Spring 2013 - Undergraduate Course Descriptions
Description of Course:
Women of Science in Literature and Film
In this course we will explore a fascinating selection of films and literature, including biographies and autobiographies, written by and about women who have dedicated their lives to the study of the natural world and medicine. What is unique about the experiences of women scientists and physicians â€“ in their professions and personal lives? What challenges and obstacles do women in science and medicine face? How do they see themselves and their work as contributing to human knowledge and culture? How do others see them? To what extent does our society apply traditional stereotypes about scientists to them? Gender stereotypes? What can their life stories teach us about the â€œnatureâ€ of their intelligence, creativity, imagination, social choices, politics and ethics?
As a unique hybrid form between literature and history, how are â€œlife storiesâ€ crafted? Is the genre more closely related to historiography or fiction? What can we learn about the â€œlife story of scienceâ€ from stories about individual lives? Is scientific knowledge related to and embedded in other forms of cultural knowledge? Is science â€œgenderedâ€? Is nature? Can these narratives help us to better understand scientific concepts and medical perspectives? Is there a â€œmoral to the storyâ€ of women in science?
The course will be organized according to various topics and themes: â€œwinners and losersâ€ in the â€œraceâ€ for DNA; â€œmissingâ€ history; the nature of individual genius; family life and love; religious and cross-cultural experiences in science, women and nature. The daily class format will be primarily discussion with a few descriptive or informative mini-lectures, and several documentary videos and biographical films, including: â€œThe Race for DNA,â€ Agora, and selections from the Discovering Women series.
* This course counts toward the minor in Medical and Scientific Humanities (MaSH) *
REQUIRED BOOKS (Other materials will be available through Electronic Reserve):
Watson, James. The Double Helix (aka, why we need this course!)
Sayre, Anne. Rosalind Franklin and DNA
DesJardins, Julie, The Madame Curie Complex
Keller, A Feeling for the Organism
Rhodes, Richard, Hedyâ€™s Folly: The Life and Breakthrough Inventions of Hedy Lamarr, the Most Beautiful Woman in the World
Carson, Rachel, Silent Spring
Goodall, Jane, Reason for Hope
Ahmed, Qanta, In the Land of Invisible Women: A Female Doctor's Journey in the Saudi
STUDENTS WILL ALSO SELECT 1 ADDITIONAL BOOK FOR THEIR FINAL ESSAY, FROM A LIST OF APPROVED TITLES
Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:
- 2 unit exams: Objective & Essay: (one essay in-class; the other a 3pp paper) = 1/3rd of grade, each
- Attendance and Participation (includes quizzes, in-class writing, and discussion) = 1/3rd of grade