Principles of Biology, Part 1

Pre-requisite to BIOL 1513.

 Science and technology are woven into every aspect of human existence today. This course provides students with the concepts and skills required to examine the interrelationships between science, technology, culture, and environment.  Students will become familiar with the premise of Science and Technology Studies that the things we build influence how we function biologically and socially and, in turn, social, political, and economic forces shape the types of scientific knowledge and technologies that we find around us in the world today.

 The course will combine lectures, reading, and discussion of Myra Hird’s Sociology of Science: A Critical Canadian Introduction along with a research project inspired by the class text. By participating in these activities, students will explore diverse perspectives on questions such as:

           What is STS all about?

  • What is science? Is science special?
  • How can we study and evaluate the impacts of technological change on people and the environment?

 A large portion of the course will be dedicated to a project on plastic pollution. In this project, students will research the factors contributing to the use of single use and disposable plastics (such as plastic bags and water bottles) as well as the risks that waste stream poses to the environment and human health. You will then collaborate with other students in the class to design campaigns to increase awareness of the issue among St. Thomas University students.  

This is an intermediate course about the various branches of the field of Science and Technology Studies (STS). Students will learn about the history of the discipline and the development to core concepts related to science and technology, including:

             -Science and technology in popular culture

            -Debates about how scientific knowledge is created and developed

            -Debates about how scientists work and the values that inform scientific communities

            -Core ideas about how science and technology are socially constructed

            -Debates about what the public should understand about science and the about the role of lay people in scientific decision-making

            -The inputs of different approaches to the study of science and society such as feminist STS, Actor-Network theory, controversy studies, political economy, and more

 

 While learning about the various questions and perspectives that have become central to the field of STS, students are encouraged to reflect creatively and independently on the course content. For instance we will ask how our perceptions of scientific knowledge and scientific communities change throughout the course, as well as who should play a role in managing the risks and benefits of science and technology.

This course examines the field of science and technology studies (STS) with a focus on science and technological-based innovation, historically and in the contemporary world. The course will offer students an opportunity to critically evaluate theories of technological change, and science and technology in globalization, and the post-modern economy. Students will also be expected to critically discuss implications for public policies in the areas of research and development, science and technology, and innovation. No pre-requisites required.

 

This is an introductory course about animal experimentation. We will explore the debates that surround the use of animals in scientific experimentation, including controversies over:

-risks and benefits of particular scientific methods that involve animals as experimental models or the source of therapeutic materials

-the role of religious and secular views in shaping science and scientific policy

-the moral standing of animals

-the moral significance of animal pain and suffering

 

 While guiding students through major debates in the history of animal experimentation, the course will encourage students to reflect creatively and independently on the boundaries between human and non-human animals, the moral value of animal life, and the roles of regulators and advocates in animal protection.