teaching

UNDERGRADUATE

NATS 1760 Science, Technology, and Society
This course is an introduction to the history of science and technology and their social and cultural relations. Moving from the agorae of Ancient Greece through the artists’ studios of the Renaissance, the scientific societies of the Enlightenment, the museums and public zoos of the nineteenth century and the biochemical and nuclear weapons laboratories of the late twentieth, students can expect to learn the details of scientific theories and technological developments alongside their social and cultural relations. The course covers themes rather than strict timelines; it is illustrative rather than exhaustive, using the richness of historical examples to explore the complex and changing relations between science, technology and society over the ages.

SC/STS 3600 3.0 Technological Failure
This course challenges students to rethink the cultural history of technology by focusing on the sometimes catastrophic occasions – blackouts, nuclear meltdowns, aircraft disasters – when technologies stop working as they should. While asking students to see the failings of technology as a rich site of inquiry, the course builds on canonical concerns about technology to explore a set of emerging questions: How do we think about and explain technological failure as a historical phenomenon? What has happened historically in the slippages between our expectations of machines and their performance? What conceptual damage occurs when technologies fail? And how has faith in machines been bound up with trust in humans? Using specific cases of failure as the basis for research and writing projects, the course invites students to explore failure, not as the end of our stories about technology, but as their beginning.

SC/STS 3765 3.0 Natures of Experiment: Issues in the History and Philosophy of Experimentation
This course is a focused exploration of some fascinating issues in science and technology studies dealing with the issue of experimentation. Over the past twenty years, interdisciplinary work on the laboratory has transformed the way scholars have thought about the category of experiment, its engagement with the natural world, its relation to scientific theory, and its claims to knowledge. This course draws on these developments to help us rethink conventional understandings of the character and place of experimentation in science. The course begins with the origins of experimentation in the late renaissance and continues to the microphysical laboratories and computer simulations of the late twentieth century. It features a seminar format heavily based on class discussion, but occasionally featuring brief lectures.

GRADUATE

FGS/STS 6203 3.0 Modern Technology
This history seminar provides graduate students with an advanced introduction in the historical study of modern technology. Focusing on three main themes – materiality, identity, and social order – the course probes the place of technology in the project of modernity. Recent offerings have concentrated on the “technological self” as a focal point for these themes.

FGS/STS 6204 3.0 Trusting Machines
This is a history course exploring how our trust in machines,­ its sources, forms and meanings, has helped define modernity. It uses those investigations to guide students through the conceptual challenges involved in thinking about, and writing about, the historical entanglements between machines and humans.

CURRENT GRADUATE SUPERVISION

PhD Students
Jordan Bimm (supervisor)
Yana Boeva (supervisor)
Kasey Coholan (supervisor)
Thomas Cooke (committee member)
Bretton Fosbrook (supervisor)
Nathan Harron (committee member)
Duygu Kasdogan (committee member)
Michael Laurentius (supervisor)
Cameron Murray (committee member)
Vennila Rajaguru (committee member)
Emily Simmonds (committee member)

COMPLETED SUPERVISIONS

Supervisor, Michael Laurentius, “A postmodern nation?: Reframing the Classical Modernist Narrative Through Canadian Cold War Technological Projects,” (MA, Science and Technology Studies) September 2016.

Supervisor, Alasdair McMillan, “Mediated Cognition: Information Technologies and the Sciences of Mind,” (PhD, Science and Technology Studies) August 2016.

Supervisor, Amanda Lee Tully, “How the Athlete Became Post-Human: A Post-WWII History of Cybernetics and Sport at Ohio State University,” (MA, Science and Technology Studies) July 2016.

Supervisor, Adam Pez, “The Machinery of Freedom: Neoliberalism in Cryptocurrency Infrastructures,” (MA, Science and Technology Studies) July 2016.

Supervisor, Mark Marshall, “Canadian Science Underground: the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory Experiment and the ‘Missing Solar Neutrino Problem’,” (MA, Science and Technology Studies) September 2015.

Supervisor, Nathan Crain, “Essence and Obsolescence: Martin Heidegger’s Outsider Critique of Technology,” (MA, Science and Technology Studies) December 2014.

Supervisor, Alexander Gatien, “From Operations Research to Systems Analysis: The Science of War in the United Kingdom and the United States: 1936-1961,” (MA, Science and Technology Studies) September 2014.

Committee Member, Edward Fenner, “Smashing Atoms and Expectations: Entrepreneurial Science and the Dawn of Publicly-Funded High-Tech Venture Capital at Robert J. Van de Graaff’s High Voltage Engineering Corporation,” (MA, Science and Technology Studies) September 2014.

Committee Member, Kelly Bronson, “Public Science and the Debate over Genetically Modified Foods,” (PhD, Communications and Culture) March 2013.

Co-supervisor, Brittney Fosbrook,, “To the Frontiers: Entrepreneurial Pioneers in Contemporary Silicon Valley,” (MA, Science and Technology Studies) September 2012.

Supervisor, Jordan Bimm, “Reliable Bodies, Aeromedical Dreams: A History of American Space Medicine: 1948-1964,” (MA, Science and Technology Studies) September 2010.

Supervisor, Vicky McArthur, “Ethics in Virtual Worlds,” (MA, Interdisciplinary Studies) June 2010.