- E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Office: BUR 408
- Office Hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 3:30-5
M.A. American Studies, The University of Texas at Austin
B.A. English and History, Vassar College
AMS 311S • Scientific American
MWF 900am-1000am BUR 228
From cancer treatments to Roombas, vaccinations to microchips, the products of scientific research surround our daily lives. Yet the work that seems to be confined to the laboratory is, and has often been, invisible to the public. The debates and controversies surrounding this research serve as springboards to learn about several American writers, philosophers, scientists, and citizens who encourage us to think critically about how science challenges how we define ourselves.
My aim for this course is to familiarize you with a less-trodden path of American history than you may have encountered before. This course provides a thorough history of the development of significant scientific debates, how they played out in the larger American culture, and how they influenced American identity in different ways. As we move roughly chronologically (sometimes circuitously) from the nineteenth century into the twenty-first, we’ll learn how science is not separate from society, many arguments to the contrary. By premising this course on the place of science within American culture, we stand to gain a deeper understanding of how science affects our daily lives in surprising and sometimes disturbing ways.
While there is certainly a lot of “science” in this course, I aim less to educate you about chemistry, biology, and engineering than about how these fields impact American culture. Scientific discourse has played a major role in how power operates over time, and has also deeply impacted the meaning of American citizenship in different but powerful ways.
5 Think Pieces: 15%
3 Unit Papers (15% per paper): 45%
Final Revised Paper, including informal presentation: 25%
Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy
Menand, Metaphysical Club
Lutz & Collins, Reading National Geographic
Haraway, When Species Meet
Franklin & Lock, Remaking Life and Death
Latour, We Have Never Been Modern
Flag(s): Writing, Ethics & Leadership
“Materia Medica: Technology, Vaccination, and Antivivisection in Jazz Age Philadelphia.” American Quarterly vol. 65, no. 3 (September 2013): 575-594.
“All Hat, No Cattle.” Review of Gender, Whiteness, and Power in Rodeo: Breaking Away From the Ties of Sexism and Racism, Tracey Owens Patton and Sally M. Schedlock. Humanimalia 4, no. 2 (Spring 2013): web. http://www.depauw.edu/humanimalia/index.html
“Deserting the Desert, Salvaging the Southland: The Re-Location of the American Hero and Cultural Identity in 1970s Outlaw Movies.” Text Practice Performance 7 (2008): 9-28.