Spring 2021 - IAT 803 G100

Science, Technology & Culture (3)

Class Number: 6716

Delivery Method: Remote


  • Course Times + Location:

    Th 5:30 PM – 8:20 PM

  • Prerequisites:

    SIAT Graduate Student.



Introduces the core values of interdisciplinary scholarship through engagement with history, theory and practice in the study of science, technology, society and culture. This course will be a reading-intensive, extended seminar style investigation of theoretical and historical references in science and technology studies and broader societal implications of technologies.


NOTE this course will be offered synchronously in the Spring 2020 semester, students will be expected to attend the remote lectures at the scheduled times.

Interdisciplinary Engagements with Science, Technology, Society and Culture 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The course will be a reading-intensive, extended seminar-style investigation of theoretical and historical references in science and technology studies and broader societal implications of technologies.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?

To explore some of the far-reaching ideas such as embodiment and embodied know-how (i.e., “craft”), hands-on workshops will supplement discussions:
a) a set of Design Thinking workshops and
b) a series of Experience Design workshops (visual design: typographic, symbolic & affective and embodied interaction design)

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



1. Lead and participate in seminar discussions.
2. Contribute written responses throughout the course.
3. Critically engage with course readings and media screenings/interactions.
4. Select and investigate a topic relevant to their research/practice.
5. Submit a final project that builds on a particular theoretical definition and results in a final paper on a specified topic.
6. Be able to identify and articulate between multidisciplinary, transdisciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches, especially in collaborations.
7. Be able to identify and articulate differences between 'knowledge bases' and disciplinary fields.


  • Response Papers 10%
  • Seminar Presentation 20%
  • Project Proposal 10%
  • Term Paper 50%
  • Class Participation 10%


Writing will be emphasized, in part because it is necessary for completing your theses or dissertations, but also because it helps to think through and communicate research ideas. However, depending on your research area, the Term Paper can include hands-on, interactive and/or technical components. However, you will need to pitch your idea and get written approval from the instructor.

Grammarly is an excellent free app for spelling and grammar, especially if you consistently pay attention to habitual errors. GrammarlyPro is the paid version. We recommend you try the free version first.


Links to online readings and library resources will be provided.



Readings will be provided online and will be specific chapters from:

• Bauchspies, Wenda K., Jennifer Croissant, and Sal Restivo. 2006. Science, Technology, and Society: A Sociological Approach. Wiley. 

• Hackett, E., Amsterdamska, O., Lynch, M. et al., Eds. 2008. The Handbook of Science and Technology Studies, 3rd ed. Cambridge: the MIT Press. 

• Felt, U., Fouche, R., Miller, C., et al., Eds. 2017. The Handbook of Science and Technology Studies, 4th ed. Cambridge: the MIT Press.

Additional weekly readings will be listed on canvas. Readings and media (video, games, objects, software, performances) may be added over the course of the semester.

Graduate Studies Notes:

Important dates and deadlines for graduate students are found here: http://www.sfu.ca/dean-gradstudies/current/important_dates/guidelines.html. The deadline to drop a course with a 100% refund is the end of week 2. The deadline to drop with no notation on your transcript is the end of week 3.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in spring 2021 will be conducted primarily through remote methods. There will be in-person course components in a few exceptional cases where this is fundamental to the educational goals of the course. Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112).