Academic honesty

Course outline

Essay FAQs



Research essays

Research guides

Students with disabilities

Study guides



Wikipedia projects

HSCI 1113-001
Science, Nature and Society

Fall Semester 2018

Instructor:      Peter Barker 
e-mail:           BarkerP(at)ou(dot)edu
tel.:                325-2242
Office:           PHSC 617 
Office hours: MW 10:30-11:30am,  or by appointment. 


                               Class meets in Physical Sciences 402 MW 1:30 - 2:45pm

Course Goals: This course is an introduction to the serious study of history, and especially the history of science, emphasizing the unique resources of the University of Oklahoma. Students will be introduced to a range of research tools and methods. They will be expected to read class assignments, and to participate in class discussions and exercises. Students will produce one single-author essay, and collaborate in a group project.


Readings, videos and other materials form background to class material for the week they are listed and should be read before class. 

Required Texts

Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway, Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming (Bloomsbury Press, Reprint edition, 2011).
Christopher M. Graney, Setting Aside All Authority: Giovanni Battista Riccioli and the Science Against Copernicus in the Age of Galileo (Notre Dame University Press, 2015)

Recommended Text

Maurice Finocchiaro, The Essential Galileo, Indianapolis: Hackett, 2008
Course readings on the Web are available to currently enrolled students through CANVAS.

Study guides:

Oreskes and Conway Merchants of Doubt, click HERE;
Graney click HERE

Zimmer click HERE

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Course outline subject to change - last revision 18 Oct 2018.

1 Getting started.
M Aug 20: Intro questionnaire/First day handout.
W Aug 22: Introduction to OU Library/Ex1: Find a book, etc.

2 What is history? Read for Wednesday Aaron Rothstein, “Vaccines and their critics, then and now.” New Atlantis: A Journal of Technology and Society, vol. 44 (2015) pp. 3-27
M Aug 27: Assignment of students to working groups / Ex 2: Vaccines.
W Aug 39: Discuss Rothstein as an example of historical reasoning.

3 Galileo, Science and Religion -1
Before Wednesday study first two videos on Writing History Essays. and Take a walk with Aristotle.
M Sept 3: NO CLASS  - Labor Day.
W Sept 5: The cosmos in 1600.

4 Galileo, Science and Religion - 2
Before Monday read Graney Ch.'s 1, 2; Before Wednesday read Graney Ch.'s 3, 4
Before Wednesday study last three videos on Writing History Essays.
M Sept 10: From 1616 to 1633 - success and failure in Galileo's career
W Sept 12: From 1616 to 1633 - success and failure in Galileo's career; Graded test on class Operation and Procedures (in class).

5 Galileo, Science and Religion - 3
Before Monday read Graney Ch.'s 5, 6, 7
M Sept 17: Distant stars and falling bodies, Graded test on Writing History Essay videos, opens online Mon Sept 17.
W Sept 19: Distant stars and falling bodies

6 Galileo, Science and Religion - 4
Before Monday read Graney Ch.'s 8, 9, 10.
M Sept 24: The case against Copernicanism Graded test on Galileo, Science and Religion, opens online Wed Sept 26.
W Sept 26: The case against Copernicanism

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7 Darwin, Science and Race – 1: The world in 1850:
M Oct 1: Research Essay first draft to second reader.
W Oct 3: Research Essay first draft returned to author with notes.

M Oct 08: Darwin, Science and Race – 2
Reading: Darwin, The Descent of Man, Ch VII (pp. 214-250)
W Oct 10: Research Essay final draft due

9 Darwin, Science and Race – 3
James H. Dee, “Black Odysseus, White Caesar:When Did ‘White People’ Become ‘White’?”
 The Classical Journal, Vol. 99, No. 2 (Dec., 2003 - Jan., 2004), pp. 157-167.
M Oct 15
W Oct 17
Wikipedia group project week 1
All students create free accounts on Wikipedia and begin training

10 Darwin, Science and Race – 4
Carl Zimmer, She Has Her Mother's Laugh
(London: Picador, 2018). Chapter 7, pp. 182-213.
M Oct 22
W Oct 24
Wikipedia group project week 2

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11 Darwin, Science and Race - 5
David Reich, Who We Are And How We Got Here:
Ancient DNA and the New Science of the Human Past.

(New York: Pantheon, 2018).  Chapters 10, 11, pp. 229-273.
M Oct 29:
W Oct 31: Graded test on Darwin, Science and Race, opens online Wed Oct 31.
This week Complete Wikipedia Training sections 'Core' 1-14 and 'Editing' 1-24; read Wikipedia group project week 3;
Make at least one edit THIS WEEK. Track its success or failure next week.

12 Climate, Science and Politics – 1: Smoking and lung cancer; acid rain. Oreskes and Conway, 1-106.
M Nov 05
W Nov 07 Exchange Wikipedia drafts for peer review
Wikipedia group project week 4

13 Climate, Science and Politics – 2: Secondhand smoke, climate change. Oreskes and Conway, 136-215.
M Nov 12 Return Wikipedia drafts with comments
W Nov 14
Wikipedia group project week 5: final work week

14 Climate, Science and Politics – 3: Climate change. Oreskes and Conway, 216-240.
ONE CLASS ONLY Monday Nov 19
Wikipedia group project week 6:

Wednesday Nov 21: Thanksgiving Break begins

15 Climate, Science and Politics – 4: Climate change.
Wikipedia group project week 7;
M Nov 26:     Oreskes and Conway, 240-265;
W Nov 28:   Wikipedia pages completed

16 Conclusions
M Dec 03: Group presentations on Wikipedia Projects
W Dec 05: Group presentations on Wikipedia Projects
Good News and Exit Questionnaire

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Grades will be computed as follows: Bookfinding assignment = 5%; O&P test = 5%; History Essay Training test = 5%; Galileo, science and religion test = 5%; Research Essay = 20%; Establish Wikipedia account and report username = 5%; Darwin, Science and Religion test = 5%; Exchange & return draft Wikipedia assignments for peer review = 5%; Wikipedia project grade = 20%; Class presentation = 5%; Participation = 10%; Attendance = 10%. There is no curve. Late delivery of essays will not be permitted except under circumstances of emergency or illness, verifiable to the satisfaction of the Instructor. However, it is the policy of the University to excuse absences of students that result from religious observances and to provide without penalty for the rescheduling of examinations and additional required class work that may fall on religious holidays. If you wish to be excused for religious observances, please contact your Instructor at least one week before you will be absent, in order to reschedule the corresponding work or examinations.

There will be a graded test covering course Organization and Policies on Sept 12.

Students will also complete two extended assignments. The first is a Research Essay to be submitted at any time up to October 10. See separate instructions for Research Paper  and grading scheme for essays, posted on the 'Essay FAQ's' link at left. Preparation for this assignment includes a graded test, to be completed online before 1:30pm September 24.

The second extended assignment is the edit or build a Wikipedia page. This may be approached as a group project, however, individual students will be reponsible for adding at least 5000 characters. Preparation for this asignment includes graded work on establishing a free account at Wikipedia, and exchanging and returning drafts for peer review.

Class participation, and especially participation in discussion exercises and contributions to group work on the Wikipedia project, will make up 10% of the grade. Attendance will also make up 10%. Other than excused religious holidays, students absent from more than three classes will be penalized one letter grade within this grade item.

There is no separate final exam in this class.

Extra Credit is available for assignments worth 20% or more of final grade.

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Academic honesty

We assume you understand and adhere to the norms of academic honesty stated in:
A Student's Guide to Academic Integrity at the University of Oklahoma. We also assume you are honest unless proven otherwise,
so if you are not sure about something ask us. We encourage you to work together (and with us) to prepare for class, exams and essays
-- on the understanding that the final version is all your own work. 'Plagiarism' used to mean copying out of a book.
Electronic media pose special problems. While we encourage you to use them as sources of ideas and information,
no sentence that you submit as your own work should be identical to any sentence in a book or electronic medium.
If we judge that work you submit fails to meet these standards, the following things will happen:
(1) On the first occasion, you will be asked to amend the work and resubmit it to receive a grade.
(2) On the second occasion you will receive a formal admonition, as explained in Rights and Responsibilities
under the Academic Misconduct Code
, and a grade of zero for the work.
(3) On the third occasion, a complaint of academic misconduct will be filed, as explained in
Rights and Responsibilities under the Academic Misconduct Code.

Students with disabilities

Students in this course who have any disability that may prevent them from fully demonstrating their abilities should contact
the Instructor as soon as possible to discuss accommodations necessary to ensure full participation and facilitate their
educational opportunities. 


In this class you will be expected to take part in discussions, work in small groups, contribute to group projects, study and review in
groups settings. The University of Oklahoma is a multicultural and multi-ethnic community. Your time here is a unique opportunity
to engage with people from backgrounds, cultures, and life experiences very different from your own. Remember that these people
are just like you — they may not have lived in a multicultural, multi-ethnic community either. If you need help with any of these issues,
talk to your Instructor. By engaging, you will acquire skills that are essential for career success and citizenship in the 21st century.

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