Technology,Environment and Society

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Hope Tom  Nohara Kayoko 
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Spring Semester

Outline of lecture

Scientists and engineers increasingly need to be aware of the way research interacts with social factors in different contexts inside and outside of the lab, not least because of the power of the public to shape scientific research through influence on funding policy. This course, taught in English, will introduce key issues and theories about relationships between technology, the environment and society. Through lectures and seminar discussion, students will gain knowledge which can be applied to enable them to understand more deeply the meaning and influence of their own fields in the wider international stage.

Purpose of lecture

Students will learn theories to explain relations between technology, environment and society. Through case studies and discussion, students will learn how to apply these theories to current research.

Plan of lecture

1. Introduction to the course - Why "Technology Environment and Society"?
2. Historical Background and Theories (I)
3. Theories (II) - Science and Society (and in-between)
4. Environment as a Global and Socio-technical Issue
5. Social Movements, Agency and Technology
6. Science, Technology, Education and "Discipline"
7. Gender in Science (I) - Place and Environment
8. Gender in Science (II)
9. Innovative Health Technologies and Society
10. "You are what you eat" - GMOs and other "Controversies"
11. (Re)Modeling the Environment - Ubiquitous/Pervasive Computing
12. Fringe, Popular and "Pseudoscience"
13. "A tomato has genes?!" The Public and Science Engagement
14. Student Presentations and Discussion
15. Review and Conclusions

Textbook and reference

There is no assigned textbook, but helpful texts may be recommended during the first two lectures. Readings will be assigned each class with most available electronically.

Related and/or prerequisite courses



Students will be assessed on attendance, participation in class, presentations and a final report.

Comments from lecturer

To students: This course gives you an unusual opportunity in Japan to read, learn and discuss in English on important topics of science and society. You will find it challenging, but very rewarding. I look forward to seeing you in class!

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