Gender, Race, and the Complexities of Science and Technology: A Problem-Based Learning Experiment

Thursdays, 5:00 - 8:00 PM  /  1.29.09 – 5.14.09

Science and technology are relatively insulated from wider public deliberation-art and literary criticism is familiar, but not "science criticism."  Yet there is a large body of social interpretation of science and technology, to which feminist, anti-racist, and other critical analysts and activists have made significant contributions.  Building on this work, this course sets out to challenge the barriers of expertise, gender, race, class, and place that restrict wider access to and understanding of the production of scientific knowledge and technologies.  In this spirit, students participate in an innovative, problem-based learning approach that allows them to shape their own directions of inquiry and develop critical faculties as investigators and skills as prospective teachers.  In these inquiries students are guided by individualized bibliographies co-constructed with the instructors and by the projects of the other students.  Students from all fields and levels of preparation are encouraged to join and learn about gender, race, and the complexities of science and technology.
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Anne Fausto-Sterling is Professor of Biology and Gender Studies in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology and Biochemistry at Brown University and is a visiting professor at the Women’s and Gender Studies Program at MIT in 2009. Author of scientific publications in developmental genetics and developmental ecology, she has achieved recognition for works that challenge entrenched scientific beliefs while engaging with the general public.

Peter Taylor is a Professor at the UMass Boston, where he directs the Programs in Science, Technology and Values and Critical & Creative Thinking.  His teaching spans biomedical and environmental sciences, science and technology studies, critical pedagogy and reflective practice.  He is author of Unruly Complexity: Ecology, Interpretation, Engagement and co-editor of Changing Life: Genomes, Ecologies, Bodies, Commodities. 

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Consortium for Graduate Studies in Gender, Culture, Women, and Sexuality
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 14N-211
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
Phone: 617-324-2085