Informed Leadership: Science, Technology and Society

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Course DatesMeeting TimesStatusInstructor(s)CRNRegistration
June 29, 2020 - July 10, 20206/29 - 7/10M-F 9A-3POpenNicole Sintetos

Course Description

Science and digital technologies have catalyzed often-overlooked revolutions in our day-to-day lives. From the development of the smart phone, to the atomic bomb, to antiretroviral drugs, the social landscape of the 20th and 21st centuries has been shaped by technological, medical, and scientific advancements. And, in the wake of these new breakthroughs, a host of philosophical, legal, and political questions have inevitably followed.

This course will introduce students to the interdisciplinary field of Science, Technology, and Society. This humanities -based course will challenge students to consider how scientific and technological advancements have shifted societal expectations around life and death, efficiency and authenticity, and agency and obedience. How should we define “progress” in a digital age? How do scientific advancements improve or disrupt an individual’s quality of life? And, do these scientific advancements come with a particular responsibility—and a particular power?

To tackle these challenging questions, students will hone their verbal reasoning skills through two formal debates grounded in advanced readings in the philosophy of science, the history of science, and medical bioethics. Key case studies on the AIDS crisis, the environmental justice movements, and net neutrality will also allow students to see how science and technology are inherently linked to the social. Further, legal court cases, public policy briefs, philosophical treaties, and the archival collections at Brown University’s John Hay Library will allow students to gain fluency in a diversity of source material. In addition to the development of an Action Plan, students will also work on both analytical and reflective writing samples.

By the end of the course, students will have developed an appreciation of the complex ways science and technology can make life both more fruitful and more precarious.
In a world of technological consumers, students will instead be challenged to become technological thought leaders.

This course is part of the Leadership Institute, a two-week academic program that helps students cultivate the knowledge, skills, and attitudes associated with effective and socially responsible leadership. This unique program consists of three integrated elements: academic content, leadership development, and the Action Plan. Our students are thoughtful and compassionate youth who are interested in social issues and creating positive change. Enrollment in this program requires several hours of online engagement prior to campus arrival. This online participation may be completed at any time where internet access is available. Once on campus, participants can look forward to full days in a community of engaged and curious learners.

Additional programmatic information may be found here.

Prerequisites: This course will be of particular interest to students who wish to combine their interest in the sciences with the humanities. Those interested in bioethics, medicine, and law are particularly encouraged to participate. There are no pre-requisites, though given the nature of the material; the course is best suited to rising juniors and seniors.

Instructor Biography

Nicole Sintetos is a PhD candidate in American Studies at Brown University, where her scholarship considers the interplay of race, empire, and technology in the 20th century. Her dissertation project, “Reclamation: Race, Labor, and the Making of Settler States” is an environmental history of Tule Lake Segregation Center. She has been a contributing scholar and writer for The Choice Program ; a program that draws on scholarship from Brown University to produce innovative curriculum and videos for secondary school audiences. Before coming to Brown, she taught high school English and History at the Dublin School in New Hampshire.

Course Information

  • Course Code: CESO0945
  • Length: 2 weeks

Program Information

Leadership Institute

Two-week non-credit residential program focused on socially responsible leadership and creating positive change. For students completing grades 9-12 by June 2020.

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