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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

GEOG 8101 fall 2012

GEOG 8101: Proseminar in Nature Society Geography: Nature-Society and STS will be taught by Abigail Neely this fall 2012 semester on Tuesdays 2:00 - 4:30pm.

Instructor: Abigail Neely: 533 Social Sciences, ahneely@umn.edu
The interrogation of the relationships between people and their environments has long been a key site of inquiry for the discipline of geography. Indeed, nature-society geographers use sciences like ecology, forestry, and GIS, as well as the critical social sciences and social theory to better understand nature-society relationships. The multi-disciplinary sub-field of Science and Technology Studies (STS) critically interrogates the production and circulation of scientific knowledge and objects. As a result, it offers important lessons for scholars who seek to use the sciences to better understand nature-society relationships. Geographers, by contrast, often investigate the unexpected consequences of the application of scientific knowledge. In this research seminar we will bring together these two overlapping fields - nature-society geography and STS - in an effort to think through the questions and methods of nature-society relations, broadly defined. Our aim in the first half of the course is to gain a broad understanding of STS as it relates to questions in nature-society geography. This will provide a strong background for a research project that will be the focus of the second half of the course. The key questions we will ask throughout the class are: How does knowing and working with STS help yield novel insights into nature-society relationships? How does knowing and working with STS help yield novel insights into nature-society relationships? How can we critically use sciences like ecology and biogeography to better understand nature-society relationships? Topics will likely include: feminist science studies, actor-network theory (ANT), laboratory studies, animal studies, political ecology, and environmental history.

Workload and Course Expectations:
This seminar is divided into two sections: an intensive readings section and an intensive research section. For the first eight weeks of the course, seminar participants are expected to complete a number of readings from STS and nature-society studies, and to actively engage in discussion on those readings. Students will lead two discussions during this period and will be expected to complete one 2-page paper summarizing and drawing connections across a week's readings. During the second half of the course, students will be expected to complete an 8,000 to 10,000 word paper of original research. During the research portion of the class, we will spend a lot of time working on the development of the research project, the practice of peer review, and revision. In addition to the paper, we will hold a half-day mini-conference in which students will present their research papers.
Readings will likely include works by: Andrew Pickering, Thomas Kuhn, Donna Haraway, Sandra Harding, Bruno Latour, Michel Callon, John Law, Steve Woolgar, David Harvey, Sarah Whatmore, Mara Goldman, Matthew Turner, Tim Forsyth, Samer Alatout, and Michelle Murphy.

Graduate students of any discipline are welcome; please contact Abigail Neely and Bonnie Williams (willi046@umn.edu) for permission to register.