STS 201: UNDERSTANDING TECHNOLOGICAL SOCIETY (Preliminary Syllabus updates available at garethedel.com )
Prof: Gareth Edel Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Office Hours Mon/Wed 1:30-2:30pm and by Appointment
Course Summary Description: This course looks at issues related to science and technology as they participate in and effect our society and our life experiences. Topics include: work, city planning, online social media, sustainability. We will be particularly working to develop an understanding of technologies as part of techno-social systems, and to increase the complexity of our views of technology as performing multiple functions, constraints and enablement.
Quizzes (7) 15%
Reading Response Papers (5) 15%
Note: Additional Response papers may be submitted for extra credit throughout the term.
Midterm Examination 30%
Final Examination 40%
Note: While quizzes draw entirely from the readings, exams will test on subject matter from in class lectures, and
students are strongly encouraged to attend every class, take notes, and ask questions.
Course Policy on Plagiarism: Any form of cheating or plagiarism will be grounds for failure in the course per NJIT Academic Integrity Policy: http://www.njit.edu/academics/integrity.php
COURSE OUTLINE & ASSIGNMENTS
WEEK 1 Topic: What is Technology
Wed, Sept 7th: NO READING DUE/ WELCOME TO CLASS, Review of SYLLABUS
WEEK 2 Topic: How “things” have politics.
Mon, Sept 12th (Last day 100% withdraw must notify)
Reading Due: Langdon Winner, 1980. “Do Artifacts Have Politics.” Daedalus 109 (1): 121-136 (Read whole article)
From Reprinting in The Whale and the Reactor: https://rekveld.home.xs4all.nl/tech/Winner_WhaleAndReactor_ch2-3.pdf
Robert Moses, 1945 “Slums and City Planning,”
Wed, Sept 14th Written Assignment Due: In Class Quiz on Winner Article.
WEEK 3 Topic: Technology in our lives today.
Mon, Sept 19th
Reading Due: Putnam, Robert. Bowling Alone Article 1995. Selection: http://archive.realtor.org/sites/default/files/BowlingAlone.pdf
Turkle, Sherry. Alone Together (Selection); P. 1-14 http://apps.carleton.edu/curricular/aiseminars/assets/Sherry_Turkle_book.pdf
Sander, T.H. & Putnam, R.D..2010 “Still Bowling Alone” journal of Democracy. 20 #1,
Wed, Sept 21st Written Assignment Due: 500+ words response to the articles, topic: “How people socialize with technology?”
WEEK 4 Topic: Questioning our assumptions.
Mon, Sept 26th
Reading Due: Mumford – pentagon of power “Chapter 11, The Megatechnic Wasteland – Air-Conditioned Pyramids” Spaceflight from
Reality. Pp300-320 https://rekveld.home.xs4all.nl/tech/Mumford_PentagonOfPower_ch11.pdf
Three Blog Entries: Katherine Viner, 2016, The Guardian,
Justin Fox,2014, The Disruption Myth, the Atlantic
Gladwell, Malcolm. 2002. “Smaller: The disposable diaper and the meaning of progress.”
Wed, Sept 28th Written Assignment Due: : 500+ words response to the articles, topic: “A problem with technology?”
WEEK 5 Topic: What is Sustainability?
Mon, Oct 3rd (Happy Rosh Hashana- or Muharram, New Year)
Reading Due: McDonough and Braungart, “The Next Industrial Revolution,” Atlantic Monthly,
Bilger, Burkhard The Great Oasis A plan to combat desertification.
“Calculate Your Ecological Footprint,” www.lead.org/leadnet/footprint/default.htm (website)
Wed, Oct 5th Written Assignment Due: Response: Log all the technology and consumer products you use in 48 hours.
WEEK 6 Topic: What are choices?
Mon, Oct 10th THIS CLASS DOESN’T MEET (Happy Columbus Day)
Wed, Oct 12th (Happy Yom Kippur)
Ron Eglash, “Appropriating Technology” www.rpi.edu/~eglash/eglash.dir/atintro.htm
Written Assignment: In Class Quiz on these articles
WEEK 7 Topic: Are things what they Seem?
Mon, Oct 17th (Happy Sukkot)
Lacy, Tim. 2008. “The idea of Specialization: John Higham on its roots nature and consequences” US intellectual
Wed, Oct 19th Written Assignment Due: 700+ words, Topic: “Profile a technology you believe others could misunderstand?”
WEEK 8 Topic: Mid-Term Week
Mon, Oct 24th Reading Due: No Reading, Mid-term Review
Wed, Oct 26th Written Assignment Due: MID TERM EXAMINATION
WEEK 9 Topic: Our Working Future
Mon, Oct 31st (Happy Haloween)
Reading Due: Mac McClelland, 2012, “I was a warehouse wage slave”, Mother Jones.
Jeffrey Pfeffer, ”The Case against the ‘gig economy’, Fortune Magazine Online
David Rodman (Editor) “How Technology is Destroying Jobs”, The MIT Tech Review Online
- M. Echkardt & F. Bardhi, “The Sharing Economy Isn’t about sharing at all” Harvard Buisiness Review
Wed, Nov 2nd Written Assignment Due: In class quiz on these articles.
WEEK 10 Topic:
Mon, Nov 7th (Last Day to Withdraw from Class)
Reading Due: Anthony Walton, “Technology Versus the African Americans” Atlantic Monthly
Wendy Hui Kyong Chun, 2009, Introduction to special issue- “Race and/as technology” in Camera Obscura
Wed, Nov 9th Written Assignment Due: In Class Quiz on Readings. (Happy All Soul’s Day)
WEEK 11 Topic: The Media?
Mon, Nov 14th
Reading Due: McChesney, R.W. & Nichols, J.. 2000. It’s the Media Stupid . Stories Press SELECTION: pp.21-25, 27-39,119-120.
Lark Federman On Mcluhan http://individual.utoronto.ca/markfederman/MeaningTheMediumistheMessage.pdf
Political Economy of Media https://dwmw.files.wordpress.com/2011/08/political-economies-of-media-sample-chapters.pdf
Recommended/Optional: Lawrence Lessig, Code v2 http://codev2.cc/download+remix/Lessig-Codev2.pdf
Wed, Nov 16th Written Assignment Due: 500+ words Response, Topic: How does the media effect our society?
WEEK 12 Topic: The Idea of Science
Mon, Nov 21st
Reading Due: Shapin & Shaeffer –truth/credibility/science ideal Intro to 2011 ed. http://press.princeton.edu/chapters/i9440.pdf
Steven Fuller’s Response Essay Never been Pure: http://www.ircps.org/sites/ircps.org/files/aestimatio/8/2011-12_Fuller.pdf
Wed, Nov 23rd Written Assignment Due: In class Quiz on these articles (Last day of class before Thanksgiving Break)
WEEK 13 Topic: TBA
Mon, Nov 28th
Reading Due: TBA
Wed, Nov 30th Written Assignment Due: In Class Quiz on readings.
WEEK 14 Topic: Ending with a classic.
Mon, Dec 5th
Reading Due: Jacques Ellul,. 1962 Trans: John Wilkinson. “Ideas of Technology: The Technological Order.” Technology and
Culture, Proceedings of Encyclopedia Britannica Conference on the Technological Order 3 #4, pp. 394-521
Jacques Ellul “technological Bluff” https://rekveld.home.xs4all.nl/tech/Ellul_TechnologicalBluff.pdf
Wed , Dec 7th Written Assignment Due: Quiz in class about the Ellul Readings
WEEK 15 Topic: Wrapping-Up & Exam
Mon, Dec 12th EXAM REVIEW (Happy Prophet Muhammad’s Birthday)
Wed, Dec 14th: FINAL EXAM (and Last Scheduled class session) (Last Day of Regular Class Sessions for semester)
Thurs, Dec 15th Reading Day
WEEK 16 Topic: NONE
Mon, Dec 21st FINAL EXAM WEEK/ NO CLASS- OFFICE HOURS AVAILABLE FOR DISCUSSION OF GRADES