Science, Technology, and Society

This course has been offered every semester with slight variations in the Department of Technology, Culture, and Society at NYU Tandon School of Engineering since spring 2018.

You can find the Spring 2019 reading list here.

Course Description

What makes something a scientific fact? What is the social impact of new technologies? Who in society benefits and who is harmed by the rapid development of modern science and technology? These are just some of the questions tackled by researchers in the field of Science and Technology Studies, an interdisciplinary field that uses concepts from anthropology, sociology, philosophy, and history to understand the interconnections between science, technology, and society. STS researchers and practitioners are engaged with analyzing and solving some of the most challenging technological problems of our time: designing the infrastructure of the future, assessing the role of human enhancement and cybernetics in human society, figuring out how to deal with climate change and the Anthropocene, defining human obligations to non-human species, and analyzing how science and technology shape cultural ideas about race and gender.

In this introduction to the field, students will (1) become familiar with the key concepts and methods in the field, (2) explore some of the current research and debates in the field, and (3) gain facility with using STS concepts and methods through discussion, research, and writing. This class will survey a variety of cases and examples, organized into thematic sections on science, technology, and medicine. It will provide students with a solid basis for pursuing an STS major and/or incorporating STS perspectives into their professional practice. Students will be assessed via in-class participation, four short writing assignments, and a final exam.