STS.069 | Fall 2002 | Undergraduate

Technology in a Dangerous World


Note: This section incorporates material from both Fall 2002, STS.069 Technology in a Dangerous World–which explored issues arising from the attacks of September 11, 2001–and Spring 2003, STS.092 Current Events from an STS Perspective, which developed as an outgrowth of STS.069.

STS.069 Technology in a Dangerous World

Syllabus (PDF)

Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session

Course Overview

This subject is an exploratory one: students are expected to take an active role in shaping the questions and in defining topics they wish to explore further. In the spirit of exploration, many guests have been invited to contribute their perspective. Students are expected to be active listeners and discussants; they will need to prepare for the guests and also follow up on topics raised by these visitors.

Many writing assignments will be brief, pithy ones: these include responses to the reading assignments, one-paragraph or one-page comments written and read in class, and brief discussions of definitions of key terms. There will be two longer assignments: a topic on a subject of the student’s choosing, and a section of a substantial class project, a report written by the entire class, on the subject of “MIT’s role in a dangerous world.” The latter report is intended to be submitted to the MIT administration at the conclusion of the class. The individually authored paper may be revised once.

Grades will be based on short assignments (25%), student paper (40%), contribution to class project (25%), and class participation (10%).

Attendance is recorded and required. Serious note-taking is necessary. Plagiarism in any form is unacceptable. These and other ground rules, as well as grading policy, will be discussed in more detail in the first two classes.

MIT’s academic honesty policy can be found at the following link:

STS.092 Current Events from an STS Perspective

Syllabus (PDF)

Goals of class

  • Developing a conceptual vocabulary and analytical framework based on STS studies
  • Building up a knowledge base about the world
  • Practicing and improving reading, writing, and speaking skills


  • Reading: read The New York Times for a half hour daily
  • Bring in one article to each class that you found particularly interesting during the week
  • Other readings as assigned


  • In most classes I will take 20 minutes to discuss the history and implications of STS studies
  • These lectures should inform your writing assignments, both the weekly ones and the book review
  • Take your own notes, but I will also hand out notes later on in the term


  • Read a 2-page short paper at each class session
  • Participate in discussion of questions raised by students papers
  • You may be called upon to contribute to discussion; you may also be asked to let others have more opportunity to speak


  • Write a 2-page short paper for each class session
  • Most of these papers will comment upon and raise questions about the weeks news
  • Some assignments will be more specific, i.e. write a letter to the editor or an op-ed piece, write as if you were living somewhere other than in the U.S, write about whats not in the newspaper
  • All assignments should be revised, compiled, and submitted (both electronically and in hard copy) to the instructor at the middle of the term and at the end of the term

Term Project

  • Read a book from the list provided and write a 4-5 page review summarizing and explaining how the book presents an STS perspective on the subject matter (we will discuss this assignment more in class)
  • If there is time, students will give a 10-minute presentation in class on their review

No final exam

Grading Criteria

  • Discussion: 15%
  • Short assignments: 65%
  • Book review: 20%

MIT’s academic honesty policy can be found at the following link:

Course Info

As Taught In
Fall 2002
Learning Resource Types
theaters Workshop Videos
group_work Projects with Examples
assignment Written Assignments