Course Information
Science, Technology and Society
OLIT 600-001 -- Fall, 2003
Dr. Jan Armstrong
University of New Mexico

Credit Hrs: 3
Prerequisites: Grad or Non Degree Doctoral
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Phone: 505-277-6427
Office: Simpson 116
Office Hrs: TBA

Introduction and overview Welcome to OLIT 600 - Science, Technology, and Society! This seminar provides an opportunity to read, reflect upon, and discuss ideas drawn from the emerging field of Science and Technology Studies (STS). STS scholars study the social, cultural, and institutional context of science and technology using perspectives and methods derived from the social sciences and the humanities. The focus of this course is on the interrelationships between technology, science, society, education (defined broadly to include non-school and adult learning settings) and the workplace.

A key issue to be explored concerns the question of how knowledge, expertise, and authority are constructed within cultural and subcultural groups. Another issue for investigation concerns the relationship between emerging technologies and the nature of "the self" in society. How might the material and technological environments in which we live alter our notions about, and experience of, our individual identities? What are the implications of changing notions about the self (and hence, human nature) for teaching, scholarship, parenting, social policy formation, and organizational life? The course is intended for doctoral students enrolled in any UNM graduate program.

Graduate study in STS should enhance your ability to make well-informed, creative, and ethical judgments about the implications of new and existing technologies for educational policy and practice. The course is designed to give you a chance to engage in wide-ranging, exploratory reading, combined with collegial discussion and analysis of philosophical, methodological, theoretical and policy-related issues.

One goal of the course is to help you further develop your ability "to think with wise circumspection about a technological society" (Postman, 1992, Technopoly, p. 4). After completing the course, you should able to recognize and articulate key ideas and issues associated with several approaches to the sociocultural analysis of science and technology (referred to in this course as "perspectives"). A second goal is encourage you to take a close, critical look at different ways of investigating the social effects of technological change. Part of the course will be devoted to examining the strengths and weaknesses of research methods and strategies commonly employed in STS studies.

Course texts (Required; available at Page One bookstore special order desk. Page One is located at the SW corner of Montgomery and Juan Tabo)

Burris, B. (1993). Technocracy at work. Albany, New York: SUNY.

Gergen, K. (1991). The saturated self: Dilemmas of identity in contemporary life. New York: Basic Books.

Kinchloe, J. (1999). The sign of the burger: McDonald's and the culture of power. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University.

More information about this course will be provided the first day of class.
Last update: August 17,2003 / jka