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Michael Stoff, Director 305 East 23rd St, CLA 2.102, (G3600) Austin, TX 78712-1250 • 512-471-1442

Spring 2009

T C 357 • Technosociety: Key Issues in Science, Technology and Society

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
42830 MW
9:30 AM-11:00 AM
CRD 007A

Course Description

The goals of the course are to introduce students to key issues and debates on societal impacts of technological and scientific innovation, and to develop skills in investigating and understanding the roles that technology and science play in shaping and disrupting cultural habits and ways of thinking. Students will develop a critical approach to impacts of scientific development and technology on society, such as who might be "winners" and losers in the introduction of new technologies, the way cultural beliefs and practices can influence change, and how key cultural assumptions and practices interact with the design and implementation of new technologies. We will look at new technologically-mediated human activities such as multi-player gaming, podcasting, and blogging, as well as technological innovations in new links between medicine and engineering, and nanoscience discourses of fear and promise. We will engage in a critical survey of the social consequences that scientific transformations such as nanotechnology and communication technologies such as the internet might entail across cultures including but not limited to our own. The course is designed to help students become more sophisticated participants in key debates relevant in contemporary life.

We will look at issues by reading the following books which discuss important questions regarding the causes and effects of technological innovation and aspects of paradigm shifts in science and society.

Grading Policy

3 short papers (3-5 pages): 30%
Research Paper (15 pages): 40%
Class participation: 30%


Manuel Castells, The Rise of the Network Society.
John Bown and Paul Duguid, The Social Life of Information.
David E. Nye, Technology Matters: Questions to Live With.
Karin Knorr-Cetina, Epistemic Cultures. How the Sciences Make Knowledge.
Daniel J. Kevles, Leroy Hood, The Code of Codes: Scientific and Social Issues in the Human Genome Project

About the professor:
Professor Keating teaches courses in Anthropology (Culture and Communication, Visual Anthropology, New Communication Technologies, and Language in Society, eSociety, Language and Power), and she was previously Director of the Science, Technology & Society Program at UT Austin. Her research interests include: societal impacts of new communication technologies, visual communication, computer-mediated communication, societal impacts of nanotechnology, the role of language in social stratification, and social inequality. She has conducted fieldwork in Pohnpei, Micronesia, the Deaf Community, the U.S., and among scientists and engineers, and has supervised a project researching impacts of mobile phones in 15 countries.


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