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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 7:28 PM on Mon, Jan 29, 2001.

Winter Term, 2001 (January 4 April 26)

Open courses in RC Natural Science
(*Not real-time Information. Review the "Data current as of: " statement at the bottom of hyperlinked page)

Wolverine Access Subject listing for RCNSCI

Winter Term '01 Time Schedule for RC Natural Science.

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.

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:

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 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:

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.


  • M. Biagioli, ed., The Science Studies Reader (New York: Routledge, 1999).
  • J. M. Diamond, Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies (New York: W.W. Norton, 1997).
  • S. Epstein, Impure Science: AIDS, Activism, and the Politics of Knowledge (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996).
  • R. Lewontin. Biology as Ideology: The Doctrine of DNA (New York: Harper Perennial. 1991).
  • E. Tenner, Why Things Bite Back: Technology and the Revenge of Unintended Consequences (New York: Knopf, 1996).

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

Graduate Course Listings for RCNSCI.


This page was created at 7:28 PM on Mon, Jan 29, 2001.

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