About the Course

January-April 2018, Thursday, 11:30-2:20, Surrey Campus


Kate Hennessy
Office: Pod 2, 2128, SIAT

Office Hours by appointment
Email: hennessy_kate@sfu.ca
Office Phone: 778.782.9052

Hannah Turner
Office: Making Culture Lab, SUR 3910
Email: hannah_turner@sfu.ca

The Full syllabus is available on Canvas at www.canvas.sfu.ca

Science, Technology and Culture (IAT803)  introduces SIAT graduate students to core values of interdisciplinary scholarship through engagement with history, theory and practice in the study of science, technology, society and culture. This course provides a foundational theoretical and historical engagement with literature reflecting interdisciplinary approaches to technology design and use in contemporary society. The course will be a reading-intensive, extended seminar style investigation of theoretical and historical references in science and technology studies and broader societal implications of technologies. It will provide each cohort with critical thinking, reading, and writing foundation for future research and design practices. The course is designed to complement core SIAT courses in Research Design and Computation.

The course will address questions such as: How have people been thinking and writing critically about technology, today and in the past? What counts as knowledge in the Arts and Humanities? What counts as knowledge in the Sciences? How can scholars trace their ideas back to those that preceded them in various knowledge traditions? What are some of the major assumptions that underlie how knowledge is produced in diverse disciplines? What are the extra “costs” and “benefits” of interdisciplinary work? Where do knowledge traditions merge and converge, and where/how are they in tension with one another? What are the broader implications of scientific and technological practices for society––for example, our understandings of concepts of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, conflict, and history? What are some of the current implications for designers in today’s societal contexts?

Students will engage with theory and case studies of how technology and society are intertwined and its implications for the design and use of technology in today’s society. They will be able to apply what they have learned in this course to their chosen field of study.

Delivery Method

Students will:

  1. Lead and participate in seminar discussions
  2. Contribute written responses throughout the course on the class blog
  3. Critically engage with course readings and media screenings
  4. Select and investigate a topic relevant to their research/practice
  5. Submit a final project that build on a particular theoretical definition and results in a final paper on a specified topic.



  • Bauchspies, Wenda K., Jennifer Croissant, and Sal Restivo. 2006. Science, Technology, and Society: A Sociological Approach. Wiley.
  • Huxley, Aldous. 2007 (1932). Brave New World. 2 edition. Vintage Canada.
  • Orwell, George. 2006 (1949). 1984. Reissue edition. New York, NY: Signet Classics.
  • Additional Weekly Readings: see full syllabus.