Office Hours: M, W: 2-3 and by appointment, Bartlett 229
Phone: 577-3164; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
At the beginning of the twenty-first century, science is a central and critical institution. It is
the idiom/metaphor of our times. What is science? Who defines it? Who shapes it? 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? Is there a scientific method?
If so, what is it and what makes it distinct? What impact has science had historically and continue to
have in the present, on culture, society, politics and economics? This course is designed to explore the
intersections of gender, race, class, sexuality, science, and technology. We will explore the cultural
studies of science including the historical, philosophical, sociological, anthropological, and literary
studies of science. 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.
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. (20% of your grade). Attendance is required. More than three unexcused absences
can result in a reduction of at least one letter grade. If you are absent for a class, you are required
to turn in a 2 page reflection paper based on the readings assigned for that day. The paper should
summarize the readings demonstrating you have read them; and reflect on the readings demonstrating that
you have understood them and their implications. The paper is due the next class.
Written Requirements: There will be four written assignments. Content and form of the essays will
be discussed in class.
The next series of essay will be based on a case study you will work on during the semester:
There will also be in-class written assignments in every class. While these will not be graded, they will
contribute towards the class participation grade.
The last section of the course is organized around case studies. During the first two weeks of class,
each student will pick a case study they will explore during the semester. You will work in groups of
2-3. The topics will centrally engage with the sciences and their scientific, political, cultural,
economic ramifications. Students will generate a literature review on the topic, make a case for or
against the topic, and pick the readings for class discussion on the day of their oral presentation.
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
WEEK 1: INTRODUCTION
Wednesday, January 29 - Introduction to the course
WEEK 2: BACKGROUND
Monday, February 3 - Why should we care?
Wednesday, Feb 5 - Who Gets to Do Science?
WEEK 3: DOING RESEARCH
Monday, February 10- Research
Wednesday, Feb 12 - Case of Sara Baartman
WEEK 4: OBJECTIVITY & METHOD: VALUE NEUTRAL?
Tuesday, February 18 - (Monday Schedule for Presidents Day)
Wednesday, February 19 - Politics of Knowledge
WEEK 5: SCIENCE'S APPLICATIONS AND APPROPRIATIONS
February 24 - Science's Technologies and Applications
February 26 - Early Non-Western Scientific Traditions
WEEK 6: SCIENCE CONSTRUCTS DIFFERENCE: RACE
March 3: Definitions
Paper #1 due Wednesday, March 5: Reflect on the content of the class to this point. Choose
2-3 points that stand out for you to help focus your responses and/or critique and write a critical
analysis - take risks, and incorporate your ideas about the subjects, but remember to include the content
from the class readings. Discuss insights gained or limitations in the analysis. I want to know that you
have read, understood, and analyzed the class material. (5 pages)
March 5 - Definitions (contd.)
**Analytic Paper 1 Due Today**
WEEK 7: SCIENCE CONSTRUCTS DIFFERENCE: SEXUALITY
March 10- Intersexuality
March 17- March 21 - SPRING BREAK
WEEK 8: SCIENCE CONSTRUCTS DIFFERENCE: SEX/GENDER
March 24-Feminist Science Fiction
March 26- Sex Differences
WEEK 9: INTRODUCTION TO GENES AND GENETICS
March 31- Mendelian Genetics
April 2 - Quantitative Genetics
WEEK 10: GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS
April 7 - Video - Harvest of Fear (Part 1)
April 9 - Video - Harvest of Fear (Part 2)
Paper #2 due, in class, Wednesday, April 9 - During the last class, you will exchange your
paper with another student. Critically analyze and evaluate the paper. Has s/he understood the material?
If yes, why? If not, why not? What have they excluded? What material have they not considered? Have they
made a persuasive case? How could the student have further developed the paper? What grade would you give
the paper? (2 page evaluation) Evaluation Due in Class, Monday, April 14.
WEEK 11: CASE STUDIES
April 14 - Case Study - Genetically Modified Organisms
Evaluation (and attached Paper #2) Due in Class Today
April 16 - Case Study #1
WEEK 12: CASE STUDIES (contd.)
April 21 - Patriots Day (Holiday)
April 23 - Case Study #2
WEEK 13: CASE STUDIES (contd.)
April 28 - Case Study #3
April 30 - Case Study #4
WEEK 14: CASE STUDIES (contd.)
May 5 - Video (Secrets of the Psychics)
May 7 - Case Study #5
WEEK 15: CASE STUDIES (contd.)
May 12- Case Study #6
May 14 - Conclusion and Wrap-Up
**Final Paper due Monday, May 19 by 5 pm in my mailbox in Bartlett 208**