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Courses for Spring 2017

History of Science 133: Biology & Society, 1950-Today
(Cross-listed with Med Hist)

3 cr.; Z (Humanities or Social Science), E (Elementary); 11:00-11:50 MW. Prerequisites: none.

Instructor: Nicole C. Nelson

From medical advancements to environmental crises and global food shortages, the life sciences are implicated in some of the most pressing social issues of our time. This course explores events in the history of biology from the mid-twentieth century to today, and examines how developments in this science have shaped and are shaped by society. In the first unit, we investigate the origins of the institutions, technologies, and styles of practice that characterize contemporary biology, such as the use of mice as “model organisms” for understanding human diseases. The second unit examines biological controversies such as the introduction of genetically modified plants into the food supply. The final unit asks how biological facts and theories have been and continue to be used as a source for understanding ourselves. No prior knowledge of biology, history, or social theory is required.

History of Science 202: The Making of Modern Science
(meets with ILS 202)

3 cr.; H (Humanities), E (Elementary); 9:55 MW; 2 lectures and 1 discussion section per week. Prerequisites: Open to freshmen; not open to students who have taken History of Science 204.

Instructor: Catherine Jackson

Considered as a professional activity, science and technology are relatively recent products of Western European culture. In this course, we will examine developments since the mid-seventeenth century that have brought about a dramatic change in the way we understand the world and our place in it. How can we best explain why the thing we call science began when and where it did? What forces formed it, and how - in turn - has it become a powerful agent in shaping modern life? Tackling these questions is a major historical challenge, one that will take us from the familiar and the local to the furthest extent of distant empires. We will not find all the answers. But we will learn a lot about the connections between commerce, manufacture, exploration, and war, changing conceptions of man’s place in nature, and our ability to control the world around us. And, in the process, we will come to a new understanding of the relationship between science, technology and society.

This course is suitable for undergraduates in any field. No previous knowledge is required: historical background will be provided, and key scientific concepts explained, by the lectures, readings, and in weekly discussion sections.

History of Science 286: Honors Seminar
Topic: Rights & Diversity in the Enlightenment

3 cr.; H (Humanities), E (Elementary); 1:20 - 3:15 PM Thursday. Prerequisites: Honors Only; Open to freshmen.

Instructors: Thomas Broman and Suzanne Desan

The Declaration of Independence asserts, “All men are created equal,” a well-known statement that came straight out of the Enlightenment. As we know all too well, it has proven difficult to turn this egalitarian principle into practice. This course will examine how eighteenth-century thinkers defined and justified individual rights while they also classified and categorized people according to different social characteristics. At the heart of this course is the question of bodies and their relationship to politics. For Enlightenment thinkers, what separated humans from animals? Men from women? Europeans from non-Europeans? One race or religion from another? These categories of difference - sex, ethnicity, race, religion - continue to influence modern ways of thinking about human diversity.

We will read influential political writings; medical treatises on male and female bodies; travel accounts by Europeans discussing indigenous peoples of the New World and the Pacific; and novels and plays highlighting the viewpoints of outsiders or marginalized peoples.

History of Science 394: Science in America
(Cross-listed with Med Hist and History)

3 cr.; H (Humanities), D (Intermediate or Advanced); T/R 2:30 - 3:45 PM. Prerequisites: Must have Junior standing or consent of instructor.

Instructor: Scott Prinster

Why is the United States a scientific nation? Why do Americans place so much faith in scientific explanations, especially when many of us lack even basic knowledge of the sciences? We will trace the development of scientific knowledge and institutions in the United States from the colonial period to the present, viewing science, technology, and medicine as social and cultural expressions as well as knowledge about nature. We will cover the migration of European science, its development in colonial America, the formation of a national scientific community, the emergence of Big Science, and the tensions between the sciences and other value systems. We will also give special attention to the complex relationships of science with religion, race and ethnicity, gender, and economics. No special background in the sciences is expected for enrollment.

History of Science 401: History of Pharmacy
(Cross-listed with S&A Pharmacy)

2 cr.; H (Humanities), I (Intermediate); 11:00 TR. Prerequisites: Junior standing or consent of instructor.

Instructor: Gregory Higby

Pharmaceutical field, from antiquity to modern medical care; professional; structuring in principle countries of the West.

History of Science 473: History of Mathematics
(Cross-listed with Math)

3 cr.; X (either Humanities or Natural Science), A (Advanced); Tu/Th 2:30 - 3:45 PM. Prerequisites: consent of instructor.

Instructor: Gheorghe Craciun

An historical survey of the main lines of mathematical development.

History of Science 509: The Development of Public Health in America (crosslisted with Med Hist)

3 cr.; B (Biological Science), I (Intermediate); M/W 2:30 - 3:45 PM. Prerequisites: Junior standing or Instructor consent.

Instructor: Karen Walloch

Who is responsible for health? When and why does an individual’s health or personal behavior become a matter for public concern? What can communities do to ensure the health and welfare of their members, that is, the public’s health? How do we reconcile individual liberty with the state’s interest in preserving or enhancing public health? Questions of public responsibility for health remain central in policy debates today, and an understanding of how we got here might help us untangle some of this rhetoric.

This course surveys the history of public health in the United States from the colonial period to the present. We will look at how cities, states, voluntary groups, and the federal government have organized to protect and promote health. From the earliest responses to control epidemics to our current debates, politics, commerce, and cultural attitudes about race, class, and gender have shaped public health initiatives throughout American history.

History of Science 523: Race, American Medicine and Public Health (crosslisted with Med Hist and Afro-Am St)

3 cr.; H (Humanities), A (Advanced); Tu/Th 1:00 - 2:15 PM. Prerequisites: Must have Junior standing or higher. Includes graduate and professional careers. Excludes university specials and guests.

Instructor: Susan E. Lederer

The problem of the 20th century, wrote W.E.B. DuBois in The Souls of Black Folk (1903), “is the problem of the color-line.” This course considers the issue of the color line in American medicine over the past two centuries. We will be looking at the ways in which skin color (and other elements of "racial identity") have influenced the experiences of patients, physicians and nurses, and medical researchers, seeking to document and analyze how conceptions of race have shaped the health concerns and health outcomes of Americans in the past two hundred years. Topics include the origins of racial classification, the health and medical care of slaves, the use of minorities as research subjects, especially the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, the history of racial disparities in medicine, and the efforts to integrate the American medical profession.

History of Science 555: Undergraduate Seminar in History of Science

3 cr.; A (Advanced); 1:20 - 3:15 PM Tuesday. Prerequisites: open to History of Science majors only; initial preference to seniors.

Instructor: Catherine Jackson

This capstone seminar for History of Science majors introduces students to the process of doing history, not just reading about it. The course will guide you through the steps involved in writing an original research paper using primary sources. These steps include selecting a topic, finding and interpreting sources (secondary as well as primary), constructing an argument, and writing and revising the paper. Other assessed work will include a short formal presentation, making this course a good route to the modern historian’s most important skills: reading, writing and presenting.

Our theme for Spring 2017 will be The Laboratory since 1800. This field, made famous by Bruno Latour and Steven Woolgar’s (1979) anthropologically inspired Laboratory Life, is ripe for renewal. The laboratory is certainly the institutional location where studies of scientific pedagogy, practice and material culture meet, with the result that this course will enhance your knowledge of current methodology in the history of science. But taking the laboratory as our theme also opens up a wide range of possibilities beyond the domain of academic science and medicine. Regulation, testing and forensics - to give just three examples - engage a wider world of global politics, production, and the environment, as well as the immediate, personal and ethical dimensions of science, technology and medicine. Whatever your particular interests, there is something here for you.

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 903: Seminar: Medieval, Renaissance, & 17th Century Science. Topic: Early Modern Scientific Data

3 cr.; 1:20 - 3:15 PM Wednesday. Prerequisites: Graduate standing or consent of instructor

Instructors: Florence Hsia and Robin Rider

Fact and theory, evidence and argument, empiricism and experimentation, method and case study: such pillars of scientific knowledge-making have been well studied by scholars keen to expose their historical and conceptual foundations. Yet the data tsunami that has inundated contemporary society and promises what has been called a new scientific paradigm (‘data-intensive science’) has only recently come under critical scrutiny. Drawing extensively on the rich resources of rare books held in Special Collections, this seminar will explore the historical emergence of ‘data’ as a scientific object in the course of the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries as the bureaucratic state began to deploy the power of statistics to control natural and human resources. We will look closely at accounting, archival, and publishing practices; efforts to standardize units of measure; and visual and textual technologies (tables, graphs, lists, journals, catalogues) that simultaneously shaped and encouraged the collection, processing, and interpretation of data. Secondary source readings will represent a range of disciplinary perspectives and the writing requirement for this seminar will be tailored to students’ particular needs in their respective programs of study.

History of Science 911: Seminar: Eighteenth Century Science. Topic: Early Modern Scientific Data

3 cr.; 1:20 - 3:15 PM Wednesday. Prerequisites: Graduate standing or consent of instructor

Instructors: Florence Hsia and Robin Rider

Fact and theory, evidence and argument, empiricism and experimentation, method and case study: such pillars of scientific knowledge-making have been well studied by scholars keen to expose their historical and conceptual foundations. Yet the data tsunami that has inundated contemporary society and promises what has been called a new scientific paradigm (‘data-intensive science’) has only recently come under critical scrutiny. Drawing extensively on the rich resources of rare books held in Special Collections, this seminar will explore the historical emergence of ‘data’ as a scientific object in the course of the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries as the bureaucratic state began to deploy the power of statistics to control natural and human resources. We will look closely at accounting, archival, and publishing practices; efforts to standardize units of measure; and visual and textual technologies (tables, graphs, lists, journals, catalogues) that simultaneously shaped and encouraged the collection, processing, and interpretation of data. Secondary source readings will represent a range of disciplinary perspectives and the writing requirement for this seminar will be tailored to students’ particular needs in their respective programs of study.

History of Science 925: Seminar: Research and Thesis

1-3 cr.; 1:20 pm Friday. Prerequisites: History of Science major; grad standing.

Instructor: Thomas Broman

Preparation of Masters paper for second year History of Science graduate students.

History of Science 950: History of Science Colloquium

0-1 cr.; 3:00 - 4:30 PM Friday. Prerequisites: graduate standing, History of Science major.

Instructor: Florence Hsia

Intended for graduate majors in the history of science, this requires regular attendance at History of Science colloquia, averaging 4 or 5 per semester. May be taken for 1 credit or 0 credits. Required of first and second semester graduate students in History of Science.

History of Science 990: Research and Thesis

1-3 cr.: Grad st & cons inst.

History of Science 999: Independent Work

1-3 cr.: Grad st & cons inst.

 
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