Science and Technology Studies
This concentration is conceived with The Graduate Center’s recent new initiative in mind to launch a Committee for Interdisciplinary Science Studies, which seeks to cultivate critical dialogue across conventional disciplinary divides. This concentration seeks to allow students to approach science and technology from a variety of perspectives through courses in diverse disciplines represented at The Graduate Center.
MALS students take four classes within the program — Introduction to Graduate Liberal Studies, two core courses in their chosen concentration, and the thesis/capstone project — and choose their remaining electives from among courses offered across the doctoral and certificate programs in the Social Sciences and Humanities at The Graduate Center.
This master's degree program requires the following coursework for a total of 30 credits:
- A required introductory course [MALS 70000: Introduction to Graduate Liberal Studies].
- Two required core courses to introduce students to Science and Technology Studies [MALS 72500 and MALS 72600].
- 18 credits from courses of the student's choice that are relevant to the student’s concentration or studies.
- A master's thesis/capstone project [MALS 79000].
The two core courses will provide students with two different perspectives on science and technology studies. The first course, Narratives of Science and Technology: Literature and the Visual Arts, will emphasize how science and technology have been portrayed in literature, film, and the arts generally, and how each reflects the social understanding of the science and technology of the times in which the works to be studied were written, filmed, or created. The second course, Social Impacts of Science and Technology: Case Studies, will provide students with a necessary foundation in Science Studies generally, focusing on examples of science and technology in different contexts from semester to semester. The first such offering will provide a general overview of the history of science and technology from the Renaissance to the present, including a case study that emphasizes the development and impact of science and technology in China. It is hoped that this course will involve students from the Graduate Center, as well as students in the Institute for History of Science and Technology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, as a course team-taught by professors from both institutions.
MALS 72500 Narratives of Science and Technology: Literature and the Visual Arts
From Dr. Jekyll’s hidden laboratory to Dr. Strangelove’s doomsday scenario, images of the scientist, science, and technology, as they are represented in film and literature, argue as signifying spectacles. This three credit interdisciplinary course will examine representations of science and technology in multiple film, photographic, and literary narratives. Students will evaluate how these narratives reinforce or question modern and contemporary paradigms of science and technology, as each strategizes the concept of progress. The films and literature studied in this course are drawn from various genres, and not just science fiction. Students will be introduced to critical film and literary theory and related criticism, as well as engaging in close study of primary, interdisciplinary texts. In particular, the course will discuss the role of the scientific and technological as spectacle, and the way in which notions of progress are both “real” and “reel” spaces of twentieth- and twenty-first-century life. Reading assignments are given for every class, and students are requested to present an in-class report. There is a final research paper (approximately 15-20 pages) due at the end of the semester.
MALS 72600 Social Impacts of Science and Technology: Case Studies
This course will study some of the great discoveries of science and inventions of technology that have changed the course of human history, with a view to assessing their origins, impact, and eventual consequences, both foreseen and unintended. Through individual case studies, from the invention of the wheel or the arch to atomic energy or space technology, through selected case studies across time and in particular parts of the world, or by the contributions of individuals like Pasteur or Edison, or by genres including film and fiction, this course will survey major scientific discoveries and technological inventions that have changed human history in significant ways. Reading assignments are given for every class, and students will make weekly seminar reports. There will be either a series of short essays and/or a final research paper (approximately 15-20 pages) due at the end of the semester.
Electives can be chosen among courses offered across most of the doctoral and certificate programs in the Social Sciences and the Humanities at The Graduate Center.
For related coursework in Science and Technology Studies, students may look to offerings in the certificate program in Interactive Technology and Pedagogy and the doctoral program in History.
MALS faculty associated with this concentration:
Visit the GC Mina Rees Library's Liberal Studies Research Guide.
Students' contact for Science and Technology Studies research is reference librarian Jill Cirasella.