Current Graduate Courses 2021-22

STS Graduate Courses 2021-2022

The list below is currently being updated. For more information about current courses, please contact Prof. Colin Milburn (

Fall 2021

STS 200: Theories and Methods in Science and Technology Studies
Instructor: Colin Milburn
Tuesday 9:00am-11:50am, CRN: 51451
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. 

Winter 2022

STS 250: History and Philosophy of Science (Topic: Science and Civilization in China)
Instructor: Finn Brunton
Monday 12:10pm-3:00pm, Social Sciences & Humanities 1246, CRN: 44839
Joseph Needham’s Science and Civilization in China (SCC) is at once a landmark and a dead end in the history of science: the monumental project, over twenty seven books and sixty years, with the effort of dozens of collaborators and contributors, to gather, translate, and synthesize the scientific and technological history of China for western scholars. It encompasses — in extraordinary detail — matters ranging from music theory and mathematical notation to parachutes, drawlooms, Taoist breathing techniques, sugar refining, elixir alchemy, plant nomenclature, rice fermentation, gunpowder, dentistry, formal logic, and canal excavation. As the larger goal of SCC was comparative, it also traces many of its countless subjects through the Greco-Roman world, medieval Europe, central and southeast Asia, northern Africa and the Middle East; an extraordinary feat of pre-digital book production, the volumes of SCC include dozens of languages and scripts, along with photographs, maps, diagrams, equations, and symbol systems across tens of thousands of pages. Sometimes discussed (notably in a recent special issue of Isis) and seldom read as such, SCC is also a relic of a bygone era of the history and philosophy of science, one of “world science,” “scientific civilization,” arguing the “Needham question” — an era which can help us understand the transformation of our field. In this seminar, we will embark on an odyssey to explore the whole of SCC (materials will be provided), seeking to grasp its primary content with unorthodox reading approaches, and as we do so, to use the themes, structure, and methods of SCC as a way discuss the development and future of STS itself.
PHI 208: Philosophy of Biology
Instructor: James Griesemer
Thursday 3:10 PM - 6:00 PM, Social Science & Humanities 2275, CRN: 44850

Scientific method in biology. Nature of biological theories, explanations, and models. Problems of evolutionary theory, ecology, genetics, and sociobiology. Science and human values.

ANT 210/PFS265A: The Experimental Real

Instructor: Cristiana Giordano
Tuesdays, 9:00 am-11:50 pm
What constitutes the “real”? This is a question that both anthropology and the performing arts ask in their respective practices of representation and writing. In this seminar, we will approach this question by working at the threshold of different disciplines and drawing from the performing arts and humanities a more visceral non-representational relation to the “real.” We will explore experiments in ethnographic research and writing that play between truth and representation, translation and creation, and with the emergence of new languages and worlds in the stories we tell and write as ethnographers, artists, and performers. These experiments will allow us to explore ways of decolonizing scholarship in a broader sense. In anthropology, scholars have initially emphasized the importance of reclaiming our interlocutors as intellectuals with stories, voices, and theories of their own. This project has created new methods across disciplines that enable new engagements with worlds and challenge the usually unquestioned form of single-authored writing and the centrality of written text. This seminar is a cross pollinations between anthropology and the arts and explores different forms of collaboration.
        We will ask questions such as: What does it mean to document, describe, analyze, and critique when we work at the threshold of the “real” and the imaginary? What is a “documentary,” and what relations does it bear to fiction and poetry? What is an “experiment,” and what does it mean to experiment with forms of rendering “reality”? How can we decenter text as a way of writing the empirical, all the while working with words and transcripts, archives and stories? What kinds of collaborations can we create among different forms, interlocutors, sites, genres, practices, and materials? How do we move from our ethnographic, archival, visual, and sonic research material into a text, film, installation, or performance?
        This seminar is intended for graduate students engaging in the task of textual and non-textual representation and creation, whether they are writing papers, dissertations, preparing to do fieldwork, making performances, and other artistic practices. The seminar has three components: 1) Readings and discussions; 2) Writing workshops where participants share drafts of their writings/creations and reflect on their processes of experimentation; 3) some embodied practice. Each seminar meeting is organized around practices to revitalize our relation to our respective empirical material, engagement with theory, and creating our own texts. We will conduct collaborative experiments with form and content.

Spring 2022

STS 205: Current Issues in STS (Topic: Internet Studies)

Instructor: Gerardo Con Diaz
Monday 1:10pm-4:00pm, CRN: 61846
Introduction to major methods and problems in Internet Studies. Topics include online bias and inequality, Internet infrastructures, user cultures, online governance, and an introduction to academic publishing skills and processes.