Science, Technology and Society

Course Code: NATS 1760 A 6.0

Instructor's Name: Ian Slater

Course Description:

Habits of mind and language often encourage us to imagine science, technology, and society as somehow distinct from one other. This course will examine how all members of this triad are inextricably related. We will begin with a brief historical overview, and then move on to look at specific examples of how science, technology and society mutually define (or oppose) each other. Cases will be drawn from recent and contemporary debates. Possible topics include: the theory and practice of compulsory vaccination; the discovery of hormones and the construction of gender; disability as a scientific and technological concept; scientific research, industry and the academy; the automobile as a sociotechnical object; genetic determinism; climate change and scientific consensus; technology and global development; technological uptake (or rejection) and social movements. Please note the unusual tutorial structure for this course: students will be required by the online registration system to register for a weekly tutorial, but they will only attend a one-hour tutorial every other week (for a total of six over the term). These details will be worked out in our first session. Regularly attending lectures and tutorials is essential to your success in this course. A background in the sciences is not required for this course, but, in the spirit of all NATS General Education courses, students will be expected to develop their abilities to identify and understand the necessary technical details that hold our triad together.

Course Format:

Three lecture hours per week.

Course Credit Exclusions:

None.

Mathematical Content:

Minimal simple arithmetical calculation at about Grade 10 level.

Course Outlines:

Archived Course Outline:

Archived Course Outline