Associate Professor Laura Perini, program coordinator
Steering Committee: Davis, McKirahan, Penprase, Perini, Worthington
Anne Tessier, academic coordinator
Science, technology and society (STS) is an interdisciplinary field that studies the conditions under which the production, distribution and utilization of scientific knowledge and technological systems occur and traces the consequences of these activities upon different groups of people. STS builds on the history and philosophy of science and technology, sociology and anthropology, policy studies, and cultural and literary studies, all of which shape the modes of analysis deployed in the field. The intercollegiate program brings together courses taught in a variety of departments, and is divided into three principal areas: history of science and technology, philosophy of science and technology, and social science approaches to technology and science. Courses explore the effects of science and technology on society and culture, and vice versa. General topics include the politics of socio-technical systems; science policy in national and international contexts; the social and environmental risks vs. benefits of technological and scientific advancement. More specifically, courses cover topics such as the political economy of pollution, the culture of the scientific laboratory, theories of race and genetic engineering, social networking and the Internet, the body and politics of health.
Students majoring in STS are well prepared to pursue graduate study in related fields and also have a solid foundation for work as science journalists, policy researchers and advisors, science educators, design and business consultants, and advocates of change around issues such as gender and science, renewable energy and the social effects of the information revolution. In addition, STS is an excellent academic background for students intending to pursue careers in medicine, law, business and education.
STS may be joined with public policy analysis (PPA) in the STS/PPA Major. There is also an STS/gender & women’s studies major (see the Gender and Women’s Studies Program section of this catalog).
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