240G | CCN: 78046

Rhetorical Theory and Criticism

Scientizing Society: Scientific Discourses and Practices of Social Difference and Improvement

Instructor: Nasser Zakariya,

Th 9-12P, 7415 DWINELLE

4 Units

This course will examine different attempts to conceive, construct and enact sciences of the social world, examining their transformations, ruptures, and shifts from the early nineteenth century to the present. These attempts stand as part of ongoing efforts to posit and apply notions of social justice and welfare, enactments that at the same time provoke critiques challenging the wisdom and probity of their visions and practices. In turn, such pursuits have been stitched into the problematics of current disciplinary traditions in science and technology studies, and in history, philosophy and anthropology of science and technology – disciplines that themselves repeatedly query the relationship between scientific and sociopolitical orders. The course will return to literatures on the histories of race and science (eugenics, early statistics, anthropology), connecting them, for example, to economic literatures on wealth and development, as well as to a diversity of science studies relating to practices of mapping and municipal planning in the context of empire or recent cold war historiography. Through such connections, this course overviews and probes relevant theoretical interventions and debates in these overlapping disciplines.