Registrar Home | Registrar Search:
 
  MIT Course Picker | Hydrant     
Home | Subject Search | Help | Symbols Help | Pre-Reg Help | Final Exam Schedule | My Selections
 

Science, Technology, and Society
Fall 2024


Graduate Subjects


Required Introductory Subjects

STS.250[J] Social Theory and Analysis
______

Graduate (Spring)
(Same subject as 21A.859[J])
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
______
Major theorists and theoretical schools since the late 19th century. Marx, Weber, Durkheim, Bourdieu, Levi-Strauss, Geertz, Foucault, Gramsci, and others. Key terms, concepts, and debates.
S. Helmreich

STS.260 Introduction to Science, Technology, and Society
______

Graduate (Fall)
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
Add to schedule Lecture: R9-12 (E51-393)
______
Intensive reading and analysis of major works in historical and social studies of science and technology. Introduction to current methodological approaches, centered around two primary questions: how have science and technology evolved as human activities, and what roles do they play in society? Preparation for graduate work in the field of science and technology studies and introduction to research resources and professional standards.
R. W. Scheffler
No required or recommended textbooks


Advanced Seminars

STS.310 History of Science
______

Not offered academic year 2024-2025Graduate (Fall)
Prereq: Permission of instructor
Units: 3-0-9
______
Intensive reading and analysis of key works in the history and historiography of science. Introduces students to basic interpretive issues, bibliographic sources, and professional standards. Topics change from year to year.
R. W. Scheffler

STS.320[J] Environmental Conflict
______

Not offered academic year 2024-2025Graduate (Fall)
(Same subject as 21A.429[J])
Prereq: Permission of instructor
Units: 3-0-9
______
Explores the complex interrelationships among humans and natural environments, focusing on non-western parts of the world in addition to Europe and the United States. Use of environmental conflict to draw attention to competing understandings and uses of "nature" as well as the local, national and transnational power relationships in which environmental interactions are embedded. In addition to utilizing a range of theoretical perspectives, subject draws upon a series of ethnographic case studies of environmental conflicts in various parts of the world.
C. Walley

STS.330[J] History and Anthropology of Medicine and Biology
______

Not offered academic year 2024-2025Graduate (Fall)
(Same subject as 21A.319[J])
Prereq: Permission of instructor
Units: 3-0-9
______
Explores recent historical and anthropological approaches to the study of medicine and biology. Topics might include interaction of disease and society; science, colonialism, and international health; impact of new technologies on medicine and the life sciences; neuroscience and psychiatry; race, biology and medicine. Specific emphasis varies from year to year.
A. Moran-Thomas, R. Scheffler

STS.340 Introduction to the History of Technology
______

Not offered academic year 2024-2025Graduate (Spring)
Prereq: Permission of instructor
Units: 3-0-9
______
Introduction to the consideration of technology as the outcome of particular technical, historical, cultural, and political efforts, especially in the United States during the 19th and 20th centuries. Topics include industrialization of production and consumption, development of engineering professions, the emergence of management and its role in shaping technological forms, the technological construction of gender roles, and the relationship between humans and machines.
D. Mindell

STS.360[J] Ethnography
______

Not offered academic year 2025-2026Graduate (Spring)
(Same subject as 21A.829[J])
Prereq: Permission of instructor
Units: 3-0-9
______
Practicum style course introduces students to ethnographic methods and writing in global health research. Organized around interviewing and observational assignments. Students develop a bibliography of  anthropological and ethnographic writing relevant to their project, and write a short paper about integrating ethnographic methods into a future research project. Preference to HASTS students; open to others with permission of instructor.
Staff

STS.412 Quantification
______

Not offered academic year 2024-2025Graduate (Spring)
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
______
Surveys research on quantification, the practice of using numerical data and calculation to analyze, order, and control. Begins by examining historical accounts of the rise of quantitative methods and values since c. 1600. Goes on to explore the dynamics and consequences of quantification across a range of modern domains, including science, politics, governance, health, education, crime, law, economic development, finance, and environmental regulation. Readings drawn from STS, history, anthropology, sociology, and philosophy.
W. Deringer

STS.414[J] Risk, Fortune, and Futurity
______

Not offered academic year 2025-2026Graduate (Spring)
(Same subject as 21H.984[J])
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
______
Exploration of interdisciplinary scholarship on risk, chance, and fortune. Begins with a survey of theoretical approaches to the field, then proceeds chronologically to explore the emergence of risk and its impacts on human life in multiple arenas including economics, politics, culture, environment, science, and technology from the 16th century to the present. Open to undergraduates with permission of instructor; consult department for details.
W. Deringer, C. Horan

STS.417 STS Seminar on the Global South
______

Not offered academic year 2024-2025Graduate (Spring)
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
______
Covers Africa and its diaspora, Latin America and the Caribbean, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Asia, and Oceania. Seeks to explore meanings of science and technology from traditions, experiences, and literatures of these regions; to understand encounters and outcomes of endogenous and inbound ideas, artifacts, and practice; and to engage European and North American science, technology, and society (STS) in dialogue with these literatures. Provides a global view of STS in an increasingly interconnected world. Focuses on peoples of the Global South as innovative intellectual agents, not just victims of technology or its appropriators.
D. Banerjee

STS.421 Graduate Super-Seminar on Global South Cosmologies and Epistemologies
______

Graduate (Spring)
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
______
Team-taught subject that centers Global South cosmologies and epistemologies marginalized by colonization, slavery, and racism across the world. Explores how different societies make sense of and develop knowledges of the physical and animate world, and what it means to be human(e) within it. Opens up trans-hemispheric conversations between constituencies that seldom talk to each other, each bringing its ways of seeing, thinking, knowing, and doing to the matrix to mutually inform one another. Goal is to build qualitative — not just quantitative — diversity (i.e., diversity as method of learning and thinking).
C. C. Mavhunga

STS.424[J] Race, History, and the Built Environment
______

Not offered academic year 2025-2026Graduate (Fall)
(Same subject as 11.244[J])
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
Add to schedule Lecture: W2-5 (1-136)
______
Examines how the development of the built environment produces and reproduces conceptions of race - sociobiological theories of human difference. Using historical and cross-cultural cases, tracks the social and political lives of material objects, infrastructures, technologies, and architectures using projects of settler colonialism, nation-building, community development and planning, and in post-conflict and post-disaster settings. Analyzes social theories of race, place, space, and materiality; power, identity, and embodiment; and memory, death, and haunting. Explores how conceptions of belonging, citizenship, and exclusion are represented and designed spatially through analysis of examples, such as the appropriation of land for infrastructure programs, the erasure and commemoration of heritage in public spaces, and the use of the built environment to impose colonial ideologies. Limited to 14 students.
Erica James
No textbook information available

STS.425 History of Manufacturing in America
______

Not offered academic year 2025-2026Graduate (Spring)
(Subject meets with STS.026)
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.427 The Civil War and the Emergence of Modern America: 1861-1890
______

Not offered academic year 2025-2026Graduate (Fall)
(Subject meets with 21H.205[J], STS.027[J])
Prereq: None
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.430 Multi-Species Histories of Plant People, Wild and Cultivated
______

Not offered academic year 2024-2025Graduate (Spring)
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
______
Examines how centering plants changes our understanding of what it means to be human. Considers how, in response to the naming of the Anthropocene and anxieties over ecological crises, researchers in various fields have turned to plants as central players. Using this as a starting point, explores how researchers have described and re-calibrated relations among plants, humans, and environment, between life and non-life, action and being, subjectivity and autonomy in ways that radically altered ruling epistemologies in a range of disciplines. Looks at how philosophers, farmers, foresters, eco-critics, geographers, botanists, and popular science writers adapted research questions and narratives to incorporate not only plant uses, but plant intelligence and sentience.
K. Brown

STS.432[J] Narrating the Anthropocene: Understanding a Multi-Species Universe
______

Not offered academic year 2025-2026Graduate (Fall)
(Same subject as 21H.990[J])
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
Add to schedule Lecture: W10-1 (E51-275)
______
Examines human concern about the planet and how that fixation shapes concepts of time & space, knowledge-production, understandings of what it means to be human and non-human, as well as trends in scholarship, art, culture & politics. Indexes the way numerous actors and institutions came to understand, debate & narrate the Anthropocene, a geological epoch defined by human-induced climate change. Explores how it as a concept has opened up new ways of understanding relations within the planet, including care, accountability & multi-species mutualism. Considers narrative registers as well, how scholars, writers, artists & working people narrate the Anthropocene. Students undertake an original project in research &/or experimental narrative forms inspired by the reading. Limited to 12.
K. Brown, M. Black
No textbook information available

STS.434 Postapocalyptic Science and Technology Studies
______

Not offered academic year 2025-2026Graduate (Fall)
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
Add to schedule Lecture: R2-5 (E51-390)
______
Examines how science fiction is deployed as a political tool for enacting change in the present and how it has emerged as a privileged symbolic field for the expression of hopes and anxieties that drive both culture and tech industries. Explores how societies around the globe — both mainstream and in the periphery — are confronting a triple crisis that threatens not only civil order but also the very existence of certain forms of life: financial collapse which increased the awareness of mass inequality; climate change and loss of biodiversity; and the rise of ethno-nationalisms, which threaten representative democracies.
E. Nelson
No textbook information available

STS.436 Cold War Science
______

Not offered academic year 2024-2025Graduate (Fall)
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
______
Examines the history and legacy of the Cold War on science and the environment in the US and the world. Explores scientists' new political roles after World War II, ranging from elite policy makers in the nuclear age to victims of domestic anti-Communism. Also examines the changing institutions in which various scientific fields were conducted during the postwar decades, investigating possible epistemic effects on forms of knowledge. Subject closes by considering the places of science in the US during the post-Cold War era.
K. Brown, D. I. Kaiser

STS.441 Technology and Self: Technology and Conversation
______

Not offered academic year 2024-2025Graduate (Fall)
Prereq: None
Units: 2-0-10
______
Explores the relationship between technology and conversation, with an emphasis on conversation in our digital age when so many say they would rather text than talk. Topics center on the psychology of online life, such as the way in which we both share and withhold information about the self. Discussion about the ways new kinds of online conversation are playing out in education, the workplace, and in families and what the changes in conversation mean for collaboration, innovation, and leadership. Readings include works in history, literature, anthropology, psychology, and linguistics. Open to undergraduates by permission of instructor. Limited to 15; no listeners.
S. Turkle

STS.443 Technology and Self: Science, Technology, and Memoir
______

Not offered academic year 2024-2025Graduate (Spring)
(Subject meets with STS.043)
Prereq: Permission of instructor
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.444 Technology and Self: Things and Thinking
______

Not offered academic year 2025-2026Graduate (Spring)
(Subject meets with STS.044)
Prereq: Permission of instructor
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.454 Museums, Science and Technology
______

Graduate (Spring)
Not offered regularly; consult department
Prereq: Permission of instructor
Units: 3-0-9
______
Examines science, technology and museums. Includes regular readings and discussions about the evolution of museums of science and technology from (roughly) 1800 to the present. Students undertake special projects linked to the MIT Museum's re-location to a new building under construction in Kendall Square. Students act as informal consultants to the MIT Museum, offering proposals for innovative elements that will be seriously considered for inclusion in the new Museum.
J. Durant

STS.458 Science, Technology, and Human Rights
______

Not offered academic year 2024-2025Graduate (Fall)
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
______
Explores the relationship of science and technology to ideas about human rights over time, including how science and technology have been mobilized historically in the defense of human rights and to assist in the pursuit of truth and justice after atrocity. Discusses literature in history, anthropology, law, and related fields to address how science and technology have historically shaped understandings of human rights and the ways that human rights frameworks have shaped the creation and use of scientific and technological capabilities.
E. Medina

STS.461 History and Social Study of Computing
______

Not offered academic year 2025-2026Graduate (Fall)
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
Add to schedule Lecture: T10-1 (E51-393)
______
Examines the history and social study of computers. Introduces students to the core and canonical literature in this area while also providing the opportunity to read and discuss more recent works from multiple disciplines.      
E. Medina
No textbook information available

STS.464 Computing from the Global South
______

Not offered academic year 2024-2025Graduate (Spring)
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
______
Examines the rise and development of computing technologies in the global south. Surveys the effects of decolonization in the mid-twentieth century on the imagination of computational technologies in places such as South America, Africa, and Asia. Covers the failures and defeats of postcolonial projects when faced with the challenge of asymmetric access to global markets and capital. Identifies contemporary forms of resistance and imaginations of innovation that still endure and flourish in the global south, challenging perspectives from the global north.
D. Banerjee

STS.465[J] Research Seminar on Technology and the Work of the Future
______

Not offered academic year 2024-2025Graduate (Spring)
(Same subject as 11.652[J])
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
______
Examines the past, present and future of work from an interdisciplinary perspective, drawing from the humanities, social sciences, and cognitive science and engineering. Integrates perspectives from history, philosophy, sociology, economics, management, political science, brain and cognitive science and other relevant literatures, creating a solid foundation from which to interpret current public discourse on the subject. Discussion focuses primarily on the US; comparative perspectives from other countries incorporated into discussions and analysis. Limited to 15.
D. Mindell, E. B. Reynolds

STS.468[J] Entrepreneurship in Aerospace and Mobility Systems
______

Not offered academic year 2025-2026Graduate (Spring)
(Same subject as 16.445[J])
Prereq: Permission of instructor
Units: 3-0-9
______
Examines concepts and procedures for new venture creation in aerospace and mobility systems, and other arenas where safety, regulation, and infrastructure are significant components. Includes space systems, aviation, autonomous vehicles, urban aerial mobility, transit, and similar arenas. Includes preparation for entrepreneurship, founders' dilemmas, venture finance, financial modeling and unit economics, fundraising and pitching, recruiting, problem definition, organizational creation, value proposition, go-to-market, and product development. Includes team-based final projects on problem definition, technical innovation, and pitch preparation.
D. A. Mindell

STS.471[J] Engineering Apollo: The Moon Project as a Complex System
______

Not offered academic year 2024-2025Graduate (Fall)
(Same subject as 16.895[J])
Prereq: None
Units: 4-0-8
______
Detailed technical and historical exploration of the Apollo project to fly humans to the moon and return them safely to Earth as an example of a complex engineering system. Emphasizes how the systems worked, the technical and social processes that produced them, mission operations, and historical significance. Guest lectures by MIT-affiliated engineers who contributed to and participated in the Apollo missions. Students work in teams on a final project analyzing an aspect of the historical project to articulate and synthesize ideas in engineering systems.
J. A. Hoffman and D. Mindell

STS.474[J] Art, Craft, Science
______

Not offered academic year 2024-2025Graduate (Fall)
(Same subject as 21A.509[J])
Prereq: None
Units: 3-0-9
Credit cannot also be received for 21A.501, STS.074
______
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

STS.477[J] Writing: Science, Technology, and Society
______

Not offered academic year 2025-2026Graduate (Spring)
(Same subject as 21W.820[J])
Prereq: 21H.991
Units: 3-0-9
______
Examination of different "voices" used to consider issues of scientific, technological, and social concern. Students write frequently and choose among a variety of non-fiction forms: historical writing, social analysis, political criticism, and policy reports. Instruction in expressing ideas clearly and in organizing a thesis-length work. Reading and writing on three case studies drawn from the history of science; the cultural study of technology and science; and policy issues.
K. Manning

STS.482[J] Science, Technology, and Public Policy
______

Graduate (Fall)
(Same subject as 17.310[J], IDS.412[J])
Prereq: Permission of instructor
Units: 4-0-8
Credit cannot also be received for 17.309, IDS.055, STS.082
Add to schedule Lecture: MW1-2.30 (E25-111) Recitation: TBA
______
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 account of integration of uncertain technical information into public and private decision-making. Meets with 17.309 when offered concurrently.
N. Selin
No textbook information available

STS.487 Foundations of Information Policy
______

Graduate (Fall)
(Subject meets with 6.4590[J], STS.085[J])
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, R. David Edelman, M. Fischer, D. Weitzner
No textbook information available


Special Subjects

STS.S91 Special Subject: Science, Technology and Society
______

Not offered academic year 2024-2025Graduate (Fall) Can be repeated for credit
Prereq: None
Units arranged
URL: https://sts-program.mit.edu/academics/subjects/stss91-fa23/
______
Addresses a special topic in Science, Technology and Society which is not offered in the regular curriculum.
E. Medina

STS.S92 Special Subject: Science, Technology and Society
______

Not offered academic year 2024-2025Graduate (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.
Staff


Research and Teaching

STS.800 Teaching Science, Technology and Society
______

Graduate (Fall, Spring) Can be repeated for credit
Not offered regularly; consult department
Prereq: None
Units arranged [P/D/F]
______
For qualified graduate students serving as either a teaching assistant or instructor for subjects in Science, Technology and Society (STS). Enrollment limited by availability of suitable teaching assignments.
Staff

STS.840 HASTS Professional Perspective
______

Graduate (Fall, IAP, Spring, Summer)
Prereq: Permission of advisor
Units: 0-1-0 [P/D/F]
Add to schedule TBA.
______
Required for doctoral students in the doctoral program in History, Anthropology, and Science, Technology and Society (HASTS) to explore and gain professional perspective through academic, non-profit, government, or industry experiences. Professional perspective options include, but are not limited to, internships, teacher training, professional development for entry into academia, or public academic engagement. For an internship experience, an offer from a company or organization is required prior to enrollment. A written narrative or report is required upon completion of the experience. Proposals subject to departmental approval in consultation with advisor.
Staff
No required or recommended textbooks

STS.850 Practical Experience in HASTS Fields
______

Graduate (Fall, IAP, Spring, Summer) Can be repeated for credit
Prereq: None
Units arranged [P/D/F]
Add to schedule TBA.
______
For HASTS students participating in curriculum-related off-campus professional internship experiences. Before registering for this subject, students must have an offer letter from a company or organization and must receive written prior approval from their advisor.  Upon completion of the experience, students must submit a substantive final report, approved by their advisor.  Subject to departmental approval. Consult departmental graduate office. Permission of advisor.
D. Fitzgerald
No required or recommended textbooks

STS.860[J] HASTS Dissertation Writing Workshop
(New)
______

Graduate (Fall) Can be repeated for credit
(Same subject as 21A.989[J], 21H.960[J])
Prereq: None
Units: 1-0-5
Add to schedule Lecture: W11-1 (E51-165)
______
Bi-weekly seminar for students in the doctoral program in History, Anthropology, and Science, Technology & Society (HASTS) who have completed research and are in the process of writing their dissertations. Each class focuses on a particular element of the writing: organizing chapters, engaging the secondary literature, the art of the vignette, etc. Depending on student needs, some classes may be tailored to anthropological writing or to historical writing. Students are given ample opportunity to workshop draft passages and chapters. For PhD students only. PhD students outside the HASTS program require permission of instructor.
W. Deringer
No required or recommended textbooks

STS.880 Proposal Writing in HASTS
______

Graduate (Fall, Spring) Can be repeated for credit
Prereq: Permission of instructor
Units arranged [P/D/F]
Add to schedule TBA.
______
For students in the doctoral program in History, Anthropology, and Science, Technology and Society (HASTS) who are working on their dissertation proposal and/or research grant proposal program requirement. Work is done in consultation with the student's advisor, in accordance with the guidelines in the HASTS Student Handbook. Restricted to HASTS PhD students.
Fall: Staff
Spring: Staff
No required or recommended textbooks

STS.901-STS.904 Independent Study in Science, Technology, and Society
______

Graduate (Fall, Spring) Can be repeated for credit
Prereq: Permission of instructor
Units arranged
Add to schedule STS.901: TBA.
Add to schedule STS.902: TBA.
Add to schedule STS.903: TBA.
Add to schedule STS.904: TBA.
______
For students who wish to pursue special studies or projects at an advanced level with a faculty member of the Program in Science, Technology, and Society.
D. Fitzgerald
STS.901: No required or recommended textbooks
STS.902: No required or recommended textbooks
STS.903: No required or recommended textbooks
STS.904: No required or recommended textbooks

STS.THG Graduate Thesis
______

Graduate (Fall, IAP, Spring, Summer) Can be repeated for credit
Prereq: Permission of instructor
Units arranged
Add to schedule TBA.
______
Program of graduate research leading to the writing of a PhD thesis, to be arranged by the student with an appropriate MIT faculty member, who is the thesis advisor.
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