Science Studies

STSS-6960 Ron Eglash, Sp 2014, Fridays 10:00-12:50PM, SAGE 5711

Learning objectives:
Students will be able to demonstrate understanding in the epistemological, institutional and social dimensions of science, drawing from sociocultural studies of its internal worlds -- laboratories, fieldwork, simulations, human and nonhuman performances, etc. -- as well as science in its interaction with “external” networks such as politics, economics, education, and other social processes.

To contact instructor:
Office Hours: Tuesday 1-3 and by appointment, 5502 Sage. Email:, phone: 276-2048.


The reading reflections (4-6 pages) are based strictly on the reading assignments for class; no original research is required. Your reflections can cover them broadly or focus on just a few. They would be a good candidate to be re-purposed as part of your portfolios, so make sure you adhere to scholarly grammar, analysis, language and format (e.g. MLA or U. Chicago citation practices). The research paper (minimum 10 pages) can be anything related to race and ethnicity, and of course should also be formal academic writing. You are welcome to use your own empirical research as well as researching literature. .

Academic Honesty:

While ideas are available to everyone, credit for ideas, and the particular text used to express them, belongs to their originator. Plagiarism occurs when a student attempts to pass the ideas or words of someone else as their own (cf. It is surprisingly easy to do. For example, students who are not writing in their first language will sometimes try to use a sentence from another written text, simply because they are worried about their grammar. Plagiarism also occurs when a quotation is reworded in an attempt to avoid citation—always make sure the sources of your quotations are specifically cited. The internet makes plagiarism particularly tempting, since you can copy and paste from the web to your paper. Recycling your own paper from another course would not be plagiarism, but it would be academic dishonesty and thus subject to the same penalties. Plagiarism will result in failing the course (a grade of “F”).

Special Needs
Please contact me if you have special needs such as disability or religious holidays.

Articles are in library reserve unless otherwise indicated; Books are as follows:

    Course Schedule:

Part I: Introduction

1/24: Introduction

(see email sent to participants1/20)

1/31 Just how much of a constructivist are you?

Hacking, Ian.The Social Construction of What? Assignment: Hacking Pg 99 provides a test to score ourselves on three features of  constructivism (contingency, nominalism, external explanations). Score yourself, and be prepared to explain your scores to the class. (Extra credit: rather than science in general, find two specific topics in science that give you different scores, and explain why).

2/7 SSI: Sociology of Scientific Ignorance

Robert Proctor and Londa Schiebinger. Agnotology: The Making and Unmaking of Ignorance.

  2/14 Queer Theory

2/21 From Interests to ANT

I assume you have already some familarity with ANT basics; if not you should read Callon's classic on scallops, and one of Latour's intro texts such as Science in Action, as well as a critique such as Winner's. In addition you may find the following overviews helpful in preventing the "cant see the forest for the trees" problem (or maybe that should be "can't see the colony for the ANTS").

  Part II: Refractions and Materializations

2/28 Multiple objectivity (First paper due)

3/7  Materialization 1

Pickering, Andrew. The mangle of practice : time, agency, and science. Chicago : University of Chicago Press, c1995

optional: The Mangle in Practice: Science, Society, and Becoming [Andrew Pickering, Keith Guzik

3/14 no class  (Spring break)

3/21 Materialization 2

Optional: Stacy Alimo, Bodily Natures: Science, Environment, and the Material Self

3/28 Post-constructivism

Hartigan, John. Anthropology of Race: Genes, Biology, and Culture. School for Advanced Research, 2013

Part III: Extensions

  4/4  Cross-cultural comparison (second paper due)

Nader, Laura. Naked Science

  Science Studies and Complexity Theory

Terranova. ch 4, Soft Control" Network Culture, Pluto Press 2004.
Eglash and Banks, "Recursive Depth." The Information Society, 30:2
Pickering, "Beyond Design" Synthese 2009
Taylor, "Boundary Shifts" pp. 248-263 in A. Belgrano, C. Fowler (eds.), Ecosystem Based Management for Marine Fisheries: An Evolving Perspective. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011. 

Optional: Latour; Jensen; Venturini; Sébastian; Boullier. "The Whole is Always Smaller Than Its Parts: A Digital Test of Gabriel Tarde’s Monads" The British Journal of Sociology, 63-4, pp 590–615, Dec 2012

4/18  Simulation and Modeling

Catharina Landström, Sarah J. Whatmore, and Stuart N. Lane. "Learning through Computer Model Improvisations". Science, Technology & Human Values September 2013 38: 678-700
Najafi, "The Ontology of the Enemy: An Interview with Peter Galison"
Lansing, two-page “nugget” For more details see
Stefan Helmreich. Digitizing 'Development': Balinese water temples, complexity and the politics of simulation.” Critique of Anthropology, Vol. 19, No. 3, 249-265 (1999)
Lansing, Stephen. “Foucault and the Water Temples: A Reply to Helmreich Critique of Anthropology (1999) 20(3):337-346.
Eglash and Garvey, "
Basins of Attraction for Generative Justice"

video (in class):Steve Lansing at the Stockholm Resilience Centre

4/25 STS and STEM education (Third paper due)

Mattias Lundin "Inviting queer ideas into the science classroom: studying sexuality education from a queer perspective"
Bennett, A. and Eglash, R. cSELF (Computer Science Education from Life): Broadening Participation through Design Agency
Barad, Karen. "Reconceiving Scientific Literacy as Agential Literacy". In R. Reid and S. Traweek, ed. Culture + Science. Routledge.
Lachney et al "Alternatives to the Content Agnostic Position in the “Construction Genre” of Learning Technology"
Jegeded and Aikenhead, "Transcending Cultural Borders: Implications for Science Teaching"


Montoya, M. "Beyond the Scientific Pipeline: Toward a Pluralistic Science for the 21st Century"
A. Agalianos, G. Whitty, R. Noss: The Social Shaping of Logo

  5/2 Class presentations (Final research paper due monday may 5)