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None Acad Year Not offered Acad Year U Spring units. A survey of America's transition from a rural, agrarian, and artisan society to one of the world's leading industrial powers. Treats the emergence of industrial capitalism: Views technology as part of the larger culture and reveals innovation as a process consisting of a range of possibilities that are chosen or rejected according to the social criteria of the time. Examines finance as a social technology intended to improve economic opportunity by moving capital to where it is most needed.
Surveys the history of modern finance, from medieval Italy to the Great Depression, while addressing credit, finance and state and imperial power, global financial interconnection, and financial crises. Explores modern finance since about from a variety of historical and social-scientific perspectives, covering quant finance, financialization, the crisis of , and finance in the digital age.
U Fall units. Covers the development of major fields in the physical and life sciences, from 18th-century Europe through 20th-century America. Examines ideas, institutions, and the social settings of the sciences, with emphasis on how cultural contexts influence scientific concepts and practices. None U Fall units. Exposes students to multidisciplinary studies in Science, Technology, and Society STS , using four case studies to illustrate a broad range of approaches to basic principles of STS studies.
Case studies vary from year to year, but always include a current MIT event. Other topics are drawn from legal and political conflicts, and arts and communication media. Includes guest presenters, discussion groups, field activities, visual media, and a practicum style of learning.
Same subject as See description under subject U Spring Acad Year Not offered units. Covers theories of the interactions between historical and technological change; relations between the histories of science and of technology; purported turning points such as the Neolithic, Industrial, and Information Revolutions; case studies from a wide range of times and places; and connections across time and space.
Lectures supplemented by student presentations. Frequent writing, rewriting, and small group work. None U Spring units. Introduces the "inner history" of technology: Topics vary, but may include how the internet transforms our experience of time, space, privacy, and social engagement; how entertainment media affects attention, creativity, aesthetics and emotion; how innovations in wearable and textile technologies reshape notions of history and identity; how pharmaceuticals reshape identity, mood, pain, and pleasure.
Includes in-class discussion of readings, short written and multimedia assignments, final project. Provides a broad conceptual and historical introduction to scientific theories of evolution and their place in the wider culture. Students read key texts, analyze key debates e. Darwinian debates in the 19th century, and the creation controversies in the 20th century and give class presentations.
Provides instruction in the history of humanity's efforts to control and shape life through biotechnology, from agriculture to gene editing. Examines the technologies, individuals and socio-economic systems that are associated with such efforts, as well as the impact that these efforts have on society and science as a whole. Explores these issues with particular attention to the development of the modern biotechnology industry in the Greater Boston area.
Includes a field trip. Explores a range of controversies about the role of technology, the nature of scientific research and the place of politics in science: Provides exposure to science in a dynamic relation with social life and cultural ideas. Materials draw from humanities and social science research, ethnographic fieldwork, films and science podcasts, as well as from experimental multimedia.
Same subject as 21G. See description under subject 21G. Same subject as WGS. See description under subject WGS.
Same subject as 21H. Global survey of the great transformation in history known as the "Industrial Revolution. Emphasis on the transfer of technology and its many adaptations around the world. Includes brief reflection papers and a final paper. Subject meets with STS. U Fall Acad Year Introductory survey of fundamental innovations and transitions in American manufacturing from the colonial period to the mid-twentieth century.
Primary emphasis on textiles and metalworking, with particular attention to the role of the machine tool industry in the American manufacturing economy.
Students taking graduate version are expected to explore the material in greater depth. Permission of instructor Acad Year Using the American Civil War as a baseline, considers what it means to become "modern" by exploring the war's material and manpower needs, associated key technologies, and how both influenced the United States' entrance into the age of "Big Business.
Students taking graduate version complete additional assignments. Uses case studies to take a broad-ranging look at seven major engineering achievements in world history. Includes weekly reflection papers.
Achievements covered vary from term to term. Examines national and global energy debates, namely energy security, climate change, and energy access.
Explores technological, market, environmental, cultural and political "fixes" to the energy question, as well as a wide variety of energy forms and stakeholders. Evaluates development, nuclear security, environment ethics, and conflicts between energy and food security.
Includes debates, presentations, group projects in class and in the Cambridge community , grant-writing, and individual written assignments. Develops students' abilities to communicate science effectively in a variety of real-world contexts.
Covers strategies for dealing with complex areas like theoretical physics, genomics and neuroscience, and addresses challenges in communicating about topics such as climate change and evolution. Projects focus on speaking and writing, being an expert witness, preparing briefings for policy-makers, writing blogs, giving live interviews for broadcast, and creating a prospectus for a science exhibit in the MIT Museum.
Project-based seminar covers key topics in museum communication, including science learning in informal settings, the role of artifacts and interactives, and exhibit evaluation. Students work on a term-long project, organized around the design, fabrication, and installation of an original multimedia exhibit about current scientific research at MIT.
Limited to 20; preference to students who have taken STS. Same subject as 8. Explores the changing roles of physics and physicists during the 20th century.
Topics range from relativity theory and quantum mechanics to high-energy physics and cosmology. Examines the development of modern physics within shifting institutional, cultural, and political contexts, such as physics in Imperial Britain, Nazi Germany, US efforts during World War II, and physicists' roles during the Cold War. Focuses on the memoir as a window onto the relationship of the scientist, engineer, and technologist to his or her work. Studies the subjective side of technology and the social and psychological dimensions of technological change.
Students write about specific objects and their role in their lives - memoir fragments. Readings concern child development theory and the role of technology in development. Explores the connection between material culture, identity, cognitive and emotional development.
Limited to 15; no listeners. Explores emotional and intellectual impact of objects. The growing literature on cognition and "things" cuts across anthropology, history, social theory, literature, sociology, and psychology and is of great relevance to science students. Examines the range of theories, from Mary Douglas in anthropology to D. Winnicott in psychoanalytic thinking, that underlies "thing" or "object" analysis. Same subject as 21A. Historical examination of the quest to understand human society scientifically.
Focuses on quantification, including its central role in the historical development of social science and its importance in the 21st-century data age. Covers the political arithmetic of the 17th century to the present.
Emphasizes intensive reading of primary sources, which represent past attempts to count, calculate, measure, and model many dimensions of human social life population, wealth, health, happiness, intelligence, crime, deviance, race. A survey of the contributions of African Americans to science, technology, and medicine from colonial times to the present.
Explores the impact of concepts, trends, and developments in science, technology, and medicine on the lives of African Americans.
Examples include the eugenics movement, the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment, the debate surrounding racial inheritance, and IQ testing. Examines anticancer efforts as a critical area for the formation of contemporary biomedical explanations for health and disease. Begins with the premise that the most significant implications of these efforts extend far beyond the success or failure of individual cancer therapies.
Considers developments in the epidemiology, therapy, and politics of cancer. Uses the history of cancer to connect the history of biology and medicine to larger social and cultural developments, including those in bioethics, race, gender, activism, markets, and governance.
Examines the history of MIT, from its founding to the present, through the lens of the history of science and technology.
Topics include William Barton Rogers; the modern research university and educational philosophy; campus, intellectual, and organizational development; changing laboratories and practices; MIT's relationship with Boston, the federal government, and industry; and notable activities and achievements of students, alumni, faculty, and staff. Includes guest lecturers, on-campus field trips, and interactive exercises.
Examines the linked histories of science, engineering, and documentary film from to present. In addition to historical study and visual analysis, students produce their own short videos based on archival footage. Provides opportunities to interact with both antiquated and modern technologies of media production and projection.