Science and Technology Studies
St Thomas University, Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada

Course Descriptions

1003 - Science, Technology and Society I
Introduces liberal arts students to science and technology as forces that both influence and are influenced by society. Examines developments in science and technology (in the areas of health and medicine and the natural environment) to see how they often have ironic, unintended consequences and critically evaluates various issues arising from science and technology. 3 credit hours.

2103 - Science, Technology and Society II
This course is designed to introduce students to social and environmental problems raised by science and technology. Specific topics may vary from section to section. Past topics have included the genetic basis for human intelligence, new reproductive technologies, and the politics of fisheries science. The aim of this course is to prepare students to enter into debate over key issues by introducing them to scientific research, technology, and legal and political issues arising from them. 3 credit hours.  Prerequisite: STS 1003

2123 – Food, Science & Sustainability
Today we take for granted the fact that the food we eat, even fresh food, is surrounded and in many ways constituted by technology and scientific knowledge. But during the last century, the ways in which science and technology have altered food and the way we eat it have at times become very controversial. Public protest, often voiced through scientific discourse, has in turn had an impact on patterns of food production and consumption. This course examines the broad contours of our technical relationship to food. How have different groups understood the costs and benefits of modern food production and distribution, and by whom are these costs and benefits borne or enjoyed? The notion of sustainability will be a central concept to be explored in the course: what are the political and economic implications of promoting agricultural sustainability? How viable is sustainability in both practical and ideological terms? Is sustainability an obvious corollary of globalization? How can both farming and patterns of consumption be made sustainable?  3 credit hours.

2243 - Science and Technology in World History: From Pre-History to 1543
Examines the transformation of civilizations around the world by technologies such as stone tools, catapults, hydraulic engineering, metallurgy, and gunpowder. Also examines the growth of the abstract, theoretical sciences of astronomy, mathematics, and medicine in various regions including China, the Americas, Egypt and Greece. Aims to understand the social, political, economic, and religious consequences of science and technology from the Paleolithic Era to the mid-16th century.

3 credit hours.

2253 - Science and Technology in World History: From 1543 to the Present
Examines the transformation of civilizations around the world by technologies such as steam engines, electricity, airplanes, and nuclear bombs. Also examines the development and impact of new scientific theories of universal gravitation, evolution, genetics, and bio-engineering. Aims to understand the social, political, economic, and religious consequences of science and technology from the mid-16th century to the present. 3 credit hours.

2313 - Energy and Society

This course examines energy systems (oil, gas, coal, hydroelectric, nuclear, and renewable) both historically and in the contemporary world, in terms of environmental and economic impacts, theories of technological change in their creation, deployment, and decommissioning, as well as public policy issues.  3 credit hours.

2403 – Science, Technology & War
This course explores the development of modern techniques, technologies, and social systems for the purposes of making war. It also asks how wars change societies, technologically, socially, and structurally. We will pay attention to technology and changes in military strategy, but we will also look at non-combatants as “users” of technology. The course will challenge students to consider such questions as: What are the purposes of military technologies? Are social values built into them? Is it possible to develop weapons that are “non-lethal,” “precise,” and/or “surgical?” Do they ultimately serve the purposes for which they were designed? How can citizens shape their use? How have our lives been shaped by military technology?
  3 credit hours.

2413 - Science, Technology & Innovation
This course examines the field of science and technology studies (STS) with a focus on science and technological-based innovation, historically and in the contemporary world. The course will offer students an opportunity to critcally evaluate theories of technological change, and science and technology in globalization, and the post-modern economy. Students will also be expected to critically discuss implications for public policies in the areas of research and development, science and technology, and innovation. No prerequisites required.  3 credit hours.

2503 - Plagues and Peoples
This course studies the impact of disease outbreaks on human populations and on economic, social, intellectual, religious, and political aspects of life from ancient times to the present. 3 credit hours.

2603 - Animals: Rights, Consciousness, and Experimentation
This course is an introduction to the scientific, legal, philosophical, and political debates over animal rights, animal consciousness, and animal experimentation. 3 credit hours.

2703 - History of the Life Sciences
This course examines the historical background and development of the life sciences from the ancient Greek world to the present. Particular attention will be focused on the fields of biology, ecology, medicine and genetics. 3 credit hours.

2903 - The Politics of Science
This course introduces students to the many ways in which science interacts with political interests. This includes the ways in which political considerations from outside of science and elected officials influence the development of science. It also includes the ways in which political interests from within science itself control the development of science and how scientific concerns often guide the development of public policies made by politicians. 3 credit hours.

3013 - Controversies in Science and Technology

Thsi course explores controversial issues involving science and technology in order to investigate the underlying dynamics of science and technology themselves since it is during controversies that the normally hidden social dimensions of techno-science become more explicit.  Various controversies, such as climate change, transgenic foods, biofuels, and chemical additives in food are studied to reveal the rhetorical tools, underlying assumptions, and social, political, economic, and philosophical struggles embedded within science and technology. 3 credit hours. Prerequisite: STS 1003

3063 - Science, Religion, and Galileo's Trial

Examines the complex interactions between Western science and the Judeo-Christian religious tradition in the ancient, medieval, and early modern periods culminating with a close study of Galileo's trial by the Inquisition in 1632 to reveal how variable and complex interactions between science and religion have been characterized at different times by conflict, cooperation, separation, understanding, misunderstanding, dialogue, and alienation.  3 credit hours. Prerequisite: STS 2243 or permission of the instructor.

3103 - Science, Technology & Society III

This course further develops an integrative understanding of the core theories and various brances of the dynamic field of Science and Technology Studies (STS) through an advanced study of the theoretical roots and current trends in the discipline.  Students will develop skills in critical thinking, research, aas well as written and oral presentations by applying theortetical perspectives to different case studies. 3 credit hours   Prerequisiste:  STS 2103.

3163 - Contemporary Perspectives on Science and Religion
This course examines the recent debates over the relation between science and religion. A resurgence of interest in these debates has been sparked by developments in the sciences, particularly in physics and genetics, as well as by a newly-emerging understanding of what science is. The central questions include whether science and religion are compatible and whether recent developments in the sciences give new answers to religious and theological questions. Readings will represent all sides of these debates. 3 credit hours. Prerequisite: STS 2253 or permission of the instructor.

3203 - Science, Technology and Nature
Examines the historical connections between society and nature by studying how science and technology, from the time of the ancient Mesopotamians to the present, have influenced how the natural world has been both perceived and used. Topics include: transition from sacred to secular views of nature, medieval technologies and land-use, artistic representations of nature, the scientific revolution and the utility of nature, the 17t h-century mechanical philosophy of nature, the 18th-century Romantic culture of nature, impact of industrialization. Prerequisite: at least 9 credit hours in STS or permission of the instructor. 3 credit hours.

3303 – Sex, Science & Gender
This course examines how scientific research, in the late 19th and 20th centuries, has shaped common conceptions of sex behaviour and how this scientific knowledge has also been shaped by cultural conceptions of gender roles and "normal" behaviour. 3 credit hours.

3413 - God, Nature, & Charles Darwin

Examines the complex interactions between theories of biological evolution and Christianity.  Beginning with ancient Greek theories of how species arise, the course will focus primarily on the social, political, economic, techno-scientific, and religion contexts of the 19th century when ideas of species transmutation or evolution were discussed. 3 credit hours.  Prerequisite: a minimum of 9 credit hours beyond 1000 - level. 

3503 - Feminism  and Techno-Science
Examines a variety of feminist perspectives on science and technology which suggest that scientific authority (particularly in the biological and life sciences) rationalizes and normalizes gender stereotypes and inequalities, and also marginalizes women from its institutions. The content and positions of various perspectives (as well as counter-arguments) are studied for their political, philosophical, and epistemic assumptions. 3 credit hours. Prerequisite: at least 9 credit hours in STS or permission of the instructor.

3533 - Science and Scientific Knowledge (SOCI 3533)
This course examines the study of science and scientific knowledge from a sociological perspective. It focuses on the effort of the Edinburgh School to provide a materialist resolution to the debate between positivist and relativist epistemologies. 3 credit hours.

3563 - Philosophy of Science (PHIL 3563)
This course will examine science from the perspective of philosophy. Topics will include the historical relation between science and philosophy, the differences between the social and the physical sciences, the nature of scientific change in history, the role of values in science, the reality of 'theoretical' objects of science, and feminist alternatives to traditional scientific research. Examples will be drawn from both the physical and the social sciences.  3 credit hours. Prerequisite: at least 9 credit hours in STS or permission of the instructor.

4006 - Honours Thesis

4103 - Independent Study

Science courses

St. Thomas offers courses in the Sciences. These courses can be taken either as science courses or as courses in Science and Technology Studies. In the 2008-2009 year, the following courses are available to students:

BIOL 1503 - Principles of Biology I (STS 1503)
This course introduces students to the study of life. Topics include the scientific method, biological molecules, cell structure and function, energy flow, respiration, and photosynthesis.. 3 credit hours. 3 credit hours.

BIOL 1513 - Principles of Biology II (STS 1513)
This course examines mitosis, meiosis, and genetics. Surveys the structure, function, and evolution of the kingdoms of life. Discusses the basics of ecology, culminating in ecological interactions and the impact of humans on the planet. 3 credit hours.

CHEM 1613 - Everyday Chemistry (STS 1613)
Introduces students to chemistry through the examination of the various roles that chemical elements and reactions play in our everyday lives. Topics could include the role of oxygen in combustion and the growth of living organisms, the formation of water molecules, and the role of carbon-based and organic molecules in fuels, food, and everyday objects. 3 credit hours

GEOL 1713 - Science, Technology and the Earth (STS 1713)
The course introduces various elements of basic science using the Earth as its laboratory. Earth Science is well suited for this purpose. Topics are varied and include: the origin of the Earth; gravity, density and seismic waves and what they can tell us about the Earth; physical properties of minerals and what they can tell us about atomic structure; energy sources; water resources; wastes; life in the context of creationism and evolution. Lectures are augmented by online and hands-on exercises and a self-lead fieldtrip. 3 credit hours.

Students considering entering a B.Ed. programme after graduation should register for dual-listed STS/Science courses using the science course code (e.g., BIOL1503/GEOL1713) so that it can be considered for ‘teachable’ credit.

In addition to the courses listed immediately above, students may use any courses in the Sciences to count toward the Minor, Major and Honours in Science and Technology Studies. Students may apply more than one methods course toward their Major or Honours only with the approval of the Programme Director.

Courses at the University of New Brunswick

The University of New Brunswick offers a number of courses in the Sciences and courses that fall under the description of Science and Technology Studies but are offered by departments such as history and sociology. St. Thomas students who wish to register for any of the courses described immediately above may do so only with the approval of the Director of Science and Technology Studies and the approval of the Registrar’s Office.

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