Summer 2019 - SA 360 D100

Special Topics in Sociology and Anthropology (SA) (4)

Science in Asia

Class Number: 2563

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    May 6 – Jun 17, 2019: Tue, Thu, 8:30 a.m.–12:20 p.m.

  • Instructor:

    Michael Hathaway
    Office: AQ 5063
    Office Hours: TU 13:30-14:30, or by appointment. Please email 24 hours in advance.
  • Prerequisites:

    SA 101 or 150 or 201W.



A seminar exploring a topic not regularly offered by the department.


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%
  • Midterm exam 20%
  • Final project 40%


Grading: Where a final exam is scheduled and you do not write the exam or withdraw from the course before the deadline date, you will be assigned an N grade. Unless otherwise specified on the course outline, all other graded assignments in this course must be completed for a final grade other than N to be assigned.

Academic Dishonesty and Misconduct Policy: The Department of Sociology and Anthropology follows SFU policy in relation to grading practices, grade appeals (Policy T 20.01) and academic dishonesty and misconduct procedures (S10.01‐S10.04). 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:


For this class, you must write the midterm exam, submit the final project, and do at least two critiques, otherwise you will receive an N grade, which is considered an F for academic purposes.



Sismondo, S. (2009). An Introduction to Science and Technology Studies. London: Wiley-Blackwell.
ISBN: 978-1-405187657

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.