School of History

HST4607 - Controversies of Science and Technology in the Making of the Modern World

Module code: HST4607

Credits: 15
Semester: SEM 2

Module Convenor: Dr Andrew Mendelsohn

We live in a world profoundly shaped by science and technology. Yet few are equipped to analyse these aspects of the modern world, understand how they arose historically, and construct and assess arguments concerning the problems they raise. This module gives you the intellectual tools to do so — to live in and contribute to such a world as a historian and citizen. Accessible to students with no science background, each topic begins from a familiar controversy, newsworthy problem, or ‘challenge’ in today’s world. Topics are drawn from controversy over the environment, animal rights, science and religion, race in science, modern sexuality, climate change, ‘sustainability’, IQ testing, technological disaster, eugenics, automation and robotics (in the workplace, medicine, and war), human experimentation, clinical trials in Africa and Asia, scientific experts in democratic societies, population and famine, intellectual property and biopiracy, what counts as a disease. The module introduces students to history of science, technology and medicine (STM) and their reciprocal relations with society, politics, government, economy, culture.

Assessment: Seminar Participation [10%], Essay 1 (1,500 words) [40%] and Essay 2 (2,000 words) [50%]
Level: 4