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Teaching STS to scientists and engineers 
Bernhard Isopp (Technical University of Munich)
Joakim Juhl (TU Munich)
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Traditional Open Panel

Short Abstract:

This panel explores different inter- and cross-disciplinary settings in which STS scholars teach. Considering STS as a teaching program promises to reveal insights about how STS scholars envision, value, articulate, translate, and negotiate the central lessons of the field.

Long Abstract:

STS programs and courses are often institutionally housed within or closely adjacent to natural science or engineering programs or departments. At the university level, in institutions with a primarily technical orientation, STS (or STS-informed) courses can form a major part of the social science component of larger science and engineering curricula.

In these settings, STS can be valued as a source of social scientific understanding about how science, engineering, and technology actually work in their own right, as well as a means for understanding the complex relationships that constitute technoscience. However, it is often also called upon to provide understandings of the contexts and mechanisms that would enable science or technology to be put into practice in some concrete social, economic, or policy setting. Thus, STS teaching can become instrumental.

By reflecting on these dynamics, this panel hopes to explore the following questions by looking at a range of cases in a variety of academic and institutional contexts (including but not limited to the technical university):

Who are the envisioned learners of STS knowledge? What are the central lessons that STS is meant to teach? How are these translated into other epistemic traditions and made relevant and valuable from their point of view? For example, how might we approach STS pedagogy in a way that accounts for the perspectives of engineers or natural scientists whom have no prior training in social science or the humanities? How do and can STS scholars navigate or negotiate the different institutional spaces in which we are expected to teach? How do we both protect our own conceptual heritage while also making ourselves useful and valuable in non-STS environments? How does this relate to different visions of engaged STS? How have notions of STS as a pedagogical program shaped its identity, institutional or otherwise?

Accepted papers: