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Science and Technology Studies (STS)

NOTE: Not all courses listed are offered each year. Please consult with the coordinator for more information about current and planned course offerings.

Science and technology play such a major role in our society and throughout the world that a person cannot be considered well-educated without possessing substantial knowledge about these subjects and the roles they play in such areas as the environment, medicine, disease, agriculture, cities, transportation and many others. Science and technology develop in a societal context. They both shape society and are shaped by that society. Whenever new scientific theories or new kinds of technology emerge, ethical issues inevitably arise. In addition, different cultures and different religious traditions have wide-ranging attitudes toward science and technology. This means there exists a role for students in the social sciences and humanities to play in debates over the value of new technology or new scientific theories.

The Goals of a Liberal Education as set out in the St. Thomas calendar includes the goal that students acquire a breadth of knowledge and depth of understanding. The value of a liberal education includes the ability to participate in the improvement of society by engaging in reasoned debate over important issues. For thousands of years, the original Seven Liberal Arts included science and mathematics. Students in the humanities and social sciences need some meaningful exposure to science and technology. Ideally, this means not just basic scientific literacy and exposure to basic science courses, but also exposure to science and technology specifically from the perspectives of the humanities and social sciences.

1003. Introduction to Scientific Reasoning
This course introduces students to key elements in the conceptual framework of science such as theories, mathematical models, hypotheses, predictions, and testing. Topics will include how scientists derive numerical predictions from mathematical models, the role played by experiments in selecting theories, how science develops over time, and the role of values in scientific research. Students will be exposed to the widest possible range of "case studies" drawn from both the social and physical sciences. Readings will include journal articles. The course will prepare students to better understand and evaluate scientific and mathematical information contained in news reports, magazines, science journals, and other courses. 3 credit hours.

1103. Science, Technology, and the Environment I
This course is an introduction to the social and environmental problems raised by science and technology. Specific topics may vary from section to section. Past topics have included the human genome project, the effects of pollution and human development on bird migration, the effectiveness of the polygraph as it is used to detect lies, and the nature of scientific research in the Antarctic. The aim of this course is to prepare students to enter into debate over key issues by introducing them to the scientific research and mathematical models relevant to each topic. 3 credit hours.

2103. Science, Technology, and the Environment II

This course is designed to introduce students to social and environmental problems raised by science and technology. Specific topics may vary from section to section. Past topics have included the genetic basis for human intelligence, new reproductive technologies, and the politics of fisheries science. The aim of this course is to prepare students to enter into debate over key issues by introducing them to the scientific research and the mathematical models relevant to each topic. Note: students may take STS 2103 without having STS 1103. The main difference is that the subject matter and readings in STS 2103 are more technically and mathematically
challenging than those in STS 1103. 3 credit hours.

2163. Contemporary Perspectives on Science and Religion (RELG)
This course examines the recent debates over the relation between science and religion. The last five years of the 20th Century have seen a resurgence of interest in this relation. This has been sparked by developments in the sciences, particularly in physics and genetics, as well as by a newly-emerging understanding of what science is. The central questions include whether science and religion are compatible and whether recent developments in the sciences give new answers to religious and theological questions. Readings will represent all sides of these debates.

2403. Magic, Science, and Religion
This course examines the shifting relationships among three different ways of viewing the world: magical, religious, and scientific. The historical roots of these three world views are examined to see whether the boundaries between them are distinct and whether there has been a natural progression from one to the other. 3 credit hours.

2503. A History of Disease
This course studies the impact of disease outbreaks on human populations and on economic, social, intellectual, religious, and political aspects of life from ancient times to the present. 3 credit hours.

2603. Animals: Rights, Consciousness, and Experimentation
This course is an introduction to the scientific, legal, philosophical, and political debates over animal rights, animal consciousness, and animal experimentation. 3 credit hours.

3003. Feminist Critiques of Science (GEND)
This course is an introduction to the feminist literature on science, technology, and mathematics. Topics will include the possibility that a new science based on feminist principles might be qualitatively different from modern science. Related topics include the role played by values in science, the relation between "pure" scientific research and technology (especially military technology), the possibility that there might be a feminist alternative to classical mathematics and logic, and whether young women and men with feminist beliefs should be encouraged to become scientists (given the close connection between science and military technology).
Readings will represent a range of different feminist perspectives on each of these questions, and we will examine the arguments for and against each of these views. 3 credit hours.

3533. Science and Scientific Knowledge (SOCI 3533)
This course examines the study of science and scientific knowledge from a sociological perspective. It focuses on the effort of the Edinburgh School to provide a materialist resolution to the debate between positivist and relativist epistemologies. 3 credit hours.

3563. Philosophy of Science (PHIL)
This course will examine science from the perspective of philosophy. Topics will include the historical relation between science and philosophy, the differences between the social and the physical sciences, the nature of scientific change in history, the role of values in science, the reality of 'theoretical' objects of science, and feminist alternatives to traditional scientific research. Examples will be drawn from both the physical and the social sciences. 3 credit hours.

Science courses can also be used toward the Minor, Major and Honours in Science and Technology Studies. In addition to the courses listed above, the following courses have been deemed appropriate for Science and Technology Studies. Students may apply more than one methods course toward their Major or Honours Programme only with appropriate approval.

ANTH 2303      Introduction to Archaelogy
ANTH 2443      Introduction to Forensic Anthropology
ANTH 2803      Readings in Anthropological Theory
ANTH 3433      Anthroplology and Genetics
ANTH 3913      Research Methods
CRIM 3006      Criminological Theory
CRIM 3106      Research Methods in Criminology
ECON 2203     Community Economic Development
ECON 2313     Multinational Corporations and Trade
ECON 3323     Environmental Economics
ECON 3423     Industrial Relations and Collective Bargaining
ECON 3453     Labour Economics
HIST 2003       The Nature of History
MATH 1103     Introduction to Mathematical Reasoning
MATH 2513     Introduction to Logic (PHIL 2513)
NATI 2503       Research Strategies in Native Studies
PHIL 2513       Introduction to Logic (MATH 2513)
PSYC 2006     Methods and Statistics in Psychology
PSYC 3606     Principles and Theories of Counseling and Psychotherapy
RELG 3513     Bioethics
RELG 3523     Environmental Ethics
RELG 3583     Media and Ethics
SOCI 2013      Research Methods
SOCI 3013      Classicial Sociological Theory
SOCI 3023      Modern Sociological Theory
SOCI 3523      Sociology of Knowledge

In addition to these courses, there will be a list of STS (Science and Technology Studies) courses offered regularly in the STS Programme. However, this list is not yet available at the time of printing the paper calendar for 2005-2006.

The University of New Brunswick offers a number of courses in the area of Science and Technology Studies which are not available at St. Thomas. Students at St. Thomas who wish to complete an Interdisciplinary Studies Major or Honours in this area are eligible to take these course with appropriate approval. Other courses in biology, physics, chemistry, and geology are available on the UNB campus. Approval of the registrar is required in each instance.

Science Courses

All science courses that St. Thomas University students elect to take in the BA Programme are UNB courses. The following four courses are offered on the St. Thomas campus:

BIOL 1551. Principles of Biology, Part I
Part I deals with cell structure and function, nutrition, metabolism, classical and molecular genetics and reproduction. Designed for students in the Faculties of Education, Kinesiology and those students in the Faculty of Arts not planning on majoring in Biology. A background knowledge of elementary chemistry is recommended. Note: Credit cannot be obtained for both BIOL 1001 and 1551. 3 credit hours.

BIOL 1552. Principles of Biology, Part II
Surveys the structure, function and evolution of selected plants and animals, and includes discussions of the origin of life, ecosystems and ecological interactions. Students in Science and students majoring in Biology should take BIOL 1001 and BIOL 1012. Note: Credit can be obtained for only one of BIOL 1001 or 1551. 3 credit hours.

CHEM 1553. Hitchhikers Guide to Chemistry
This course is intended for Arts or other students no in Science and Engineering and who have little or no chemistry background. The course will cover the basic principles and concepts of atoms and molecules, chemical bonding, acids and bases, and organic compounds. The material will be applied to the understanding of everyday chemistry including proteins, carbohydrates, polymers, acid rain, etc. This course cannot be used as a substitute for any other firstlevel Chemistry course. 3 credit hours.

PHYS 2513. Physics for Poets
Not open to students registered in Science, Engineering or Computer Science. This course requires no previous exposure to physics and uses no mathematics beyond high school algebra and geometry. Topics include physics at the seashore, in the city, from a mountain top, from an airlane window, physics of music, physics of sport, physics and the environment, energy and transportation, the physics of life, form and function of animals, relativity, cosmology. 3 credit hours.

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