FGS/STS 5000 3.0 and 6.0 Directed Readings for M.A. Students
Permission of Program Director required
FGS/STS 5001/6001 3.0 Introduction to Science and Technology Studies
These required courses will introduce incoming MA (5001) and doctoral (6001)
students to the major texts and theoretical strands of Science and Technology Studies, in their historical context. Such strands include the Sociology of Scientific Knowledge (SSK), Actor Network Theory (ANT), Laboratory Studies, Social Construction of Technological Systems (SCOT), as well as feminist, post-colonial and cultural studies of science and technology. Students will read and discuss such foundational texts as Thomas Kuhn’s Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Ludwig Fleck’s Genesis and Development of a Scientific Fact, Shapin and Schaffer’s Leviathan and the Air Pump and Latour and Woolgar’s Laboratory Life. While engaging with these and other key texts, students will build a common vocabulary and theoretical framework for examining specific sites of knowledge production and practice in science and technology. Through a combination of empirical case studies and theoretical reflections, students will grapple with those themes – such as epistemology, objectivity, expertise, relativism, materiality – about which the field of STS makes important scholarly and practical contributions.
FGS/STS 5002 0.0 M.A. Major Research Paper
The Major Research Paper may be related to the work students have done in one or more of their courses, but it must demonstrate independent research.
FGS/STS 6000 3.0 and 6.0 Directed Readings for Ph.D. Students
Permission of Program Director required.
FGS/STS 7000 0.0 Ph.D. Dissertation Research
The following is a list of courses that have been officially accepted by
the Faculty of Graduate Studies as part of the Grad STS curriculum. Course
offerings vary from year to year. For any given year, students will normally
be able to choose from 5 or 6 courses in each of the Fall and Winter terms.
*Click-on each tab to see the courses list by field.
- Field 1:
- Field 2:
- Field 3:
- Field 4:
FGS/STS 6002 3.0 Science & Technology as Material Culture (Anderson)
- This course examines the diverse engagement of Science & Technology Studies with the study of
- material culture. Approaches to be considered include the history of scientific instruments and experimental practices, anthropology and museum studies, embodied epistemologies, and the analysis of space and architecture.
FGS/STS 6003 3.0 Technoscientific Cultures: Foundations in the Anthropology of Science and Technology (Myers)
(x-listed with ANTH 5220 3.0)
In this course we read foundational texts in anthropology of science, exploring a range of sites, methods, and theories to equip students for ethnographic research within technoscientific cultures. Central themes include science as practice and culture; biopolitics; and technoscientific imagineries.
FGS/STS 6100 3.0 Biomedicine and the twentieth century (Kroker)
Contemporary, industrialized medical practice traces its roots back to a series of transformations that unfolded over the course of the last century. While epidemics of infectious diseases waned, medical research and health care delivery emerged as a focal point of domestic policy. Biomedical practice and investigation fractured into specialties (immunology, radiology, sleep medicine, allergy), even as the accepted distinctions between the normal or the pathological seemed to dissolve. Disease as self-identity became a matter of course. Ethics became the province of experts. This course will examine these and other trends in an effort to the ascendancy of health as a scientific object over the past one hundred years.
FGS/STS 6101 3.0 Rendering 'Life Itself' (Myers)
Scientific knowledge hinges on practices of representation. The dual meaning of representation, that is, representation as a portrait or account (visual, textual, etc.), and representation as proxy are both key to the work of science. Science produces representations of “nature” at the same time as scientists act as representatives for this sphere of life. Social studies of science have examined methods of scientific representation, including the institutional, technical and rhetorical forms through which visualizations of nature are produced and propagated. Other studies have been concerned with the sites in which science and scientists are enlisted to speak for nature, particularly in legal or corporate forums, and in the process of nation building. This course examines sociological, historical and philosophical accounts of scientific representation. In this course we read a range of methodological and theoretical approaches to mapping the representational work of science in order to account for how science makes nature tangible, visible, and legible. This course thus aims to investigate the techniques and practices by which both scientists and their interlocutors produce representations of scientific knowledge.
FGS/STS 6102 3.0 Organisms as Instruments (Steigerwald)
This course will examine the various ways in which organisms have acted as instruments of investigation in science. We will look at historical examples of how particular organisms have been used as models for the study of central organic phenomena (such as the chick for development, the frog for muscular motion, the fly for inheritance), and consider the implications for generalizing the results of these studies to other organisms. We will also consider how animals as well as humans have been utilized as instruments for detecting and measuring electrical and chemical phenomena, and acted as models for constructing physical apparatus. Finally, we will consider how unusual organisms (such as monstrosities, polyps, termite colonies) have acted as instruments to investigate and challenge extant conceptions of what constitutes an organism.
FGS/STS 6103 3.0 Epidemics (Kroker)
An examination of the various ways in which epidemics are defined, deployed, promoted, or criticized as objects of scientific knowledge. The core of our examples will be drawn from the ranks of biomedical history (such as cholera in the 19th century or AIDS/HIV in the late 20th century), but more contemporary cases (such as SARS or West Nile Virus) as well as less clearly biomedical examples (juvenile delinquency, bullying) will provide some useful counterpoint. In all instances, the epidemic (whatever it may be) will be studied for its ability to mediate between perceived oppositions (for example, between lay and professional knowledge, the technical and the scientific, the individual and society, or the normal and the pathological).
FGS/STS 6104 3.0 The Psychological Society (Pettit)
This seminar examines the ways in which the human sciences have been implicated in the production of social order and our very sense of self. Particular attention will be paid to the niche that the psychological sciences have come to occupy in institutions like the army, the workplace, and the law. Topics may include psychological practice under liberal and “totalitarian” regimes, statistics and intelligence testing as social technologies, the rise and fall of the asylum, the selfhood enabled by psychopharmacology. Special attention will be to the history of popular and applied psychologies from nineteenth-century phrenology to the various therapeutic regimes of today.
FGS/STS 6105 3.0 - Mesmerism, Phrenology and their Influences on Twentieth Century Psychology and Psychotherapy (Green)
(x-listed with PSYC 6060B 3.0)
Mesmerism and phrenology are often dismissed in textbooks on the history of psychology as being mere pseudosciences that had to be "overcome" before "scientific" approaches to psychology could take root. Modern historical research, however, has shown that both were deeply intertwined in 19th-century social and political developments, playing important roles not only in progressive reform movements but also in Victorian scientific efforts to reconstruct the distinction between "natural" and the "supernatural." More specifically, they helped to set the stage for modern conceptions of neuopsychology and psychotherapy: although many of their most spectacular claims were discredited by later research, several of their underlying assumptions about the relation between the brain and the mind carried on into the 20th century in various guises. This seminar will be devoted to reading and critically analyzing key primary and secondary documents on the rise, development, and eventual fall of mesmerism and phrenology, as well as their connections to early 20th-century neuropsychology and psychotherapy.
FGS/STS 6106 3.0 Bodies and Biotechnologies in Anthropology (Adelson)
(x-listed with ANTH 5280 3.0 & SOCI 6805 3.0)
The disciplinary focus of anthropology, and more specifically the anthropology of the body, offers students a critical theoretical perspective and point of departure for the study of the contingency of, and relationship between, bodies and biotechnologies.
FGS/STS 6107 3.0 - Advanced History and Theory of Psychology: Darwinian Influences on Psychology (Green)
- (x-listed with PSYC 6060D 3.0)
- This course will begin at about the time of the first public announcement of Darwin's (and Alfred Russel Wallace's) theory in 1858, and trace the impact that the idea of natural selection had on the development of psychology, particularly in the English-speaking world, over the next several decades. We will examine particularly closely the development, in the late 19th century, of the "school" of psychology that came to be called Functionalism, and its replacement by (or was it a transformation into?) Behaviorism in the early 20th century.
FGS/STS 6108 3.0 - Health & Illness (Mykhalovskiy)
(x-listed with SOCI 6831 3.0)
Pharmaceutical treatments are a central feature of contemporary health care. They are important objects of health and “life-style” consumption produced through complex global networks of research, marketing and distribution. Pharmaceutical drugs shed light on key contours of contemporary global biopolitics, including, for example, matters of global health governance, access to biotechnological innovation, the formation of patient-citizen identities, and projects of mass “therapeutic mobilization.”
FGS/STS 6109 3.0 - Gender and the Human Sciences (Rutherford)
A seminar devoted to the systematic historical examination of one of the most fundamental descriptive and explanatory concepts in the human sciences: gender. It addresses how human scientists, and particularly psychologists, have both conceptualized and deployed sex and gender as explanatory concepts throughout the course of their disciplinary histories.
FGS/STS 6200 3.0 Bodies in Technology (Viseu)
Genetics, ultrasounds, wearable computing and MRIs are all examples of technologies that place the body at the interface between biology and technology. As these technologies become part of contemporary society, they shape us and our identities. This course explores the ways in which technological representations of the body are contributing to a re-shaping of the boundaries between technical and biological, and thus giving rise to “new” conceptualizations of the human body. Some questions we will critically address are: What kinds of persons and bodies are being imagined and emerging within these initiatives? What does it mean to be human and how is this category constructed? How should we think about our interactions with technology? How can technology change the way in which we perceive and are perceived by those around us? Readings will be drawn from the scientific as well as the popular press.
FGS/STS 6201 3.0 Technologies of Behavior (Rutherford)
Offers an examination and analysis of social scientists’ efforts to develop technologies, (broadly defined as applications of basic research and theory) to change, engineer, and control human behavior at the individual and group levels. The social and political impact of these technologies will also be explored, particularly in terms of the ethical issues that emerge, and in relation to the cultural authority of the scientist. Numerous examples will be drawn from 19th and 20th century psychology (e.g., phrenology, psychotherapy, behavior modification) as well as sociology and anthropology. An analysis of the social scientist as social engineer will serve as an organizing framework.
FGS/STS 6202 3.0 Designs of War (Kroker and Jones-Imhotep)
This course explores issues at the intersection of psychology, physiology, and the technologies of war. Rather than focusing on the techniques and instruments of psychological warfare, or on the psychological and physical effects of armed conflicts, the course investigates how the engagement between people and the machinery of war has served as a site for understanding, constituting and engineering both humans and technologies. The evolution of fire control systems, wartime communications, work physiology, personnel testing, war psychiatry, equipment maintenance, cockpit design, and aviation medicine are among some of the possible topics for analysis.
FGS/STS 6203 3.0 Modern Technology: Materiality, Identity, and Social Order (Jones-Imhotep)
This course provides students with an advanced introduction in the social study of modern technology. Focusing on three main themes – materiality, identity and social order – the course explores how technologies have shaped and been shaped by the wider cultures and social structures that surround them. The course is organized around a series of canonical and emerging questions about technology, including: What is technology? Are humans technological “by nature”? What are the relations between technology and social order? The course covers a number of schools of thought about technology, but uses them specifically to address the conceptual problems and historical challenges of thinking about, and writing about, modern technologies.
FGS/STS 6204 3.0 Trusting Machines (Jones-Imhotep)
(x-listed with HUMA 6317)
This course explores how our trust in machines its sources, forms and
meanings has helped define the modern. It provides students with an
advanced introduction in the cultural study of modern technology, guiding
them through the conceptual challenges involved in thinking about, and
writing about, the engagements between machines and humans.
FGS/STS 6300 3.0 Science and Narrative in the Nineteenth Century (Choi)
In this course we will examine the rhetoric and representation of causality, speculation, objectivity, and chance in narratives by scientists in the nineteenth century, a period which witnessed both the professionalization of scientific disciplines and the widespread popularization of scientific knowledge. Our focus will be on popular scientific narratives as well as fictional works by scientists such as Lewis Carroll, H.G. Wells, and Arthur Conan Doyle. Attending to common themes and modes of thinking, we will consider how the logic of scientific narrative, broadly defined, developed and changed over the course of the century. Our selection of nineteenth-century texts will be supplemented by recent works of literary criticism and cultural history.
FGS/STS 6301 3.0 Science and Print Culture (Lightman)
(x-listed with HUMA 6318 3.0)
This course examines how western scientific ideas have been disseminated in print from the seventeenth century to the present. The emphasis will be on the modern period. Scientists have circulated their ideas in print form both to fellow scientists and the public. They have developed different narrative and publishing strategies for communicating with each group. In the course we will cover such topics as the impact of new printing technologies, the relationship between publishers and scientists, the changing nature of scientific readers, and the role of scientific periodicals.
FGS/STS 6302 3.0 Race and Racism in the Human Sciences (Teo)
In this course we will address the history of the conceptualization of race and racism in the human sciences, using examples from the history of measuring bodies and minds. We will analyze the idea that humanity can be divided into “races,” its implications and challenges. In our methodological analyses we will reconstruct the quality of the interpretations of data and address the relationship between data and interpretation and knowledge claims of the “race sciences” in the past and present. It is suggested that an interpretation that has practical, behavioral, or social consequences, the choice of interpretation becomes significant -- highly significant when it involves groups of human beings. In this course I will propose a working definition of epistemological violence: If a researcher chooses an interpretation that constructs the “Other” as problematic or as inferior, with implicit or explicit negative consequences for the “Other” while at the same time the data allows for equally plausible alternative interpretations, and when the interpretation of data is presented as “knowledge,” the concept of epistemological violence should be invoked.
FGS/STS 6303 3.0 The Sciences in the Enlightenment (Hamm)
Natural philosophy, natural history, the human sciences, and technology were crucial in the making of the Enlightenment, which is often treated as the age which applied, disseminated and absorbed the achievements of the 17th century, especially those of Newton. Yet the Enlightenment did much more than "apply" science, it framed many of the ways we have come to see humans and nature, society and politics; belief and skepticism. There was never one Enlightenment project, but many, and most of them were inextricably tied to new ways of understanding the natural and the human world.
FGS/STS 6304 3.0 Anticipating the Alien (Denning)
This course explores SETI, or the scientific Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, from an anthropological perspective. Embedded within the technical world of astronomy (particularly radioastronomy), adjoining the emerging science of astrobiology, and animated by enduring human questions about our place in the cosmos, SETI also captures the public imagination, and poses fascinating dilemmas in global governance (e.g. what should be done if a signal is detected? "Who speaks for Earth?") Course participants will explore topics such as: the crosscultural history of speculation about intelligent life in the cosmos; the relationship of that speculation to the development of technology available for searching; the public image of SETI; how scientists imagine these radical Others; the material culture of SETI, including the Voyager Record and the Pioneer Plaque; debates about the Drake Equation and the 'Fermi Paradox'; and the ongoing search for life (of any sort) in our solar system, and planets in our galaxy. This course will not address popular beliefs about aliens being here already, alien abductions, flying saucers etc.
FGS/STS 6305 6.0 - Contexts of Victorian Science (Lightman)
(x-listed with HIST 5830 3.0, SPTH 6100A 3.0, & HUMA 6310 6.0)
This course focuses on nineteenth century British science and its social, political, cultural and intellectual contexts. Adopting the "contextualist" approach to the history of science allows us to raise a series of provocative questions: in waht way did all of these different contexts shape the "nature" of nineteenth century scientific thought? How were scientific "facts" socially constructed? What was it about the nineteenth century context that led many intellectuals to reject Christianity and embrace science as providing a new, privileged form of knowledge? Included among the topics to be covered are the discourse of natural theology, radical working class evolutionism during the 1830's, the plurality of worlds debate, science and gender, the professionalization of science, the literary structure of Darwin's *Origin of Species*, Darwinian theory and its ideological uses, science and imperialism, the popularization of science, the practice of science, and late nineteenth century physics and pyschics.
FGS/STS 6306 3.0 - Historical Perspectives on Women and Nature (Shteir)
- (x-listed with WMST 6303 3.0, & HUMA 6305 3.0)
- This course explores associations between “women” and “nature” that have informed intellectual and cultural traditions. It unpacks implications of these associations for the practices and experiences of women and men in relation to science and knowledge in earlier times and now, and offers opportunities for gender studies of nature and science. The course is organized around these themes the following themes: Representing Nature; Embodying Difference; Doing Science; and Women Writing Nature. Historical Perspectives on Women and Nature highlights a range of humanistic approaches that open up this inquiry, notably cultural history, feminist science studies, textual interpretation, and visual studies. As a seminar cross-listed among a number of different graduate programs, it welcomes the disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives that students will bring to course readings and discussions.
FGS/STS 6308 3.0 - Collecting Science: Lives of Objects (Korrick)
This course addresses the collection, classification, display, and reception of objects
- representing aspects of scientific knowledge within the Western tradition, in both the private and public spheres, through a variety of themes and case studies from the Early Modern period to the present. Themes may include the social, political, and religious origins of scientific collecting; scientific collecting and the rise of the Early Modern university; exploration, colonization, trade, tourism, and scientific collecting; canonical and other taxonomies, from private inventories to museum accessioning and archiving systems; the aesthetics of scientific objects, their recording through image and text, and display; nature and artifice in scientific collections; the body as a collectable; scientific collectors, their audiences, and class structure; and scientific “truth” in the museum. Taking a cue from Arjun Appadurai’s concept of the “social life” of things, the course will attempt to uncover the contextual value of such objects in terms of ethics and aesthetics.
FGS/STS 6309 3.0 - Objectectivity and its Alternatives (Pettit)
- This course explores the various ways that Science and Technology Studies scholars have dissected,
- debunked, reconstructed, and championed the concept of objectivity. We consider cases studies drawn from numerous disciplines with a particular emphasis on the medical and environmental sciences.
FGS/STS 6310 3.0 Knowing Dreaming (Kroker)
(x-listed with HUMA 6311 3.0 & HIST 5720 3.0)
“Dreaming is one of the most personal and idiosyncratic forms of experience. Yet we frequently take for granted that dreaming is also, in some sense, universal. How have these two sides of dreaming been reconciled in western culture? How has dreaming been construed as an object of inquiry? How can there be expert knowledge concerning such a resolutely private experience?
This course will examine a variety of epistemological configurations that have generated knowledge about dreaming since Antiquity. In every instance, we will suspend our judgment about whether or not dreams “really are” as our sources claim. Rather, we will attempt to use dreaming as a window—small though it may be—through which we can watch cultures create and destroy knowledge about the nature of reason, the mind, the imagination, the divine, political unrest, health, the brain, and many other things besides. Readings will be drawn from many historical periods, and will include visual materials, as well as scientific, philosophical, medical, literary, and religious sources. But a substantial portion of our sessions will be devoted to the modern period, with a corresponding emphasis on the evolution of dreaming and sleep as objects of scientific research. No background in the neurosciences or their history is required or assumed, although an interest in the same will of course be invaluable.”
FGS/STS 6311 3.0 Research Methods Information Technology
This course provides a foundation in scientific inquiry applied to both practical and theoretical IT-related problems. Students formulate research questions, select appropiate research design to collect an analyze data, prepare reports, and evaluate research proposals and projects.
FGS/STS 6313 3.0 Pedagogies of Technoscience (Alsop)
This seminar course offers opportunities for students and course instructors to collaboratively explore a range of diverse literatures and selected field experiences framed by questions of pedagogy and technoscience. Our focus of attention will be placed on theories of pedagogy as a central philosophic and analytical category of analysis. In broad terms, we ask, where and how is technoscience pedagogical? Through literature and analysis of selected case studies set in higher education, schools, science centres and the wider public sphere (including citizen science, new social movements and public engagement with science), we explore what kinds of practices constitute pedagogy in and with technoscience. We will then reflect on how efficacious (or not) these practices might be for those involved.
FGS/STS 6400 3.0 Earth, Time and History (Hamm)
(x-listed with HIST 5870 3.0)
This course examines the development of an historical understanding of the earth, of our natural environment, in relation to changing ways of understanding human history. The emerging sciences of geology, paleontology, for example, were conceived of in relation to archaeology, human history and antiquarianism.
FGS/STS 6401 3.0 Big Science (Jarrell)
An analysis of the nature of Big Science, focusing upon nuclear power, high-energy physics, astronomy and space exploration after World War II. Primary examples will be from the US and the EC, but with contrasting cases from Canada, Australia and the USSR. Topics include organization, funding, governmental direction, education and scientific/technical outcomes.
FGS/STS 6402 3.0 Understanding Oceans (Anderson)
This courses uses the history of the study of oceans to explore representative issues in the history of science and science and technology studies. Although it will consider earlier geo-historical theories about the nature and origins of water and land, it concentrates on the modern period (especially the nineteenth and twentieth centuries) when the many faces of modern oceanography emerged. Examining the history of scientific study of the oceans involves us in debate about several critical developments and characteristics of modern science. One is the unity and scale of science, conceptually and as a social practice. Are the oceans one or many? How did global styles of investigation of nature emerge? When did oceanography become a discipline, and what do oceanographers do? What is the relationship of older traditions of natural history to modern quantitative ways of understanding nature? Another set of issues that we can explore using oceans is the political and economic context of science. From the European voyages of exploration in the Pacific in the 18th century to the cold war era, the study of the oceans has been deeply connected to strategic and commercial and ideological missions. Through our study of these connections, we can analyse scholarly debates over the social construction of knowledge. We will also use the history of oceanography to consider the relationship of science and technology, since – just like the exploration of space, another fundamentally hostile environment for humans -- technological change, real or imagined, has often seemed to drive developments in the study of the oceans.
FGS/STS 6403 3.0 Mapping Nature: Systems and Visions (Anderson and Hamm)
The translation of dynamic natural phenomena, like storms, magnetism, or botanical diversity, into the form of the global map, was one of the critical conceptual developments of modern science, and maps remain one of our most influential ways of seeing the natural world. The course draws on a rich and varied recent literature on mapping to analyse its history and its contemporary significance from the perspective of science and technology studies. It seeks to avoid a simple story of maps-as-domination in order to develop a more complicated account of the intellectual, aesthetic and political appeal of maps as knowledge. Historians of geography have shown, for instance, that mapping is especially important for the history of imperial and colonial context of western science, and can illuminate the authority of scientific knowledge and its connections with political power. In the social sciences, maps shaped and reflected theories about social organization or citizenship. But maps have also been studied as key exemplars of visual representation in science, objects which present fascinating questions about the objectivity, evidence, translation and mobility of natural facts. And, in still another tradition, that of fabulous geographies, we can use ancient and modern examples to consider the nature and significance of imaginary accounts of nature.
FGS/STS 6404 3.0 Encounterting Natural Worlds (Anderson)
(x-listed with HUMA 6316 3.0)
This course examines the human encounter with the natural world through a combination of natural history writings, environmental history, travel writings and film. Our context for these sources will be the history of science, ecology and the environment. The close description of the nature, known as natural history, was one of the dominant methods of natural philosophy in the west and it provides one way to chart the development of the modern scientific disciplines. At the same time, these accounts of nature provided a powerful vehicle for the expression of political, social and aesthetic ideals. We will analyze four critical themes -- natural order, technique and sensibility of observation, the idea of the exotic, and transformation or development -- in order to explore how understandings of nature developed in the modern world. We consider as well how the place of humans in nature was negotiated, as observers, as agents of transformation, or as subjects/victims of a particular environment. Our chronological framework moves from the European expansion and imperialism of the mid-18th century to the flourishing genre of nineteenth and early twentieth century natural history writing to the environmental dystopia of our contemporary world.
FGS/STS 6405 3.0 Science and Technology in Canadian Development (Jarrell)
(x-listed with HIST 5860 3.0)
The title of this seminar is generic; why not say “Canadian science and
technology” at the outset? There are a number of scholars who flatly deny there
can be anything Canadian about science and technology, which assumes
those terms deal with universals. Others (I am one) dispute this and maintain that
there are many local factors (language, religion, geography, forms of
government, social vision, etc.) that have a real impact upon how science is
prosecuted or how technology is adopted or developed.
There is a myriad of topics we could explore but we will concentrate upon a few
key milestones in the evolution of modern Canadian society. It has been said of
Australia, a country with a strong family resemblance to Canada, that it is a
victim of “the tyranny of distance.” Canada has that in spades along with a
linguistic divide. And while both countries had a strong initial British influence in
both science and technology, Canada has had a huge, energetic neighbour
and thus American influence and models have been pervasive in Canada since
the middle of the 19th century. One of the recurring questions we will ask in this
course is whether anything distinctly Canadian emerged in the past one and
Most of the readings deal with the history of science and technology but we will
also look a some sociological implications and the nature of modern science
and technology policy. Much of the serious academic study of this field has
occurred only in the past thirty years; thus, we still have many more questions
than answers and surprisingly large lacunae in our knowledge. While this is
frustrating to the casual student, it offers exciting challenges to those willing to
pursue topics in depth.