Courses

Related Courses

Contact Us

Spring 2013
 
First Year Investigation. Invisible City: Technology and Urban Life
  Mondays, 2-3:50pm
Andrew Lakoff

What makes it possible for millions of people to live together in relatively close proximity in modern cities and metropolitan regions? As urban creatures, we are deeply reliant on the technological systems that serve to feed us, salve our thirst, carry away our waste, keep us warm or cool, illuminate our nights, and connect us with others. The construction and maintenance of these systems is fundamental to the possibility of modern urban life. Yet our dependence on these complex and fragile systems is often forgotten, and the decisions that shape them are often obscure. In this class we will explore "the invisible city" - the infrastructures of living that shape collective urban existence: energy, water, transport, waste and communication. We will use the technological systems that sustain life in Los Angeles as our source of reflection. The course will include short readings, field-trips, and films.
 
Communications 534: The Culture of New Technologies
  Thursdays, 12:30-3:20pm
Andrew Lakoff

In-depth approach to cultural impact of the Internet, multimedia, digital imaging, CD-ROM and virtual reality in context with photographic realism, artificial intelligence and virtual communities.
 
Communications 599: Perspectives on Networked News
  Wednesdays, 3:30-6:20pm
Mike Annany

Intended for senior undergraduates and graduate students in Communication and Journalism, this course discusses how and why news emerges from networked institutions and sociotechnical systems. It situates contemporary debates about the press in historical contexts; reviews professional traditions and organizational routines of news production; discusses how and why presses and publics intersect; and helps students learn how to critique existing, experimental, and envisioned forms of networked journalism.
 
Sociology 210g: Science, Technology, and Social Conflict
  Mondays and Wednesdays, 2-3:20pm
Dan Lainer-Vos

This is a course about science as a social institution and about the social issues that arise in response to the advancement of science and technology. We will try to untangle the interaction between science, technology, and society, by examining key controversies that reflect this complex dynamic. Rather than ask whether a particular scientific claim is true, we will ask how scientists produce facts, and how these facts shape our life.
 
Sociology 480: The Sociology of Risk and Disaster
  Tuesdays and Thursdays, 12:30-1:50pm
Brady Potts

Is there such a thing as a "natural" disaster? We will examine both natural and technological disasters, and explore the centrality of risk in industrialized societies.
 
Sociology 532: Seminar in Science and Technology Studies
 

Thursdays, 2-5pm
Dan Lainer-Vos

Introduction to key concepts and theories in the interdisciplinary field of Science and Technology Studies.


Download Syllabus

For more information, contact:

Science, Technology and Society Initiative

c/o Prof. Andrew Lakoff
Department of Sociology
University of Southern California
3620 S. Vermont Ave.
Kaprielian Hall 348D
Los Angeles, CA 90089-2539
Phone: (213) 740-3533
Fax: (213) 740-3535
e-mail: sts@usc.edu

Los Angeles functions as a destination in the American imagination: a place of escape, of fantasy, and of
reinvention. Los Angeles has also been a formative site in the making of postwar American society. For
example, Los Angeles houses large media and defense industries and serves as a central node in the transpacific
economy. Through its love of the automobile and the airplane, and through its thirst for water and
power, Los Angeles has also remade America’s relationship to technology and urbanism. This course
explores and asks how one might study the cultural and institutional forces that operate within and pass
through the city. Studying Los Angeles will also become a way of understanding “the city” as a sociological
and historical object of study. The course uncovers Los Angeles through the close reading of essays, ethnographic
writing, fiction, film, and other primary source material about Southern California.