Please be sure to answer all parts of both questions and provide specific examples
We’ve been reading Marge Piercy’s science fiction work: Woman on the Edge of Time throughout the semester. As you know, Piercy’s novel is centered around Connie and her experiences in and out of medical institutions. The novel toggles between a dystopic present-day reality and the future (or does it???)
First: Do you find Piercy’s version of a possible future (the attitudes, behaviors, social structures, norms etc. found in the future she describes) appealing or compelling? That is, are there elements in Piercy’s imagined future that you find worth aiming for? If yes, what and why? If no, why not? On the contrary, are there elements of this future that you find less or not at all appealing? If yes, what and why?
Second: Consider the various aspects of science, technology, medicine, and society that we’ve discussed this semester, especially as they relate to questions of gender, sex, sexuality, race, ethnicity, and socio-economic status/social class. Consider what you have found most inspiring or promising and what you have found most limiting or problematic as regards the historical and ongoing relationships between science and society. Now, step into Piercy’s shoes and imagine what the relationships between science, technology, medicine, and society might look like in your preferred future. In other words, please reflect on how the ideas, beliefs, practices, and values pertaining to the relationship between science and society could be – from your perspective – made better going forward. Can the intersections of science, technology, medicine, and society be different? Better? How?
You are welcome to approach your response in a broad sense, reflecting on large-scale social structures or institutions. On the other hand, some may find it helpful to narrow in on one particular aspect that we’ve explored. The choice is yours!
As we’ve come to understand over the course of our class, a central aim of feminist science and technology studies involves persistently posing the questions: what counts as objective truth, who decides this, and on what basis are claims to truth legitimately made? During the last half of the semester in particular, we’ve explored the relationship between various understandings of expertise and their relationship to power, privilege, and the possibility of equity, justice, freedom, and democracy.
From your perspective, is there a fundamental tension between the exercise of scientific, technological, and/or medical expertise and democratic deliberation and decision-making? If so, why? If not, why not? In answering this question, please specify what you understand expertise to be. Please discuss a minimum of three distinct examples that speak to your answer. Any relevant course materials may be used in responses.
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