Science and Technology Studies
Minor or BGS/LIBS Concentration Only
In a democratic society increasingly reliant on science and technology, it is crucial for citizens to understand the social, political, ethical, economic, and environmental issues at stake in the development, distribution, consumption, and control of the products of science and technology. Science and Technology Studies (STS) is an interdisciplinary program in which the methods and perspectives of various disciplines in the humanities, social sciences, and behavioral sciences are used to examine the social contexts from which science and technology emerge, the intertwined organizations of people and things used to implement scientific and technological systems, the social consequences of these systems, and the cultural reactions to them.
In keeping with UM-Dearborn’s location and its historic and continuing connections to the automobile industry, the STS Program gives special attention to the impact of the automobile and the automobile industry on American society. The program’s introductory course, for example, analyzes the social as well as the technical reasons for the emergence of the internal combustion engine, the reorganization of factories and reconceptualization of labor fueled by mass production and lean production, the impact of the automobile on the design of cities and the development of suburbs, and the iconic status of the car in American culture. A website on “The Automobile in American Life and Society” (autolife.umd.umich.edu) has been developed by the STS Program and is used in the introductory course.
Most of the courses in STS are cross listed with other disciplines, and the STS faculty hold appointments in such fields as Anthropology, Art History, Biological Sciences, Communications, Economics, English, Environmental Studies, History, Mathematics, Mechanical Engineering, Philosophy, Psychology and Sociology.
A minor in STS is particularly relevant for students who live and work in southeast Michigan and makes an appropriate complement to any field of study in the arts and sciences, engineering, education, or management.
Students who wish to minor in STS must complete STS 300 Introduction to Science and Technology Studies and four courses from the list below, with at least one course from each of the three areas. Contact the STS Director for updated information about course offerings.
|STS 300||Intro to Sci & Technol Studies||3|
|Science, Technology and Cultures (CABT)|
|Select one course from the list below:||3|
|Computers and Society|
|Gender, Science & Engineering|
|Race and Evolution|
|Cultural Ecology & Evolution|
|Thomas Edison and His Era|
|Philosophy of Technology|
|Hist of Industrial Technology 1|
|Comparative Hist of Technology 1|
|Issues in Cyberspace|
|Human Body, Growth & Health|
|Darwinism and Philosophy|
|Philosophy of Science|
|Env Lit & Reps of Nature|
|Science, Technology and Labor (CABY)|
|Select one course from the list below:||3|
|Social Issues in Auto Design 1|
|Computers and Society|
|Labor in the American Economy 1|
|Labor in America 1|
|Sociology of the Auto Industry 1|
|Sociology of Work 1|
|Human Factors Psychology|
|Science, Technology and Environments (CABE)|
|Select one course from the list below:||3|
|Concepts of Environmentalism 1|
|Social Issues in Auto Design 1|
|Economic Geography 1|
|Environmental Politics 1|
|Environmental Psychology 1|
|Henry Ford and His Place|
|The American City 1|
|Select one additional course from any of the above||3|
|Total Credit Hours||15|
A course that contains some attention to the automobile.
STS 300 Intro to Sci & Technol Studies 3 Credit Hours
An examination of the social contexts and consequences of science and technology, with special attention to the impacts of the automobile and automobile industry on American society. Topics include the automobile's role in the history of manufacturing; the impact of various production techniques on work and workers; the effects of the automobile on the natural environment, the design of cities and development of suburbs, and ways of life; the iconic status of the car in American culture and the relationship between automobile design and aesthetics. (YR).
STS 301 Concepts of Environmentalism 3 Credit Hours
Designed to identify the underlying concepts of any environmental issue. The course will demonstrate the interdisciplinary nature of environmental problem-solving through current readings, classical monographs, and films. Students will conduct a systems analysis of a household and a local community. A major research paper on an environmental topic will be required. The course will not be open to students who take ENST 105. (YR).
STS 305 Social Issues in Auto Design 3 Credit Hours
An examination of the impact of four contemporary social issues - vehicle safety, energy consumption, environmental impact, and a changing workforce - on the design and engineering of automobiles in the context of globalization and rapid technological change. Using a series of case studies, the course will focus on the ways social concerns, government regulation, and professional ethics, as well as industry standards and technical considerations, affect the decision-making processes of automobile designers and engineers. (OC).
STS 308 Urban Geography 3 Credit Hours
The geography of human settlement and urbanization. Particular emphasis is placed on human transformation of the physical environment, and resource use throughout history from ancient civilizations to modern megalopolises. Universal urban challenges, such as sprawl, pollution, congestion, crime, poverty, etc., are addressed. (F,W).
STS 309 Economic Geography 3 Credit Hours
Spatial aspects of the ways people make their living. Discussion of the spatial distribution of resources and wealth at various scales. Introduction of site selection and location analysis. (F).
STS 310 Computers and Society 3 Credit Hours
A sociological discussion of computers and other information technology starting with the larger concept of technology and social change, an exploration of various forms of information technology, their history and development, their relationship to the changing social structure of a post-industrial society like 20th/21st-century USA. Case studies could include "Computers and the Workplace," "Computers in Medicine," "Computers and Education," and "Computers in Popular Culture." Course concludes with a discussion of new social problems and possible futures. (OC).
STS 312 Environmental Ethics 3 Credit Hours
The relationship of human beings to the non-human environment raises pressing moral and political issues. This course will use the theories and concepts of philosophical ethics to explore such questions as human obligations to non-human animals; the preservation of wilderness; balancing economic, aesthetic, and spiritual values; and the problems of pollution, urban sprawl, and ecological justice. (OC).
STS 321 Labor in the American Economy 3 Credit Hours
An analysis of the nature and underlying causes of the problems facing the worker in modern economic society. Includes an examination of wages, unemployment, economic insecurity, the trade union movement, collective bargaining, and labor legislation. (F).
STS 325 Environmental Politics 3 Credit Hours
An examination of policy making about problems affecting the environment, at a global, national, and local scale.
STS 326 Gender, Science & Engineering 3 Credit Hours
Explores some of the history of women in science and engineering, the current status of women in science and engineering, and feminist theory in research. Topics include cultural influences on women in science and engineering, careers and life balance, and a feminist approach to scientific and engineering teaching and research.
STS 340 Race and Evolution 3 Credit Hours
An evolutionary survey of the biological differences among human populations in response to such factors as climate, culture, disease, nutrition, and urbanization. The meaning of racial variation is discussed in terms of adaptation to environmental stress. "Race" is rejected; racism is discussed. (AY).
STS 345 Cultural Ecology & Evolution 3 Credit Hours
An introduction to the study of human ecology. This course employs the case-study method to develop an evolutionary and biocultural perspective on the relationship between human beings and their environments. (OC).
STS 349 Thomas Edison and His Era 3 Credit Hours
This course will introduce students to the life and work of Thomas Edison. Breaking with the stereotype of the lone inventor/genius, we will examine how Edison helped shape and was in turn shaped by the context of the Gilded Age America when the United States emerged as an urban, industrial nation. Lectures and discussions will be supplemented by slides, films, and visits to the Edison-related sites at the Henry Ford. . Throughout the course the following themes will be explored: invention and the labor process, the significance of manufacturing and marketing, the origins of modern consumer culture. (OC).
STS 360 Philosophy of Technology 3 Credit Hours
A study of both the history of, and current issues in, the philosophy of technology. This course will examine the deeper meaning and implications of our modern technological society. Questions examined include: What is the definition and nature of technology? How did the concept originate in Western thought? What is the relationship between modern industrial technology and the 'mechanistic' worldview? How do Western religious beliefs influence our attitudes about technology? Is technological progress socially determined, or is it culturally independent? In what ways has our technological society been supportive of, or detrimental to, overall human well-being? Students will cover both classic and contemporary readings.
STS 365 Environmental Psychology 3 Credit Hours
A survey of the contributions of the behavioral sciences to the understanding and solution of environmental problems that threaten our survival. Insights derived from psychology, anthropology, and computer science are discussed. Major topics include overpopulation, overconsumption of resources and energy, future shock, cognitive limitations in our understanding of ecological-political systems, and the use of behavioral control. (OC).
STS 3666 Henry Ford and His Place 3 Credit Hours
Using the biography of Henry Ford as a touchstone, the course will examine the trajectories of historical change and regional development between 1870 and 1950. Of fundamental concern will be southeastern Michigan's transformation from a 19th century outpost on the Great Lakes to the nation's "engine of change" in the 20th century. Henry Ford was the major player in that revolutionary transformation. This course examines his role in history and mythology as well as the causes and implications of that transformation. (OC).
STS 3695 The American City 3 Credit Hours
This course examines the development of urban America from the European-style port cities of the colonial period through the edge cities of today. The bulk of the course will focus on the late 19th and 20th century urban environment with an eye towards understanding the diverse residents, cultures, economies, and geographies that have shaped the American cities. We will cover everything from developments in transportation, architecture, business, and technology to immigration, politics, and urban culture. Broad concerns and constituencies have shaped the urban public sphere, the physical development of cities and the experiences of living as an urbanite and, consequently, they will receive much of our attention. American patterns of development will then be placed in context with those of other nations and cultures.
STS 374 Hist of Industrial Technology 3 Credit Hours
Focusing on western Europe and the United States since the Industrial Revolution, this course will examine the history of manufacturing technologies and will include the following topics: mechanization and the rise of the factory; mass production; the process of innovation; design and diffusion of new technologies; technologies; technology and the changing nature of work; discussions, and examination of artifacts (actual tools and machines), students will consider the central role played by technology in the making of modern society. (YR).
STS 383 Labor in America 3 Credit Hours
A survey of urban workers from colonial times to the present. Among the topics covered are changing standards of living, the experiences of industrial work, labor organizations, and working-class politics. (OC).
STS 386 Comparative Hist of Technology 3 Credit Hours
This course will examine the history of technology from a comparative perspective; studying the development and impact of technology in different societies during various historical eras. Topics include: irrigation control and the rise of ancient empires; technology's role in the industrial revolution; technological innovation and the pace of social change. Current issues and various analytical perspectives in the history of technology will also be examined. (OC).
STS 390 Topics in STS 3 Credit Hours
Examination of problems and issues in selected areas of Science and Technology Studies. Title as listed in the Schedule of Classes will change according to content. Course may be repeated for credit when specific topics differ. (OC).
STS 4021 Economics of the Labor Sector 3 Credit Hours
Theoretical analysis and empirical studies of the nature and operation of labor markets. Includes theories of wage determination and income distribution, the nature of unemployment, the impact of collective bargaining on the economy, the extent and economic effects of discrimination, and the nature and effects of government wage and employment policies. ECON 321/STS 321, Labor in the American Economy, is valuable background to this course although it is not a prerequisite. This course counts as a required capstone (4000-level) course in Economics and also counts toward the Economics Honors designation.
Prerequisite(s): ECON 302
STS 403 Issues in Cyberspace 3 Credit Hours
This course will explore some of the social, political, legal, and technological issues associated with the use of new media technology to move ideas and information in a democratic society. Examples of areas to be explored include the Internet and World Wide Web, privacy, the future of the mass audience, and the meaning of the First Amendment in the 21st Century. (AY).
STS 409 Human Body, Growth & Health 3 Credit Hours
This course provides and advanced undergraduate introduction to the topic of human growth and shows how human growth can be a reliable measure of the psychological, social, economic and moral conditions of a society. A major theme will be the interplay of biology and culture in shaping the patterns of human growth and, consequently, the health of populations and individuals. (OC).
STS 410 Darwinism and Philosophy 3 Credit Hours
Darwinism represents a challenge to the traditional view of human life as radically separate from the rest of the natural world. This course will examine the philosophical implications of this world view. It will address questions such as these: Is Darwinism compatible with traditional religion? Does Darwinism imply that human life and the cosmos are without purpose? Can human life be meaningful if it is the result of evolution and natural selection? Does Darwinism require us to change our view of nature? What are the ethical implications of a Darwinian view of life and the universe? (OC).
STS 430 Medical Anthropology 3 Credit Hours
A comprehensive examination of how culture mediates processes of illnesses and healing. Comparative materials examined, which provide a context for an anthropological analysis of modern biomedicine. (YR).
STS 441 Sociology of the Auto Industry 3 Credit Hours
The American auto industry is examined in its relationship to the economic and political structures of 20th-century U.S. This includes a focus on the social history of the industry as well as a discussion of the nature of auto work. Proposals for changing social relations at work are also examined. The course concludes with an examination of the impact of the industry on a local community (Detroit). (F,W).
STS 442 Sociology of Work 3 Credit Hours
The study of work roles in modern society. The impact of industrialization, professionalization, and unionization on the conditions of work, worker motivation, and job satisfaction. Career choice processes and career patterns, occupational status and prestige, and occupations associations are among the topics to be considered. (YR).
STS 464 Human Factors Psychology 3 Credit Hours
This course will provide an overview of the field of human factors, including two major components: (1) a background in specific content areas of psychology that have direct relevance to the field and (2) a survey of direct applications of these areas to real-world problems. The content areas include research methods, sensory and perceptual processes, learning and memory, human information processing, decision making. (YR).
STS 485 Philosophy of Science 3 Credit Hours
A critical study of the foundations of the sciences, natural and social, with emphasis on the following topics: the nature of scientific method, theories and explanation, probability and determinism, the unity of the sciences. (OC).
STS 488 Env Lit & Reps of Nature 3 Credit Hours
An interdisciplinary study of the ways in which the relationship between "nature" and humankind has been represented in literature and other forms of cultural expression. Emphasis on American and British texts of the 19th and 20th centuries, but assigned materials may include readings from other cultures and historical periods. (OC).
An asterisk denotes that a course may be taken concurrently.
Frequency of Offering
The following abbreviations are used to denote the frequency of offering: (F) fall term; (W) winter term; (S) summer term; (F, W) fall and winter terms; (YR) once a year; (AY) alternating years; (OC) offered occasionally