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COURSE TITLE: Science and Society
NAME OF INSTRUCTOR: Randolph Haluza-DeLay
CREDIT WEIGHT AND WEEKLY TIME DISTRIBUTION: credits 3(hrs lect 3 - hrs sem 0 - hrs lab 0)
COURSE DESCRIPTION: An exploration of the place of science in contemporary Western societies. The complex relationship between science and our social and natural environments is examined in the context of culture, major social institutions and people’s everyday lives.

Science is a social product. Sociology is an odd science in that it tries to study social products, which necessarily includes studying that which it is part of. In this course we will examine the INTERNAL workings of scientists – science as social practice. Next, we will examine how the field(s) of science are interrelated with other fields in society, e.g., how science is impacted by and impacts the political field, medicine, everyday lives, and so on.

There are three key themes (objectives for you to understand):

  • How did science come to gain Aepistemic authority@ in contemporary society?
  • How is science a Asocial practice@ (e.g., rather than discovery of the >real= world.)
  • How does this shape particular ways of understanding the world –what implications does  technique have for Christians?
The course will take a Aproblem-based learning@ approach. We will rather quickly read the text and other readings to build a knowledge-base. To deepen your knowledge base and develop analytical skills, the course will move into specific issues and case studies of your choice. Looking at the sociological concepts through specific cases is the third key them of the course. Furthermore, see Bloom=s Taxonomy attached at the end of the syllabus - we are most interested in moving toward higher levels of cognitive thought about the sociological dimensions of science and technology. We will not be staying at the low levels of knowledge regurgitation. 

Prerequisites: Three credits in sociology at the introductory level
  • Stahl, William A., Robert A. Campbell, Yvonne Petry and Gary Driver. 2002. Webs of reality: Social perspectives on science and religion. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.
  • Ellul, Jacques. 2004. Perspectives on Our Age: Jacques Ellul Speaks on His Life and Work.  2nd ed., Edited by Willem H. Vanderburg.  Toronto: Anansi.
  • Book of Readings
Book Review (Ellul)40%
Exam 120%
Article-Issue Presentation20%
Exam 220%
  • Introduction to the course
  • Introducing analysis of science/technology in Society - the case of the Marshall Islands Readings - Crease and Cleaver
    • What is the “science” involved in the story?
    • What are the technologies?
    • What are the immediate effects? What are the long-range effects? on individuals, on society as a whole? (What is “society” in this case?)
    • Articulate the ways that science, technology and the society(s) interrelated.
  • Science & social inequality
  • Epistemic Authority (Science and Religion part I)
  • Science is...
  • Science really is...
  • Magic and Modernity
  • Technology
  • Epistemology of scientific knowledge (social constructivism, Actor-network theory)
  • Science as a social practice
  • Science as technology; Science in society

Required texts, assignments, and grade distributions may vary from one offering of this course to the next. Please consult the course instructor for up to date details.

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