Course Meeting Times

Seminar: 1 session / week, 3 hours / session


Students from all fields and levels of preparation were encouraged to join the course; advanced study in the sciences or in literary analysis was not required.

Description and Goals

In this course students will develop their abilities to expose ways that scientific knowledge has been shaped in contexts that are gendered, racialized, economically exploitative, and hetero-normative. This happens through a sequence of four projects that concern:

  1. Interpretation of the cultural dimensions of science
  2. Climate change futures
  3. Genomic citizenry
  4. Students’ plans for ongoing practice

The projects also draw students’ attention to areas such as museum displays, science fiction, and internet-mediated discourse, and involve close reading and literary analysis of texts—whether in science, social studies of science, or science fiction.

The course uses a Project-Based Learning format that allows students to shape their own directions of inquiry in each project, development of skills, and collegial support. Students’ learning will be guided by individualized bibliographies co-constructed with the instructors, the inquiries of the other students, and a set of tools and processes for literary analysis, inquiry, reflection, and support. By the end of the class, students will have:

  • Generated products for each of the projects and so charted a path into an ever-growing body of work on the interpretation of sciences in contexts, to which feminist, anti-racist, and other critical analysts and activists have made significant contributions
  • Formulated a personal plan for ongoing inquiry that troubles the boundaries of knowledge production in the academy and sciences, especially as they concern race and gender. 

Key Texts

Gross, Alan G. Starring the Text: The Place of Rhetoric in Science Studies. Southern Illinois University Press, 2006. ISBN: 9780809326969.

 Hiltner, Ken. Ecocriticism: The Essential Reader. Routhledge, 2014. ISBN: 9780415508605.

Buy at MIT Press Hackett, Edward J., Olga Amsterdamska, et al. The Handbook of Science and Technology Studies. The MIT Press, 2007. ISBN: 9780262083645.

 Wyer, Mary, Mary Barbercheck, et al. Women, Science, and Technology: A Reader in Feminist Science Studies. Routledge, 2013. ISBN:9780415521109.  

Recommended as a source for the process side of the course:

 Taylor, Peter J., and Jeremy Szteiter. Taking Yourself Seriously: Processes of Research and Engagement. The Pumping Station, 2012. ISBN: 9780984921607. [PDF version available for purchase through The Pumping Station.]