Message from the Chair

Welcome to Science & Technology Studies at York University!

I am a historian, so I often rummage around in archives. Some very old York academic calendars contain a couple of STS gems. York's first "Science, Technology & Society" course appeared in 1969. In 1977, "Science & Technology Studies" became a Bachelor of Arts stream. York's first Department of Science Studies made its debut in 1989. Its courses promised students not just (celluloid!) films and sparkling classroom discussion, but learning tours of hospitals, diagnostic centres, and government science agencies.

The world of science & technology has certainly changed a lot since then. Our computing power and big data manipulations were hardly imaginable in the late 1960s. We now talk less of mapping genomes, and more about editing them. Voyager 2 was launched in 1977, finally leaving our solar system in 2013. The spread of HIV/AIDS in the early 1980s killed millions, horrified the world, and its political struggles continue to challenge biomedical and social conventions right up to our current era.

The list could go on, and of course it would include changes to the Department of STS, and to York University itself. Launching our graduate program in STS in 2009 is perhaps our single greatest accomplishment. But a few things haven't changed. York's STS scholars and educators are still passionate about understanding the social, cultural, economic, and political forces that shape scientific knowledge and build technological power. We still want to know how science and technology, in turn, shape society. And, in some ways, we still do this the way we (well, not me personally!) did back in 1969. Our research and publications approach science and technology from a multitude of disciplinary perspectives. We bring the natural and the social sciences together under a single Department (which includes the Division of Natural Science). We try to get students out of the classroom and into the workshops, labs, and hospitals where they can observe science and technology in the making.  And we offer a flexible curriculum with a small class size, where students can get down to the hard work of crafting their own responses to the many challenges and conundrums posed by STS.

If you're interested in science and technology, enjoy some technical details, but are excited about developing a bigger framework to give those details meaning, STS is for you. Look over our courses. Follow our twitter feed. Contact me with your questions.

I look forward to seeing you in our programs!

-Kenton Kroker