Current Graduate Courses

STS Graduate Courses 2023-2024

The list below is currently being updated. For more information about current courses, please contact Prof. Marisol de la Cadena (

Fall 2023

GSW 201: Critical Approaches to Trans Health, Science, and Medicine

Instructor: Christoph Lynn Hanssmann

Description: How have ideas about transness, nonbinariness, and other forms of gender non-normativity been engaged through health, science, and medicine? How have experts and non-experts drawn on scientific and medical discourse to shape a "common sense" of gender and transness? In what ways are these common sense positions being challenged, and by whom?  How have these debates unfolded vis-a-vis institutional bureaucracies; ideologies of sex/gender; and racialized, sexualized, and abled notions of “health”? To better understand the concept of "trans health" and scientific theories about transness, this course brings together critical texts from trans studies; feminist science and technology studies; women of color (trans)feminism; history and social studies of medicine; disability studies; and social movement studies (among others). Looking to debates in the U.S. and transnationally, it considers the emergence of "trans health" as a field as well as debates about how to situate transness as an object of knowledge and care. Course materials include historical texts, ethnographies, scientific papers, activist and policy writings, film, critical theory, and public health analyses. We will explore these concepts though readings, discussions, films, and in-class activities.


STS 200: Theories and Methods in Science and Technology Studies

Instructor: Colin Milburn

Tuesday 9:00 am-11:50 am, Social Sciences and Humanities 1246, CRN: 52664

Description: 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. 


HIS 201S: Sources & General Literature of History: History of Science & Medicine  

Instructor: Daniel Stolzenberg

Seminar—3 hour(s); Topic: Science and Empire, 1500–1900

Description: This class surveys the intertwined histories of science and empires, from the age of Columbus to the apogee of European colonialism at the turn of the twentieth century. Reading a combination of secondary and primary sources, we will investigate how empires shaped the development of scientific disciplines; how scientific knowledge and expertise served imperial projects; and how indigenous knowledge contributed to colonial science. The scientific dimension of European imperialism will be a major theme, of course, including the ideological function that the idea of “modern science” played in forming European/Western identity and justifying colonialism. At the same time, we will consider recent studies of science in non-Western imperial contexts, such as the Ottoman Empire, China, and Japan. The class aims to serve students from different fields; interested students are encouraged to contact Prof. Stolzenberg, so that he can tailor the syllabus accordingly. History students can count this class toward the minor in World History as well as Science and Medicine.

Winter 2024

PFS 265A: Press Reset: An Alternative History of Game Studies

Instructor: Patrick LeMieux

Thursday 5:10-8:00pm (won't conflict w/ Boluk), 234 Cruess Hall (Mod Lab)

Description: What if instead of the cultural studies, philosophies, and anthropologies of Huizinga, Suits, and Sutton-Smith, game studies was founded on the phenomenologies, auto-ethnographies, and playful practices of Fink, James, DeKoven, Sudnow, and Buckles? In this course we will try to build a counterfactual history of game studies by conducting a survey of both the foundational texts as well as practice-based research operating on the margins of the field. To put our theories into practice we will also experiment in a series of hands-on workshops where we play together in order to situate our understanding of games within longer traditions of embodiment, phenomenology, performance, and play.


STS 205: The Priors: Archives, Preservation, Libraries

Instructor: Finn Brunton

Tuesday 1:10-4:00 PM, in SSH 1246 (STS Conference Rm)

Description: The goal of this seminar is to think about the role of archives and libraries in the production of knowledge, particularly in areas pertinent to STS. Along with a review of the canonical STS literature and theories on the subject, we will be exploring unorthodox or less studied forms of preservation, archival collection, and librarianship. These will include shadow libraries like libgen, Sci-Hub, Monoskop, and Anna's Archive; novel collections like the Archangel Ancient Tree Archive; biomedical data collection and preservation practices; seed banks and botanical gardens; the Prelinger Archive and their approach to moving image preservation; techniques for documenting and preserving ephemeral knowledge; data management and data friction for ultra-large-scale materials in domains like climate and high energy physics research; and the role of all of these and more in the production, not just maintenance, of knowledge itself.


ENL 287: Media Theories

Instructor: Stephanie Boluk

T/R 3:00-6:00pm (Thursdays are media screening), 120 Voorhies Hall

Description: This introductory graduate seminar will survey a range of historical and contemporary approaches to media, media theory, and media philosophy. A significant unit of the course will focus on contemporary engagements with Marshall McLuhan’s methods and thought by scholars such as Sarah Sharma, Armond R. Towns, and Nicole Starosielski, but we will also try to cover a range of media studies work as well. We will examine how the field of media studies has been shaped by multiple disciplines ranging from information theory and cybernetics to cultural studies and critical theory to infrastructure studies and environmentalism. We will think about issues of human embodiment, identity, materiality, economy, and ecology in relation to the history of media technologies. Beyond using the term media as a descriptor for either technological platforms or communication protocols, this course investigates how a practical and philosophical understanding of media might help live in the twenty-first century.

The course welcomes students across all programs and departments interested in media philosophy. For English doctoral students, part of the course will engage some readings from the “Media Technologies” exam book list. The goal will be to develop literacy in different areas of media studies in order to advance your individual research, practice, and teaching.

Spring 2024