In light of the rapid updates many university instructors are making to their courses to move to remote/online instruction, I thought I would share my own updates here.
I have updated and streamlined content while mostly hewing to the weekly topical themes. I’ve included the discussion board tasks I will assign students below, too. In addition, each week I will have an approximately 15 minute video introducing the topic and key STS points, likely with accompanying slides, for students. I have emphasized asynchronous work and assignments. I have weekly office hours Zoom times by appointment, and 2 days with highly suggested real-time review sessions. Plus, I read online discussions as they go, and post redirections and encouragements as warranted.
In person, this class tends to include lectures as well as small group discussions and some group preparation for certain sessions. For the original syllabus (slightly modified this semester, but largely the same in scope and design), please go here.
Good luck, everyone!!
Week 9: Technology and Labor
- Marie Hicks – Programmed Inequality: How Britain Discarded Women Technologists and Lost Its Edge in Computing [excerpt] [PDF]
- Karl Marx – Capital Volume 1, Commodities, Section 2 [https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1867-c1/ch01.htm#S2]
- Alana Semuels – The Internet is Enabling a New Kind of Poorly Paid Hell [https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2018/01/amazon-mechanical-turk/551192/]
- WATCH: Peter Bowes – Meet the Mechanical Turk, an 18th Century chess machine [https://www.bbc.com/news/av/magazine-21882456/meet-the-mechanical-turk-an-18th-century-chess-machine]
- WATCH: Bassam Tariq – Turking for a Living [https://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/video-turking-for-respect]
- TASK: In a post of approximately 350 words, evaluate one of the following questions (or both if you want). You may provide outside examples (include links to specific articles/events, please):
- How is the internet changing how people work, for better or worse?
- Has the computing industry sufficiently remedied historical issues of sexism in hiring and promotions?
- Please respond to at least 2 other comments before Sunday night.
Thursday, March 26
- 9-10 am EST: Midterm review
Short Assignment 2 – Infrastructure Walk due 9 am Thursday via Classes
Week 10: Digital Sociology
- Virginia Eubanks – The Allegheny Algorithm, from Automating Inequality: How High-Tech Tools Profile, Police, and Punish the Poor [PDF]
- WATCH: Cathy O’Neil – The Era of Blind Faith in Big Data Must End [https://youtu.be/_2u_eHHzRto]
- WATCH: Ruha Benjamin – Are Robots Racist? [https://www.dropbox.com/s/j80s8kjm63erf70/Ruha%20Benjamin%20Guest%20Lecture.mp4?dl=0]
- Nabil Hassein – Against Black Inclusion in Facial Recognition [https://digitaltalkingdrum.com/2017/08/15/against-black-inclusion-in-facial-recognition/]
- WATCH: Joy Buolamwini – AI, Ain’t I A Woman? [https://youtu.be/QxuyfWoVV98]
- WATCH: Joy Buolamwini – How I’m Fighting Bias in Algorithms [https://youtu.be/UG_X_7g63rY]
- Answer either (or both, if you wish) of the following questions:
- Are algorithms classist?
- Are robots racist?
- Respond to at least one other person’s argument before Sunday night.
Week 11: Disaster Capitalism
- Naomi Klein – The Shock Doctrine, Introduction excerpt [http://tsd.naomiklein.org/shock-doctrine/excerpt]
- Naomi Klein – How Power Profits from Disaster [https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jul/06/naomi-klein-how-power-profits-from-disaster]
- Naomi Klein – Coronavirus Capitalism [https://youtu.be/niwNTI9Nqd8]
- Edward Ongweso Jr. and Jason Koebler – Amazon’s Supply Chain is Breaking [https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/7kzqv9/amazons-supply-chain-is-breaking-and-independent-businesses-are-screwed]
- TASK: Find at least 1 other example of economic disruptions in light of COVID-19, in any sector, and analyze them using Naomi Klein’s “shock doctrine” framework.
- Read and respond to the comment(s) of at least one other person’s example.
Week 12: Cyborgs
- Donna Haraway – A Manifesto for Cyborgs [PDF]
- Manfred Clynes and Nathan Kline – Cyborgs and Space [PDF]
- WATCH: Neil Harbisson – I Listen to Color
- WATCH: Moon Ribas – Earthbeat
- Disability Visibility Podcast – Episode 66: Cyborgs, featuring Ashley Shew and Jillian Weise [https://disabilityvisibilityproject.com/2019/12/18/ep-66-cyborgs/]
- TASK: In pairs (assigned), write a 350-500 word summary of ONE of the following aspects of cyborgs as explained by Donna Haraway in A Manifesto for Cyborgs.
- TASK: Describe a “cyborg technology” you have used or are interested in. It can be real or fictional. In a couple sentences each, consider the following:
- How does it (or would it) alter or expand your bodily experience if you were to use it?
- Who uses it? Who could use it? Is that fair?
- What would be its effects on society if its use was widespread?
Assignment 3 – Controversy Analysis due 9 am Thursday via Classes
Week 13: Medicine and Ethics
- LISTEN: AMA Journal of Ethics – Ethics Talk: COVID-19 Pandemic Response [https://journalofethics.ama-assn.org/podcast/ethics-talk-covid-19-pandemic-response]
- Ezekiel Emanue, James Phillips, and Govind Persad – How the Coronavirus May Force Doctors to Decide Who Can Live and Who Dies [https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/12/opinion/coronavirus-hospital-shortage.html]
- Somatosphere COVID-19 Forum [http://somatosphere.net/2020/covid-19-forum-introduction.html/]
- Browse the list and choose at least 2 essays to read.
- LISTEN: Code Switch Podcast – When Xenophobia Spreads like a Virus [https://www.npr.org/2020/03/02/811363404/when-xenophobia-spreads-like-a-virus]
- TASK: Write a 350 word or more response of your view on the ethical challenges policy makers, healthcare workers, and ordinary people may face as the COVID-19 epidemic grows in the US, Europe, and Latin America. Reference at least one of the required materials for this week.
- Before Sunday night, respond to at least 1 response from another person, too.
- You may use ideas from this discussion as the basis for your Assignment #4. Please update and edit your text, though, and do not just copy-paste. Cite your classmates if you borrow their ideas.
Week 14: Race and Science
- Aaron Panofsky and Joan Donovan – Genetic Ancestry Testing among White Nationalists [https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0306312719861434]
- WATCH: Genetic Ancestry Testing reveal videos
- TASK: Choose and read at least 2 pieces from the Critical Ethnic Studies “Elizabeth Warren, Cherokee Citizenship, and DNA Testing” syllabus in pairs. Write up a 2-3 paragraph summary of what you read together that also references at least 1 prior reading or conversation from class.
- Each individual should also reply to at least 1 other group’s response by the end of the week.
Week 15: Health Activism // Wrap Up
- Steven Epstein – The Construction of Lay Expertise: AIDS Activism and the Forging of Credibility in the Reform of Clinical Trials [PDF]
- Larry Kramer – 1,112 and Counting [PDF]
- Emily Bass – How to Survive a Footnote [https://nplusonemag.com/issue-23/annals-of-activism/how-to-survive-a-footnote/]
- WATCH: United in Anger: An Oral History of ACT UP [https://nyu.kanopy.com/video/united-anger-history-act-0]
- TASK: What were some of the strategies that activists used to “survive the plauge” of HIV/AIDS in the 1980s and early 1990s? What lessons should we take from them today?
Thursday, May 7
- Final Exam Review
Assignment 4 – Public Health Editorial due 9 am Thursday via Classes
Final exam will be take-home, open book and open note. Date and time TBD pending university final exam schedule.