history of science
university of oklahoma
and by appt.
office: phsc 619
new! scipop blog: petri dish
In this class we'll be looking at how ideas about science and ideas from science appear in our everyday lives in ways that we take for granted: encounters with science in popular culture. We'll study how science and scientists have been portrayed in popular media from the scientific revolution to our own time, and also explore how ideas about nature and science merge at entertainment sites such as museums and zoos. We'll consider the tensions between scientific experts and the lay public, ponder some of the mysteries of the universe and of our own planet, think about the call of the wild in a highly technological age, and take a look at the future that never happened. In looking closely at what happens when science and popular culture meet, you'll even learn to see the present-day as future history.
There are three major components to this course: 1) What we do in class together (lecture presentations, small group exercises, video viewings, discussions); 2) Your weekly reading, which includes the assigned books, supplemental handouts, and weblinks; and 3) Individual writing projects and essay exams. Each of these components are designed to allow you to integrate the material in a manner that is meaningful to you.
The goals for this course are for students to gain an awareness of how science is an aspect of the wider culture in different eras; to analyze the historical roots of contemporary practices; and to develop critical thinking skills that will be useful as citizens living in a world continuing to be shaped by the scientific enterprise.