HPS4110H: Medicine, Science, and Mobility in the Mediterranean World
Thursdays 10 - 12
Course description: The Mediterranean world has historically been characterized as a fluid and permeable space of both human and non-human movement across Africa, Asia, and Europe. This course examines the role of Mediterranean interactions in the histories of science and medicine, focusing on the premodern period. It explores processes of production of medical and scientific knowledge in the premodern Mediterranean world. We will address topics such as the relationship between medicine, science, and religion; slavery and medicine; the management of epidemics and public health; the movement of specimens and curiosities; travel and scientific exchange; bodies and identities; and the making of human diversity. We will also critically reflect on the category of mobility, engaging in questions related to how movement participated in processes of knowledge production in the sciences and medicine and, conversely, how scientific and medical pursuits encouraged mobility.
HPS4021H: Feminist Approaches to Science & Technology Studies
Tuesdays 4 - 6
Course Description: This seminar introduces graduate students to intersections of feminist theory with the multidisciplinary field of science & technology studies (STS). We will analyze and discuss notable critiques of science and technology by feminist and queer studies scholars that have transformed not only the field of STS, but also research practices and concepts within STEM fields. This year’s seminar focuses primarily on Sex & Gender in the History of Science, with key topics including biomedical and technological representations of sex, gender, and sexuality, women in STEM professions, human reproductive technologies; as well as intersectional and transnational approaches to studying gendered labour and knowledge production. Course assignments will enable students to consider how the themes, theoretical approaches, and/or methodologies of feminist STS can inform their own research interests.
HPS4022H: Brave New Worlds: Science + Fiction
Thursdays 12 - 2
Course Description: During the last two centuries science fiction (SF) has become the mythology of modern societies, and the very name of this literary genre points unambiguously to science as their acknowledged linchpin. Every mythology offers a deep insight into the mores and morals, heroes and villains, structures and strictures, dreams and taboos of the society that produced it. This graduate research seminar explores SF as a particular lens for the understanding of both the historical development of modern sciences and the role of science and scientific knowledge in the historical development of modern societies. It is structured thematically around a series of classic SF novels and speculative writings by eminent scientists, but focused on students carrying out independent research projects that examine one of the major themes addressed in the readings, from aliens, androids, and AI to evolution, eugenics, ET, and beyond. The seminar concludes with a workshop where students present their research projects to the audience of their peers.
HPS4103H: The Technological Underground: New Methods in History of Technology
Tuesdays 1 - 3
Course Description: This course examines new and emerging methodologies for investigating the histories of technology. It focuses on the concept of the technological underground. Undergrounds have figured powerfully in human histories and imaginations as places of alterity, concealment, exploration, and discovery; as well as spaces of hope, refuge, and fugitivity. The course leads students through a collection of technological undergrounds – real and figurative – to examine the unexplored and underexplored histories of technology. What people and technologies have historically occupied these spaces? How can the idea of the underground help us approach people and technologies traditionally written out of our histories? What can it reveal about agency, resistance, and the category of technology itself? Drawing on recent work in global history, critical race studies, postcolonialism, and digital humanities, the course analyzes the particular challenges posed by source materials and current frameworks and encourages students to develop new ways of thinking and writing the histories of technology.