Postmodern Biology

As the social justice movement continues to infiltrate the sciences, what will science look like?  We can catch a preview by surveying the biology courses of Evergreen State College, the social justice college that has been targeting and harassing biology professor Bret Weinstein for publicly refusing to participate in a social justice protest.

Here are some of the biology courses offered by this social justice college.

Bodies Speaking Out: Public Health and Community through the Lenses of Science, Ethnography, and Media

We’ll learn how structural inequalities of race, class, and gender (among others) shape exposure to harm and access to remediation. We’ll learn how struggles over housing, schooling, jobs and other social and economic conditions affect individual health and the collective health of communities. We will consider how infectious diseases, once easily treatable such as tuberculosis, have resurged in virulent drug-resistant forms under conditions of incarceration, substandard housing, and biomedical abandonment.

Community Resilience: Science and Society

We will investigate the dynamic connections in living systems between stress (also referred to as change, or disturbance) and resilience (response or adaptation). Key questions include: What is resilience in ecological and human communities? How do ecological systems, and the human mind and aptitudes for action, draw resilience from stressful experience? And how can we build social capital (human relationships) and promote collective action, while supporting ecological and social capacities to respond positively to change?

Dancing Molecules, Dancing Bodies

Our bodies are always moving. Even when you are sitting absolutely still, there is movement throughout your body — the pumping of your heart, the flow of blood through your blood vessels, and a continuous vibration of the molecules that make up your body. In this program we will explore dance from the perspectives of culture, physiology, and introductory chemistry. We will explore properties in chemistry connected to movement (conductivity, molecular vibrations, energy, reactivity, and solubility) and study how chemicals both construct and move within the human body. Students will become in tune with their bodies through movement and dance workshops and scientific studies of the anatomy and physiology of the human body. We will examine and perform dance, not simply within categories like ballet or modern, but from a broader perspective of movement and culture.

Feminist Epistemologies: Critical Approaches to Biology and Psychology

Students should ideally have taken at least 4-8 credits of science or social science coursework in the past, as this program builds on and critiques dominant scientific methodologies from a feminist perspective.  How is knowledge generated from a feminist theoretical perspective? Looking closely at the history of science and the construction of gender in biology, we will explore feminist interventions into knowledge production in these fields.

Gender and Science: An Introduction

How do knowledge, power, language and gender interact? How has that interrelationship generated the very idea of gender and gender difference? How does our human understanding of the universe relate to ideas such as universality and objectivity? This introductory program explores and interrogates the gendered production of knowledge and its close relationship to power, human culture and the idea of nature.

Health, Power, and Justice

What are the factors that determine our health? In what ways do race, class, and gender affect the health of individuals and communities? In this introductory program we will explore health and well-being within the contexts of narrative, power, and social justice. We will use an interdisciplinary lens of science and the humanities to question the embodied experiences of sickness and healing. Our focus will be on the linkages between Northwest places and Native American and Indigenous peoples, framing our discussions of health around themes of environmental and economic sustainability, social justice and education, and popular culture.

Power Play(ers): Actions and Their Consequences

This program will explore colonial, postcolonial, and neocolonial issues as they are unfolding on local, national, and global stages. Colonialism has resurfaced in new forms of neocolonialism that we encounter in our daily lives and work. We will place emphasis on how individuals and groups acquire mental resistance, how to assert individual, family, and community values and identities, and how to decipher and reframe meanings from information channeled through mass media. This also includes analyzing the powers at play in societal structures, how to empower oneself and community, and how to understand the ways in which these structures of power and control impact the quality of life for ordinary people at home and abroad. These are some of the skills students will learn from Power Play(ers).

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8 Responses to Postmodern Biology

  1. Doug says:

    How about Inventing Systems (taught by a musician and a mime, apparently):

    The combination of fiction, scientific research, and philosophy will allow us to learn about the range and the reach of cybernetics, and the range and the reach of our creative potential.

  2. Kevin says:

    How about “Remedial Biology – how to tell a male from a female”

  3. Dhay says:

    Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in science anymore.

  4. Regual Llegna says:

    How about “Relative Mind in a Socialist Globalist World – How you rights become laws in wich everything you want and need should by handed to you by your representantives in power.”

    How about “Safe Spaces Studies – How to block any dissdent viwes to your world view and go social hermetic, free wealth seized from external sources (oppresor class) and segregation politics.”

  5. The Deuce says:

    And the funniest part is, you know that if even one of these “biology” courses mentioned God in a non-disparaging manner, every progressive in the country who has ignored what’s going on would suddenly be hyperventilating about the dire “threat to science.”

  6. stcordova says:

    Deuce! Long time no see!

  7. pennywit says:

    Bodies Speaking Out: Public Health and Community through the Lenses of Science, Ethnography, and Media

    We’ll learn how structural inequalities of race, class, and gender (among others) shape exposure to harm and access to remediation. We’ll learn how struggles over housing, schooling, jobs and other social and economic conditions affect individual health and the collective health of communities. We will consider how infectious diseases, once easily treatable such as tuberculosis, have resurged in virulent drug-resistant forms under conditions of incarceration, substandard housing, and biomedical abandonment.

    There is something here; there is a correlation between wealth and the availability of healthcare. I would need to see a syllabus before judging it.

    Community Resilience: Science and Society

    We will investigate the dynamic connections in living systems between stress (also referred to as change, or disturbance) and resilience (response or adaptation). Key questions include: What is resilience in ecological and human communities? How do ecological systems, and the human mind and aptitudes for action, draw resilience from stressful experience? And how can we build social capital (human relationships) and promote collective action, while supporting ecological and social capacities to respond positively to change?

    The first few sentences outline something worth studying — how do organisms adapt when they face a stressor? And how does a community of organisms (whether a herd of buffalo, a murder of crows, or a village of humans) react to stressors? The last sentence seems a bit frou-frou.

    Dancing Molecules, Dancing Bodies

    Our bodies are always moving. Even when you are sitting absolutely still, there is movement throughout your body — the pumping of your heart, the flow of blood through your blood vessels, and a continuous vibration of the molecules that make up your body. In this program we will explore dance from the perspectives of culture, physiology, and introductory chemistry. We will explore properties in chemistry connected to movement (conductivity, molecular vibrations, energy, reactivity, and solubility) and study how chemicals both construct and move within the human body. Students will become in tune with their bodies through movement and dance workshops and scientific studies of the anatomy and physiology of the human body. We will examine and perform dance, not simply within categories like ballet or modern, but from a broader perspective of movement and culture.

    It’s biology for arts majors. The art major comes in, does their science requirement, then gets back to dance or music class. My school had a similar class called “The Physics of Sound and Music.” The teacher was a physics professor who was also a rather good concert pianist. I don’t care about this class. It ranks right up there with Math for Poets, Algebra for Football Players, Painting for Engineers, and Intelligible Writing for Lawyers.

    Feminist Epistemologies: Critical Approaches to Biology and Psychology

    Students should ideally have taken at least 4-8 credits of science or social science coursework in the past, as this program builds on and critiques dominant scientific methodologies from a feminist perspective. How is knowledge generated from a feminist theoretical perspective? Looking closely at the history of science and the construction of gender in biology, we will explore feminist interventions into knowledge production in these fields.

    I see nothing wrong with a specialized science history class that focuses on women’s contributions to science. But this sounds more like a gender studies course than a science course.

    Gender and Science: An Introduction

    How do knowledge, power, language and gender interact? How has that interrelationship generated the very idea of gender and gender difference? How does our human understanding of the universe relate to ideas such as universality and objectivity? This introductory program explores and interrogates the gendered production of knowledge and its close relationship to power, human culture and the idea of nature.

    Errr …

    Health, Power, and Justice

    What are the factors that determine our health? In what ways do race, class, and gender affect the health of individuals and communities? In this introductory program we will explore health and well-being within the contexts of narrative, power, and social justice. We will use an interdisciplinary lens of science and the humanities to question the embodied experiences of sickness and healing. Our focus will be on the linkages between Northwest places and Native American and Indigenous peoples, framing our discussions of health around themes of environmental and economic sustainability, social justice and education, and popular culture.

    There’s actually a pretty good body of evidence that political power, race, and above all, economics, play a huge factor in people’s access to healthcare. I would think this course would be more appropriate for a health economics curriculum than a biology class.

    Power Play(ers): Actions and Their Consequences

    This program will explore colonial, postcolonial, and neocolonial issues as they are unfolding on local, national, and global stages. Colonialism has resurfaced in new forms of neocolonialism that we encounter in our daily lives and work. We will place emphasis on how individuals and groups acquire mental resistance, how to assert individual, family, and community values and identities, and how to decipher and reframe meanings from information channeled through mass media. This also includes analyzing the powers at play in societal structures, how to empower oneself and community, and how to understand the ways in which these structures of power and control impact the quality of life for ordinary people at home and abroad. These are some of the skills students will learn from Power Play(ers).

    I got nothin’.

  8. stcordova says:

    One of the authors recommended by Pauline Yu for the feminist biology class is Sandra Harding!

    Here is a sample of Sandra Harding. It is totally disgusting. I can’t imagine a science class teaching this sort of garbage:

    http://www.gnxp.com/blog/2005/09/know-thy-enemy-newtons-rape-manual.php

    “But if we are to believe that mechanistic metaphors were a fundamental component of the explanations the new science provided, why should we believe that the gender metaphors were not? A consistent analysis would lead to the conclusion that understanding nature as a woman indifferent to or even welcoming rape was equally fundamental to the interpretations of these new conceptions of nature and inquiry. Presumably these metaphors, too, had fruitful pragmatic, methodological, and metaphysical consequences for science. In that case, why is it not as illuminating and honest to refer to Newton’s laws as “Newton’s rape manual” as it is to call them “Newton’s mechanics”?”

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