Readings in Science, Technology and Society (STS)

In Fall 2020 I took the introductory course STS C200 at UC Berkeley’s Center for Science, Technology, Medicine & Society. The course made use of three learning techniques: reading, journaling, and discussing.

With some hesitation, I’m sharing my reading journal. Some excuses/disclaimers: we were reading fairly quickly (each entry marks one week), and entries were limited to 2-3 pages. I may have missed some key points and messed up the ones I haven’t, but I know I’ve learned a whole lot in the process.

Warm thanks to my fellow students who were wonderful partners in discussion, and to Massimo Mazzotti for patiently guiding us through it all. It was a great experience.

  1. Politics and Historiography.
    - The German Ideology, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels (1845-46).
    - The Social and Economic Roots of Newton’s Principia, Boris Hessen (1931).
    - From the Closed World to the Infinite Universe, Alexandre Koyré (1957).

  2. Early Sociology of Science.
    - The Spirit of Capitalism, Max Weber (1935).
    - The Sociology of Science: Theoretical and Empirical Investigations, Robert Merton (1973).
    - The Specificity of the Scientific Field and the Social Conditions of the Progress of Reason, Pierre Bourdieu (1975).

  3. Early Sociology of Science (cont.).
    - Conservative Thought, Karl Mannheim (1925).
    - Genesis and Development of a Scientific Fact, Ludwig Fleck (1935).

  4. Revolutions and Negotiations.
    - The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Thomas Kuhn (1962).
    - Proofs and Refutations, Imre Lakatos (1976).

  5. The Sociology of Scientific Knowledge (SSK).
    - What is a Social Fact?, Emile Durkheim (1895).
    - Wittgenstein and Mannheim on the Sociology of Mathematics, David Bloor (1973).
    - Relativism, Rationalism and the Sociology of Knowledge, Barry Barnes and David Bloor (1982).
    - Sociology of Scientific Knowledge, David Bloor (2004).

  6. History of Science and Social Constructivism.
    - Leviathan and the Air-Pump: Hobbes, Boyle and the Scientific Life, Steven Shapin and Simon Schaffer (1985).
    - Galileo the Emblem Maker, Mario Biagioli (1990).

  7. The Social Construction of Technology.
    - Do Artifacts have Politics?, Langdon Winner (1980).
    - The Social Construction of Technological Systems: New Directions in the Sociology and History of Technology, Wiebe Bijker, Thomas Hughes, Trevor Pinch (1987).
    - An Equation and Its Worlds: Bricolage, Exemplars, Disunity and Performativity in Financial Economics, Donald MacKenzie (2003).

  8. Laboratory Studies.
    - Laboratory Life: The Construction of Scientific Facts, Bruno Latour and Steve Woolgar (1979).
    - The House of Experiment in Seventeenth Century England, Steven Shapin (1988).

  9. Actor-Network Theory.
    - Science in Action, Bruno Latour (1987).
    - Institutional ecology, ‘Translations’, and Boundary Objects, Susan Leigh Star and James Griesemer (1989).

  10. Decentering STS.
    - Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective, Donna Haraway (1988).
    - The Zimbabwe Bush Pump, Marianne de Laet and Annemarie Mol (2000).
    - Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code, Ruha Benjamin (2019).

  11. Algorithmic Life.
    - Twitter and Tear Gas: The Power and Fragility of Networked Protest, Zeynep Tufekci (2017).
    - Algorithms of Oppression, Safiya U. Noble (2018).

  12. STS, Expertise, Public Discourse.
    - Impure Science: AIDS, Activism, and the Politics of Knowledge, Steven Epstein (1996).
    - Merchants of Doubt: How A Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming, Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway (2010).