v2.2.1 (2024)

PA - C8 - HFC553 : Topics in Science, Technology, and Society

Domaine > Humanité et sciences sociales.




Topics in Science, Technology and Society

Luis Felipe R. Murillo
Période 1, 2018

Science and Technology Studies (STS) is an emergent field of inquiry on the production of technical and scientific knowledge. Such task, as one would imagine, is far from simple and straight-foward: it involves a wide array of scientific cultures, research instruments, research trajectories, and institutional arrangements at local, national, regional, and global scales. For the study of complex technoscientific formations, STS has developed a transdisciplinary approach drawing from various theoretical and methodological traditions: from specialized areas of research in history, philosophy, anthropology and sociology of science to applied fields of science and technology policy and innovation. One shared interest, however, brings all of these efforts together under the same rubric: their focus on “technoscience” as a field of social and historical practices where science and technology are produced, reproduced, regulated and disputed. In this course, we will explore this diversity of perspectives by studying key topics, concepts, and case studies from the STS literature.


Objectifs pédagogiques


This course is organized in weekly modules. Each module is organized around one overarching theme, with one or more concepts, and a set of readings to be discussed in class. To complete the course, you must prepare at least 8 response papers based on the assigned readings. One-page responses must include pros, cons, and questions related to the weekly readings of your choice. You must return your written assignments to the instructor at the end of each class, after our discussion of the assigned texts for the week.

The final grade will be determined based on:

1) In-class presentation (30%);

2) Completion of 8 short responses (20%);

3) Participation in class debates (20%);

3) One final paper (30%) to be prepared at home based on the topics we discussed in class (suggested format: 8-10 pages, double-spaced, non-justified, serif font, size 12). Topics for the final paper can be elaborated according to your academic interests, but they must relate to the literature we examined in class.

The instructor will be available to discuss paper proposal in person, but you are responsible for communicating regularly concerning your progress. It is also a good idea to use your weekly précis as the basis for the analysis you will develop in your final paper.


Academic Conduct

Academic ideas can be thought of as candle flames: if we pass them on to each other, we do not extinguish but multiply them. That being said, what we call “Academic Integrity” encompasses not only our commitment to the exchange and debate of ideas but also the importance of acknowledging the work of those who came before us. Another way of thinking about “Academic Integrity” is to use the metaphor of the community well: as academics, we are constantly drawing from common sources of knowledge side-by-side with our academic peers. We do not want the well to dry out or to be poisoned as we need it for intellectual nourishment. We also do not want to create walls which prevent academics from different institutions from exchanging with us. You should feel completely free to use the well as you please, but never forget that it is a shared resource. If you take anything, you must, at some point in your academic trajectory, return something in one form or another, which means in practice that, if you were offered an argument, dataset, or any other end product of academic effort, you must, at least, attribute the work, citing your source accordingly.

Format des notes

Numérique sur 20

Littérale/grade réduit

Pour les étudiants du diplôme Data Science for Business

L'UE est acquise si note finale transposée >= C
  • Crédits ECTS acquis : 1.5 ECTS

Pour les étudiants du diplôme Smart Cities and Urban Policy

L'UE est acquise si note finale transposée >= C
  • Crédits ECTS acquis : 1.5 ECTS

Pour les étudiants du diplôme Economics, Data Analytics and Corporate Finance

L'UE est acquise si note finale transposée >= C
  • Crédits ECTS acquis : 1.5 ECTS

Pour les étudiants du diplôme Ecotechnologies for Sustainability & Environment Management

L'UE est acquise si note finale transposée >= C
  • Crédits ECTS acquis : 1.5 ECTS

Pour les étudiants du diplôme Energy Environment : Science Technology & Management

L'UE est acquise si note finale transposée >= C
  • Crédits ECTS acquis : 1.5 ECTS

Pour les étudiants du diplôme Artificial Intelligence and Advanced Visual Computing

L'UE est acquise si note finale transposée >= C
  • Crédits ECTS acquis : 1.5 ECTS

Pour les étudiants du diplôme Cybersecurity : Threats & Defenses

L'UE est acquise si note finale transposée >= C
  • Crédits ECTS acquis : 1.5 ECTS

Pour les étudiants du diplôme Internet of Things : Innovation and Management Program (IoT)

L'UE est acquise si note finale transposée >= C
  • Crédits ECTS acquis : 1.5 ECTS

Programme détaillé

Week 1 – Introduction (September 25)

Sismondo, Sergio. 2010. An Introduction to Science and Technology Studies. London: Blackwell Press.

Pestre, Dominique . 2006. Introduction aux Science Studies. Paris: La Découverte.

Traweek, Sharon. 1993. “An Introduction to Cultural and Social Studies of Sciences and Technologies”. In: Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry, 17:3-25.

Hess, David J. 1998. “If You're Thinking of Living in STS... A Guide for the Perplexed.” In Gary Downey and Joe Dumit (eds.),
Cyborgs and Citadels: Anthropological Interventions in Emerging Sciences and Technologies. Santa Fe: SAR Press.


Week 2 – Technoscientific Controversies (October 2)

Shapin, Steven and Simon Schaffer. 1985. Leviathan and the Air-Pump: Hobbes, Boyle and the Experimental Life. Princeton: Princeton University Press. (chapters: intro, 1, and conclusion).

Shapin, Steven 1989. “The Invisible Technician”. In: American Scientist, 77(6): 554–563.


*** No class on October 9: X-Forum event ***


Week 3 – Laboratory Studies (October 16)

Traweek, Sharon. 1988. Beamtimes and Lifetimes: the World of High Energy Physicists. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. (prologue, chapter 3, epilogue)

Latour, Bruno. 1999. “Give Me a Laboratory and I Will Raise the World.” In: The Science Studies Reader, edited by M. Biagioli, p. 258-275. New York: Routledge.

Week 4 – Gender (October 23)

Keller, Evelyn Fox. 1995. “Gender and Science: Origin, History, and Politics.” In: Osiris, 10: p. 26–38.

Haraway, Donna. 1988. “Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective,” In: Feminist Studies 14(3): 575-99.

Martin, Emily. “The Egg and the Sperm: How Science Has Constructed a Romance Based on Stereotypical Male-Female Roles,” In: Signs, 16.3(1991), 485-501.


*** No class on October 30 ***


Week 5 – Technopolitics (November 6)

Winner, Langdon. 1980. “Do Artefacts have Politics?” In: Daedalus, no. 109, pp. 121-36.

De Vries, Gerard. 2007. “What is Political in Sub-politics? How Aristotle Might Help STS”. In: Social Studies of Science 37 (5): 781-809.

Latour, Bruno. 2007. “Turning around politics”. In: Social Studies of Science, 37 (5): 811-820.


Week 6 – Moral Economies (November 13)

Kohler, Robert. 1999. “Moral Economy, Material Culture, and Community in Drosophila Genetics”. In: The Science Studies Reader, ed. M. Biagioli. London: Routledge, p. 137-160.

Kelty, Christopher. 2008.
Two Bits: the cultural significance of Free Software. Durham: Duke University Press. (Part 2: p. 97-143; p. 143-210).


Week 7 – Experts / Lay-Experts (November 20)

Epstein, S. 1995. “The Construction of Lay Expertise: AIDS Activism and the Forging of Credibility in the Reform of Clinical Trials”. In: Science, Technology & Human Values, 20(4), 408-437.

Gieryn, Thomas. 1983. “Boundary-Work and the Demarcation of Science from Non-Science: Strains and Interests in Professional Ideologies of Scientists”. In: American Sociological Review, 48(6): 781–795.

Collins, Harry. 2018. “Studies of Expertise and Experience”. In: Topoi, 37(1): 67–77.


Week 8 – Heterogeneous Engineering (November 27)

Law, John. 1987. “Technology and Heterogeneous Engineering: The Case of

Portuguese Expansion.” In Bijker, Hughes & Pinch (eds.) The Social Construction of Technological Systems. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Ensmenger, Nathan 2012. “Is Chess the Drosophila of Artificial Intelligence? A Social History of an Algorithm”. In: Social Studies of Science, 42(1): 5–30.


Week 9 – Infrastructures (December 4)

Von Schnitzler, Antina. 2013. “Traveling Technologies: Infrastructure, Ethical Regimes, and the Materiality of Politics in South Africa.” In: Cultural Anthropology, 28, no. 4: 670–93.

Star, Susan Leigh 1999. “The Ethnography of Infrastructure”. In: American Behavioral Scientist, 43(3): 377–391.

Hughes, Thomas. 1987. “The Evolution of Large Technological Systems”, in Bijker, Hughes & Pinch (eds.), The Social Construction of Technological Systems, pp. 51-82.

Week 10 – Computational Social Sciences (December 12)

Watts, Duncan. 2013. “Computational social science: exciting progress and future directions”. The Bridge: Linking Engineering and Society, 43(4), 5–10.

Bartlett, Andrew, Jamie Lewis, Luis Reyes-Galindo, and Neil Stephens. 2018. “The Locus of Legitimate Interpretation in Big Data Sciences: Lessons for Computational Social Science from -Omic Biology and High-Energy Physics”. In: Big Data & Society, 5.

Lazer, D. et al. 2009. “Computational social science”. In: Science, 323, 721–723 (2009).


*** Final paper due on December 18 ***

to be sent by email to the instructor


Veuillez patienter