As faculty in the School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, I have the privilege of working with students in a variety of academic and non-academic contexts.  My focus is within the following programs.  Please click on the links below for more information.

Courses in 2016-2017

Smart phones create a bank of lights as Pope Francis makes his inaugural appearance on the Vatican balcony (Source: NBC News, 2013)

Smart phones create a bank of lights as Pope Francis makes his inaugural appearance on the Vatican balcony (Source: NBC News, 2013)

BIS 300:  INTERDISCIPLINARY INQUIRY: DIGITAL CULTURES (Fall 2016)

This course is designed to introduce students to the Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences (IAS) program and concepts of interdisciplinary knowledge more generally.  Like many courses you’ll take in IAS, this course aims to improve your ability to read closely, write and think critically, communicate clearly, research effectively, and work collaboratively.  The primary goal of the course is for you to understand and engage with the complex cultural processes of producing knowledge, both individually and collectively.  Throughout the term, we will think critically about how ideas are put into action and how actions and events shape ideas—in other words, how knowledge is produced and why ideas matter.  You should leave this course with a new awareness of your own role as not only a consumer but also a producer of knowledge. This particular section of BIS 300 investigates the production of knowledge within and about “digital cultures.”  We will use this theme as a springboard for developing interdisciplinary research questions and projects. 

BISSTS 307: SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, AND SOCIETY (Winter 2017)

This course provides an introduction to Science and Technology Studies (STS)—an interdisciplinary field that explores the complex and integral relationships between science, technology, politics, and social life. Throughout the term, we will consider how scientific knowledge-making and technological development are deeply entangled with specific histories, geographies, economies, and structures of power. In particular, we will investigate the social politics of scientific facts and technological objects through the various lenses of global health, nuclear weapons production, surveillance technology, social media, and environmental management.

 

Recent Student work

BIS 293:  POLITICS OF SCIENCE (Winter 2017)

This course explores the social and political life of science.  It begins with the premise that science does not emerge out of an ideological or political vacuum, but that it is necessarily the product of history, class, economics, religion, environment, and a multitude of other factors.  By highlighting the social origins of science, however, we are not denying its capacity to produce useful and important information. Rather, drawing from feminist scholarship, we will discuss the idea that “strong objectivity” in science is made even more possible by acknowledging the situated and partial nature of its content. Throughout the term, we will consider the people, politics, structures, and social relations that inform scientific knowledge production and its impact in everyday life.  In particular, we will think critically about scientific debates surrounding toxic exposure, biomedical practice, racial identity, climate change, and nuclear waste.

 

BIS 490: UTOPIAN DREAMS & THE BACK TO THE LAND MOVEMENT (Spring)

This advanced seminar explores the role of utopias and utopian thinking in the United States, with a particular emphasis on back-to-the-land movements.  From intentional communities in the 1800s to counter-culture communes in the 1960s to the contemporary tiny house movement, we will examine how notions of simplicity, purity, and wildness become entangled with visions of self and society, linking environmental and human natures in complex and often contradictory ways.  Investigating these historic and contemporary utopian communities, we will consider both the promise and the trap of the “perfect” society and ask what such idealized visions reveal about social life.  Finally, by examining the tension between dream and practice, we will use these utopian projects and theories to think about what it means to create a more just future.

In winter quarter (2016), students in my Science, Technology, and Society class worked with Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility to create a series of short podcasts for the series Down by the River: Stories of Hanford.  Their podcasts cover a variety of issues related to weapons production and cleanup at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington State--from nuclear secrecy to workers safety to long-term waste management.  Together, their work informs two episodes in the series--Episode 4: Blurring the Line Between Science and Science Fiction and Episode 5: Concerns of Future Generations.   You can listen to their podcasts here, or by searching for Down by the River on iTunes, Soundcloud, or YouTube.  Enjoy!