*Taught Online for Summer 2020* How do new frontiers in science, medicine, and technology impact how we understand what bodies are, what they are becoming, and how they relate to each other? How does culture take up these concepts across time and reflect them back? During this three-week course, we will touch on a variety of issues this question raises, ranging from dolls to robots, machine learning to virtual communities, and from pharmaceuticals to family-making. This course is an introduction to examining science and technology fields through the lens of humanities and social sciences. While many institutions simply teach STEM fields as ends in themselves, this course is based on the premise that it is just as important to think about the effects, consequences, desirability, and ethics of new techno-scientific capabilities. Whether students are aiming for college careers in the sciences, the humanities, or both, this course will expose them to a diverse range of questions raised by such innovations. It will also prepare them to be critically thoughtful global citizens building a more desirable future.
Some key thematic questions include:
- What is personhood, and what does "belonging" mean? What are the boundaries of the human body and human society, and how do these relate to the non-human world?
- How do we know things, and what kinds of knowing have cultural authority? Whose perspectives and interests do these kinds of knowledge represent?
- In what ways are the ideas of connection and disconnection changed using science and technology? What aspects do physical bodies, aggregate data, and virtual communities share?
- How does culture reflect and understand these concepts?
Current Grade / Education Level