Science, Technology and Race


The purpose of this class is to explore the many ways in which "race" is embedded in the language and practice of science and technology in the world. You will be reading texts written from a variety of disciplinary perspectives and learning to find and evaluate information on race, science and technology.

Reading requirements: between 60 and 120 pages/week. Reading and Class participation count for 35% of your grade.

This class involves three assignments:

First, you will use the library or on-line resources to find recent study data on race or racism in the world. This could be from the CDC, NIH, NSF, Census Bureau, API, UN, etc. Your task is to find it, collect contextual information on it, evaluate its significance and write it up. (10%).

Second, in groups of 2-4 you will read one of the Special Topics books, discuss it in terms of your own insights and critique it using the readings. (25%).

Your third assignment is to pick an information source (New York Times, Forbes, a Gopher site, UN Reports, Chemical Industry News, ACT/UP) and examine it from at least five standpoints, attending to who produces, it, who it is for, and who are affected by it. (30%).


Week 1: What is "Race"?

Week 2: IQ - Who is normal and who deviates?

Week 3: The Neutrality of Science and Technology

Week 4: Environmentalism and Third-World Politics

Week 5: Who gets to do Science?

Week 6: Science in Africa

Week 7: The Science of Man: Anthropology and Colonialism

Week 8: Culture, Rationality and Relativism

Week 9: Medicine, Gender and Race

Week 10: Anti-Racist Science Teaching: Putting it all together

Possible Special Topics