UCSC courses with a science and justice focus

UC Santa Cruz offers a wide range of courses across its many disciplines whose curriculum questions the relationships between science, society and justice. The below list of courses (undergraduate and graduate, face to face and online) are taught across all five academic divisions. To add your course: email us at scijust[at]ucsc.edu

Undergraduate Courses

ANTH 106 Primate Behavior and Ecology: The nature of primate social systems and social bonds is examined in the light of evolutionary and ecological concepts. Students cannot receive credit for this course and course 206. Prerequisite(s): course 1. Instructor: V. Oelze

ANTH 136 The Biology of Everyday Life: Addresses cross-cultural attitudes to the human body and its everyday biological concerns: sleeping, eating, breathing, sex, and defecation. Prerequisite(s): course 2. Instructor: N. Chen

ANTH 110E Anthropology of Global Environmental Change: Introduces anthropological and historical approaches to environmental change and globalization. Key themes include: capitalism and industrialization, environmental politics, global culture, and relations between humans and other species. Instructor: Jerry Zee

ANTH 110U Anthropology of Science: Examines science and technology through an anthropological lens, focusing on ethnographic studies of scientific practice and relations between science and society. We will look at studies theorizing core scientific elements, and focus on qualitative, empirically-based studies of scientific practice.

ANTH 110W Land and Waterscapes Entropology: Establishes anthropological interconnections of emergent worlds where environmental matters, social justice, and human survival interrelate. Focuses on anti-essential nature and waterscape ethnographies in which different pluricultures revalidate local understandings as ways of contesting increasing forms of land and water privatization. Instructor: Guillermo Delgado

ANTH 134 Medical Anthropology: An Introduction: Cross-cultural study of health, disease, and illness behavior from ecological and ethnomedical perspectives. Implications for biomedical health care policy.

ANTH 146 Anthropology and the Environment: Examines recent approaches to study of nature and the environment. Considers historical relationship between nature, science, and colonial expansion as well as key issues of contemporary environmental concern: conservation, environmental justice, and social movements.

ANTH 190X Special topics in Biological Anthropology: Taught annually on a rotating basis by various faculty members. Precise focus of each year’s course varies according to the instructor and is announced by the department. (Formerly Special topics in Archaeology-Physical Anthropology.) Prerequisite(s): course 1. May be repeated for credit.

Topic (Neanderthals): This course will use primary academic research to explore the social behaviors, technology, anatomy, and genetics of neanderthals and in the end, we will gain a more holistic understanding of exactly who neanderthals were.

ANTH 196W-01 Anthropology of Weather and Exposure: Students discuss how differing approaches to weather and exposure generate different approaches to culture, science, and politics; identify key moments in cultural anthropology’s engagement with environmental and climactic questions; and delineate new areas of research. Instructor: Jerry Zee

ART 80B Environmental Art: Examines ways artists engage, interact, and comment upon ecology and nature in their artworks by examining environmental art from the 1960s through the present. (General Education Code(s): PE-E.) Instructor: E. Stephens

ART 125 Environmental Art Studio: Introduces students to environmental art and design through basic concepts, techniques, and studio practice. Students are billed for a materials fee. Prerequisite(s): Three courses from: Art 15, 20G, 20H, 20I, 20J, 20K, 26, and Computational Media 25 Enrollment restricted to art majors. May be repeated for credit. Instructor: E. Stephens

CMMU 30 Numbers & Social Justice: No Catalog description – only offered during summer session.

CMMU 160 Public Health: Examination of community activism to address health issues: examples are drawn from a range of concerns, e.g., environmental racism, prison conditions, feminist health matters, the AIDS epidemic, violence, and alcoholism. Special attention is given to the social frameworks of health and to the utilization of social and political strategies for improving community well-being. Instructor: A. Steiner

CMMU 161 Women’s Health Activism: Examines concrete aspects of women’s health in social and political contexts, including such factors as environmental and occupational health, the role of race and nationality, diverse sexualities and health, American medical care systems, and international comparisons and organizing approaches. Instructor: A. Steiner

CMMU 162 Community Gardens and Social Change: Examines history, theory, and practice of community gardening, emphasizing contemporary garden projects using the transformative power of direct contact with nature to effect social change. Aims include understanding the nonprofit sector’s response to social problems with novel programs and practices. Instructor: M. Pudup

CMMU 163 Health Care Inequalities: Examines system and non-system that is American health care with special attention to inequalities in access, financing, and quality of care. Covers concepts such as equality, fairness, and need as well as community organizing and community building for health. Instructor: A. Steiner

CMMU 164 Health Justice in Conflict: Explores three case studies to address critical themes of healthcare inequalities in the context of conflict: the legal battle of Ecuadorians against Texaco/Chevron; the struggle of “comfort women” during World War II; and chemical saturation in Iraq. J. Rubaii

CMMU 186 Agriculture, Food, and Social Justice: Examines the primary ways in which activists are attempting to resist, provide alternatives to, and/or transform aspects of the food system using social and environmental justice frameworks to evaluate such activism. Topics explored include organic farming, food charity, fair trade, relocalization, and farmworker organizing. Enrollment by permission of instructor. Instructor: J. Guthman

CRES 185 Race, Gender, and Science: Examines how science as epistemology and its accompanying practices participate in, create, and are created by understandings of race, gender, sexuality, and nation. Enrollment restricted to critical race and ethnic studies majors. Other majors by permission.Instructor: S. Harvey

EEMB W22 Concepts and Controversies in the Biological Sciences: Introduction to the principles of evolution as a foundation for understanding topics such as adaptation, physiology and ecology. Focuses on areas of biology that encompass important political, economic, social, and philosophical issues. Examines perspectives on currently relevant, and biologically based topics such as evolution / scientific creationism, sociobiology, biotechnology, right to life issues, animal rights, AIDS and other epidemics, and overpopulation. (online, link)

FMST 30 Feminism and Science: Explores questions of science and justice. Examines the nature of scientific practice, the culture of science, and the possibilities for the responsible practice of science. Rather than focusing on feminist critiques of science, the course examines how science and technology are changing our world and the workings of power. (Formerly course 80K.) Enrollment limited to 80. (General Education Code(s): PE-T.) Instructor: K. Barad

FMST 131 The Politics of Matter and the Matter of Politics: Considers how “things”–what we may think of as objects, matter, nature, technology, bodies–are constitutive elements of social and political life. What happens to the political as a category if we take this matter seriously? Prerequisite(s): course 1. Instructor: K. Lyons

FMST 133 Science and the Body: Contemporary technoscientific practices, such as nano-, info-, and biotechnologies, are rapidly reworking what it means to be human. Course examines how both our understanding of the human and the very nature of the human are constituted through technoscientific practices. Prerequisite(s): courses 1 and 100. Enrollment restricted to juniors and seniors. (General Education Code(s): PE-T.) Instructor: K. Barad

FMST 194D Feminist Science Studies: Examines different feminist approaches to understanding the nature of scientific practices. Particular attention paid to notions of evidence, methods, cultural and material constraints, and the heterogeneous nature of laboratory practices. Considers the ways in which gender, race, and sexuality are constructed by science and how they influence both scientific practices and conceptions of science. Also examines the feminist commitment to taking social factors into account without forfeiting the notion of objectivity. Prerequisite(s): satisfaction of Entry Level Writing and Composition requirements; and courses 1 and 100. Enrollment restricted to senior feminist studies majors. Enrollment limited to 20. Instructor: K. Barad

FMST 194L Decoloniality, Feminism, and Science Studies: Introduces decolonial perspectives and considers how science studies might be radically transformed through an engagement with decolonial, indigenous, and black feminist perspectives, and scholars from the global South. Prerequisite(s): satisfaction of the Entry Level Writing and Composition requirements; courses 1 and 100. Enrollment is restricted to juniors and seniors. Enrollment limited to 20. Instructor: (previously K. Lyons)

HISC 116-01 What is Species?: Considers how the concept of “species” is constituted of contradiction and opposition. Together, we will examine discourses surrounding species from the ancient Greeks through the present. As this topic demands, we will read interdisciplinarily, discussing works of philosophy, zoology, botany, political economy, ethnic studies, and more, to follow “species” across centuries. We will note how thinking “species” has always been an interdisciplinary pursuit, indeed, how it antedates the disciplines that we now study it with. We will pay particular attention to the emergence of modern botany through colonial enterprises beginning in the 15th and 16th centuries; the rise of scientific racism in Europe and the United States; and contemporary responses from the fields of critical race and ethnic studies and feminist studies to scientific projects that bear on modern conceptions of race, from genomic mapping to the discursive construction of viruses. (General Education Code(s): PE-E.; can be counted as Philosophy and CRES upper division electives. Instructor: J. Komori

HIS 151 – 01  History of Science, Medicine, and Technology from Antiquity to the Enlightenment: Questions explored include the debate over when/where “modern science” began; the role of craft-based and artisanal skills in the production of knowledge; and the technological and social impacts of intellectual change, from the Bronze Age to the birth of computing. (General Education Code(s): SI.) Instructor: B. Breen

HIS 151A Medicine And The Body In The Colonial World: Explores the histories of bodies and medicine in the colonial world. Charts the relationships among ideas about the body, medical practice, race, and labor in the colonial world between the 16th and the mid-20th centuries. (General Education Code(s): PE-T.)

LIT 61U Introduction to Speculative Fiction:  Close reading of speculative and science fiction texts (short stories, novels, and films) with the aim of developing critical methods for the analysis and interpretation of SF as a critique of science, technology, and culture. Course will explore themes like encounters across species; novelty and change; expanded concepts of life; and the role of technology in human development. (General Education Codes: PE-T). Offered during summer session as online. (online: Z. Zimmer, link)

LIT 80K Topics in Medical Humanities: Medical Humanities designate an interdisciplinary field of humanities (literature, philosophy, ethics, history, and religion) concerned with application to medical education and practice. The humanities provide insight into the human condition, suffering, personhood, and our responsibility to each other; and offer a historical perspective on medical practice. (General Education Code(s): PE-T.) Instructor: W. Godzich

Oakes 153 Community Mapping: Students study the theories and methods of community mapping, and work in research teams to design and conduct social-research projects. Emphasizes research questions that focus on assets and capacities, as well as on participatory-action research for justice. Prerequisite(s): satisfaction of Entry Level Writing and Composition requirements. Enrollment restricted to Oakes College members and community studies majors. Enrollment limited to 25. May be repeated for credit. (General Education Code(s): PR-S.) Instructor: L. Lopez

POLI 121 Race & Justice in America: Examines how “race” is forged as a distinctive concept and logic of governance in American Politics; Undercurrents of racial reasoning in transcendent notions of “justice” in the U.S. are traced from the nation’s founding into the 21st century. Enrollment is restricted to politics majors during first and second pass enrollment. General Education Code(s): ER. Instructor: A. Verma

POLI 182 The Power to Punish: Interrogates the presuppositions of punishment as legitimate state power. Decentering crime as punishment’s conceptual predicate, wider analysis of the penal state’s social-scientific, jurisprudential, and philosophical foundations force us to ask: What is punishment? Why punish? How, and whom, to punish? Enrollment is restricted to politics majors during first and second pass enrollment. General Education Code(s): PE-H. Instructor: A. Verma

SOCY 121 Sociology Of Health And Medicine: Analysis of the current health care “crises” and exploration of the social relationships and formal organizations which constitute the medical institution. Study of the political, economic, and cultural factors which affect the recognition, distribution, and response to illness. Enrollment is restricted to junior and senior majors and minors in biochemistry, biological sciences, critical race and ethnic studies, and sociology, and the Latin American studies/sociology combined majors. Instructor: J. Reardon

SOCY 121G Genomics and Society: In this course you will learn analytic frameworks for exploring the co-production of genomics and society. Throughout we will explore the issues at stake as societies across the world increasingly turn to genomic data to cure disease, solve crimes, regulate immigration, revitalize economies and answer age old questions about who ‘we’ are.  You we will read texts from a range of disciplines—including the history and sociology of science, science studies, molecular biology, feminist studies, and anthropology—in order to provide different perspectives on questions that lie at the interface of genomics and society. Two central questions we will be asking throughout the course are: 1) What assumptions inform our understanding and interpretations of the meaning of genomic data, and 2) What is the significance of the interpretive framework we use for who lives and dies and how? Enrollment restricted to Junior and Senior students. Prerequisites: SOCY10, SOCY 105B or by permission of instructor. Instructor: J. Reardon

SOCY 125 Society And Nature: A healthy society requires a stable and sustainable relationship between society and nature. Covering past, present, and future, the course covers environmental history of the U.S., the variety and extent of environmental problems today, and explores their likely development in our lifetimes. Enrollment is restricted to sophomore, junior, and senior majors, proposed majors, and minors in sociology, global information and enterprise, and Latin American studies/sociology combined.

SOCY 132 Sociology of Science and Technology: Reviews social and cultural perspectives on science and technology, including functionalist, Marxist, Kuhnian, social constructionist, ethnographic, interactionist, anthropological, historical, feminist, and cultural studies perspectives. Topics include sociology of knowledge, science as a social problem, lab studies, representations, practice, controversies, and biomedical knowledge and work. Enrollment is restricted to junior and senior majors and minors in sociology, biology, biochemistry, critical race and ethnic studies, global information and social enterprise, and Latin American studies/sociology combined. Enrollment limited to 20. Instructor: J. Doucet-Battle

SOCY 173X Water and Sanitation Justice: In the global North and South, inequalities in water and sanitation are issues of justice as much as income. One billion people worldwide lack safe water, 2.5 billion lack basic sanitation. Course explores: North-South comparison, water governance, human rights, poverty, climate justice, irrigation, and more. (online: Ben Crow, link)

Graduate Courses

BIOE 262 Facilitating Change in Coastal Science Policy: Skills-based course in effective leadership and communication, including stakeholder engagement, facilitation, conflict resolution, team building, and introduction to project management. Communication training includes identifying audiences and objectives (public, philanthropy, policymakers, managers, scientist practitioners) and leveraging non-traditional communication platforms. Enrollment by application and restricted to graduate students. Enrollment limited to 16. M. Carr, Instructor: K. Kroeker

CMPS 290C: Responsible Data Science: Machine learning and data science are enjoying an explosion of interest, across all areas of endeavor: business, academia, and government are all embracing new data-driven approaches to utilize the wide range of data with which we are now inundated. With the growing popularity of machine learning and data-driven methods also comes concerns. These concerns range from basic statistical and computational literacy (understanding key concepts such as the curse of dimensionality, overfitting, biased samples, computational complexity, data ownership, security, etc.) to emerging topics such as fairness, accountability and interpretability in machine learning.   This course will serve as an introduction to these topics. The course will begin with basic introductory material on key topics such as: privacy, causality, interpretability, fairness and reproducibility, and the latter part of the course will include readings based on the class interests. Students should come away with a modern grounding in emerging topics of ethics and responsibility in data science. Course requirements: Class attendance and participation, a quarter long project which can either be a literature survey or a research project (students are highly encouraged to choose a topic which aligns with their MS or PhD research), and presentation of 1-2 research papers. Prerequisites: basic background in machine learning and statistics recommended but not required. Instructor: L.Getoor

DANM 201 – Recent Methods and Approaches to Digital Arts and Culture: Race, Gender and Algorithms: Algorithms shape race and gender today. Yet algorithms are older than digital media and can be understood as recipes or rituals. In this course, students will engage with the emerging field of trans of color poetics by studying women of color feminism, transgender studies and decolonial theory. Digital media art will ground the discussion, including works from queer and trans artists of color working in digital games, anti-surveillance fashion and performance art. Students will create digital media projects in response to the ideas of the course. Instructor: m. cárdenas

FDM 225 Software Studies: Today, our lives are woven into vast software systems that facilitate our family communications, personal relations, jobs, and cultural, economic, political, and social institutions. Course examines these conditions of life and thought using insights from the arts and humanities. Enrollment restricted to graduate students. Instructor: W. Sack

FMST 214 Topics in Feminist Science Studies: Graduate seminar on feminist science studies. Topics will vary and may include: the joint consideration of science studies and poststructuralist theory; the relationship between discursive practices and material phenomena; and the relationship between ontology, epistemology, and ethics. Enrollment restricted to graduate students. Enrollment limited to 15. Instructor: K. Barad

POLI 201 Logics of Inquiry: Investigates approaches to study of politics and to enterprise of social science in general. Works from positivist, interpretive, historical, and critical approaches provide examples held up to critical and epistemological reflection. Enrollment is restricted to graduate students. Instructor: A. Verma

SOCY 264 Science, Technology, And Medicine: Explores social and cultural perspectives on science, technology, and medicine. Analyzes theoretical approaches that open up “black boxes” of scientific and biomedical knowledge, including the politics of bodies, objects, and health/illness. Links are made to medical sociology. Enrollment restricted to graduate students. Instructor: J. Reardon

SOCY 268A Science and Justice: Experiments in Collaboration: Considers the practical and epistemological necessity of collaborative research in the development of new sciences and technologies that are attentive to questions of ethics and justice. Enrollment by permission of instructor. Enrollment restricted to graduate students. (Also offered as Biomolecular Engineering 268A and Feminist Studies 268A and Anthropology 267A. Students cannot receive credit for both courses.) Enrollment limited to 15. Instructor: J Reardon

SOCY 290 Advanced Topics in Sociological Analysis: The Genomics of Race, Gender, and Social Status: This graduate seminar explores race, gender, and social status through the lens of genomic research, and the novel and perennial questions they raise about human difference. In particular, our discussion will involve an unpacking of individual, scientific, and nationalist narratives about identity, belonging, inclusion, and the ways such narratives index power, inequality, privilege, and citizenship. We will trace these domains through a rigorous engagement with social scientific scholarship in Latin America, the North Atlantic, Asia, and Africa. Our global conversation interrogates the ways genomic research travels and gets interpreted in either supporting or contesting social facts and ideologies that claim unequal life chances as an inherent part of the natural order. Instructor: J. Doucet-Battle