science and society
Over the past century, science and technology have increasingly permeated everyday life, while institutionalizing and growing in status domestically and globally. Scientific and technological knowledge has become a dominant form of knowledge, overshadowing and overpowering other authoritative forms. This course will explore fundamental sociological theory of science and technology from Sociology and Science and Technology Studies. It will also introduce students to exemplary research in these domains. All inquiry will analyze science and technology from the perspective of its relationship to race, gender, sexuality, and postcoloniality.
race, science, and medicine
Why are drugs being marketed as racial saviors? What does biotechnology have to do with race? This course is designed to introduce students to interdisciplinary approaches to the role of race in science and society as an integrated natural and social scientific endeavor. This seminar explores real-world problems such as validating knowledge about racial difference, the relationship between politics and science, and the newest findings of scientific fields like anthropology, epidemiology, and cognitive science. This course is intended for those who are interested in race and science, technology, and medicine studies, whether one has a background in these areas or is new to them.
health, culture, and society
What is the relationship between health, culture, and society? How do our beliefs and experiences affect our bodies and wellness? This seminar explores concepts we take for granted, such as “health,” “illness,” “sickness,” “healing,” “care,” and the socio-cultural, material and historical contexts in which these phenomena are constructed or emerge. It will introduce students to theories useful in understanding our experiences of our bodies, health, distress, and illness, and how the knowledges and systems of healing we bring to bear on these experiences have been shaped. It will also familiarize students with leading sociological research on health, medicine, and science, and the debates that drive those investigations.
sociology of medicine and healthcare
The institution of medicine has emerged and gained influence in the past century to the point where it is a part of everday life. How can we think about medicine and health from a sociological perspective? How can we use sociological theories and frameworks to think critically about it? This course will examine changes in the meaning and social implications of medicine, and the changing nature of health and healthcare. It will help students better understand matters of stratification and inequality in these domains. It will focus on the ways in which medicine and healthcare generate societal notions of race, sex, and gender, and foster particular relationships between groups socialized into positions of difference.
social psychology of health and illness
This seminar deals with crucial sociological issues that arise in phenomena generally termed “illness,” “sickness,” “health,” “healing,” “care,” and the socio-cultural, material and historical contexts in which these phenomena are constructed or emerge. The seminar is specifically designed as advanced level preparation for doctoral level students. It provides a broad overview of the range of perspectives and research that exist. Though the seminar will be grounded in important empirical issues, we will not deal in depth with substantive topics treated more fully in other classes, e.g., aging, policy, women’s health, AIDS, etc.
sociology of health and medicine
This course introduces students to the sub-discipline of medical sociology. It focuses on the more macro-level perspectives in the field, exploring the historical context and intellectual traditions that gave rise to these traditions in medical sociology, and familiarizing students with many of its central scholars, theories, and works. Topics we will focus on include: the development of medical sociology, and how medicine—as a profession, set of practices, economic sector, market, and way of thinking—came to be an object of sociology scrutiny, theoretical and substantive concerns in the larger discipline of sociology reflected and refracted in medical sociology, the structure of the medical professions and the health care system in the U.S. and its changes over time, and future concerns for the sociology of health and medicine.
classical social theory
This class introduces students to central texts on social structure, power, rationality, governance, action, and freedom by the foundational theorists of the sociological canon. Students will grasp the theories’ core concepts, and become familiar with the structure of the authors’ analytical approaches and frameworks. Through comparison, students will learn how these theorists, and the theoretical traditions they have inspired, handle problems that confront anyone engaging in the sociological enterprise. Students will also gain basic tools for defining and analyzing contemporary social phenomena.
Symbolic Interactionism and Post-Structural Theory
This class introduces students to essential theories from the sociology of knowledge, symbolic interactionist theory, and post-structural theory. Students will cover the origins and development of interpretive sociology, including American pragmatist philosophy and its conceptual infrastructure, symbolic interactionism and aspects of the social construction of knowledge and selves, and foundational methods for studying discourse and practice sociologically, such as those detailed by Michel Foucault, Pierre Bourdieu, and Bruno Latour. A comparative analysis of these theories will empower students to apprehend the fundamentals of theory conceptualization and development.
Biopolitics, Biomedicalization, and Biosociality
This class will introduce students to essential theories and empirical studies of biopolitics and biomedicalization, with a focus on emerging developments in the 21st Century. Topics we will focus on include: the rise of biopower, emergent characteristics of biopolitics, biosociality, biocapital, the relationship between medicalization and biomedicalization, changing features of biomedicalization, pharmaceuticalization and geneticization, and issues pertaining to race, gender, and sexuality.
Social Analysis of Genetics and Genomics
What is social science saying about genetics and genomics? What are the social implications of these fast-changing and emerging sciences? This class investigates comprehensive analyses of various areas of genetics and genomics. Topics we will focus on include: relationships between knowledge and power, biopolitics, medicalization, biosociality, commodification, globalization, and biocapital.
Racial Biomedicine in the 21st Century
This course draws on film, news media, scientific discourse, and social theory to engage biomedicine's most controversial investigations of race and the social scientific questions they have provoked. The course asks: How is contemporary science imagining, constructing, and producing knowledge about race? What are the social, political, and cultural implications of this knowledge?
Gender, Science, and Society
This course is designed to introduce students to interdisciplinary approaches to the role of gender in science and society as an integrated natural and social scientific endeavor. This seminar uses Team-Based Learning to understand problems such as validating knowledge about sexual difference, the relationship between politics and science, and the characterization of biomedical disorders like hormone imbalance and depression. The class will be broken into groups that evenly consist of natural and social science concentrators in order to simultaneously approach problems from natural and social scientific perspectives.
Race, Science, and Society
Why are drugs being marketed as racial saviors? What does biotechnology have to do with race? This course is introduces students to interdisciplinary approaches to the role of race in science and society as an integrated natural and social scientific endeavor. This seminar uses team-based pedagogy to explore real-world problems such as validating knowledge about racial difference, the relationship between politics and science, and the newest findings of scientific fields like anthropology, epidemiology, and cognitive science.
Biomedicalization: the Body as a Social Problem
Why are more and more aspects of daily life seen as biomedical problems? What are the social processes and political effects that motivate people to view the body this way? This course explores how contemporary health and behavior conditions are being defined and treated by analyzing biomedical research, health, and bodily knowledge in its various social formations: governmental knowledge, health policy, capital markets, and popular culture.
Senior Seminar in Science and Society
This is an advanced seminar that uses a Problem Based Learning style to explore real-world problems in STS. This semester the course will explore the ongoing controversy over race and behavior. Students will approach this problem by examining critical scholarship in areas such as laboratory studies, feminist science and technology studies, the rhetoric and discourse of science and technology, expertise and the public understanding of science.