Materials to Review
Lecture notes, powerpoint slides
Downes, “What is STS?”
Marx, Hazardous Concept" and exchange with Kranzberg
Marx and Smith (eds.) intro
Autour and Dorn article
Williams chapter 2, Retooling
MIT 150 exhibit website (overview, nto details)
What does STS stand for?
STS has variously been described as an inter-, multi-, or even transdisciplinary field.
What are some of the disciplines that have contributed to its evolution so far?
What are STS activities at MIT past or present beyond the Program in STS?
When did STS emerge as an academic field? (Downes)
What was going on in the larger world that encouraged this emergence? (Downes)
What are some common core convictions shared by STS scholars? (Downes)
What are some key questions asked in STS studies?
What are the main points of Leo Marx’s article?
The history of the word and concept technology (anachronism; semantic void)
What the word and concept are hazardous (reification)
Possible ways to diminish the hazards
Technological determinism: What does this mean? Give some examples (Marx and Smith intro)
Context: What does this mean? Give some examples (Marx, Marx and Kranzberg; video on waterworks)
Social construction of technology / technological systems: What does this mean? Give some examples (Autour and Dorn)
Actor networks as a technique for answering the question “what / who is society here?” and for integrating human and non-human agents
Agency and causality in history: Give some examples of co-evolution or reflexivity
Give some examples of the way engineering has evolved into a broader enterprise of “technology” (Retooling)
At MIT Today, how does the curriculum reflect STS concerns? As a student, when are you aware of being educated in science? In engineering? In technoscience or some other mix?
What are some ways in which MIT as an institution polarized around science and engineering tries to influence the larger world?
What other questions do you have about STS that we should discuss further this term?
This is also available as a PDF.