinary, and multicultural approach that takes energy beyond the complex circuits, grids, and kilojoules to the realm of everyday life, with ordinary people as practitioners and producers of energy knowledge, infrastructures, and technologies. The three main objectives are to immerse students in the historical, cultural, multi-cultural, and entrepreneurial aspects of energy across the world to make them better energy engineers; to introduce them to research and analytical methods; and to deploy these methods and their various skills to solve/design a solution, in groups, to a specific energy problem chosen by the students. Each cohort tackles a different energy problem. Provides instruction on how to be active shapers of the world and to bring students' various disciplinary skills and cultural diversity into dialogue as conceptual tools for problem-solving. Enrollment limited.
C. Mavhunga

STS.033[J] People and the Planet: Environmental Histories and Engineering
______

Undergrad (Fall) HASS Elective
Not offered regularly; consult department
(Same subject as 11.004[J])
(Subject meets with 11.204[J], IDS.524[J])
Prereq: None
Units: 3-3-6
______
Explores historical and cultural aspects of complex environmental problems and engineering approaches to sustainable solutions. Introduces quantitative analyses and methodological tools to understand environmental issues that have human and natural components. Demonstrates concepts through a series of historical and cultural analyses of environmental challenges and their engineering responses. Builds writing, quantitative modeling, and analytical skills in assessing environmental systems problems and developing engineering solutions. Through environmental data gathering and analysis, students engage with the challenges and possibilities of engineering in complex, interacting systems, and investigate plausible, symbiotic, systems-oriented solutions. Students taking graduate version complete additional analysis of reading assignments and a more in-depth and longer final paper. 
Staff

STS.034 Science Communication: A Practical Guide
______

Undergrad (Spring) HASS Humanities Communication Intensive HASS
Not offered regularly; consult department
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
______
Develops students' abilities to communicate science effectively in a variety of real-world contexts. Covers strategies for dealing with complex areas like theoretical physics, genomics and neuroscience, and addresses challenges in communicating about topics such as climate change and evolution. Projects focus on speaking and writing, being an expert witness, preparing briefings for policy-makers, writing blogs, giving live interviews for broadcast, and influencing public dialogue through opinion-editorials. Enrollment limited.
B. Venkataraman

STS.035 Exhibiting Science
______

Undergrad (Spring) HASS Arts
Not offered regularly; consult department
Prereq: One CI-H/CI-HW subject and permission of instructor
Units: 2-2-8
______
Project-based seminar covers key topics in museum communication, including science learning in informal settings, the role of artifacts and interactives, and exhibit evaluation. Students work on a term-long project, organized around the design, fabrication, and installation of an original multimedia exhibit about current scientific research at MIT. Culminates with the project's installation in the MIT Museum's Mark Epstein Innovation Gallery. Limited to 20; preference to students who have taken STS.034.
J. Durant

STS.036 Science in American Life: 1920-2020
______

Undergrad (Fall) HASS Humanities
Not offered regularly; consult department
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
______
Assesses the place of science in American public life from the 1920s to the present. Takes a historically inflected approach to examine the social relations of science in the modern United States. Examines science and (in turn) religion, warfare, health, education, the environment, and human rights to explore how an international leader in science is also home to some of the developed world's most persistent forms of "science denialism." Examples include the denial of evolution, human-induced climate change, and particular medical-scientific aspects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
J. Durant

STS.038 Risky Business: Food Production, Environment, and Health
______

Not offered academic year 2024-2025Undergrad (Spring) HASS Humanities
Prereq: None
Units: 2-1-9
______
Follows the shifts in food production between small-holder, local production to large-scale industries and back again to "localvore" food production in the 19th and 20th centuries. Tracks how people grew anxious about health risks associated with modern food over time. In a weekly lab, students build a compost production facility and/or a segment of a perennial food forest. Discusses food politics, food security and justice, food sustainability and safety, and first steps in growing one's own food. Limited to 25.
K. Brown

STS.040 A Global History of Commodities
______

Not offered academic year 2024-2025Undergrad (Spring) HASS Humanities Communication Intensive HASS
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
______
Inspires students to think about production chains in ways that reflect their impact on the environment, labor practices, and human health. Examines how commodities connect distant places through a chain of relationships, and link people, e.g., enslaved African producers with middle-class American consumers, and Asian factory workers with Europeans taking a holiday on the beach. Studies how mass production and mass demand for commodities, such as real estate, bananas, rubber, corn, and beef, in the 20th century changed the way people worked, lived, and saw themselves as they adopted new technologies to produce and consume in radically different ways from their parents and grandparents. Assignments include creation of a board game for buying and selling real estate in Boston, a two-minute mini-documentary, and an article on a commodity and country. Limited to 25.
K. Brown

STS.041 Exercise is Medicine: From Ancient Civilizations to Modern Health Care Systems
______

Not offered academic year 2025-2026Undergrad (Spring) HASS Social Sciences
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
______
Explores the history of exercise in preventing and curing physical and mental illness. Combines readings and discussion with experiential learning. Doing Yoga and Qigong alongside readings on Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine enables students to viscerally experience concepts in medical history such as prana and chi; activities including Pilates and High Intensity Interval Training deepen students' understanding of the challenges integrating scientific discovery into everyday life. Students who enroll in this class may receive both HASS-S credit for it and may enroll to earn two Physical Education and Wellness (PE&W) points.
J. S. Light and C. S. Moore

STS.042[J] Einstein, Oppenheimer, Feynman: Physics in the 20th Century
______

Not offered academic year 2024-2025Undergrad (Spring) HASS Humanities
(Same subject as 8.225[J])
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
______
Explores the changing roles of physics and physicists during the 20th century. Topics range from relativity theory and quantum mechanics to high-energy physics and cosmology. Examines the development of modern physics within shifting institutional, cultural, and political contexts, such as physics in Imperial Britain, Nazi Germany, US efforts during World War II, and physicists' roles during the Cold War. Enrollment limited.
D. I. Kaiser

STS.043 Technology and Self: Science, Technology, and Memoir
______

Not offered academic year 2024-2025Undergrad (Spring) HASS Social Sciences
(Subject meets with STS.443)
Prereq: None
Units: 2-0-7
______
Focuses on the memoir as a window onto the relationship of creative people (scientists, engineers, designers, and others) to their work. Examines how class, race, ethnicity, family history, and trauma shape the person who shapes artifacts, experiments, and ideas. Readings explore the connection between material culture, identity, and personal development. Offers the opportunity, if desired, to examine personal experiences and write memoir fragments. Students taking graduate version write a longer final paper. Limited to 15; no listeners.
S. Turkle

STS.044 Technology and Self: Things and Thinking
______

Not offered academic year 2025-2026Undergrad (Spring) HASS Social Sciences
(Subject meets with STS.444)
Prereq: None
Units: 2-0-7
______
Explores emotional and intellectual impact of objects. The growing literature on cognition and "things" cuts across anthropology, history, social theory, literature, sociology, and psychology and is of great relevance to science students. Examines the range of theories, from Mary Douglas in anthropology to D. W. Winnicott in psychoanalytic thinking, that underlies "thing" or "object" analysis. Students taking graduate version complete additional assignments. Limited to 15; no listeners.
S. Turkle

STS.046[J] The Science of Race, Sex, and Gender
______

Not offered academic year 2025-2026Undergrad (Fall) HASS Social Sciences
(Same subject as 21A.103[J], WGS.225[J])
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
Add to schedule Ends Oct 25. Lecture: TR9.30-11 (14E-310)
______
Examines the role of science and medicine in the origins and evolution of the concepts of race, sex, and gender from the 17th century to the present. Focus on how biological, anthropological, and medical concepts intersect with social, cultural, and political ideas about racial, sexual, and gender difference in the US and globally. Approach is historical and comparative across disciplines emphasizing the different modes of explanation and use of evidence in each field.
A. Sur
No textbook information available

STS.047 Quantifying People: A History of Social Science
______

Not offered academic year 2024-2025Undergrad (Spring) HASS Social Sciences
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
______
Historical examination of the quest to understand human society scientifically. Focuses on quantification, including its central role in the historical development of social science and its importance in the 21st-century data age. Covers the political arithmetic of the 17th century to the present. Emphasizes intensive reading of primary sources, which represent past attempts to count, calculate, measure, and model many dimensions of human social life (population, wealth, health, happiness, intelligence, crime, deviance, race). Limited to 25.
W. Deringer

STS.048 African Americans in Science, Technology, and Medicine
______

Undergrad (Spring) HASS Humanities
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
______
A survey of the contributions of African Americans to science, technology, and medicine from colonial times to the present. Explores the impact of concepts, trends, and developments in science, technology, and medicine on the lives of African Americans. Examples include the eugenics movement, the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment, the debate surrounding racial inheritance, and IQ testing.
K. Manning

STS.049 The Long War Against Cancer
______

Not offered academic year 2025-2026Undergrad (Spring) HASS Humanities Communication Intensive HASS
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
______
Examines anticancer efforts as a critical area for the formation of contemporary biomedical explanations for health and disease. Begins with the premise that the most significant implications of these efforts extend far beyond the success or failure of individual cancer therapies. Considers developments in the epidemiology, therapy, and politics of cancer. Uses the history of cancer to connect the history of biology and medicine to larger social and cultural developments, including those in bioethics, race, gender, activism, markets, and governance.
R. W. Scheffler

STS.050 The History of MIT
______

Not offered academic year 2024-2025Undergrad (Spring) HASS Humanities
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
______
Examines the history of MIT, from its founding to the present, through the lens of the history of science and technology. Topics include William Barton Rogers; the modern research university and educational philosophy; campus, intellectual, and organizational development; changing laboratories and practices; MIT's relationship with Boston, the federal government, and industry; and notable activities and achievements of students, alumni, faculty, and staff. Includes guest lecturers, on-campus field trips, and interactive exercises. Enrollment limited.
D. Douglas

STS.051 Documenting MIT Communities
______

Not offered academic year 2025-2026Undergrad (Fall) HASS Humanities
Prereq: None
Units: 2-0-7
Add to schedule Lecture: T EVE (7-9 PM) (56-162)
______
Researches the history and culture of an MIT community to contribute to its documentation and preservation. Through the practice of doing original research, students learn about the history of an MIT community. Provides instruction in the methods historians use to document the past, as well as methods from related fields. Enrollment limited.
J. Medina
No textbook information available

STS.053 Multidisciplinary Interactive Learning Through Problem-Solving
______

Undergrad (Fall) HASS Elective
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
Add to schedule Lecture: TR9-10.30 (E51-390)
______
Interdisciplinary problem-solving at the intersection of humanities, science, engineering, and business. Team-taught face-to-face classes at multiple US and African universities connected live via Zoom. Divided into four sections/assessments: US and African histories, cultures, politics, and development relations; HASS as a problem-solving tool; STEM applications to real-life problem-solving; and introduction to summer field-class sites or exchange programs. Goal is to equip students with skills for team-based trans-disciplinary and cross-cultural problem-solving.
C. C. Mavhunga
No textbook information available

STS.055[J] Living Dangerously: Environmental Problems from 1900 to Today
______

Undergrad (Spring) HASS Humanities Communication Intensive HASS
(Same subject as 12.384[J])
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
______
Historical overview of the interactions between people and their environments in the past 100 years. Focuses on the accelerating human impact on Earth, starting in the late 19th century and continuing to the present day. Covers case studies showing how people have become aware of their impacts on the environment, and, in turn, the environment's impacts upon human society and what humans have done to mitigate damages. Topics include: food safety and security, industrial agriculture, pesticides, nuclear energy and warfare, lead, smog, ozone depletion, and climate change. Limited to 18.
S. Solomon, K. Brown

STS.060[J] The Anthropology of Biology
______

Not offered academic year 2025-2026Undergrad (Fall) HASS Social Sciences
(Same subject as 21A.303[J])
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
Add to schedule Lecture: F1-4 (66-156)
______
Applies the tools of anthropology to examine biology in the age of genomics, biotechnological enterprise, biodiversity conservation, pharmaceutical bioprospecting, and synthetic biology. Examines such social concerns such as bioterrorism, genetic modification, and cloning. Offers an anthropological inquiry into how the substances and explanations of biology — ecological, organismic, cellular, molecular, genetic, informatic — are changing. Examines such artifacts as cell lines, biodiversity databases, and artificial life models, and using primary sources in biology, social studies of the life sciences, and literary and cinematic materials, asks how we might answer Erwin Schrodinger's 1944 question, "What Is Life?", today.
S. Helmreich
No textbook information available

STS.064[J] DV Lab: Documenting Science through Video and New Media
______

Undergrad (Spring) HASS Arts Communication Intensive HASS
(Same subject as 21A.550[J])
(Subject meets with 21A.559)
Prereq: None
Units: 3-3-6
______
Uses documentary video making as a tool to explore everyday social worlds (including those of science and engineering), and for thinking analytically about media itself. Students make videos and engage in critical analysis. Provides students with instruction on how to communicate effectively and creatively in a visual medium, and how to articulate their own analyses of documentary images in writing and spoken word. Readings drawn from documentary film theory, anthropology, and social studies of science. Students view a wide variety of classic documentaries and explore different styles. Lab component devoted to digital video production. Includes a final video project. Students taking graduate version complete additional assignments. Limited to 12.
C. Walley, C. Boebel

STS.065[J] The Anthropology of Sound
______

Undergrad (Fall) HASS Social Sciences
(Same subject as 21A.505[J], CMS.406[J])
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
Add to schedule Lecture: W1-4 (E25-117)
______
Examines the ways humans experience sound and how perceptions and technologies of sound emerge from cultural, economic, and historical worlds. Consider how the sound/noise/music boundaries have been imagined, created, and modeled across sociocultural and historical contexts. Learn how environmental, linguistic, and musical sounds are construed cross-culturally as well as the rise of telephony, architectural acoustics, sound recording, multi-channel and spatial mix performance, and the globalized travel of these technologies. Questions of sound ownership, property, authorship, remix, and copyright in the digital age are also addressed.
I. Condry
No required or recommended textbooks

STS.074[J] Art, Craft, Science
______

Not offered academic year 2025-2026Undergrad (Fall) HASS Social Sciences
(Same subject as 21A.501[J])
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
Credit cannot also be received for 21A.509, STS.474
Add to schedule Lecture: TR11-12.30 (14E-310)
______
Examines how people learn, practice, and evaluate traditional and contemporary craft techniques. Social science theories of design, embodiment, apprenticeship learning, skill, labor, expertise, and tacit knowledge are used to explore distinctions among art, craft, and science. Also discusses the commoditization of craft into market goods, collectible art, and tourism industries. Ethnographic and historical case studies include textiles, Shaker furniture, glassblowing, quilting, cheesemaking, industrial design, home and professional cooking, factory and laboratory work, CAD/CAM. Demonstrations, optional field trips, and/or hands-on craft projects may be included. Students taking graduate version complete additional assignments.
H. Paxson
No textbook information available

STS.075[J] Technology and Culture
______

Undergrad (Fall, Spring) HASS Social Sciences
(Same subject as 21A.500[J])
Prereq: None
Units: 2-0-7
Add to schedule Lecture: T EVE (7-9 PM) (E25-117)
______
Examines the intersections of technology, culture, and politics in a variety of social and historical settings ranging from 19th-century factories to 21st-century techno dance floors, from Victorian London to anything-goes Las Vegas. Discussions and readings organized around three questions: what cultural effects and risks follow from treating biology as technology; how computers have changed the way we think about ourselves and others; and how politics are built into our infrastructures. Explores the forces behind technological and cultural change; how technological and cultural artifacts are understood and used by different communities; and whether, in what ways, and for whom technology has produced a better world. Limited to 50.
M. Thompson
No textbook information available

STS.080[J] Youth Political Participation
______

Not offered academic year 2025-2026Undergrad (Spring) HASS Humanities
(Same subject as 11.151[J])
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
______
Surveys youth political participation in the US since the early 1800s. Investigates trends in youth political activism during specific historical periods, as well as what difference youth media production and technology use (e.g., radio, music, automobiles, ready-made clothing) made in determining the course of events. Explores what is truly new about "new media" and reviews lessons from history for present-day activists based on patterns of past failure and success. Some mandatory field trips may occur during class time. Limited to 40.
J. S. Light

STS.081[J] Innovation Systems for Science, Technology, Energy, Manufacturing, and Health
______

Not offered academic year 2024-2025Undergrad (Fall) HASS Social Sciences
(Same subject as 17.395[J])
Prereq: None
Units: 2-0-7
______
Examines science and technology innovation systems, including case studies on energy, computing, advanced manufacturing, and health sectors. Emphasizes public policy and the federal government's role in that system. Focuses on the US but uses international examples. Reviews foundations of economic growth theory, innovation systems theory, and the basic approaches to science and technology policy. Explores the organization and role of energy and medical science R&D agencies, as well as gaps in those innovation systems. Also addresses the science and technology talent base as a factor in growth, and educational approaches to better support it. Class meets for nine weeks; in the remaining weeks, students work on a final paper due at the end of the term. Limited to 25.
W. B. Bonvillian

STS.082[J] Science, Technology, and Public Policy
______

Not offered academic year 2024-2025Undergrad (Fall) HASS Social Sciences Communication Intensive HASS
(Same subject as 17.309[J], IDS.055[J])
Prereq: None
Units: 4-0-8
Credit cannot also be received for 17.310, IDS.412, STS.482
______
Analysis of issues at the intersection of science, technology, public policy, and business. Cases drawn from antitrust and intellectual property rights; health and environmental policy; defense procurement and strategy; strategic trade and industrial policy; and R&D funding. Structured around theories of political economy, modified to take into account integration of uncertain technical information into public and private decision-making. Meets with 17.310 when offered concurrently.
Staff

STS.083 Computers and Social Change
______

Not offered academic year 2024-2025Undergrad (Spring) HASS Humanities
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
______
Provides instruction on how people have historically connected computers to ideas on social, economic, and political change and how these ideas have changed over time. Based on a series of case studies from different parts of the world. Explores topics such as how computers have intertwined with ideas on work, freedom, governance, and access to knowledge. Limited to 25.
E. Medina

STS.084[J] Social Problems of Nuclear Energy
______

Undergrad (Fall) HASS Social Sciences
(Same subject as 22.04[J])
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
Add to schedule Lecture: MW11-12.30 (24-115)
______
Surveys the major social challenges for nuclear energy. Topics include the ability of nuclear power to help mitigate climate change; challenges associated with ensuring nuclear safety; the effects of nuclear accidents; the management of nuclear waste; the linkages between nuclear power and nuclear weapons, the consequences of nuclear war; and political challenges to the safe and economic regulation of the nuclear industry. Weekly readings presented from both sides of the debate, followed by in-class discussions. Instruction and practice in oral and written communication provided. Limited to 18.
R. Kemp
No textbook information available

STS.085[J] Foundations of Information Policy
______

Not offered academic year 2025-2026Undergrad (Fall) HASS Social Sciences
(Same subject as 6.4590[J])
(Subject meets with STS.487)
Prereq: Permission of instructor
Units: 3-0-9
Add to schedule Lecture: R1-4 (4-153)
______
Studies the growth of computer and communications technology and the new legal and ethical challenges that reflect tensions between individual rights and societal needs. Topics include computer crime; intellectual property restrictions on software; encryption, privacy, and national security; academic freedom and free speech. Students meet and question technologists, activists, law enforcement agents, journalists, and legal experts. Instruction and practice in oral and written communication provided. Students taking graduate version complete additional assignments. Enrollment limited.
H. Abelson, M. Fischer, D. Weitzner
No textbook information available

STS.086[J] Cultures of Computing
______

Undergrad (Spring) HASS Social Sciences
(Same subject as 21A.504[J], WGS.276[J])
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
______
Examines computers anthropologically, as artifacts revealing the social orders and cultural practices that create them. Students read classic texts in computer science along with cultural analyses of computing history and contemporary configurations. Explores the history of automata, automation and capitalist manufacturing; cybernetics and WWII operations research; artificial intelligence and gendered subjectivity; robots, cyborgs, and artificial life; creation and commoditization of the personal computer; the growth of the Internet as a military, academic, and commercial project; hackers and gamers; technobodies and virtual sociality. Emphasis is placed on how ideas about gender and other social differences shape labor practices, models of cognition, hacking culture, and social media.
D. Banerjee

STS.087 Biography in Science
______

Not offered academic year 2024-2025Undergrad (Fall) HASS Humanities
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
______
An examination of biography as a literary genre to be employed in the history of science. The use of biography in different historical periods to illuminate aspects of the development of science. A critical analysis of autobiography, archival sources, and the oral tradition as materials in the construction of biographies of scientists. Published biographies of scientists constitute the major reading, but attention is given to unpublished biographical sources as well. Comparison is drawn between biography as a literary form in the history of science and in other disciplines.
K. Manning

STS.088 Africa for Engineers
______

Undergrad (Spring) HASS Humanities
Not offered regularly; consult department
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
______
Covers historical, cultural, and ethical dimensions of engineering in Africa. Focuses on construction of big projects like cities, hydroelectricity dams, roads, railway lines, ports and harbors, transport and communication, mines, industrial processing plant, and plantations. Explores the contributions of big capital, engineers, politicians, and ordinary people. Emphasizes how local culture, politics, labor, and knowledge affect engineering. Also focuses on environmental and cultural impact assessment. Prepares students who wish to work or study in Africa and the Global South. Enrollment limited.
C. Mavhunga

STS.095, STS.096 Independent Study in Science, Technology, and Society
______

Undergrad (Fall, IAP, Spring) Can be repeated for credit
Prereq: None
Units arranged [P/D/F]
Add to schedule STS.095: TBA.
Add to schedule STS.096: TBA.
______
For students who wish to pursue special studies or projects with a member of the Program in Science, Technology, and Society. STS.095 is letter-graded; STS.096 is P/D/F.
D. Fitzgerald
STS.095: No required or recommended textbooks
STS.096: No required or recommended textbooks


Discovery-focused


Special Subjects

STS.S20, STS.S21 Special Subject: Science, Technology and Society
______

Not offered academic year 2024-2025Undergrad (Spring) Can be repeated for credit
Prereq: None
Units arranged
______
Addresses subject matter in Science, Technology and Society that is not offered in the regular curriculum.
E. Nelson


Research

STS.095, STS.096 Independent Study in Science, Technology, and Society
______

Undergrad (Fall, IAP, Spring) Can be repeated for credit
Prereq: None
Units arranged [P/D/F]
Add to schedule STS.095: TBA.
Add to schedule STS.096: TBA.
______
For students who wish to pursue special studies or projects with a member of the Program in Science, Technology, and Society. STS.095 is letter-graded; STS.096 is P/D/F.
D. Fitzgerald
STS.095: No required or recommended textbooks
STS.096: No required or recommended textbooks

STS.UR Undergraduate Research
______

Undergrad (Fall, IAP, Spring, Summer) Can be repeated for credit
Prereq: None
Units arranged [P/D/F]
Add to schedule TBA.
______
Undergraduate research opportunities in the STS Program.
D. Fitzgerald
No required or recommended textbooks

STS.URG Undergraduate Research
______

Undergrad (Fall, IAP, Spring, Summer) Can be repeated for credit
Prereq: None
Units arranged
Add to schedule TBA.
______
Undergraduate research opportunities in the STS Program.
D. Fitzgerald
No required or recommended textbooks

STS.THT Undergraduate Thesis Tutorial
______

Undergrad (Fall, Spring) Can be repeated for credit
Prereq: None
Units arranged
Add to schedule TBA.
______
Definition and early-stage work on thesis project leading to STS.THU. Taken during first term of student's two-term commitment to thesis project. Student works closely with STS faculty tutor. Required of all candidates for an STS degree.
D. Fitzgerald
No required or recommended textbooks

STS.THU Undergraduate Thesis
______

Undergrad (Fall, IAP, Spring, Summer) Can be repeated for credit
Prereq: STS.THT
Units arranged
Add to schedule TBA.
______
Completion of work of the senior major thesis under the supervision of a faculty tutor. Includes gathering materials, preparing draft chapters, giving an oral presentation of thesis progress to faculty evaluators early in the term, and writing and revising the final text. Students meet at the end of the term with faculty evaluators to discuss the successes and limitations of the project. Required of all candidates for an STS degree.
D. Fitzgerald
No required or recommended textbooks


left arrow | Undergraduate: STS.001-STS.100
plus STS.THT and STS.THU
| Graduate: STS.210-STS.910
plus STS.THG
| right arrow



Produced: 27-MAY-2024 05:10 PM