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Spring Quarter 2014

PHG 521/NURS 582/ANTH 574: Culture, Society, and Genomics
Barbara McGrath (NURS/ANTH)

1:30 pm - 4:20 pm

This interdisciplinary graduate seminar explores the intersection of science and society with a focus on genomics. Readings and discussion examine the links between the biological and social sciences, the ways they reflect societal issues and cultural discourses, and how social knowledge is created through research. Topics to be addressed include the place of science, biomedicine, and biotechnology in our society; the role of media in the translation of science; the post modern body in a genomic era; and the politics of disability. Open to all graduate students with permission of instructor; knowledge of genetics is not essential.

Winter Quarter 2014

HPS 400/PHIL 401C: Topics in Science and Pseudoscience
Bruce Hevly and Andrea Woody (HPS/PHIL)

Tuesday and Thursday
1:30 pm - 3:20 pm

SAV 169

Both history and philosophy of science are frequently enlisted in efforts to defend the frontier between science and non-science. These efforts, in turn, reflect fundamental problems arising in the two fields, ones that might be resolved in part by a more integrated HPS perspective, and the creation of this perspective will be one of the collective tasks of this seminar. For philosophers, the identification of satisfactory demarcation criteria to allow the objective definition of science was a central task of the twentieth century, albeit an increasingly problematic one. For historians of science, an unwillingness to draw a line between science and non-science seemed to smack of an unsavory relativism, threaten their credibility with scientists, and undermine their sense of disciplinary identity; at the same time, a sense of how the line between science and non-science has shifted over time seemed to provide a crucial contextual element for historical practice. We will begin by reading Michael Gordin’s recent book (2012) The Pseudoscience Wars: Velikovsky and the Birth of the Modern Fringe, which explores scientists’ varying responses to Immanuel Velikovsky and the relationship of these responses to the science wars arising in the 1980s and 1990s. From this piece of contemporary scholarship, we will work backwards to issues of demarcation in history and philosophy of science, look at what may be regarded as unsatisfactory responses to this problem (for example, in the science wars and in the skeptic’s movement of scientism), and ultimately try to find a set of better approaches. The course will be run as a discussion-based seminar, and students will prepare their own case studies relevant to our efforts to make sense of demarcation and its significance. This course is open to HPS majors and other graduate and undergraduate students with suitable backgrounds.

Fall Quarter 2013

CHID 222: Biofutures
Phillip Thurtle (CHID/HIST/ANTH)

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday (Friday Discussion Sections)
1:30 pm - 2:20 pm

This class explores key legal, ethical, cultural, scientific, and commercial aspects of the rapidly changing world of biotechnology and bioinformatics. It specifically asks how new discoveries in biology encourage us to rethink issues of ownership, communication, geography, identity, and artistic practice.

DXARTS 490: Art and the Brain
James Coupe

9:30 am - 12:30 pm

MGH 085

This interdisciplinary seminar explores the intersections between art and neuroscience. Led by faculty from DXARTS and the Neurobiology & Behavior Program, a range of topics will be explored, including systems, neural networks, electronic media, data visualization, consciousness, artificial intelligence, perception, ethics/politics, neuroaesthetics, art and creativity. The course will include lectures, paper review, student presentations and discussion. Students will select areas of focus and develop individual or collaborative research projects that intersect both fields. Readings may be drawn from the following sample bibliography but will vary in response to the specific interests of seminar participants.


History and Philosophy of Science - Major (UW Seattle)

Science, Technology and Society - Major (UW Bothell)

Comparative History of Ideas - Major (UW Seattle)