This page serves as a central location for past, current, and future sections of the Science, Culture, and Society in Western Civilization courses offered by CHSS and Fishbein Center Faculty. Sample syllabi will be included within each course's description.

These are not representative of the courses being offered in the current academic year.


HIPS 18300 - Science, Culture, and Society in Western Civilization I: Greek & Roman Science
Instructor: John Wee
Description: This undergraduate course represents the first quarter of the Science, Culture, and Society in Western Civilization general education sequence. Taking these courses in sequence is recommended but not required. This quarter will focus on aspects of ancient Greek and Roman intellectual history, their perceived continuities or discontinuities with modern definitions and practices of science, and how they were shaped by the cultures, politics, and aesthetics of their day. Topics surveyed include history-writing and ancient science, the cosmos, medicine and biology, meteorology, ethnography and physiognomics, arithmetic and geometry, mechanics, taxonomy, optics, astronomy, and mechanical computing.

NO LONGER OFFERED

Sample syllabus


HIPS 18301 - Science, Culture, and Society in Western Civilization I: Ancient Science and Medicine
Instructor: Michael Rossi
Description: This undergraduate course represents the first quarter of the Science, Culture, and Society in Western Civilization general education sequence. Taking these courses in sequence is recommended but not required. This quarter will focus on science and medicine in societies across the ancient world. Students will gain an introduction to methods of healing and knowing practiced in Africa, Asia, Europe, and North and South America before 1500. Students will also acquire an understanding of the many questions that historical research raises for our own understanding of contemporary medicine and science, and some of the methods that historians use to bring the past to light. Topics include ancient surgery and pharmacology; the manifold meanings of “disease;” the function and recognition of “the body,” of “mind,” and of perception; how to acquire “good” and “true” knowledge; continuity and discontinuity of beliefs and practices over time and place; and exchange of ideas and materials across cultures, among other subjects.

CURRENTLY OFFERED IN WINTER 2023

Syllabus is forthcoming


HIPS 18400 - Science, Culture, and Society in Western Civilization II: Renaissance to Enlightenment
Instructor: Robert J. Richards
Description: This lecture-discussion course examines the development of science and scientific philosophy from the mid-fifteenth to the mid-nineteenth centuries. The considerations begin with the recovery of an ancient knowledge in the works of Leonardo, Vesalius, Harvey, and Copernicus. Thereafter the course will focus on Enlightenment science, as represented by Galileo, Descartes, Newton, and Hume. The course will culminate with the work of Darwin, who utilized traditional concepts to inaugurate modern science. For each class, the instructor will provide a short introductory lecture on the texts, and then open discussion to pursue with students the unexpected accomplishments of the authors under scrutiny.

CURRENTLY OFFERED IN WINTER 2023

Sample syllabus


HIPS 18401 - Science, Culture, and Society in Western Civilization II: History of Medicine 1500 to 1900
Instructor: Michael Rossi
Description: This course examines the theory and practice of medicine between 1500 and 1900. Topics include traditional early modern medicine; novel understandings of anatomy, physiology, and disease from the Renaissance on; and new forms of medical practice, training, and knowledge-making that developed in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

NOT OFFERED IN 2022-2023 ACADEMIC YEAR

Sample syllabus


HIPS 18402- Science, Culture, and Society in Western Civilization II: The Scientific Revolution
Instructor: Zachary Barr
Description: This course focuses on one of the most radical transformations in the history of Western thought: the so-called “Scientific Revolution.” In addition to analyzing the origin and development of Copernicanism, Galilean mechanics, and Paracelsian alchemy—among other revolutionary ideas—we will examine several institutional and methodological innovations that profoundly altered how early modern Europeans investigated the natural world, including the advent of the experimental philosophy and the creation of scientific academies.

Sample syllabus

NO LONGER OFFERED


HIPS 17400 - Science, Culture, and Society in Western Civilization II
Instructor: Adrian Johns
Description: This course addresses one of the great transformations in Western history. During the period from the early sixteenth century to the late seventeenth, European understandings of the natural world – and ways of achieving such understandings – underwent a series of radical and far-reaching transformations. The process affected every aspect of life as it was then lived, and as it has been lived since. It is often called the Scientific Revolution. Many people think that it was the central process in the development of modern culture itself.

NOT OFFERED IN 2022-2023 ACADEMIC YEAR

Sample Syllabus


HIPS 18500 - Science, Culture, and Society in Western Civilization III: Modern Period
Instructor: Adrian Johns
Description: The course is organized around a series of broad questions about science. These questions are addressed by means of examples drawn from both the past and the present. The historical cases arise in chronological sequence, ranging from the development of experimental methods in the late seventeenth century to the advent of biotechnology in the modern era. They furnish a selective set of materials for a history of scientific practice. Their other purpose here, however, is to highlight the depth and importance of many problems still confronting the world of science today – problems that are cultural as well as scientific, and that demand of us an understanding of what science is and how it works.

NOT OFFERED IN 2022-2023 ACADEMIC YEAR

Sample syllabus


HIPS 18500 - Science, Culture, and Society in Western Civilization III: Modern Period
Instructor: James A. Evans
Description: This course explores the rise of modern science, from the birth of the Royal Society in 1660, the first national scientific society and the Philosophical Transactions, its first journal. In recent years, science has posted some of the biggest headlines in the world’s press. From concerns over the nuclear capability of Iran and North Korea to the ability of new treatments to slow the global spread of AIDS and TB; from anxiety over Japan’s degrading nuclear reactors to controversy over genetically modified foods, alleged spying at government labs and struggles over intellectual property in digital media, many of today’s major issues emerge from the domains of science, technology and medicine.

NOT OFFERED IN 2022-2023 ACADEMIC YEAR

Sample syllabus


HIPS 18501 - Science, Culture, and Society in Western Civilization III: History of Medicine 1900-Present
Instructor: Michael Rossi
Description: This course is an examination of various themes in the history of medicine in Western Europe and America since 1900. Topics include key developments of medical theory (e.g., the circulation of the blood and germ theory), relations between doctors and patients, rivalries between different kinds of healers and therapists, and the development of the hospital and laboratory medicine.

NOT OFFERED IN 2022-2023 ACADEMIC YEAR

Sample syllabus


HIPS 18502 - Science, Culture, and Society in Western Civilization III: The Environment
Instructor: Fredrik Albritton Jonsson
Description: This course charts the development of modern science and technology with special reference to the environment. Major themes include natural history and empire, political economy in the Enlightenment, the discovery of deep time and evolutionary theory, the dawn of the fossil fuel economy, Malthusian anxieties about overpopulation, the birth of ecology, the Cold War development of climate science, the postwar debates about the limits to growth, and the emergence of modern environmentalism. We will end with the new science of the Anthropocene.

NOT OFFERED IN 2022-2023 ACADEMIC YEAR

Sample syllabus


HIPS 18503 - Science, Culture, and Society in Western Civilization III: History of Social Science
Instructor: Parysa Mostajir
Description: “Social Science” now is generally used to refer to the various disciplines devoted to the study of humanity in its social manifestations: sociology, social and cultural anthropology, economics, political science, geography, and history. But these disciplines employ radically different methodologies, rooted in distinct histories. While positive social science and the application of statistics to society began in the context of French Revolutionary nation-building, ethnographic methods emerged in the very different context of British imperial encounters with ‘exotic’ cultures. In the midst of a growing interest in ‘society’ and ‘culture,’ distinct methodological schools with competing social and cultural ontologies and methodologies emerged across Europe. This course studies these traditions, and their development in the social and cultural contexts of revolution, empire, racial justice, and disciplinary institutionalization.

NO LONGER OFFERED

Sample syllabus


HIPS 18504 - Science, Culture, and Society in Western Civilization III: the Computational Life
Instructor: James A. Evans
Description: In SCSIII: The Computational Life, we consider the rise of computation and computers from ancient, analog efforts through state calculations and steampunk computers of the 19th Century to the emergence of digital computers, programming languages, screens and personal devices, artificial intelligence and neural networks, the Internet and the web. Along the way, we explore how the fantasy and reality of computation historically reflected human and organizational capacities, designed as prosthetics to extend calculation and control. We further consider how computers and computational models have come to influence and transform 20th and 21st Century politics, economics, science, and society. Finally, we examine the influence of computers and AI on imagination, structuring the utopias and dystopias through which we view the future. Students will read original texts and commentary, manipulate analog and digital hardware, software, networks and AI, and contribute to Wikipedia on the history and the social and cultural implications of computing.

NOT OFFERED IN 2022-2023 ACADEMIC YEAR

Sample syllabus


HIPS 18505 - Science, Culture, and Society in Western Civilization III: Histories of the Bomb
Instructor: Emily Kern
Description: In the long history of the planet, the years since 1945 have a remarkable and unique geological signature: one left by the creation and testing of atomic weapons, medicine, and energy. This class explores the intellectual, social, economic, and political histories of nuclear research, including topics such as transnational scientific migrations; the Manhattan Project; weapons testing and development; the rise of "Big Science"; postcolonial histories of nuclear development; domestic and international anti-nuclear activism; and ecological and environmental impacts of fallout, waste, and nuclear accidents. Drawing on both primary and secondary sources, we will consider how the story we tell about the history of the nuclear age and the rise of science came to be, and how that story has transformed at different points in the twentieth century.

CURRENTLY OFFERED IN SPRING 2023

Sample syllabus