240G-001 | CCN: 40961

Rhetorical Theory

Scientizing Society: Scientific Discourses of Social Difference and Improvement

Instructor: Nasser Zakariya,

4 Units

This course will examine different attempts to conceive, construct and enact sciences of the social world, examining their transformations, ruptures, and shifts primarily from the early nineteenth century to the present. These attempts are part of ongoing efforts to posit and apply notions of social justice and welfare, enactments that also provoke critiques challenging the wisdom and probity of their visions and practices. In turn, such pursuits have been stitched into the problematics of disciplinary traditions in science and technology studies, and in history, philosophy 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 variety of science studies relating to practices of mapping and municipal planning in different contexts. Through such connections, this course overviews and probes relevant theoretical interventions and debates in these overlapping disciplines.