2014 Course Development Grants

Course Information:

  • Recipient: Nara Milanich (Associate Professor of History; Barnard College)
  • Course Type: Seminar offered Fall 2015 and Spring 2018

Description:

  • A comparative, cross-cultural examination of the social organization and historical construction of human reproduction, with emphasis on the twentieth century. Special attention will be paid to the role of states and the local and transnational “stratification” of reproduction by hierarchies of race, class, and citizenship.
  • Topics include eugenics; the politics of population; birth control; abortion; kinship as social and biological relationship; fetal politics; maternity; paternity; and new reproductive technologies. Reproduction is a particularly rich category for examining the nexus of science and society, one that highlights feminist contributions to the STS literature and the interconnections between science, gender, and sexuality.  
  • In exploring reproduction, gender, and sexuality, the seminar draws on diverse interdisciplinary literature, with an emphasis on historical and anthropological perspectives.

Course Information

  • Recipient: Rebecca Woods (Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Society of Fellows and Lecturer in History)
  • Course Type: Lecture offered Spring 2016

Description:

  • Common sense tells us that cold is a basic fact of existence: cold can be seen registered on a thermometer, or felt by stepping out of doors on a winter’s day. But what is cold? This is a question that has fascinated scientists and engineers for at least the last few hundred years.
  • This course introduces students to major topics in the history of science, including experimental culture, thermodynamics, instrumentation, standards of measurement, and scientific exploration. It situates the practice of science firmly within its social, economic, and environmental context, thereby encouraging students to question the truth-claims of scientific facts and those who promulgate them, and the norms of objectivity that guide the modern scientific enterprise.
  • The thematic approach of this course is designed to move fluidly across the boundaries that usually separate science from society, simultaneously engaging students in questions of ontology, epistemology, embodied sensation and experience, popular reception of experimental science, and the economic and environmental milieu. 

Course Information:

  • Recipient: Grant Wythoff (Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Society of Fellows and Lecturer in English)
  • Course Type: Lecture offered Spring 2016

Description:

  • This course will explore how literature imagined itself as a form of data collection, with stories that cataloged the tiniest details of daily, bodily life, and showed how these moments were all integrated into part of much larger social systems. Novelists like Willa Cather, Edith Wharton, Frank Norris, and Theodore Dreiser explored the relationship between data and fiction, both in terms of the stories we tell about data as well as the data produced by stories.
  • We will take “experience” as our primary topic. What was the experience of a) these new kinds of novels for the reader, b) the networks through which characters and readers moved, and c) the landscape of new media like cinema, the phonograph in which these novels found themselves? 
  • “The Science of Fiction” will provide undergraduates with an entrée into the digital humanities today. Lab sessions will provide a hands-on component. We will test out some of the assumptions naturalist novelists worked off of, as well as ask new kinds of questions about this period in history.