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Spring Quarter 2015

HSTCMP 410A: Medicine, History and Society (5 credits)
Laura Harkewicz

Mondays and Wednesdays
11:30 am - 1:20 pm
Thompson 101

In the last few decades, medicine and the life sciences have become the locus for some of society’s most extravagant hopes and acute anxieties. Medicine, History and Society is aimed at students who would like to uncover the history behind the headlines and take the “longer view” of some of these issues. It will cover some basic facts and concepts, featuring three broad themes: 1) medical ways of knowing, 2) technological contributions, and 3) the effects of existing philosophies, paradigms, or political/social/cultural conditions. We will investigate the origins of aspects of contemporary life familiar to us all, from the vitamins we take daily to giving birth in a hospital, bringing a historical perspective to bear on topics such as the politics of pharmaceutical patents, the emergence of the new genetic determinism, and ways cultural representations of medicine and doctors inform our health care decisions.

HSTCMP414: The Ocean Frontier: History of Science and Exploration at Sea (5 credits)
Antony Adler

Mondays and Wednesdays
9:30 am - 11:20 am
Denny 211

This course covers the historical development of the marine sciences with a consideration of political, social, and economic context. The chronological scope ranges from roughly the mid-nineteen century to the modern era. Topics covered will include: the history of navigation, fisheries and aquaculture, marine telegraphy, the discovery of hydrothermal vents, oceanography during the Cold War, and the history of climate change research.

IMT 589 A/B: Monetary Informatics (4 credits)
Dave Stearns

4:30 pm - 8:20 pm
Johnson 026

Examines money and payments as information systems with social as well as technical dynamics. Provides an introduction to the most commonly-used international and domestic payment networks, as well as a few unique and alternative models. Introduces the emerging world of mobile payments, alternative electronic currencies, and the possibility of a completely “cashless society.”

This will be a small masters-level seminar, and the content will come from my own research into payment systems as sociotechnical infrastructures. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about the course.

SOC 401: Nature, Society, Environment (5 credits)
Kelly Kistner

Tuesdays and Thursdays
1:30 pm - 3:30 pm
Condon 110A

A central theme of this course will be the relationship between how humans attempt to know nature and how we live with nature. This course will provide students with a background in cross-cultural and historically variable conceptions of nature and the human relationship to it. We will also examine contemporary theories on the complexity and interconnectedness of social, economic, technological, and ecological systems and how environmental issues pose challenges for social order.

This course may be of interest to undergraduates in history, philosophy, HPS, anthropology, biology, CHID, and the College of Environment. No sociology prerequisites needed, interdisciplinary perspectives will certainly be welcomed, 5 credits including writing credit.

PHG521/ANTH574/NURS582: Culture, Society, and Genomics (3 credits)
Barbara Burns McGrath

1:30 pm - 4:20 pm
South Campus Center 350

The results of dramatic advances in human genetics research are making their way from the laboratory through the media and the clinic into the lives of everyday people. This course will bring a social science perspective to the dialogue by exploring the ways social research and other influences are used to frame science and biotechnology. Topics include: the place of science in our society; the post modern body in a genomic era; stigma; genetic testing and prenatal diagnosis; medicalization of the family; quality of life and disability; and the role of the media in science discourse.

PHIL 466: Seminar in Philosophy of the Social Sciences: Looping Effects, Social Kinds, and the Goals of Social Inquiry
Alison Wylie (PHIL)

Tuesdays and Thursdays
11:30 am - 1:20 pm

Johnson 022

Can human, social subjects be studied “scientifically” or do they require, instead, a distinctive interpretive methodology? We’ll address this question, first, in relation to Winch’s classic, Idea of a Social Science (1958), and the debate it generated about ideals of objectivity in the social sciences. We then turn to a related set of ontological questions: what kind of subjects are social entities and social kinds? The focus here is Hacking’s account of the impact of “looping effects” on what he calls “interactive kinds.” We end the quarter with recent reappraisals of social identity constructs due to feminist and critical race theorists, and arguments based on them for various forms of standpoint theory. The 2015 joint meeting of the Philosophy of Social Science Roundtable and the European Network for Philosophy of the Social Sciences (RT/ENPOSS) will be hosted by the Simpson Center this quarter: May 8-10. This seminar is designed to complement the proceedings of this conference:

Winter Quarter 2015

ARCHY 467A: Research Ethics in Archaeology: Conservation, Accountability, Stewardship
Alison Wylie (PHIL)

Tuesdays and Thursdays
4:30 pm - 6:20 pm
Denny 217

Archaeological practice raises profoundly challenging ethics issues. The central question we address in this seminar is: to whom and to what are archaeologists accountable? More specifically: What responsibilities do archaeologists have to those whose cultural heritage they study?; Do archaeologists have an obligation, or a right, to serve as “stewards” of archaeological resources?; Is it ever legitimate to work with archaeological material that has been looted and commercially traded? These issues are central to debates that are changing the way archaeology is practiced, so we address them through analysis of cases juxtaposed with theoretical and philosophical literature on research ethics.

Course readings will include the following texts: Atalay’s Community-Based Archaeology: Research with, by, and for Indigenous and Local Communities (2012); Scarre & Scarre (eds.), The Ethics of Archaeology (2006); Zimmerman, Vitelli & Hollowell (eds.) Ethical Issues in Archaeology (2003).

BISSTS 307: Science, Technology, and Society
Joanne Crane (IAS - UW Bothell)

Tuesdays and Thursdays

8:45 pm - 10:45 pm
UW1 221

The class is an introductory course to the field of Science & Technology Studies, and a core requirement for our undergraduate major in STS. Presents concepts and theories used to investigate the creation, application, and governance of science and technology. Addresses the nature of scientific and technological knowledge, social construction of science and technology, democracy and science, and public understanding.

COM 540: Rhetoric of Science
Leah Ceccarelli (COM)

1:30 pm - 4:20 pm

CMU 242

This graduate seminar will examine the interdisciplinary field of scholarship known as the “rhetoric of science.” We will study the rhetorical structure of arguments made by scientists to their peers, the rhetorical strategies used by scientists when they communicate outside their fields of expertise, and the persuasive moves made by publics engaging technoscientific issues. Questions for discussion will include: How do scientists use language, situation, culture, and prior tradition to reach intersubjective agreement about their discoveries and theories? In what ways are the argumentative standards applied by scientists in their fields of expertise similar to those applied by arguers in public or private settings? How do scientists communicate with the public? What does public discourse about science reveal about our attitudes toward science? What happens when there is a crisis involving science or technology in the public sphere and scientific expertise is unable to resolve doubt and warrant deliberative action? We will read a number of critical works in the field, to see how rhetorical scholars have added to our collective knowledge about the communicative practices of scientists. We will discuss some of the larger theoretical and practical issues that arise from the rhetorical interpretation of science. And over the course of the quarter, each student will write a paper that engages in the rhetorical criticism of a piece of communication about science. No background in rhetoric or in science is necessary to take this course. For more information, contact Professor Leah Ceccarelli,

GEOG 258: Digital Geographies
Sarah Elwood (GEOG)

Tuesdays and Thursdays
1:30 pm - 3:20 pm

SIG 134

The way we know and experience the world around us is increasingly mediated by digital technologies – many of them with geographic or locational capabilities. Google’s MyMaps and geo-tagged Tweets have been used to coordinate pro-democracy and anti-inequality protests around the world. Geo-social ‘check-in’ apps like FourSquare can alert us when a friend is nearby. Smart phone apps let citizens send photos of urban problems to government officials in some cities. Crisis mapping apps compile and map real-time observations of disaster relief needs or human rights violations around the world, sharing this information with first responders, the international community, and many others. In short, making and using digital maps and geographic information is an increasing part of life in many parts of the world. This class explores the key components, applications and societal impacts of these new spatial media, including online mapping software, handheld geographic devices, the geoweb, location-based services, crowdsourced spatial data, and open source mapping. The central idea of this class is that digital technologies make (or ‘mediate’) the world we live in – including its social and spatial relationships, connectivity / interactions, and forms of inclusion, exclusion, empowerment, and exploitation. We will explore how they do so through visual representation, data schemes, data collection practices, political economic structures, collective action politics, and our own everyday practices.

HPS 400: History and Philosophy of Science Colloquium / PHIL 401: Topics in Philosophy
Bruce Hevly (HIST) and Alison Wylie (PHIL)

Mondays and Wednesdays
1:00 pm - 2:50 pm

SAV 169

Agnatology: Historical and Philosophical Approaches to the Study of Ignorance

Historians and philosophers of science have traditionally been concerned with knowledge: what counts as scientific knowledge, how it is produced and ratified, whether its authority is warranted, whose interests it serves, whether it is distinctive or in what ways it is continuous with everyday, practical understanding. Recently, however, they have turned their attention to questions about ignorance. How are we to understand knowledge if we don’t understand ignorance, ask the proponents of “agnotology” – the study of ignorance? We begin an exploration of this emerging body of HPS research with a set of readings on “values in science” and arguments for pluralism that draw attention to ways in which scientific inquiry is inevitably selective, and then consider a selection of contributions to Agnotology (Proctor & Schiebinger, 2008), the collection of essays that brought the topic of ignorance to prominence. At the end of the quarter we focus on a particular sustained study of ignorance by Oreskes and Conway, Merchants of Doubt (2010).

This course is required for students in History and Philosophy of Science, but we welcome non-majors who have a background in history and/or philosophy of science (HIST 311/312, PHIL 160/460), and graduate students who have an interest in HPS.

SOC 201: Scientists are People Too: The Role and Practice of Science in Modern Society
Kelly Kistner (SOC)

Tuesdays and Thursdays
8:30 am - 9:50 am

CDH 109

When sociologists look at the social world they consider aspects of organization, coordination, and institutions; authority, trust, and power; material tools, places, and technologies; conflict, change, communication, and cooperation. This course will introduce students to a sociological way of thinking about science as a social phenomenon. We will consider science in its different forms and in comparison to other ways of knowing. We will consider the historical development of modern science and the social structures that support its practice and place in society today. We will consider how the broader social world is imprinted in scientific practices, and how science permeates modern life. By more fully examining these social dimensions of science, students will gain an appreciation of science as a collaborative and adaptable source of social order, while recognizing the potential challenges of scientific work and within modern techno-scientific societies.

Fall Quarter 2014

BISSTS 307: Science, Technology, and Society
Joanne Crane (IAS - UW Bothell)

Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays
11:00 am - 1:00 pm
UW2 005

The class is an introductory course to the field of Science & Technology Studies, and a core requirement for our undergraduate major in STS. Presents concepts and theories used to investigate the creation, application, and governance of science and technology. Addresses the nature of scientific and technological knowledge, social construction of science and technology, democracy and science, and public understanding.

ESS 408/ ESS 508: Great Geological Issues
Joanne Bourgeois (ESS)

Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays
9:30 am - 10:20 am
JHN 26

History and development of geological and paleontological theories and controversies; philosophy and methodology that have driven scientific inquiry in the earth sciences. We read and discuss excerpts from primary sources each week; there are two take-home exams, or the final can be replaced by a term paper. W credit available by arrangement.

PHG 551/ BH 551 / GENOME 573: Human Genomics: Science, Ethics, and Society
Malia Fulerton

1:30 pm - 4:20 pm
T-663 Health Sciences Building

This course aims to provide an overview of recent topics in human genetics and genomics while simultaneously placing those topics in a broader social and ethical context.  The approach to learning is unstructured and collaborative.  Students will explore, in a sustained manner, the science involved in recent research advances, ranging from next gen sequencing to RNA-mediated “gene drives”.  They will also use a range of ethical arguments to assess the implications of such advances for scientists, clinicians, research participants, and society at large. 

T EDUC 520: Multicultural Education
Matthew Weinstein

4:15 pm - 6:45 pm

Explores major theoretical, political, and pedagogical issues in multicultural education. Studies institutional and cultural discrimination such as race, ethnicity, class, sexuality, gender, disability, and language. Examines the relationship between schooling and the reproduction of stratification and discrimination, as well as examines curricular and pedagogical approaches to address these variables.


History and Philosophy of Science - Major (UW Seattle)

Science, Technology and Society - Major (UW Bothell)

Comparative History of Ideas - Major (UW Seattle)