Textbooks and Readings

  • Sergio Sismondo, An Introduction to Science and Technology Studies, 2nd edition (Wiley-Blackwell, 2010).
  • Sheila Jasanoff, Science and Public Reason (Earthscan/Routledge, 2012).
  • Catherine D'Ignazio and Lauren F. Klein, Data Feminism (MIT, 2020).
  • Cathy O'Neil, Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy (Crown, 2016).
  • Students should read the Science section of the New York Times or Washtington Post each week. We will discuss science reporting in group activities.
  • About the course

  • Class (Zoom) meetings will be a mixture of presentation and discussion.
  • Be prepared to participate in discussions. You should complete the assigned readings prior to the class meeting in which they will be discussed. Take notes on the readings: ask questions about what is unclear; make connections to other points of knowledge.
  • Be prepared to participate in group activities. The best way to learn is to teach, and we will often engage in exercises that require you to explain material to each other.
  • Be prepared to interact through the course web site and our Slack channel. This will allow us to extend the course beyond the class meetings.
  • Evaluation

  • Grading will consist of four parts: (a) a research project that focuses on a particular issue in sociology of science and technology; (b) reading reflections, submitted before each class (Zoom) meeting, (c) attendance and participation in class (Zoom) meetings; and (d) group activities on the Slack channel, where we will continue discussion of key ideas from the readings.
  • Research Project: You will identify a theoretical approach from one chapter of ISTS and apply it to some aspect of contemporary society. The form that the project takes could be: (i) a research paper of approximately 5,000 words with at least six sociological citations; or, (ii) a data visualization using Excel, Tableau, R, or Python; or, (iii) a multimedia web project. If you choose options ii or iii, you may work in groups. You will post your research project to the course site by the end of the semester. You can earn up to 7 points by commenting on other students' work. The project will include a required proposal (worth up to 5 points), a required draft (worth up to 10 points) and the final edited version (worth up to 15 points). The final edited version will serve as the final examination for this course. Total credit available: 37 points.
  • Reading Reflections: Students are required to submit, before the class meeting in which it will be discussed, a one page (3 paragraphs) reflection of three key points from the assigned readings. Twelve reading reflections are required; students can decide which to submit. Reflections must be turned in via email by the beginning of class. Each reading reflection is worth two points, for a total of 24 points.
  • Class (Zoom) Participation: Attendance at class (Zoom) meetings and participation in the discussion is worth one point per meeting, for a total of 15 points.
  • Group Activities: Working in groups of three or four, students will identify one key idea from the assigned readings and apply it to contemporary news. The analysis of the key idea in the news may be done on the Slack channel or by email. Each group member must participate to earn credit. Each group will provide to me a record of the discussion and a summary for credit.
    As an alternative, students may attend Zoom meetings to learn to program in R or Python for data analysis and visualization. Each activity is worth two points, for a total of 24 points.
  • Grades will be assigned according to the following scale: 100-94 = A, 93-90 = A-, 89-87 = B+, 86-82 = B, 81-80 = B-, 79-76 = C+, 75-72 = C, 71-70 = C-, 69-66 = D+, and, 67-62 = D. Scores below 62 are failing.
  • Consult the Brooklyn College Bulletin and the university policy [PDF] for regulations regarding academic integrity. If you submit work for credit that is not your own, you will receive a zero on that assignment. Academic dishonesty is grounds for failure in the course. Additional penalties may result, at the discretion of the college.

    Note regarding Student Disability Services:
    In order to receive disability-related academic accommodations students must first be registered with the Center for Student Disability Services (CSDS). Students who have a documented disability or suspect they may have a disability are invited to set up an appointment with the Director of the Center for Student Disability Services, Ms. Valerie Stewart-Lovell at 718-951-5538. If you have already registered with the CSDS please provide your professor with the course accommodation form and discuss your specific accommodation with him/her as soon as possible and at an appropriate time.