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Autumn Quarter 2021

COM 540: Rhetoric of Science (5 credits)
Leah Ceccarelli

Tuesdays and Thursdays
12:30 pm - 2:20 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 science is necessary to take this course. This seminar can be used by STSS graduate certificate students who are not in the Department of Communication to fulfill the broad perspectives course requirement. For more information, contact the professor at

STSS 591: Science, Technology, and Society Studies in Action (2 credits)
David Ribes

1:30 pm - 3:20 pm, MEB 102

Provides an advanced introduction to science, technology, and society studies. Includes topics of active research interest in history and philosophy of science; social studies of science; science and technology policy; and ethics and equity issues.

ESS 408/508: Great Geological Issues (3 credits)
Jody Bourgeois

Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays
9:30 am - 10:20 am, plus an extra reading and discussion session (1 hr.) for graduate students TBA

This course reviews the history and development of geological and paleontological theories and controversies, and the philosophy and methodology that have driven scientific inquiry in the earth sciences. Text: Great Geological Controversies 2nd ed., with supplementary other chapters of secondary reading. Weekly reading and discussion of original texts, primarily 19th century. Some focus on history of climate-change studies leading to present issues. At the graduate (508) level, extra reading and discussion session (to be arranged) and a term research paper, the latter in lieu of the final exam.

PHIL 482: Philosophy of Physics (5 credits)
Benjamin H. Feintzeig

Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays
8:30 am - 9:50 am

Topic TBD.

Winter Quarter 2022

COM 539 Theories of Technology and Society (5 credits)
Adirenne Russell

Time TBA

Provides an theoretical foundation for study in the area of communication technology and society by examining different contemporary theories of the social, political, and cultural implications of technological change. Takes a broad view of theories of communication innovations, tools, and technologies - including historical, critical, and comparative approaches.

HPS 400: Colloquium in the History and Philosophy of Science (5 credits)
Benjamin H. Feintzeig and Bruce Hevly

Mondays and Wednesdays
12:30 pm - 2:30 pm

Topic TBD.

Spring Quarter 2022

PHIL 560: Philosophy of Science (5 credits)
Carole Lee

Time TBA

Course description forthcoming.

AES 405: (Bio)politics of Race/Ethnicity (5 credits)
Oliver Rollins

Tuesdays and Thursdays
2:30 pm - 4:20 pm

How do new ideas about biology, technology, and science effect the way we govern individuals, think about life potentials, or restructure debates around race/ethnicity and human value? This seminar will focus on the role science, knowledge, and technology plays in the production of democratic ideals, the making of citizens, and the politics of race. Recent developments in the biomedical sciences are challenging the existing ways we understand life, and as a result, forging new subjectivities and collectives that are actively transforming how we think about and act upon our identities, bodies, and selves. Thus, a different kind of citizenship has emerged, biological citizenship. What does it mean to know your ancestry in the light of genomics? Who can participate in these new configurations of belonging? Are there new interventions, values, or activism made possible through these technoscientific practices? We will start with an examination of citizenship through the exchanges of nation-hood, difference, and power, and continue toward an ethical and social analysis of the contemporary entanglements of democracy, science, and race in the making of biological citizens and governance of 'life itself.'

AFRAM 498: Science, Technology, and Race/Racisms (5 credits)
Oliver Rollins

Mondays and Wednesdays
10:30 am - 12:20 pm

Recent scientific developments have promised to vastly improve upon the way we know ourselves and each other, our bodies and health potentials, and our social histories and futures. Scientific solutions to today's social problems, however, are still haunted by the entangled, and highly controversial, history between science and race. This course concentrates on social significance of twenty-first century racial science. What does it mean to know your ethnic ancestry through genetics, and what are the consequences for understanding race/ethnicity in such a way? What are the social and ethical costs, or benefits, to investigating racial bias via brain technologies? Drawing upon an interdisciplinary body of social, scientific, and humanistic literatures, our discussion topics will include: scientific legacies race, inequality and biomedical experimentation, DNA forensics and racial profiling, commercial ancestry testing, and race- specific pharmaceuticals. Overall, students will learn to evaluate the various ways that racial difference is made, maintained, or challenged through contemporary scientific knowledge. Our goal, then, is to better understand the various ways science and technology shape today's social understandings of race.


History and Philosophy of Science - Major (UW Seattle)

Science, Technology and Society - Major (UW Bothell)

Comparative History of Ideas - Major (UW Seattle)