WOST 297B: RACE, GENDER & SCIENCE
SPRING 2002
Banu Subramaniam

Tu, Th 2:30 - 3.45; Dickinson 212
Office Hours: Tu, Th: 11-12 and by appointment, Bartlett 381
Phone: 577-3164; email: banu@wost.umass.edu

I. Course Description

This course is designed to explore the intersections of gender, race, sexuality, science, and technology. We will explore the cultural studies of science including the historical, philosophical, sociological, anthropological and literary studies of science. What is science? How does our culture evaluate "good" and "bad" science, "basic" research and "useful" research? Who determines these? Who gets to practice science? How does the institution of science function? How is science related to the larger political, cultural and social contexts? We will examine how science has grown to be the center of our cultural visions and imaginations and what that means for our futures.

II. Requirements

Class Participation: The quality of the course, and the value of the experience for all of us, depends upon careful preparation for class by each one of us. It is imperative that you attend all classes, complete the reading assignments before class, and be prepared to contribute to the class discussion. Your grade will be based on the quality (not to be confused with quantity) of your participation in class throughout the quarter. (Twenty percent of your grade). Attendance is required. More than three unexcused absences will result in a reduction of at least one letter grade.

Leading a Class discussion: Each student will lead the class discussion once during the quarter. During this session, the student will present additional materials than those assigned in the schedule of readings. Students will prepare discussion questions and additional readings in consultation with the instructor. (Ten percent of your grade)

Written Requirements: There will be four written assignments. Content and form of the essays will be discussed in class.

1. an essay (4-5 pages) due in class Thursday, February 21 (10%)
2. an essay (4-5 pages) due in class Tuesday, March 14 (10%)
3. an essay (10 pages) due in class Tuesday, April 16 (20%)
4. a critical evaluation (2 pages) of a student paper due Tuesday, April 23 (10%)
Final Exam: There will be a take home final. (20% of your final grade).

III. TEXTS

Available at Food for Thought Books, E. Pleasant Street, Amherst

Books and Reader are On Reserve in the Library and the Women's Studies Office, (Bartlett 208).

Students are also required to read the Science Times of the New York Times, published as a section of the paper every Tuesday. You can access this through the NYT website (www.nytimes.com) - free only on the day of publication or read it at the UMass or Amherst public library. We will discuss it every Thursday during class.

IV. SCHEDULE OF READINGS

WEEK 1: INTRODUCTION

January 29 - Introduction to the course

January 31 - Background

WEEK 2: DEFINITIONS

February 5 - Sex, Gender, Sexuality

Feb 7 - Video

WEEK 3: DEFINITIONS

February 7- Racial Formations

Feb 11-Race

WEEK 4: CONSTRUCTING DIFFERENCE

February 12 - Anatomies

February 14- Anatomies (contd.)

WEEK 5: BIOLOGICAL DETERMINISM

February 19 - Presidents Day (Monday Schedule)

Paper #1 Due Feb 21

February 21 - Biological Determinism

WEEK 6: THE SOCIAL PRACTICES OF SCIENCE

February 26: Demographics: Who Does Science?

February 28 - Science as a Social Institution

WEEK 7: INTRODUCTION TO GENES AND GENETICS

March 5 - Mendelian Genetics

March 7 - Quantitative traits

WEEK 8: SPRING BREAK

WEEK 9: CASE STUDY: SOCIOBIOLOGY

March 12 -Sociobiology

Paper #2 Due March 14

March 14 - Science and knowledge

WEEK 10: SCIENCE FICTION

March 26 - Feminist Science Fiction

March 28 - Girl Toys

WEEK 10: OBJECTIVITY AND TRUTH CLAIMS

April 2 -

April 4 -

WEEK 11: NATURE AND THE NATURAL

April 9 - Nature

April 11 - Science and the Environment

WEEK 12: CASE STUDY - CLONING

Paper#3 Due April 16

April 16 - Clones & Clones

April 18 - Consequences

We will explore two websites. Please carefully read and analyze the websites and be ready to discuss them in class: Dream Technologies International, Cones R Us: www.d-b.net/dti/ Dolly's Cloning Emporium: w3.nai.net/~tdiann/dolly.htm

Week 13: CONSTRUCTING IDENTITIES

Tuesday, April 23: Sexualities

Thursday, April 25: Technological Tinkering

Week 14: INTERROGATING SCINECE

Tuesday, April 30: What is Science?

Thursday, May 2: Movie

Week15: THE FUTURE

Tuesday, May 7: Alternate Sciences

Thursday, May 9: Democratic Science

May 14: Conclusion and Summary