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Cluster Courses in Science Studies, 2015-16

FALL 2015

HISTORY 405-0 - 24 (15844) Seminar in Historical Analysis: BODY/EMBODIMENT & MATERIALITY
J Michelle Molina - Harris Hall L40 - F 11:00AM - 2:00PM
This seminar explores theoretical approaches to the problems of embodiment/materiality/affect. One aim of the course is to examine various methodological approaches to embodiment, materiality and affect, making use of sociology and philosophy (Pierre Bourdieu, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Spinoza, Massumi). The second and closely related aim is to situate bodies in time and place, that is, in history. Here we look to the particular circumstances that shaped the manner in which historical actors experienced their bodies in the Christian west (Peter Brown, Caroline Bynum, Mary Carruthers, Michel de Certeau, Michel Foucault). Ultimately, we will be examining theoretical tools while we put them to work. The goal: how to use these thinkers to write more dynamic, creative, interesting scholarship?

ISEN 410-0 - 20 (15912) Topics in Contemporary Energy and Climate Change
Yarrow Larue Axford -Frances Searle Building 3220- TTh 11:00AM - 12:20PM
The increasing worldwide demand for energy presents a number of complex interdisciplinary challenges, from resource depletion to climate change. This class will challenge students to answer the question, How shall we power the world in the 21st century? We will examine the history and geography of energy use; links between energy and climate change; challenge of sustainability; and the fundamental science of climate change.

SOCIOL 476-0 - 20 (11674) Topics in Sociological Analysis: Sociology of Sexuality
Hector G Carrillo - Parkes Hall 222 - M 1:00PM - 3:50PM
This graduate seminar asks the following questions: What do we learn about society by studying sexuality? What do we learn about sexuality by studying society? We will focus on sociological approaches to studying sexuality and link sexuality studies to broader sociological questions about culture, social interaction, social inequality, globalization, social movements, science, health, and public policy. We will explore various theoretical and methodological approaches that have been used in sociological studies of sexuality--including those that guide sexuality-related analyses of meanings and identities, practices and behaviors, politics, power, relationships, population movement, collective identities and social movements, and morality and social control.


POLI SCI 469-20 (24560) Special Topics in Knowledge and Politics: How to do Things with Political Theory
Jacqueline Stevens - Scott Hall 201, Ripton Room - T 3:00PM - 5:50PM
Material increases in the capacity to store and distribute information in the last 25 years create new possibilities and challenges for scholarly research. These changes raise several questions specific to political theorists that this course will explore.

1) How do we anticipate these changes in forms of knowledge will affect our geo-politicaleconomic terrains, spaces, places, and relations and how might political theorists best respond to these? What do information technology changes mean for the interdependence of different
regimes? What does the globalization of the university mean for an individual political theorist?

2) What substantive knowledge should political theorists endeavor to master? Is it sufficient to read only those texts and conversations in political or critical theory? Should the new accessibility of information entail an increased acquisition of this information by an individual scholar? How do we discover and negotiate limits of mindfulness and reflection in responding to these changes?

3) What new skills and techniques consistent with our current understandings of political theory might be expected of new generations of scholars? For instance, should political theorists learn basic html coding to develop digital platforms for holding workshops, conferences, or classes?

4) Should political theorists ignore, resist, or fight the use of new information technologies elsewhere? If so, what form would this (non)engagement take? What might be the uses and disadvantages of different (non)responses? The readings for this course will emphasize reflections on other epochs in which intellectuals were engaged with similar or related questions on the relation between knowledge media and the thinkers' political engagements.

For the first five weeks we will read selected texts to orient us. These will include, in conversation with assigned texts by Jacques Derrida: Plato (Gorgias, Protagoras, Republic,
Phaedrus); Eric Havelock (Mimesis); Selections from Edward Coke (on assembling the judicial opinions that instantiated common law as case law); Miguel de Cervantes, The Amazing Gentleman Don Quixote of Hidalgo, through Book I, chapter 3 (Wordsworth Classics has a very good and inexpensive translation--you are invited to read more!); G.W.F. Hegel (selections from The Phenomenology of Spirit and The Philosophy of Right); Friedrich Nietzsche; and Sigmund Freud ("Mystic Writing Pad," and "Moses and Monotheism"). For each week we will read older texts in conversation with books and chapters by Derrida and possibly other 20th and 21st century authors.

In week four we will choose as a class the texts from contemporary political theory that we think will be most helpful for our emerging inquiries and conversations and read those for the last half of the course.


ART-HIST 440-0-1 (36717)- Early Modern Art, Science, Collecting: In the Realm of the Senses
Claudia Swan -University Library 3622- Th 2:00-4:50PM
Encyclopedic or microcosmic early modern collections also known as Wunderkammers or Cabinets of Curiosities brought together all manner of artifact and natural object, and offered an arena for aesthetic contemplation and natural historical or scientific investigation alike. A space of knowledge-production and a highly socialized domain as well, the early modern collection responded to and activated the senses; some called the sorts of objects assembled in Wunderkammers—rhinoceros horns, ivory lathework carving, resins and gems, instruments, feather work, paintings and carved coconuts and shells set in elaborate filigree—“sensualities.” This seminar examines early modern collections in Spain and Portugal, at Hapsburg and Medici courts, and in Dutch and Flemish cities as intersections of practices historiographically segregated as art history and history of science. Intended as both an introduction to the ways in which the practices of art and science depended on and informed one another in the early modern period in Europe, this seminar will also offer students the opportunity to engage with and make interventions in an ongoing scholarly discussion about art, science, wonder, and the social order of objects in early modern Europe. Subthemes include the epistemological underpinnings of descriptive and pictorial efforts; the respective roles of art and science in global exploration; art and nature; artisanal and tacit knowledge; gardens, laboratories, and related sites of scientific and artistic practice.

SOCIOL 476-22 (34460)- The Politics of Knowledge: A Sociological Introduction to Science & Technology Studies
Steven Epstein- Allison Residential Comm 1021- Mo 10:00AM- 12:50PM
This course is motivated by the assumption that questions of knowledge and technology have become central to the political and cultural organization of modern societies. The fundamental goal of the course is to develop tools to understand both the social organization of science and the technoscientific dimensions of social life. Although much of the actual course content concerns science and technology, the theoretical and analytical frameworks developed in this course are intended to apply to any domain involving knowledge, expertise, or technical tools.

We will ask: What have been the dominant approaches to the sociological study of science and technology? How do these various approaches help us understand such topics as the organization of intellectual work, the politics of knowledge production, the design and dissemination of technologies, the standardization of knowledge products, the character of “knowledge societies,” the resolution of conflicts around knowledge and technology, the relations between laypeople and experts, the tensions between expertise and democracy, the measurement and management of technological risk, the technological mediation of identity formation, and the nature of governance in technologically sophisticated societies? Finally, in which ways are present-day studies of science and technology consistent with, and in which ways are they in tension with, other approaches to understanding knowledge, culture, politics, etc., that are employed within sociology today? The course focuses largely (but not completely) on the United States, though we will try whenever possible to place developments in a global context. While much of the scholarship we will consider is broadly sociological, some of it is drawn from other fields. Students from other disciplines are welcome.

German 441-20 (31150)/ Philosophy 414- 20 (31586)/ History 405-22 (33404)/ CLS 481- 20 (31002)- Studies in Communication and Culture
Peter Fenves and Hans-Jörg Rheinberger - University Hall 122, Tu 5:00PM - 7:50PM
On Historical Epistemology
If the nineteenth century witnessed the rise of positivism, the twentieth century started with a crisis of positivistic thought without a clear response, or even alternative, to the nineteenth-century legacy. It was only slowly, over the course of a century, that a philosophy of science evolved in which epistemology, having been historicized in some manner, began to re-connect the separated contents of justification and discovery. The organizing thread for this class will be the contribution that different streams of twentieth-century philosophy of science made to this overall process. The class proceeds from the assumption that historicizing epistemology captures the essence of what the past century has added to the philosophy of science.

The class will discuss an array of French-, German-, and English-speaking traditions in which historical thinking is brought into philosophy of science. Readings will include Gaston Bachelard, Georges Canguilhem, Michel Foucault and Jacques Derrida (his reading of Husserl) on the French-speaking part Ernst Cassirer, Edmund Husserl (especially his late "Crisis" work), and Martin Heidegger on the German-speaking part and the work of the Polish immunologist and philosopher Ludwik Fleck, Thomas Kuhn, Stephen Toulmin, and Ian Hacking on the English-speaking part. Recent developments in history and philosophy of science will also come under discussion throughout the class.
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