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WGSS 413
Feminist Technoscience Fall 2019
Division II Difference, Power, and Equity
Cross-listed WGSS 413 / STS 413

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Are Feminism and Science compatible commitments? What do these nouns mean when paired with one another, when capitalized (or not), when pluralized (or not), and when deployed by a range of authors in different disciplines? What features do they share as ethical, political, and epistemological practices? What have scientific feminism and feminist science looked like in print and in practice since the middle of the 20th century, and how have they shaped our present, 21st-century technoscientific culture? To address these questions, we will read a set of essays and academic articles that are connected by a trail of citations. We will begin with the editorial introduction to “Science Out of Feminist Theory,” a 2017 special issue of Catalyst, and we will circle outward and backward to make sense of the terms and arguments we encounter there. We will read works of theory, like Donna Haraway’s “Situated Knowledges,” and research write-ups like Pat Treusch’s “The Art of Failure in Robotics,” and ethnographic work like Sophia Roosth’s “Evolutionary Yarns in Seahorse Valley.” While some of the readings will be set in advance, students will help shape the syllabus as we travel toward a better understanding of feminist technoscience’s potentials and limitations at a time when technical change often outpaces careful consideration of its consequences.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 12
Expected: 12
Class#: 1437
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: discussion participation; five response papers (~2 pages); mid-semester essay (8 pages); final essay (12-15 pages)
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: Science and Technology Studies concentrators
Distributions: Division II Difference, Power, and Equity
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
WGSS 413 Division II STS 413 Division II
DPE Notes: Central to "Feminist Technoscience" is a recognition of and engagement with the historical under-privileging of women, women's work, and women's bodies in capital-S "Science" and in a wide range of other technoscientific practices. We will examine and elucidate several branches of feminist theory. We will also develop feminist accounts of contemporary technoscientific work, even as we critique a number of such accounts from the past several decades.
Attributes: STS Senior Seminars

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