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    Vassar College
  Feb 18, 2018
Catalogue 2017-2018
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STS 340 - Controversies in Context: Technoscientific Futures

Semester Offered: Fall
1 unit(s)
Will the CERN particle accelerator in Europe create a mini black hole on earth? What are the intended and unintended consequences of genetic and technological enhancements on humanity? Are we headed towards a technological singularity? Will we colonize other planets? These seem like plot lines ripped from science fiction stories, yet recent advances in scientific knowledge and technological innovation have begun to ripple through societies leaving a trail of confusion, excitement, terror, and controversy. In this seminar, we  grapple with the controversies surrounding humanity’s technoscientific future. Einstein observed that “[s]cience as something existing and complete is the most objective thing known to man. But science in the making, science as an end to be pursued, is as subjective and psychologically conditioned as any other branch of human endeavor.” Our work in this seminar is based on the assumption that science is a human practice and a social phenomenon, and as a result, humanity’s technoscientific future is fundamentally contingent and not predetermined. We engage with scientists, STS scholars and science fiction writers as we reflexively explore our tethered extrapolations of the frontiers of technoscience. José Perillán.

Prerequisite(s): STS 200 .

One 2-hour period.

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