Introduction to Science, Technology and Culture:

Knowledge How and Knowledge That

Prof. Sha Xin Wei

M W F 11:00 - 12:00

Skiles 308


Typically the questions: How do we know what we know? What is knowledge? can be explored from the perspectives of formal logic or biology or cognitive science. We amplify this investigation to include social and cultural fields as well. We’ll consider whether there are as many different forms of knowledge as there are ways of making knowledge. In this course, we explore how technologies of representation and performance shape our thinking and our experience, making a full circuit from theories of scientific knowledge to art and performance.

This is a course with challenging readings and a heavy emphasis on in-class discussion. Students will be expected to make presentations in a variety of formats, in addition to composing written pieces. This course offers students a chance to explore deeply some areas of literature, or history, philosophy or cultural studies of science.




What is knowledge?
How do we represent knowledge?
What’s the difference between knowledge that and knowledge how?
What’s the difference between representation and performance?
Is knowledge objective or socially constructed?
What forms of knowledge exist other than scientific knowledge? Case study: theater, performance as research.


  • Michel Foucault. Archaeology of Knowledge. Pantheon Books (1982) paperback. ISBN: 0394711068
  • Ludwig Wittgenstein ,G. E. M. Anscombe (Translator). Philosophical Investigations. Prentice Hall; 3rd edition (1999). ISBN: 0024288101
  • A. N. Whitehead. The Concept of Nature : Tarner Lectures. Cambridge University Press Reissue edition (1994). paperback. ISBN: 0521092450
  • Mario Biagioli (Editor). The Science Studies Reader. Routledge (1999) paperback. ISBN 0415918685.

Supplementary Readings

  • Jacques Derrida. Of Grammatology. Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1976 (1967)
  • Brian Rotman. Mathematics As Sign: Writing, Imagining, Counting. Stanford Univ Pr (2000). ISBN: 0804736847
  • Ferdinand Saussure, A Course in General Linguistics, tr. Wade Baskin, Paperback 1, 1965) , WCB/McGraw-Hill; ISBN: 0070165246.


Course Structure

There are scheduled writing assignments. The assignments must be done individually. Written responses or artifacts for the current theme must be emailed by 17:00 on the due date. Also, paper copies must be slipped under my office door by the same deadline.


In-class group presentations, responses to the readings, starting Sep. 8. (1/3)
Mid-term paper/presentation: based on theoretical readings. (1/3)
Final paper/presentation. (1/3).





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Office: Skiles 19

Office Hours: F

(and by appointment)

Telephone: 404-579-4944

Email: • 404-385-2527 •