All STS students in the MA program and in the PhD streams must register for STS 501, 502, and 597/598.
The following courses will all carry STS credit in the 2021/22 academic year. This list is not exhaustive—other course may count for STS credits with the approval of your supervisor and the STS program director. Students may register in these courses via the UBC Course Schedule.
STS Core Courses
STS 501 001 (cross-listed with PHIL 560A 001) – Term 1 (Alan Richardson)
STS 502 002 (cross-listed with HIST 581D 201) – Term 2 (Alexei Kojevnikov)
Topic: Public Intellectuals: Science and Political Activism.
The seminar will explore political dilemmas and moral challenges of intellectual life during turbulent times, from Galileo and Voltaire to Einstein and Sakharov, and also include our own time and current controversies in which science is involved. We shall analyze the roles taken up by scientists as public intellectuals and explore peripeteia of historical developments through their eyes and existential experiences, their attempts to envision and rationalize the flow of time, to improve the world, or at least to make some sense of it. Texts by scientists and about them will help us understand through cultural contextualization their illusions, insights, and frustrations of the clash between wishful political thinking and the hard realities of history. Their often referenced but also ofte&~ n misinterpreted views provide uncommon perspectives and alternative picture of the past and its lost vision of the future. The hubris and the sometime unpredictable power of big, weird, dangerous, or incomprehensible ideas can also allow a humble reflection on contemporary intellectual attempts to comprehend the chaotic historical and political process of our own times.
STS 597/598 Colloquium in Science and Technology Studies – Term 1-2
STS Related Courses Taught by STS Affiliated Faculty
ARTH 540B 001 Studies in 20th Century Art
Social Media Before Social Media: Art, Fashion, Money, and the Masses in German Social Thought, 1900-1950
How might an examination of German Marxism and Sociology in the first half of the twentieth century help us better understand the contours of our current, social-media condition? Even as mass culture has shifted from the movie theatre to the Internet, the various ways in which writers then described the experience of “Little Shopgirls” within a “Cult of Distraction” still resonate, uncannily, with our lives today.
Focusing on select texts by Georg Simmel, Siegfried Kracauer, Walter Benjamin, Theodor Adorno, Max Horkheimer, and Hannah Arendt, this seminar will consider how these authors addressed certain topics—such as, art, fashion, the commodity, money, mass culture, the individual, anti-Semitism, and totalitarianism—as they responded to developments in technology, nationalism, and visual culture.
Throughout this seminar, we will consider how these authors not only provide insight into their earlier moment of modernity, as fascism and war took over social interactions, we will also look to their writings to ask whether they could better help us grasp the complex entanglements of neoliberalism, technology, cultural-economic trends, and new versions of totalitarianism in our contemporary life.
RES 500D 101 Expertise under fire. Navigating the divide between scientific practice and science studies – term 1 (Gunilla Öberg)
More to come soon