My teaching broadly aims to cultivate practical tools for thinking critically about the relationship between science and society. This often means taking what we know about each of these and turning them inside out to pick out how power and discourse circulate through individuals and organizations. Only by looking at science and society through the axes of history and individual experience, can we begin to interrogate and change our social worlds. I have taught courses on sociological methods, intro to sociology, science and technology studies, and the sociology of illness. Here you’ll find links to ongoing courses and helpful resources.
SOCIOL 376-0-3. Sociology Of Illness: the Normal and Pathological Through the Lens of Genetics
This course surveys a variety of topics in the sociology of illness and social studies of science and threads them together with a common goal: to unpack the entanglements of society with the science of human genetics and biomedical research. Through the readings, students will engage with themes that are central to sociological thought: identity, knowledge, power, categorization, race, politics, etc. albeit in the context of science and illness. By the end of the course students will be able to sharply interrogate how social and political conditions shape the production of claims about the genetic basis of illness and difference. While much of the scholarship we will consider is broadly sociological, some of it is drawn from other fields, and part of the goal of the course is to show what is gained when we think about health and illness from an interdisciplinary perspective. Students from other disciplines are welcome.
In addition to understanding various sociological theories of illness, students will learn valuable research skills for assessing scientific claims and their implications. For example, students will learn how to put these theories into practice with an empirical research project that challenges or complicates a specific claim about the relationship between genetics and the body.
SOCIOL 376-0 -22: Sociology of Technology
Technology is ubiquitous. This course covers central tenets in the sociology of technology by pairing empirical research on different technologies with different theoretical paradigms. From bicycles, cars, computers, facial recognition, genetic sequencing, soap, shipping containers to virtual reality. Each of these technologies is approached as a window into the social, political, racial, and economic determinants of technological innovation. Students will draw from their own experiences to understand the social construction of technology, actor-network theory, sociotechnical systems, sociotechnical and scientific imaginaries, feminist theories of technology and the New Jim Code. The central goal of the course is to equip students with the tools for unpacking the technologies societies take for granted and critically engaging with new technologies that may reproduce social inequities. In addition to understanding various sociological theories of technology, students will learn valuable research skills for assessing claims about technology, engineering, and science and their relation to culture, politics, and society.