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Winter Academic Term 2001 Course Guide

Note: You must establish a session for Winter Term 2001 on in order to use the link "Check Times, Location, and Availability". Once your session is established, the links will function.

Courses in RC Natural Science

This page was created at 9:43 AM on Wed, Nov 1, 2000.

Winter Term, 2001 (January 4 April 26)

Open courses in RC Natural Science

Wolverine Access Subject listing for RCNSCI

Take me to the Winter Term '01 Time Schedule for RC Natural Science.

To see what has been added to or changed in RC Natural Science this week go to What's New This Week.

Search the LS&A Course Guide (Advanced Search Page)

Most RC courses are open to LS&A students and may be used to meet distribution requirements. In most instances, RC students receive priority for RC course waitlists.

RC sections of LS&A Courses

These sections will be letter graded for all students Math 115 Section 110 Analytical Geometry & Calculus. See Math 115.

RCNSCI 260. Science and Societal Issues: The Immune System.

Section 001 From Shamens to Cyborgs: Sociocultural Studies of Health, Illness, and the Biomedical Sciences.

Instructor(s): Bruce H Struminger

Prerequisites & Distribution: Introductory science course. (4). (NS). (BS).

Credits: (4).

Course Homepage: No Homepage Submitted.

The course will review a variety of theoretical perspectives in medical anthropology and social medicine on the ways in which medicine and the biomedical sciences both shape and are shaped by history, political-economy, and culture. This seminar will provide students an opportunity to explore social, cultural, economic, and political influences on health, illness, and biomedicine. Students will also be introduced to current research exploring the effects of inequalities on health and the interrelationship between health and human rights. Other topics of discussion will include medicine and social justice, cross-cultural interpretations of the body and disease, and social critiques of emerging bio-sciences and technologies.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: 1

RCNSCI 270. New Biotechnology: Scientific, Social and Historical Perspectives.

Section 001.

Instructor(s): Susan Presswood Wright (

Prerequisites & Distribution: High school biology. (4). (NS). (BS).

Credits: (4).

Course Homepage: No Homepage Submitted.

This course examines the development of genetic engineering and other biogenetic technologies that provide powerful methods for intervening in the genetic constitution of living things. It asks some of the questions that the scientific community asked itself when these techniques were invented in several California laboratories in the early 1970s: what principles should guide assessment of a new form of technology in the face of varying technical opinion about its implications? Should scientific research be controlled? What should be the roles of technical experts and the wider public in policy making? Where should decisions be made? And who should decide such matters? How these issues have been addressed are central themes of the course.

The principal goal of the course is to develop a broad historical perspective on the emergence and development of a new field of scientific achievement, the contexts in which the field is evolving, the terms of development, and the social and ethical issues associated with the development and application.

This term the course will address three principal issues that have produced extensive debate both locally and globally: the patenting of life forms; the release of genetically engineered plants and microbes into the environment; military application of biotechnology. Readings: David Suzuki, Genethics (Harvard University Press, 1989) and other readings to be arranged. Prerequisite: High school Biology or permission of instructor.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: 1

RCNSCI 275. Social Dynamics of Science, Technology, and Medicine.

Section 001.

Instructor(s): Paul N Edwards (

Prerequisites & Distribution: Sophomore standing. (3). (Excl).

Credits: (3).

Course Homepage: No Homepage Submitted.

Many of the world's most pressing problems require its citizens to resolve scientific and technical problems simultaneously with questions of political choice and social justice. Values, epistemological assumptions, and social forms are routinely embedded in artifacts and infrastructures. In turn, technological systems, engineered environments, advanced medical care, and scientific knowledge profoundly shape modern societies. This course introduces students to the social dynamics of science, technology, and medicine: the interplay among social, political, and ethical concerns, on the one hand, and new knowledge, new devices, and new medical techniques, on the other. The course is based on a few case studies, each of which we cover in depth. As we explore each one, we will discuss their scientific and technological bases, including the history and controversies surrounding what we may take for granted today. We will introduce theories of scientific knowledge and technological change. We will seek understanding of how science, technology, and medicine create unintended effects, and how societies cope with these consequences.

In all cases, we will look at science, technology, and medicine not only from the point of view of their practitioners, but from the perspective of users, observers, and victims as well.

Occasional guest lectures will supplement the instructors' own expertise. Films and novels are incorporated into the syllabus as examples of cultural reception and interpretation of technical issues. This class will serve as the core course for a proposed Minor in Science, Technology & Society. Preference will be given to sophomores, juniors, and seniors, in that order.

In 2000-2001, we will focus on three interrelated cases: genetic science and biotechnology (in agriculture and in medicine), computers, and AIDS.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: 1

RCNSCI 415/Environ. Studies 415. Science and Politics.

Section 001 Steam Engines & Computers: From Industrial Proletarians to Information Workers. Meets with RC Social Science 360.001.

Instructor(s): O'Donnell

Prerequisites & Distribution: One college-level science course. (4). (Excl). (BS).

Credits: (4).

Course Homepage: No Homepage Submitted.

This is a course in the technological history of two bourgeois revolutions in production: the industrial revolution and the emergent electronics/informatics revolution but not in isolation. Our aim in studying technology is to inform an understanding of the evolving social organization of work and the origins and future of the working classes in the global/informatics age.

The earlier, industrial phase has been well documented and much theoretical work exists. Its study should provide a perspective/framework from which to examine the unexpected 20th-Century collapse of the Fordist, industrial model, and the precipitous decline in numbers and political strength of industrial proletarians, unions, and of 'labor' parties as such.

We will study detailed descriptions of the birth and workings of the industrial era's communications (telegraph), transportation, timekeeping, motive power (from steam engines to internal combustion), and industrial manufacturing (from English cotton mills through to the first Ford/Taylor assembly line in Highland Park, Mi.) In parallel, we will read accounts of the formation of the industrial working class (proletariat), using narratives written by workers themselves, classic accounts by Marx and Engels, and by academic business researchers, sociologists, and anthropologists.

As part of our study of the decline of 'Taylor/Fordism' and of the trajectory of the new information-laden technologies and organizational forms, we would want to visit Detroit-area factories as well as transportation and communication centers. It is important to develop a perspective of industry-wide SYSTEMS of production/technology, and how they have evolved into radically different social enterprises, esp. since WWII. Subjects of study will include the present metalworking (steel and auto manufacturing) industry, the electronics/communications and information technology industries, and transportation. The service sector and/or agribusiness are also possibilities.

Check Times, Location, and Availability Cost: No Data Given. Waitlist Code: 1


This page was created at 9:43 AM on Wed, Nov 1, 2000.

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