STS Grad Courses
Instructor: Caren Kaplan
Wartime Atmospheres and Infrastructures
Instructor: Timothy Lenior
Theories and Methods in Science and Technology Studies
Instructor: Joe Dumit
Conspiracy / Theory
Technogenesis: media technology and subjectivity under digital capitalism
Spring 2016 Mondays 2-5 PM
Addresses key issues in cultural studies of computational media. Central themes include the materiality of media; media configurations and the co-evolution of human being; computational media and recent discussions of posthumanism; the merger of nano-bio-info-technology and the ubiquity of code; media convergence and the political uses of new media. Explores concerns about uses of big data, machines of surveillance and the potential industrialization of consciousness. Examines media technologies from a transdisciplinary perspective, drawing upon fields of deconstruction, psychoanalysis, Marxism, media studies, new materialist feminisms, evolutionary anthropology, cognitive science, and biotech. Builds upon existing expertise in film, critical theory, and media studies to analyze how media determine our situation and what might constitute conditions for political and existential rupture.
STS 250-002: TECHNOLOGIES OF THE SELF
PROFESSOR KRIS FALLON
T, 1:10 – 4:00PM
ART ANNEX, 107
Course Description: While current social and digital media appear to signify an unprecedented focus on celebrating “me”, the ability to explore and document the self using technology is an enduring interest that stretches back to the earliest cameras and beyond. Indeed the self-portrait is a longstanding gesture in Western Art that has found unique expression in a variety media. As the medium of the self-portraiture has shifted, the definition of the self has evolved alongside the technological and artistic means for doing so. This course will explore four models of the self that have emerged alongside various technologies and scientific theories in the 20th century. Readings will include selections from Sigmund Freud, Jacques Lacan, Roland Barthes, Michel Foucault, Gilbert Simondon, Norbert Weiner and others. Alongside these texts we will consider a variety of forms of self-portraiture, including photography, documentary film and digital/social media.
Science, Religion, and Modernity: The Galileo Affair 1613–1992
History 201S/202C, Religion 230C
Prof. Daniel Stolzenberg
Spring Quarter 2016, Monday 2:10–4:40
Across the disciplines, recent decades have witnessed dramatic re-evaluations of the historical relationship between science and religion and its role in the constitution of modernity. In the realm of the history of science, new studies are dramatically revising our understanding of the place of Catholicism, in particular, and religion, more generally, in the development of science and scholarship in the early modern era. In this graduate seminar we will explore these topics by investigating the Galileo Affair in long-term perspective. While we will focus foremost on primary and secondary sources related to the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, we will also make forays into more recent times, examining, for example, Brecht’s Life of Galileo and the Vatican’s rehabilitation of Galileo in 1992. Students’ final projects may treat times and places beyond the center of gravity of the course, so long as they engage its principal themes. No background in early modern Europe or the history of science is required. Students may register for HIS 201S (History of Science), HIS 202C (Modern Europe) or REL 230C (Early Modern Religious Formations). History 201S counts toward the Designated Emphasis in Science and Technology Studies. For further information contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
ANT 210 - Dumit - tbd
Tim Choy, ANT 210 - "Alterlife, Conditions, Aftermaths"
A collaborative quadcampus experiment
This course takes up the question of how to study, historicize, and theorize life forms that have been materially altered by the entangled histories of capitalism, militarism, racism, and colonialism. This is a way to say that we will be exploring how to theorize and historicize life forms that have been altered by pesticides, PCBs, and radioactive isotopes, and other manifestations of technoscientific violence, including life forms that are industrially produced, or resistant to antibiotics, or that must breathe in capitalism's atmospheres in order to live. We gather these forms of life altered under the figure of what Michelle Murphy calls, "alterlife," posing the following questions: What forms of alterlife now inhabit our planet? How to name and study the conditions of emergence and possibility of post-nature life -- from atmospheres to infrastructures. What conditions their formation as such? And how might we theorize and act for futures beginning from positions of living in the (ongoing) aftermath? The aim is to explore together a set of concepts, critical theories, and methods that might grapple with the fallout of radically altered environmental conditions. and to compose critical theoretical itineraries and genealogies that might help to rethink the political, conceptual, and historical frameworks for understanding life and its conditions.
Together we will read interdisciplinary scholarship to experiment with how to conceptualize the shared but unequally distributed conditions of already altered life. We will explore a range of concepts and methods that might be used to reframe and mobilize politics in an age of planetary change. In our conversations, we will draw together works from science and technology studies, anthropology, geography, history, artworks, critical indigenous studies, black studies, futurisms, and feminist and queer studies. This course is an experiment in thinking together – across classrooms at four universities, each situated in a different disciplinary home; it is an effort to continue and broaden a discussion begun in the 2015 Engineered Worlds workshop at University of Chicago. Conversations will take place in several formats: locally, around seminar tables; online, in a quadcampus forum; by video, linking seminar rooms. There is also a “backroom” discussion space for you to continue chatting more informally.
Colin Milburn, STS 200, "Theories and Methods in Science and Technology Studies"
This graduate seminar focuses on theories and methods in science and technology studies (STS). Students will be introduced to major authors, works, and movements that have shaped the interdisciplinary field of STS, attending to intersections of the history and philosophy of science, the anthropology and sociology of science, and literary and cultural studies of science. Students will gain a strong foundation in a variety of STS approaches and concepts: constructivism; sociology of scientific knowledge (SSK); actor-network theory; gender studies of science; rhetoric and semiotics of scientific writing; scientific trading zones; experimental systems; and others. The seminar is designed for graduate students interested in adding STS methods to their scholarly toolkits. The seminar also fulfills the STS 200 requirement for the Designated Emphasis in Science and Technology Studies, but enrollment in the DE program is not required.
Tim Choy, STS 200, "Ontologies, Species, Technologies: A Posthuman Tasting Menu"
M 11:00-2:00pm (CRN: 94630)
Survey of contemporary STS, approached and problematized through pairings of significant texts and themes. Ontological pluralism refracted through postcolonial ontological politics. Companion species entanglements read across human/nonhuman semiosis. Technological love confronted with the technologically saturated posthuman. Texts include Annemarie Mol, The Body Multiple, Stacey Langwick, Bodies, Politics and African Healing, Donna Haraway, When Species Meet, Eduardo Kohn, How Forests Think, Bruno Latour, Aramis, and Rosi Braidotti, The Posthuman. Other texts tbd.
(Satisfies the STS 200 requirement for the Graduate DE in STS, but students need not be in the DE to enroll.)
Tom Beamish, SOC295: "Environmental Sociology: Environment, Risk, Governance"
T 1:00-4:00pm, SSHB 1291
What is the environment? What is at risk? What is governance? And therefore what do we mean when seek to manage the environment, manage environmental risks, or engage in environmental governance? These are interrelated issues and will be our topical focus over this quarter: how contemporary society has knowingly and unknowingly engaged in “environmental governance” and the ideas that have stood behind this. We will begin with attention to the conventional debate between conventional economic proponents who argue for prosperity without restriction and an ecologically centered critique that focuses on environmental limits. We will also develop and discuss a number of alternative theoretical and philosophical arguments that have sought to dig deeper and uncover the basic social and material relations and therefore “logics” that characterize and predict environmental relations and conditions under late capitalism—treadmill of production, risk society, rationalization, ecological modernization/techno-utopism, reformism, social ecology, deep ecology, eco-feminism, and environmental justice.
Therefore, our attentions will include exploring the social and philosophical roots of movements that are or have pushed for environmental reform, integrity, protection, and equity. Each view we will seek to understand has, likewise, presumed or advocated specific conditions and relations between the environment and human society and among humans in human societies as both what is right and wrong with the contemporary and what might lead to a “sustainable” and therefore “just” future (something else to be discussed of course).
Objectives: The main objective of the course is to help students develop a critical understanding of the principal environmental theories and philosophies that organize environmental thought and debate and that prescriptively direct students of the environment. The course involves intensive dialogue and critique concerning subjects, issues, and theories including: classical economics, deep ecology, scientism & technological utopism, political economy, rationalization, eco-feminism, social ecology, neo-Malthusian, environmental justice, risk society, eco-efficiency, among others.
Kriss Ravetto, CST 214, "Technologies of the Image"
W 10:00-12:50pm, Olson 144 (CRN: 93184)
This seminar addresses the relationship between visual media and technologies of the image by engaging some of the key contributions to studies of new media on topics ranging from the relationship between the material and immaterial roles of technology to its effects on our perception, scientific imaging, sensual experience, and sense of time. We examine imaging techniques drawing from science studies, film, philosophy and new media.
Tim Choy, ANT 210, "Anthropology of/as Composition"
TH 2:00-5:00pm (CRN: 94194)
Assembling a toolkit for discerning, composing, and arranging concepts and details built up from heaving worlds. Drawing as attention, abstraction as practice, aesthesis as problem and method. Questions raised when chasing elusive phenomena, like atmospheric attunement, anthropocene aesthetics, crowds and clouds.
Seminar requirements include careful reading of texts by Scott McCloud, Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, César Aira, Michael Taussig, Vilém Flusser, W.J.T. Mitchell, Nigel Thrift, Kathleen Stewart, Ben Anderson, as well as willingness to experiment toward ethnographic creativity.
Daniel Stolzenberg, HIS 201S, "Beneath the Valley of the Scientific Revolution: Science, Technology and Medicine in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe:
TH 3:15-4:30pm (CRN: 94602)
This graduate seminar explores the historiography of European science, medicine and technology before 1800. (The focus is primarily the 16th–18th centuries). Tentative readings include: E. A. Burtt, The Metaphysical Foundations of Modern Science, Steven Shapin and Simon Schaffer, Leviathan and the Air-Pump, Pamela Smith, The Body of the Artisan: Art and Experience in the Scientific Revolution, Alexander Marr, Between Raphael and Galileo: Mutio Oddi and the Mathematical Culture of Late Renaissance Italy, Joan Cadden, Nothing Natural Is Shameful: Sodomy and Science in Late Medieval Europe, Ann Blair, Too Much To Know: Managing Scholarly Information before the Modern Age, Chandra Mukerji, Impossible Engineering: Technology and Territoriality on the Canal du Midi, Harold Cook, Matters of Exchange: Commerce, Medicine, and Science in the Dutch Golden Age.
Students from outside the History Department are very welcome, but will need to contact the instructor to receive a PTA number. Students who prefer to receive credit for History 202C (Topics in Early Modern European History) rather than History 201 S (Proseminar in the History of Science and Medicine) may arrange to do so by contacting the instructor.
Roberta Milltein, PHI 220, "Environmental Ethics"
Kathleen Frederickson, ENL 252, "Victorian Science"
Joe Dumit, ANT 210, "Anthropology, Bodies, Flesh, and Improvisation"
Wed 2:10-5:00pm SOCSCI 1246 (CRN: 52486)
This class will seriously play with bodies, flesh, fascia, anthropos, and improvisation again and again. Reading and writing are just two of the practices, trainings, and games that will be engaged. Core readings will come from critical improvisation theory (Lipsitz, Gere, Myers, Goldman, etc), anti-critical undercommons work (Moten, Hartmann, Spivak, Haraway, etc), ordinary studies (Berlant, Stewart, Raffles, Mol, etc), improvisation training (Johnstone, Forsythe, Barba, Pedercini, etc), and ideokinetic imitation practice (Todd, Tarde, Deleuze, Landecker, etc).
Kris Fallon, STS 250, "The Politics of Networks/Networked Politics"
From social networks to transportation networks to information networks, the network as a concept has become one of the dominant metaphors of the digital age. But are networks themselves benign forces capable of equalizing social relations and undoing the established hierarchies which they seek to undermine? Or are they instead an ever-more perfect panopticon, reinforcing existing regimes of surveillance and selective marginalization? Thsi course will introduce students to the alternately radical and repressive power of networks. Rather than approaching networks as an abstract relation among individual entities or an ontological description of material relations, we will focus our attention on the space between. As a metaphor for describing the world, the figure of the network has served to structure evolving social and political structures, and as these structures have shifted they have in turn altered our conception of what the network is, and what it can be. To find this middle ground we will study both the theory and reality of different networks. Each week we will pair readings from network theory with case studies from political history that draw out the latent and manifest political potential contained in the network.
Colin Milburn, ENL 238, "Science and Science Fiction"