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Course Details

Spring 2013-2014
SOC 357 (SA)   Graded A-F, P/D/F, Audit

Sociology of Technology

Janet A. Vertesi

You are probably reading this course description on a computer. By day's end you may talk to a friend on your cell phone, buy something on the internet with a credit card, bicycle to campus, or drive to the store. Technology is everywhere and it is easy to see how it influences our lives, but where do new technologies come from, how are they picked up and used, and how do our values and social norms influence their design and development? Addressing these questions with examples from the railroad to cybernetics, from the birth control pill to DRM, this course provides an introduction to the field of the Sociology of Technology.

Sample reading list:
Langdon Winner, Do Artifacts Have Politics?
Trevor Pinch and Wiebe Bijker, The Social Construction of Facts and Artifacts
Bruno Latour, Where are the Missing Masses?
Susan Leigh Star, The Ethnography of Infrastructure
Steve Woolgar, Configuring the User
Tarleton Gillespie, Wired Shut: Copyright and the Shape of Digital Culture

Reading/Writing assignments:
Approximately 100 pages of reading per week; weekly reading responses; a research paper topic proposal; and a final research paper.

Requirements/Grading:
Mid Term Exam - 15%
Paper in lieu of Final - 30%
Papers - 15%
Oral Presentation(s) - 10%
Class/Precept Participation - 15%
Other (See Instructor) - 15%

Other Requirements:
Open to Juniors and Seniors Only.

Other information:
Appropriate for Sociology, History of Science, and/or Engineering students.

Schedule/Classroom assignment:

Class numberSectionTimeDaysRoomEnrollmentStatus
40318 S01 1:30 pm - 4:20 pm T   Bobst Hall   105   Enrolled:12 Limit:18