STS 102
Breeding Controversy: Technologies and Ideologies of Population Control Fall 2021
Division II Difference, Power, and Equity
Cross-listed WGSS 103 / STS 102

Class Details

What is “good breeding?” For whom is birth control “liberating?” This course traces the surprising ways that concepts of population growth and decline from the natural sciences come to inform social discourses on “overpopulation” in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Science and politics mix to decide: who should be able to reproduce–and, consequently, who might not be born–so that some may live more prosperously? By studying the history of eugenics movements, contraceptive technologies in the context of development, and the racialized cultures of reproductive medicine, we will analyze how scientific ways of thinking about human lives reflect and reproduce social inequities. We will use the tools of feminist technoscience studies to understand how science, culture, power, and politics intersect to create new technologies of “selection” that are far from natural. New literatures in critical race STS, black feminist thought, and critical theory will inform our discussions.
The Class: Format: tutorial
Limit: 10
Expected: 10
Class#: 1472
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: Weekly paper or response and in-class debate.
Prerequisites: None.
Enrollment Preferences: Freshmen. If over-enrolled, students will submit a short paragraph stating their interest in the course.
Distributions: Division II Difference, Power, and Equity
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
WGSS 103 Division II STS 102 Division II
DPE Notes: This course will demonstrate how scientific knowledges also reflect biases organized along lines of social difference, including race, gender, class and nation. Readings in critical race theory will give students a deeper appreciation of these issues.
Attributes: PHLH Reproductive, Maternal and Child Health

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