STS 1126.101 — Science & Society: Stories of Agri(Culture)

Fall 2017 Syllabus
Fall 2019 Syllabus

Course Description: This seminar will teach students to write clearly about issues in agriculture, paying particular attention to the mutual shaping of science and society. For inspiration, we will critically read compelling writers from a variety of genres, such as Liberty Hyde Bailey, Anna Comstock, Evelyn Fox Keller, and Michael Pollan. We will draw extensively on Cornell-based resources and stories through visits with university archivists, historians, laboratories, and scientists. Writing assignments may include: magazine-style science articles about researchers at Cornell, as well as oral histories with agriculturalists in the Ithaca or Cornell communities. This course will culminate in a collaborative, edited collection of our own stories of agriculture and society—at home and at Cornell.

Course Rationale: By using Cornell’s campus itself as a laboratory for considering stories of (agri)culture, this course provides students with a unique appreciation of the university where they will spend the next four years of their lives—and most importantly, with a solid foundation in writing, research, and community-building that can be transferred to any disciplinary path they choose to pursue. The stories, people, locations, and archives students will be exposed to will be thought of as both tools and objects of research, and will be conceptualized, discussed, and written about through a variety of (sub)disciplinary lenses. We will model our work on well-written, classic historical and contemporary texts that demonstrate the variety of writing styles and genres common in the field of Science & Technology Studies. The goal of this course is to use the writing (and revision) process to build persuasive arguments that suit the demands of a particular topic, medium, or audience.

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