SCSO1900: Senior Seminar in Science and Society

SCSO1900: Senior Seminar in Science and Society

SCSO1900: Senior Seminar in Science and Society

W 3:00-5:20pm / SB G01
Prof. Catherine Bliss / Office: B8 Churchill
Email: / Office Hours: Weds 1-3pm

Course Description:

This is an advanced seminar that uses a Problem Based Learning style pedagogy to explore real-world problems in STS. This semester the course will explore the ongoing controversy over race and behavior. Students will approach this problem by examining critical scholarship in areas such aslaboratory studies, feminist science and technology studies, the rhetoric and discourse of science and technology, expertise and the public understanding of science. Course is intended for Science and Society senior concentrators, but is open to others with appropriate background.

Course Requirements:


You are permitted 2excused absencesthereafter, you grade goes down one letter. This class and the learning you will be doing areentirely structured around weekly presentations and class discussion. I’m looking for thoughtful contributions that refer directly to the readings and presentations at hand. Each course will be structured around three discussion modules: 1) the week’s featured STS theory; 2) presentations of that theory with respect to your own case material; 3) application of the theory to the race and behavior controversy. Participation in all three is required.


Each week you will give a ten-minute presentation on your case (the subject of your thesis project) using the week’s featured STS theory. For example, if you study stem cell research, for week nine you may discuss the boundary politics between researchers and religious groups or focus in on the ways cord blood applications transfer across institutional divides. You will also be required to post a one-page summary of the presentation and your powerpoint on the MyCourses discussion board, Tuesdays by 5pm.

Final Paper40%

The final is a 20pp paper that applies one of the course theories to your case. You may expand upon a presentation that you enjoyed most or use a theory you are already relying on for your thesis project. A significant portion of the paper must analyze primary sources associated with your case. Discourse is the most readily accessible material to analyze, but you may use your original interview or ethnographic material to argue how the concept applies. I want to see an even treatment of the concept, how it applies to your case, and the social implications.

See MyCourses for detailed writing instructions.Chicago or ASA citation form is required. See

Required Book:

Biagioli, Mario (Ed.). 1999. The Science Studies Reader. New York: Routledge.

Required Articles:

All articles listed below are available on OCRA.

Course Schedule:

Sep 8: Introductions

Arvey, Richard D., and et al. 1994. “Mainstream Science on Intelligence.” Wall Street Journal December 13: A19.

Block, N. J. 1996. “How Heritability Misleads about Race.” The Boston Review 20:30-35.

Verkaik, Robert. 2007. “Revealed: scientist who sparked racism row has black genes.” Independent Dec 10.

Sep 15: The Race and Intelligence Controversy

Herrnstein, Richard J., and Charles A. Murray. 1994. The Bell Curve. New York: Free Press. Selections.

Jensen, Arthur R. 1969. “How Much Can We Boost IQ and Scholastic Achievement?” Harvard Educational Review 39:1-123. Selections.

Rushton, J. Philippe, and Arthur R. Jensen. 2005. “Thirty Years of Research on Race Differences in Cognitive Ability.” Psychology, Public Policy, and Law 11:235-294. Selections.

Sep 22: Critical Perspectives on the Biology of Race and Behavior

Devlin, Bernie, Stephen E. Feinberg, Daniel P. Resnick, and Kathryn Roeder (Eds.). 1997. Intelligence, Genes, and Success: Scientists Respond to The Bell Curve. New York: Springer. Selections.

Gould, Stephen Jay. 1996 [1981]. The Mismeasure of Man. New York: Norton. Selections.

Harwood, Jonathan. 1976. “The Race-Intelligence Controversy: A Sociological Approach I -- Professional Factors.” Social Studies of Science 6:369-394. Selections.

Lewontin, Richard C., Steven P. R. Rose, and Leon J. Kamin. 1984. “Introduction” in Not in Our Genes. New York: Pantheon Books. Selections.

Sep 29: Order and Assemblage

Collins, Harry M. 1992. “The Mystery of Perception and Order” and “Science as Expertise” in Changing order: replication and induction in scientific practice.Chicago, IL:University of Chicago Press. 5-28, 159-69.

Rabinow, Paul. 1996. “Anthropology of the Actual” in Anthropos Today. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. 55-67.

Shapin, Steven. 1994. A Social History of Truth. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Selections.

Oct 6: Co-production and Coordination

Jasanoff, Sheila.2006. “Ordering Knowledge, Ordering Society” in States of Knowledge: The Co-Production of Science and the Social Order. New York: Routledge. 13-45.

Galison, Peter. 1999. “Trading Zone: Coordinating Action and Belief.” in The Science Studies Reader. New York: Routledge. 172-188.

Oct 13: Situated Knowledge

Haraway, Donna. 1999. “Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective” in The Science Studies Reader. New York: Routledge. 172-188.

Haraway, Donna. 1989. “The Biopolitics of Postmodern Bodies: Determinations of Self in Immune System Discourse.” Differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies. 1:3-43.

Haraway, Donna. 1992. Primate visions: gender, race and nature in the world of modern science.New York: Routledge. 1-17.

Oct 20: Normative Structures

Merton, Robert. 1973. The Sociology of Science. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. Selections.

Mulkay, Michael. 1976. “Norms and Ideology in Science.” Social Science Information. 15: 637-656.

Oct 27: Scientific Field

Bourdieu, Pierre. 1999. “The Specificity of the Scientific Field and the Social Conditions of the Progress of Reason.” in The Science Studies Reader. New York: Routledge. 31-50.

Bourdieu, Pierre. 2004. “The State of the Question” in Science of Science and Reflexivity. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 4-31.

Nov 3: Boundary Work versus Boundary Objects

Gieryn, Thomas F. 1999. “Contesting Credibility Cartographically” in Cultural boundaries of science: credibility on the line. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 27-64.

Gieryn, Thomas F., and Anne E. Figert. 1986. “Scientists Protect their Cognitive Authority: The Status Degradation Ceremony of Sir Cyril Burt” in The Knowledge Society: The Growing Impact of Scientific Knowledge on Social Relations, Sociology of the Sciences, Yearbook, edited by G. Böhme and N. Stehr. Dordrecht: D. Reidel Publishing Company. 67-86.

Fujimura, Joan H. 1992. “Crafting Science: Standardized Packages, Boundary Objects, and ‘Translation’” in Science as Practice and Culture, edited by A. Pickering. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 168-211.

Nov 10: Actor-Network Theory

Latour, Bruno. 2005. Reassembling the social: an introduction to actor-network-theory. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press. Selections.

Callon, Michel. 1999. “Some elements of a sociology of translation: domestication of the scallops and the fishermenof St Brieuc Bay.” in The Science Studies Reader. New York: Routledge. 67-83.

Nov 17: Biopolitical Paradigm

Epstein, Steven. 2007. Inclusion: The Politics of Difference in Medical Research. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. 1-17.

Rose, Nikolas. 2007. The Politics of Life Itself: Biomedicine, Power, and Subjectivity in the Twenty-First Century. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Selections.

Hacking, Ian. 1999. “Making Up People” in The Science Studies Reader. New York: Routledge. 161-71.

Nov 24: Triple Helix

Etzkowitz, Henry. 1998. “The norms of entrepreneurial science: cognitive effects of the new university–industry linkages.”Research Policy 27:823–833.

Hackett, Edward J. 1990. “Science as a vocation in the 1990s: The changing organizational culture of academic science.” Journal of Higher Education 61:241-79.

Kleinman, Daniel Lee. 2003. Impure Cultures: University Biology and the World of Commerce. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin. Selections.

Dec 1: Review