Current Graduate Courses

STS Graduate Courses 2019-20

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

Fall 2019


STS 200: Theories and Methods in Science and Technology Studies
Instructor: Colin Milburn
W 9:00am-11:50am, SSH 1246, CRN: 61175
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. 


CRI 200C: Ghosts of the Machine
Instructor: Kriss Ravetto-Biagioli
M 1:10-4:00, Art Annex 112

This course traces the relationship of technological inventions such as the camera, the gramophone, and the Turing machine to human perception. It explores how emerging media disrupt sense perceptions, creating doubles, forms of re-animation of the dead, memories, or historical events, and specters and ghosts in the machine. We will analyze the impact of the ghostly on the social imaginary and modes of communication. Course assignments require students to analyze audiovisual media and make critical arguments about them. Readings from Plato, Freud, Mettrie, Kittler, Derrida, Irani, Canales, and Chun.


ANT 210: Engineered Worlds 3: Terraformations
Instructor: Tim Choy
T 11:00am-2:00pm, SSH 1246, CRN: 63003
This course mobilizes, develops, and experiments with “terraformations” as a critical concept. Terraforming was first proposed as a speculative concept in science fiction that imagined the engineering of environments on other worlds. The term then moved into scientific discussions of the possibilities of planetary colonization, naming the process whereby a hostile environment could be altered in order to become suitable explicitly for human life. Today, in response to global warming, terraforming is increasingly invoked in common parlance to name a planetary-scaled engineering fix to the problem of massive environmental violence. In this course, we seek to re-form terraformations as a critical term, one which points beyond the geo- engineering imaginary to the always situated and always political processes of geosocial formation in any world- scaping. We will read and work together to consider how the most powerful terraforming enterprises in human history have been on planet earth rather than off-planet, enterprises tied to the cumulative force of capitalism and colonialism, linking resource extraction to nuclear nationalism to industrial agriculture to urbanization. How, we will ask together, have terraforming practices built, rather than ameliorated, hostile worlds?


Winter 2020


STS 205: Algorithmic Reading
Instructor: Emily Merchant
Th 9:00am-12:00pm, SSH 1246
This course will introduce students to computational textual analysis in the R statistical programming language. Using a text or corpus of your choice, we will go through all of the stages of a digital project, from data cleaning, through exploratory analysis (word frequencies, bigrams, word correlations, named entity recognition) and modeling (topic modeling, word embeddings, sentiment analysis), to online presentation. As we do so, we will read and discuss recent critical studies in the digital humanities and computational social sciences to help you situate your work in broader conversations. This course is appropriate for students at all levels, including those who are brand new to computational textual analysis, those who have previously completed “Texts, Maps, Networks, and Numbers,” and those who have other relevant experience.



Spring 2019


CRI 200A:  Media and (New) Materialism
Instructor: Tim Lenoir
Th. 1:10pm-4:00pm, SSH 1246

The course will be a deep dive into contemporary media theories emphasizing computational and algorithmic media, media materiality, and the construction of the posthuman situation. Co-evolving with economic globalization and the financialization of more and more human activities, media in increasingly myriad forms saturate our lives. Digital media are becoming all-pervasive and indeed invasive. In numerous areas of our daily activities, we are witnessing a drive toward a fusion of digital and physical reality; a new playing field of ubiquitous computing in which wearable computers, independent computational agent-artifacts, and material objects are all part of the landscape. From social media to data-mining to new sensor technologies, twenty-first century media work largely outside the realm of perceptual consciousness, yet at the same time inflect our every sensation. We live in an environment where machines talk to machines before talking to us. The sensibilities inherent in such regimes of software cultures are indeed beyond the normal accounted for 5 senses that media theory has traditionally recognized; our new media call into play elements of sensibility that greatly affect human selfhood without in any way belonging to the human. We will examine the work of contemporary media theorists who draw on the speculative empiricism of philosopher Alfred North Whitehead, process philosophy, and the new materialism in developing concepts for understanding and addressing the posthuman condition in new media culture. The course will be based on readings from Alfred North Whitehead, William James, Henri Bergson, Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, Gilbert Simondon, Brian Massumi, Bruno Latour, Isabelle Stengers, Jussi Parikka, Mark Hansen, Steven Shaviro, Luciana Parisi, Rosi Braidotti, and Wendy Chun.