FRESHMAN ONLY COURSES

Nature & Society – 4 credits (IHSS 1110) Akera TF 2 – 3:50 pm
Nature/Society is the core seminar for the Vasudha (Sustainability) Living & Learning Community where you are introduced to a social understandingof sustainability. Our focus will be on knowledge, understanding, and critical thinking about human beings and our relationship to the environment. Service learning and other experiential learning strategies will be important elements of this course. Our goal is to cultivate a humanistic, social scientific, and ethnographic understanding of the underlying challenges of sustainability that results from human behavior and our place in the natural world.

Public Health & War On Drugs – 4 credits (IHSS 1962) Campbell MR 12 – 1:50 pm
Students in this course examine the history of social, political, and economic conditions of the ‘War on Drugs’. We focus on public health and policy matters that challenge US society by asking, “Whose problems are social problems like drug addiction?” Our analysis is informed by sustained engagement with David Simons’ acclaimed television series ‘The Wire’ and other media representations relevant to public health and drug policy.

Science In The Key of Life – 4 credits (IHSS 1964) Eglash TF 10 – 11:50 am
Science seems to be tuned in the key of death: it invents ever more deadly weapons; “accidently” causes environmental devastation; and allows the wealth inequalities at the root of race riots, terrorist movements and other poverty-driven crises. What would science be like when played in the key of life? Students will examine the concept of “tuning” in frameworks ranging from music to mathematics, learning to utilize the concept for critique and to fashion alternative practices.

Environment & Politics – 4 credits (IHSS 1240) Gowdy, Fortun MR 2 – 3:50 pm
Concerns about the environment have provoked intense and complicated debates throughout societies around the world. In this course, students analyze the issues, challenges and opportunities to protect the environment. Students will play roles in oral debates, and will design projects to solve environmental problems. Project proposals will be evaluated for the way they combine creativity, critical evaluation, interdisciplinarity and ethical perspective. Students are encouraged to continue working to realize these projects in later semesters.

Cultures of Scientific Revolutions – 4 credits (IHSS 1978) M Fortun MR 10-11:50 am
This course explores science as a human activity, examining some of the most dramatic and important “revolutions” in the sciences in different cultural circumstances: the Scientific Revolution of the 16th-18th centuries, the development of Darwinian evolutionary theory, the demise of determinism and absolute space-time in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Manhattan Project and the re-organization of American science after World War II, contemporary sciences linking human activities with planetary changes.

Art, Music & Culture -- 4 credits (IHSS 1965) Malazita, Lawson, Ruxanka M 4:00-5:50 W 2:00-3:50 This tri-taught class will address Open Source Software from the perspectives of Art, Music, and Social Science. Students will explore the impacts of OSS beyond STEM and across cultural settings, including the ways OSS is used and accessed by artists, musicians, and social groups that have been traditionally marginalized by tech communities. Students must register for the lecture session as well as for one of the creative studio sections.

Religion in a Global World (IHSS 1967) M/R 4:00-5:50 ROYER
This course explores the role of religion in the everyday lives of people around the world, and ways religion becomes interlaced with media and politics.

Global Health Challenges (IHSS 1961, 4cr)TF 4:00-5:50PM
This course explores current and emerging global health problems and possible solutions. We will compare problems in low, middle and high income countries, examining different health challenges (associated with malaria and child birth, for example), ethnomedical practices, medical ethics, and ways environmental problems impact human health.

1000 LEVEL COURSES

PDI Studio I - 4 credits (IHSS 1610) Bennett/Costelloe-Kuehn/Nieusma MR 2 - 4:50 pm
The first design studio in the Product Design and Innovation Program introduces students to general design through a series of short projects. The projects stress creative thinking and invention, observation and perception, communication and visualization, sketching, photography, model-making, and especially open-ended exploration. Restricted to Design, Innovation, and Society majors.

Science, Technology & Society - 4 credits (STSH/STSS 1110) Breyman TF 2 - 3:50 pm
Science, Technology, and Society introduces students to Science and Technology Studies (STS), a multidisciplinary field that examines how politics, society and culture affect scientific research and technological innovation, and how research and innovation affect politics, society, and culture. Students are encouraged to apply what they learn to their own area of study and specialization. The course improves oral and written communication, and offers opportunities for discussion-based learning where intensive reading, writing, presenting, and group collaboration are taken seriously.

History & Culture of Games – 4 credits (COMM 1600) Malazita TF 4 – 5:50 pm
This course is designed to give students a critical understanding of games and gaming through a combination of historical and reflective approaches. The course is divided into two major components: a lecture that covers the history of human games and play, and readings and discussion sessions that analyze the impacts that games and play have on human life. At the core of both of these components will be an exploration of the emotional, political, gendered, racial, economic, and spiritual currents that games arise out of and contribute to.

Sociology – 4 credits (STSS 1520) Mascarenhas TF 2-4:50
A study of the principles and concepts of sociology and their application to the study of society and self. Students are introduced to the scope, materials, and methods of sociology. The issues and problems to be studied come from basic social institutions such as the family, science, and religion. Other topics may include love, crime, political economy, power, population growth, social class, and minority and ethnic relations.


2000 LEVEL COURSES

PDI Studio III 4 credits (IHSS 2610) Nieusma TF 2 - 4:50 pm
The third design studio in the Product Design and Innovation Program focuses on an enriched sense of problem definition through an emphasis on the reach and interconnectedness of technology, and the conditionality of design selection criteria. Its design exercises, readings, and discussion press beyond marginal substitutions toward a broadened sense of possibility from, for example, “hypercars” and human-powered homes to small-scale local agriculture and extreme ecological living systems. This is a communication-intensive course. Restricted to Design, Innovation, and Society majors.


American Politics & Society in Crisis - 4 credits (STSS 2962) Winner MR 12 – 1:50 pm
This course analyzes the workings of major institutions in American society and politics during a
period in which key parts of our society seem dysfunctional, having lost their integrity and ability to solve problems. Through a careful reading of texts in political science and social criticism we discuss symptoms, causes and possible remedies.

Science Fiction Cinema & Social Criticism – 4 credits (STSS 2961) Winner MR 2- 3:50 pm
This class studies relationships between science fiction films and serious works of modern social criticism. Through a careful reading of texts, analytical viewing of films and comparison of the two experiences we will explore some of the most significant issues in modern society. Films include "Metropolis," "1984," "Dr. Strangelove," "Avatar" and "Ex Machina."

Environment & Law – 4 credits (STSH 2320) Howard MR 10-11:50
This is an introductory environmental law and policy course, with emphasis on the practical use and application of legal concepts.


4000 LEVEL COURSES

PDI Studio V -- 4 credits (STSH 4610) Eglash MR 9 - 11:50 am
The fifth design studio in the Product Design and Innovation Program introduces students to Human Centered Design, Participatory Design, and similar approaches that draw on ethnographic techniques and other user-centered methods. With a focus on information technology, we will work with one community group throughout the semester, collaborating in an iterative process that culminates in real-world trials and assessment of our co-designed products. Restricted to Design, Innovation, and Society majors.


Energy Politics – 4 credits (STSS 4310) Breyman TF 10 – 11:50 am
This course explores the science, history, politics, policy, economics, environmental consequences, and media coverage of the US energy system through readings, lectures, films, discussions, examinations, and research project reports and presentations

Drugs In History – 4 credits (STSS/STSH 4430) Campbell MR 10-11:50am This course teaches basic historical, anthropological, and sociological concepts by considering how a wide variety of drugs have been used in historical and contemporary societies. We analyze how licit and illicit drugs serve as “technologies” within specific social contexts or subcultures; how these technologies are produced, distributed, and consumed; what meanings are attached to these technologies in what contexts; how drug policy governs these technologies; what drugs tell us about society and culture in different times and places; and the impacts of biomedical knowledge and practice on specific population groups. We focus on representation of drug use and drug users in popular culture, science and medicine, and the social sciences in order to study how social and cultural change occurs.

Food, Farms & Famine – 4 credits (STSS 4260) Kinchy MR 2-4pm
This course provides students with a wide-ranging understanding of the environmental and social context of food, agriculture, and hunger. Drawing primarily on sociological concepts and research, the class will take a “food systems” approach, analyzing food as it travels from farm to table as part of an interconnected process. Students will examine why we eat the way we do and how our food choices affect other people and the environment.

Public Service Internship - 4 credits (STSH/ STSS 4800) Costelloe-Kuehn T 4 - 5:50 pm
This course offers an insight into the public policy process from the vantage point of a part-time internship in a non-profit organization. Students have worked in organizations focused on health, environmental protection, urban planning, and many other issues. Prerequisites: STSH 1110/ STSS 1110 or permission of instructor.

Environmental Justice – 4 credits (STSS 4967) TF 10-11:50 Mascarenhas
Over years of painstaking research and emotionally charged activism, environmental justice scholars have been able to successfully link questions of social justice, equity, rights and people’s quality of life. For environmental justice scholars and activists, environmental problems are social problems; the two are inseparable. This is because “toxic victims are, typically, poor or working people of modest means. Thus their environmental problems are inseparable from their economic condition. The purpose of this course is to explore how racial, economic, and cultural background can influence people’s access to clean, safe, and productive environments.

21st Century Risks, Robotics, Nanotechnology, Cloning, and Other Technologies - 4 credits (STSS 4330) Woodhouse MR 2 - 3:50 pm
This course covers two main types of technological risk: (1) innovating in ways that endanger health, quality of life, environment, or other goals; and (2) failing to pursue innovations that people need. Some understanding of the technical details is a prerequisite for making sense of emerging technologies, but the course focuses more on media, public opinion, political decision making, technologists’ incentives, and other social issues. This is a communication-intensive course. Prerequisite STSS/H 1110 or permission of instructor.

Critical Data Mapping – 1 credit ( STSS 4962) K Fortun R 4 – 5:50 pm
This course examines the politics of big open data initiatives in cities across the globe. Students will participate in a group project, each focusing on a particular city and building GIS maps from data available in the city’s open data portals. Students will study the history of open data movements in their cities, how data is collected and made available, and how citizens and officials are leveraging and visualizing the data to address social issues.

Gender In Culture – 1 credit (STSS 4963) Costelloe-Kuehn W 6:30– 9:20 pm
This course revolves around documentary films that examine diverse gender issues in settings around the world. Following film screenings, facilitated discussion will encourage critical perspective and and personal reflection. For more details, see the Gender in Culture course flyer.

Utopian and Dystopian Futures – 4 credits (STSS 4965) Woodhouse TF 2 – 3:50 pm
Fiction-based, including sci fi, but also social and scientific scenarios on future work/leisure, radical abundance via nanotechnology, virtual realities, real democracy, transhumanism, space colonization. Classroom: Discussion, videos, oral presentations – not lecture. Major research project of student’s choice. Considerable reading.

Health & Emergencies – 4 credits (STSS 4966) K. Fortun M 4:00-5:50 pm
This course examines the history, organization and challenges of emergency medical response. We will study emergency response in particular cases, involved organizations, and ethical challenges. Students will complete a 90-hour New York State Emergency Medical Technician curriculum offered through Rensselaer County held on the RPI campus. Students affiliated with RPI Ambulance will have the cost of the course covered. Upon completion, students will receive EMT-B certification allowing them to work on Basic Life Support units.

Senior Project – 4 credits (STSH /STSS 4980) Malazita W 2:30 – 6:20 pm
This class is designed to support the development of STS senior thesis projects. Independent research supervised by a faculty member, culminating in a written thesis. A creative endeavor such as a videotape or computer program may be substituted with departmental permission. This is a communication-intensive course. Restricted to STSO, SUST, and DSIS majors with senior standing.


GRADUATE COURSES

Social Studies Of Economic Theory – 3 credits (STSS 6964) Gowdy T 9 – 11:50 am
This course will examine the social and political context of neoclassical welfare economics, the dominant economic theory since the middle of the twentieth century. We will first examine the neoclassical theory of consumer behavior, production, and distribution. Then the basic theoretical and empirical critiques of neoclassical economics will be explored. The rest of the course will look at applications of old and new economic approaches to issues such as environmental sustainability, income inequality, and economic development.

Engineering Studies – 3 credits (STSS 69656) Akera F 9 – 12 pm
Engineering Studies (as contrasted against technology studies) is a field of study that has emerged more specifically in contradistinction to Science Studies, with a focus on the epistemic culture of engineering that distinguishes it from the sciences. In this graduate seminar, we will review the emerging, interdisciplinary literature in the field that encompasses historical, anthropological, sociological, and other approaches to the study of engineers. Though primarily a readings seminar, approximately one-third of the course will focus on the constitutive disciplinary methods that undergird this scholarship, which will include self-directed research involving, at minimum, a synthesis of the secondary literature within a specific topic and tradition, within the general domain of Engineering Studies. Topic will be established in negotiation with the instructor.

Concepts – 3 credits (STSS 66010) Kinchy R 9 – 12 pm
Students in this course learn to approach the field of STS as a set of conversations and debates in which they will be active participants. Each week, we will explore and discuss difficult questions that have motivated STS scholars for many years. The readings have been selected to challenge the commonsense ideas that students have likely developed about everyday concepts such as “science,” “nature,” “objectivity,” etc. Course assignments will strengthen students’ capacity to research and analyze scholarly debates in STS and to write literature review essays.

Writing Practicum – 1 credit (STSS 6963) Nieusma M 10-11am
Set writing goals, complete a writing project, and exchange constructive feedback on works in progress. Students enrolled in this course are expected to make consistent progress toward their own writing goals and will receive peer review at various stages of their writing. Enrolled students are also expected to provide peer review for about two papers each month. Restricted to STS graduate students.

Teaching Practicum – 1 credit (STSS 6966) Nieusma M 11-12am
In this course, students will explore a variety of approaches to teaching STS and will exchange constructive feedback on lesson plans, classroom management strategies, grading techniques, teaching statements, syllabus design, and other key issues related to effective pedagogy in traditional and non-traditional course settings. Restricted to STS graduate students.

Presentation Practicum – 1 credit (STSS 6967) Nieusma W 11:30-1pm
Students in this course will participate in the weekly STS Brown Bag seminar series. Students are expected to attend the seminar weekly, give one research presentation, and provide constructive feedback on other presentations over the semester. Restricted to STS graduate students.