Washington State University is currently offering a class on how Western science is impacted by “socially constructed” categories such as gender, sexuality, and nationality.
“Women’s Studies 220: Gender, Culture, and Science,” is a sophomore-level class taught this semester by Jenifer Barclay, an assistant professor in the school’s Department of Critical Culture, Gender, and Race Studies.
In a copy of the syllabus obtained by Campus Reform, Barclay frames Western science as “socially constructed,” asking “How objective is objectivity? Who determines ‘the facts’ and what social, cultural, economic, and political forces influence those who do?”
The syllabus then goes on to inquire, “Are fields like science, technology, engineering and medicine always completely objective and free of any kind of bias?”
To answer that question, Barclay pledges to map the “rise of Western science and the ways that ideas about gender, race, ethnicity, class, sexuality, and nationality shape(d) the production of knowledge…and many other seemingly ‘objective’ topics.”
Though the class has three seemingly separate learning objectives, all three of the goals ultimately circle back to how scientific knowledge is “constructed” or “produced.”
For example, one learning goal explains that by learning about the “construction of scientific knowledge, [this class] encourages students to think critically about the importance of contextualization and the meaning of ‘objectivity.’”
Students will also learn “how gender, race, ethnicity, class, and sexuality [have] influenced the production of scientific knowledge in different historical eras and what the concrete consequences of this trajectory are,” the syllabus adds.