Courses for Fall 2016
History of Science 180: Freshman Honors Seminar: History of Science, Technology and Medicine
Topic: The 20thC Gene: From Eugenics to Epigenetics
3 cr.; H (Humanities), E (Elementary); 2:30-3:45PM MW, 202 Bradley Memorial; Prerequisites: Open to freshmen only or consent of instructor.
Instructor: Nicole Nelson
The DNA double helix structure is perhaps the most well-known discovery of twentieth century biological research. How did genetics come to occupy such a prominent place in both scientific and popular thinking? What are the consequences of the attention scientists, policy makers, and ordinary people devote to genes? This course will address these questions by tracing out the historical arc of genetic research over the course of the twentieth century, from the eugenics movement at its beginning to the global initiative to sequence the human genome at its close. We will examine the intertwined histories of biometrics, classical genetics, medical genetics, and eugenics; focusing in particular on eugenics in the United States and Wisconsin. We will see how genetics begins to move away from medicine at mid-century with the rise of molecular biology, only to re-enter mainstream medicine at the century’s conclusion. The final section of the course focuses on the social and ethical implications of contemporary genetics, such as research on epigenetic inheritance. The course is discussion based, with occasional in-class lectures that provide additional background on topics not covered by the course readings. Assignments for this course include oral presentations and essays, with a focus on developing revision skills.
History of Science 201: The Origins of Scientific Thought
(meets with ILS 201)
3 cr.; H (Humanities), E (Elementary); 12:05 MW, 1310 Sterling, 2 lectures and 1 discussion section per week. See also the parallel course, Integrated Liberal Studies 201, which bestows natural science credit at the introductory level. Prerequisites: None; open to freshmen.
Instructor: Florence Hsia
What does science have to do with religion? What does it mean to have expertise about the natural world? What difference do politics and funding sources make to scientific investigation? Learn how to think critically and historically about science in this course by exploring such fundamental questions across two millennia. We begin with ancient mythology and philosophy, then follow the movement of the Greek classical tradition into medieval Islam and Christendom, and finally turn to the ‘revolution’ in science of the 16th and 17th centuries with Copernicus, Galileo, Descartes, and Newton. These historical investigations provide vital insights into our ideas of the ‘natural’, scientific observation, and experiment, as well as into our expectations of scientific knowledge and the scientific enterprise.
This course gives Humanities credits. If you wish to take a similar course for Natural Sciences credits, consider Integrated Liberal Studies 201.
History of Science 206: History of Astronomy and Cosmology (crosslisted with Astronomy)
3 cr.; H (Humanities), I (Intermediate);
1:20 - 2:10 pm MWF, 1217 Humanities Bldg. Counts for Liberal Arts and Science credit in L&S. Prerequisites: sophomore standing.
Instructor: Jordan Marche
Studies of the heavens have posed many of the most alluring and challenging questions asked since humankind first began to look upwards. Our dependence upon celestial phenomena to regulate the calendar and agriculture led to the earliest inquiries concerning the sky above us. Attempts to understand and explain the nature of astronomical events have brought us to fundamentally new concepts about the universe and our place within it. The history of astronomy is a record of these activities, which stretches from the pre-literate cultures who constructed Stonehenge to the wonders of contemporary astronomy - a Big-Bang origin of the universe, black holes, and the possibility of extraterrestrial life.
History of Science 212: Bodies, Diseases, and Healers
(crosslisted with Med Hist)
3 cr.; H (Humanities), E (Elementary); 9:55 MW, 19 Ingraham, 2 lectures and 1 discussion section per week; Prerequisites: Open to freshmen.
Instructor: Thomas Broman
General Description: This course presents an introductory survey of the history of medicine from Antiquity to the 20th Century, and is aimed primarily at students interested in careers in the health professions. It explores the understanding of health and illness in Western culture, showing why particular ideas of illness came into dominance at different moments in history. Most importantly, by providing the “long perspective” on the history of medicine, the course challenges some widely held assumptions about how the advancement of science has contributed to modern medicine.
The historical survey is divided into four units, each of which is based in a different view of the body. The first unit, called “The Humoral Body” explains the exceptionally flexible ideas of illness and its causes that were first developed in the ancient world and persisted for many centuries until well past 1700. Some of the ideas first developed in humoral medicine, such as the intimate interactions between the body and its environment, are still with us today. The second unit, called “The Anatomical-Morphological Body,” examines the body as a collection of discrete parts which perform particular functions in the body’s overall economy. This anatomical view of the body also developed in the ancient world, although anatomically based approaches to the study of illness really only became influential in the 1700s and 1800s. The third unit, “The Infected Body,” looks at how illness first came to be seen not merely as something affecting individuals, but also as something having important consequences for society as a whole. This thinking first emerged in the wake of the Black Death in 14th-century Europe, and it was important in the development of the Germ Theory of Disease in the latter part of the 19th century. Finally, the fourth unit of the course will look at “The body normalized and measured,” an appropriate label for medicine in the 20th century, when physicians developed the idea that seemingly no one’s health could be maintained without incessant medical attention and supervision. Needless to say, this is the view of health and illness that persists in our own time. In this unit we also consider how health has become something that can be purchased like any other consumer product.
Course Requirements: Aside from attendance in discussion sections, the basic requirement for the course consists of a mixture of three take-home essays ranging from three to five pages in length, which are based in the readings and designed to illustrate the major issues in each unit. Discussion sections may also feature some shorter and more informal writing assignments.
Texts: Xeroxed course reader.
History of Science 222: Technology and Social Change in History
3 cr.; H (Humanities), I (Intermediate); 11:00 MW; 22 Ingraham, 2 lectures and 1 discussion section per week. Prerequisites: Open to freshmen.
Instructor: Eric Schatzberg
Why has technology become such a powerful idea at the beginning of the 21st century? Why do people invest so many hopes and fears in this strange concept? Why do inventions seem like an unstoppable force, when they are human creations? Why are some people thrilled by the latest digital devices yet repelled by genetically modified foods?
This course attempts to demystify technology, using historical examples to cut through the common misperceptions that surround this concept. The course focuses on episodes from the past that illuminate the nature of technology as well as the relationship between technology and other human endeavors. There are three major parts to the course. The first part focuses on the factors that shape technological change. The second part examines the social effects of technology in relation to warfare, sex and gender, and work. The third part deals with ethical issues, using the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster as one case study.
History of Science 286: Honors Seminar
Topic: Forging a Global Vision of Modernity: The World Health Organization, the Green Revolution, and the Economics of Development
3 cr.; H (Humanities), E (Elementary); 8:00-9:15 MW; 2175 Grainger. Prerequisites: Honors only; open to freshmen.
Instructor: Thomas Broman
At the end of the Second World War in 1945, the United States and its allies had an unprecedented opportunity to remake the world according to their own vision of history. The recently concluded war had stoked powerful movements for independence all over the world - in South Asia, the Middle East, and Africa - and Western intellectuals believed that independence could only succeed where the ground have been prepared to lift those former colonies into the modern world. Dubbed “Modernization Theory” by its proponents in the 1950s, these theorists argued for a range of policies that would transform “traditional” colonial societies into modern ones like those found in the West.
We will study these ideas by means of three different, high-profile projects: 1) the Green Revolution, which brought new high-yielding crop varieties and capital-intensive farming techniques to India, the Philippines, Mexico, and other countries; 2) the World Health Organization, which was created in 1948 to bring the benefits of modern Western medicine to the Third World (as it was called at the time) and improve the infrastructure for public health; and 3) the various proposals made by American economists and other social scientists in the late 1940s and 1950s to create a model for modernizing and promoting economic growth in newly independent, “underdeveloped” countries in Africa and Asia.
Through the semester our emphasis will be on reading primary documents from the 1940s and 1950s to get a sense of why the people who were most involved with the Green Revolution, the WHO, and the OECD believed they could achieve the goals desired of them. The aim will be to understand the motivations and the assumptions that informed these efforts, which will put us in a position to appreciate their historical consequences, both for better and for worse.
Requirements: Two 1000-word response papers, plus two take-home essays of four to five pages in length.
History of Science 305: Development-Economic Thought
(crosslisted with Econ)
3 cr.; S (Social Science), I (Intermediate); 2:30-3:45 TR; 6203 Social Sciences. Prerequisites: Any 2 intro econ courses. Can be Econ 101 & 102, or Econ 111, or AAE 215 & Econ 102.
Instructor: James Walker
We will trace the development of economic thought from Aristotle through Marx. This includes writings by (translations of) Aristotle, Aquinas, Mun, Locke, Cantillion, Turgot, Hume, Quesnay, Smith, Malthus, Ricardo, Say, John Stuart Mill, Karl Marx, Leon Walras and Stanley Jevons. Among the readings, we will give particular attention to Smith, Ricardo, Mill, Marx and Jevon. We will focus on the conceptual foundations of economics, such as the theories of value, distribution, and economic growth, as well as the ethical dimensions of economics, particularly the pursuit of wealth. An objective of the course is to understand the texts within the life and times and especially the conceptual perspective of the authors. I will attempt to place the writings of the classical economies within the larger intellectual history of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. While we cannot “unlearn” what we know today, the best method to appreciate the development of economic thought is to read as a contemporary.
History of Science 350: Special Topics
Topic: Things not Words: Using Material Culture
3 cr.; H (Humanities), D (Intermediate or Advanced); 1-2:15 TR; B231 Van Vleck. Prerequisites: Sophomore Honors or Junior standing.
Instructor: Catherine Jackson
Science is what happens when ideas meet things. When what we’d like to be true collides with nature. This course shows you how that works. (course poster)
Based around UW-Madison’s remarkable history, collections and architecture, this practically oriented course will give you hands-on experience of how material culture changes our understanding of science, its history, its relationship to the arts and humanities, and its place in wider society. It will also introduce you to current research in this area - right here in Madison.
The class will involve regular field trips to collections in local/campus museums, including visits to the Zoology Museum, Special Collections, and to see the Chemistry Department’s resident glassblower at work.
This interdisciplinary course is suitable for undergraduate students in history of science, history and the sciences, as well as for those in anthropology, art history, and architecture. The course is also open to graduate students. Any student with an interest in visual and material culture or museum studies should consider taking this course. Interested students should contact me directly to discuss their particular circumstances.
History of Science 504: Society and Health Care in American History (crosslisted with Med Hist and History)
3 cr.; B (Biological Science), I (Intermediate); 11:00-12:15 MW, Bardeen 341; Prerequisites: junior standing AND consent of instructor
This course is designed to introduce students to the history of health care in America from the early republic to the present. In this class we will analyze the motivations and actions of individuals engaged in health care, as they contain infectious disease outbreaks, make a profit, deliver children, try to understand suffering, trauma, and death, pioneer new healing techniques, promote social equity and access to care, decide which bodily states are healthy and which are pathological, and, in general, try to promote human flourishing, either just their own or other people’s. As such, the sweep of the story of American health care is not just that of the development of new, life-saving treatments for disease, but is also a deeper inquiry into the way medicine interacted with culture, politics and society in America. (course syllabus)
History of Science 514: History of Geologic Thought
(cross listed with Geoscience)
3 cr.; H (Humanities), I (Intermediate); 1-2:15 TR, 140 Weeks Hall; Prerequisites: Senior standing, Geosci 100 or 101 & 204 or consent of instructor
Instructor: Basil Tikoff
Major concepts from earliest to modern times.
History of Science 553: International Health and Global Society (cross listed with Med Hist and Population Health)
3 cr.; I (Intermediate), Z (Humanities or Social Science); Lecture 1:00-2:15 TR, 1520 Microbial Sciences Building; 2 lectures and 1 discussion section per week. Prerequisites: junior or senior standing.
Instructor: Richard Keller
Intense concern over the burgeoning of emerging infectious diseases-along with the renewed vigor of known epidemics-has heightened medical, media, and popular attention to the international dimensions of health in a globalizing society. Yet historians have long recognized the “microbial unification of the world” as a phenomenon that dates at least to the Black Death of the fourteenth century. Drawing on a wide range of historical and anthropological materials and methods, this course explores the history of public health and medicine as international phenomena, concentrating chiefly on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Specific topics include the connections between global pandemics such as cholera and plague to European colonial expansion; the rise of international aid organizations; historical and contemporary anxieties about global migration and the spread of disease; and the international dimensions of a global medical marketplace. Particular themes include the connection between culture and medical ideas and practices; and the tensions of practicing medicine in multi-cultural settings.
Graduate students registered in 553 must register concurrently in MHB 753.
History of Science 561: Greek and Roman Medicine and Pharmacy (crosslisted with S&A Pharmacy, History, Med Hist, and Classics)
3 cr.; H (Humanities), D (Intermediate or Advanced); 2:30-3:45 TR, 2002 Rennebohm. Prerequisites: Junior or Senior standing or consent of instructor.
Instructor: John Scarborough
Greek and Roman medicine and drug lore from the Pre Socratics to Oribasius (c. 600 B.C. - A.D. 350), including the backgrounds of ancient Egyptian and Mesopotamian medicine.
History of Science 681, 682: Senior Honors Thesis
Open to honors majors in hist sci, cons inst required.
History of Science 691, 692: Senior Thesis
Open to hist sci majors, cons inst required.
History of Science 698; Directed Study
Jr st. Graded on a Cr/N basis; requires cons inst.
History of Science 699; Directed Study
Jr st. Graded on a lettered basis; requires cons inst.
History of Science 720: Proseminar: Historiography and Methods
3 cr.; 1-3:30 THUR; 332 Bradley Memorial. Prerequisites: Graduate standing.
Instructor: Nicole Nelson
This course provides an introduction to the scholarly field that is the history of science. It gives an overview of some of the major themes and issues that occupy the field, and it offers an opportunity to investigate ways in which influential scholars in the field have gone about their work. We will critically examine a variety of dominant themes, issues, and approaches in the field with reference to epistemological, methodological, and general historiographical questions concerning science as a subject of historical inquiry. In the first half of the course, we will read texts that were formative in the development of the history of science (such as Kuhn’s widely read book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions), as well as texts that are representative of different approaches that are paradigmatic in the field (such as a focus on material agency and scientific practice). The second half of the course is comprised of clusters of readings that represent different subfields or areas of research interest within the history of science, and each of these weeks will be co led by a guest instructor from the department who works in that area. This section of the course has a dual purpose: to introduce students to faculty members from the department and their research strengths, and to offer a sample of the variety of topics and issues that are currently animating scholarship in the field. The interests of the students enrolled in the class will direct the readings assigned in the final weeks of the course.
History of Science 907: Seminar in History of Technology
Topic: Corporate Crimes of Science and Technology
3 cr.; 3:30-6:00 Mon, 332 Bradley Memorial; Prerequisites: graduate standing
Instructor: Eric Schatzberg
From denying that cigarettes cause lung cancer to claiming that global warming is a myth, corporations routinely ignore scientific evidence and violate ethical principles. In this graduate reading and research seminar, we will seek a deeper understanding of why corporations violate norms of science and technology. Scholars have documented many of cases of corporation that ignore scientific evidence, harm customers, injure workers, and poison ecosystems, but their studies are often limited to outraged exposes about companies that put profit above people. Such explanations are not entirely convincing, as many corporations have been deeply harmed by their misbehavior.
In this seminar, we will go beyond simple explanations to examine some of the following questions. Are corporate crimes the result of market structures, or does such misbehavior stem from the structure of large organizations in general? Where does ethical responsibility lie: with individuals or the organization? What is the role of technical experts in exposing or perpetrating corporate crimes? How does science communication, especially by journalists, shape these stories? Do current theories about scientific knowledge, such as the sociology of scientific knowledge and actor-network theory, shed light on denial of scientific evidence? Or do these theories actually justify such denial as one form of “situated knowledge,” in effect eliminating objective truth as a rhetorical resource?
Likely readings include Rosner and Markowitz, Deceit and Denial, Oreskes and Conway, Merchants of Doubt, McCulloch and Tweedale, Defending the Indefensible, Allan Brandt, The Cigarette Industry. Dianne Vaughan, The Challenger Launch Decision, will provide a comparison with a government agency (NASA). We will also read some primary sources, including classics like Nader, Unsafe at any Speed, as well as reports about recent controversies, such as concussions in football and the Volkswagen emissions-cheating software.
Participants in the seminar will produce a research paper on a recent or past scandal. An option for a literature review is available as an alternative.
This seminar is relevant to many fields beyond history of science, technology, and medicine, including business and environmental history. The seminar will also be of interest to students in science and technology studies, including fields such as science journalism, medical and engineering ethics, social epistemology, and the politics of science. (course flyer)
History of Science 919: Graduate Studies in Medical History
Topic: Medicine, Science and War in American History
(cross-listed with Med Hist)
3 cr.; 10:00 am-12:00 pm, Tues; 1406 Medical Sciences Center. Prerequisites: Grad standing and consent of instructor.
Instructor: Susan E. Lederer
This graduate seminar is focused on reading recent histories that explore the ways in which medicine and science influenced, and were influenced by, war and the needs of the military. This will include readings on the impact of war on the human body, the production, representation, and experience of warfare, military, and medical technologies on the human body, the discussions of acceptable and unacceptable types of harm, and the influence of wartime needs on the food supply and nutrition science.