Summer 2022 - SA 365 D100

Selected Regional Areas (A) (4)

Science in Asia

Class Number: 3868

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Th 8:30 AM – 11:20 AM
    AQ 5039, Burnaby

  • Instructor:

    Michael Hathaway
    Office: AQ 5063
    Office Hours: Tues 1:30-2:30pm and by appointment
  • Prerequisites:

    SA 101 or 150 or 201W.



An examination of selected aspects of the social structure, culture and the processes of social change in varying regional areas. The focus will vary from semester to semester.


Topic: Science in Asia: Transnationalism, Gender and History

Many of us are taught that science is universal and "culture-free." We are told that it doesn't matter who creates and uses science, that its methods allow anyone in anyplace to know what is and what is not scientifically true. This course challenges those precepts, by looking at science as a cultural formation. We will examine the relationship of place, gender and history in questions of what science has been, is now, and will be in the future. Specifically, we will look at the question of science in Asia, both historically and in the contemporary period. We will ask what might an "Asian Science" look like? How does a post-colonial context change the way that science is imagined and practiced?  When did "science" emerge, and what makes it similar or different from other forms of knowledge? This class will examine academic works, as well as popular writings and film to push us to look at current debates about science in the news, such as questions about HIV/AIDS testing, genetic cloning and stem-cell research. We will explore some of the broader issues in science studies scholarship, examining the gendered dynamics in scientific labor and how scientists' assumptions about reality shape their interests and experiments. The course will look at how forest ecologists in Japan and the US approach their work and carry out their research, as well as ongoing debates about the role of Asia in questions about "Universal" or "Western" science. Students will write a research paper on a topic of their choice. The class will be conducted as an intensive seminar, with active student participation.


  • Seminar Participation 20%
  • Seminar Facilitation 20%
  • Mid-term 20%
  • Final Project 40%
  • For this class, you must take the mid-term, submit the final project and do at least 2 critiques, otherwise you will receive an N grade, which is considered an F for academic purposes.


Grading: Where a final exam is scheduled and the student does not write the exam or withdraw from the course before the deadline date, an N grade will be assigned. Unless otherwise specified on the course syllabus, all graded assignments for this course must be completed for a final grade other than N to be assigned. An N is considered as an F for the purposes of scholastic standing.

Grading System: The Undergraduate Course Grading System is as follows:

A+ (95-100) | A (90-94) | A- (85-89) | B+ (80-84) | B (75-79) | B- (70-74) | C+ (65-69) | C (60-64) | C- (55-59) | D (50-54) | F (0-49) | N*
*N standing to indicate the student did not complete course requirements

Academic Honesty and Student Conduct Policies: The Department of Sociology & Anthropology follows SFU policy in relation to grading practices, grade appeals (Policy T20.01), and academic honesty and student conduct procedures (S10‐S10.05). Unless otherwise informed by your instructor in writing, in graded written assignments you must cite the sources you rely on and include a bibliography/list of references, following an instructor-approved citation style. It is the responsibility of students to inform themselves of the content of SFU policies available on the SFU website.

Centre for Accessible Learning: Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need classroom or exam accommodations are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (1250 Maggie Benston Centre) as soon as possible to ensure that they are eligible and that approved accommodations and services are implemented in a timely fashion.

The Sociology and Anthropology Student Union, SASU, is a governing body of students who are engaged with the department and want to build the SA community. Get involved!  Follow Facebook and Instagram pages or visit our website.



Sergio Sismondo, An Introduction to Science and Technology Studies.
            London: Blackwell Publishers. 2009.,+2nd+Edition-p-9781405187657

Michael J. Hathaway, What a Mushroom Lives For: Matsutake and the Worlds They         Make. Princeton: Princeton University Press. 2022


I will bring copies of the articles or make them available in the library. These readings are listed in bold face on the course schedule.


. I recommend that you listen to some pod-casts that examine science from a critical perspective. One place to find relevant talks is the Havens Center at the University of Madison, Wisconsin. Below are links to three talks:

Michael Lynch: "DNA Testing, Fingerprinting, and the Credibility of Expert Evidence"

Sandra Harding: "Science and Multiple Modernities"

Emily Martin: "Transcribing Emotions in Everyday Life"

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site 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.


Teaching at SFU in summer 2022 will involve primarily in-person instruction.  Some courses may be offered through alternative methods (remote, online, blended), and if so, this will be clearly identified in the schedule of classes. 

Enrolling in a course acknowledges that you are able to attend in whatever format is required.  You should not enroll in a course that is in-person if you are not able to return to campus, and should be aware that remote, online, or blended courses 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.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning ( or 778-782-3112) as early as possible in order to prepare for the summer 2022 term.